Tariffs and Unfair Free Trade
By Frank Spotorno
I believe that if you want to sell products in America, they should be made in America, or those products should be taxed, or a tariff placed on their import. It’s not that I am against free trade, I am against unfettered free trade.
I am against American corporations leaving our homeland, making deals with foreign governments, throwing Americans on the street, for the sole reason of cheap labor, avoiding labor laws, escaping regulatory regulations, including environmental laws, and the "greed and pursuit" of the "almighty dollar."
If our American corporations want the support of our elected officials, and of our service men and women in uniform, and of the American consumer, then they should build their products in the USA and employ Americans.
President Donald Trump was elected, not because of help from the Russians, but because of the American voters from the Midwest states including Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, who have watched as the factories closed and the farms overgrew without yielding any crops. Those voters knew what many of us in the Northeast either don’t know or ignore.
That twenty years of so called Free Trade agreements have hollowed out our manufacturing base, with millions of jobs lost to China and Mexico. One fact that supports my argument that we are losing the current battle for jobs and hope for Americans, is that the trade deficit with Mexico has gone from a surplus of $1.7 Billion in 1993 to a deficit of $54 Billion in 2014. Economists, including Dean Baker and the Economic Policy Institute argue that this swing in trade balance from Mexico alone has cost the USA 600,000 jobs. Millions more American jobs have been lost to China.
While its true that some of our American manufacturing jobs were lost because of modern technology, and not because of so called Free Trade, the direct competition from Mexican or Chinese workers, against non-college educated American workers, means lower wages for these American workers, or no job at all.
The U.S. Auto industry has lost 350,000 jobs since 1994, one-third of its total job force in our country, while Mexican auto sector employment spiked from 120,000 to 550,000 workers during the same time.
I believe that one of the reasons that the flow of illegal immigration across our southern border has reduced is because of the fact that Donald Trump was elected President, but another reason is that so many of our American factories are now in Mexico.
Tariffs are needed to level the playing field that has benefitted countries like China and Mexico, but also some of our allies like Canada, and Britain and the European Union. In many cases, our politicians in Washington, and our corporations, have benefitted from many of these so called Free Trade agreements, while the little guy, or woman, or family, in the Midwest has suffered.
Finally we have a president with tenacity and fortitude to stand up for the American people. That is why President Trump was elected, and he is simply following up on a promise to those forgotten Americans, in the heartland, who cast their vote for him. All they want is a good job and a way to raise their family and have a chance at the American dream.
Let’s give the tariffs a chance for those forgotten Americans. Clearly, the last 25 years have not worked out for them. But most of all, use your shopping dollars to Buy American and Hire American.