Protectionism is a Dangerous Path to Take
I want jobs for Americans just as much as you do, and I understand Trump’s frustration with unfair trade practices that steal our jobs. But I am uneasy with protectionism. The real problem lies with the trade agreements.
Tariffs and trade barriers sound good, but the consequences can be trade wars, and higher prices for the US consumer. Initially, they may help to kick-start an industry or save another from predatory business practices, and we may create a few more jobs. But there is no guarantee that the international corporations will not move away. We are no longer in the days of the Youngstown Sheet & Tube where owners and executives lived amongst us. Overall, it is not a good long-term strategy for our nation.
Secondly, and perhaps more dangerously, is the effect on the global market. Most countries rely on the US to sell their goods and if we cut off that market this could make world markets uneasy. Just this week, President Trump “imposed tariffs of 30 percent on imported solar panel technology in a bid to protect domestic manufacturers while signaling a more aggressive approach toward China.”
Remember, we too export a lot of goods to other countries. Their ability to buy depends on their ability to sell. These tariffs are not good for anyone, and, ultimately, they are not good for the people we are trying to protect. Protectionist policies will not help our companies sell to the world.
The real culprits are the international corporations, corrupt governments, and greedy politicians who enrich their coffers by establishing multinational trade deals (NAFTA, TPP and others) that exploit cheap labor, and circumvent environmental and safety regulations. Then they shelter profits overseas to avoid paying taxes.
Trade Agreements must take in account wages, the environment and safety. These basic worker principles are essential for all workers. They MUST be included and they must be made enforceable in the trade deals or I will not agree with them. I will not let my government be used to enrich the few at the expense of many.