We send foreign countries pieces of paper, they send us stuff. Sounds like a good scam, but Patrick Buchanan disagrees. The US is manufacturing as much as it ever has, but with a lot fewer people. The US is also growing as much food as it ever has, but with a lot fewer people. Rising manufacturing productivity and agricultural productive explain both phenomena. Neither trend is going to reverse no matter how many tariffs we slap on foreign manufactured and agricultural goods. In the next article, Bill Bonner pinpoints the number one factor responsible for the US slide from net exporter to net importer. Patrick Buchanan was part of the administration that made it happen. From Buchanan at buchanan.org:
From Lincoln to William McKinley to Theodore Roosevelt, and from Warren Harding through Calvin Coolidge, the Republican Party erected the most awesome manufacturing machine the world had ever seen.
And, as the party of high tariffs through those seven decades, the GOP was rewarded by becoming America’s Party.
Thirteen Republican presidents served from 1860 to 1930, and only two Democrats. And Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson were elected only because the Republicans had split.
Why, then, this terror of tariffs that grips the GOP?
Consider. On hearing that President Trump might impose tariffs on aluminum and steel, Sen. Lindsey Graham was beside himself: “Please reconsider,” he implored the president, “you’re making a huge mistake.”
Twenty-four hours earlier, Graham had confidently assured us that war with a nuclear-armed North Korea is “worth it.”
“All the damage that would come from a war would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security,” said Graham.
A steel tariff terrifies Graham. A new Korean war does not?
“Trade wars are not won, only lost,” warns Sen. Jeff Flake.
But this is ahistorical nonsense.
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The U.S. relied on tariffs to convert from an agricultural economy in 1800 to the mightiest manufacturing power on earth by 1900.
Bismarck’s Germany, born in 1871, followed the U.S. example, and swept past free trade Britain before World War I.
Does Senator Flake think Japan rose to post-war preeminence through free trade, as Tokyo kept U.S. products out, while dumping cars, radios, TVs and motorcycles here to kill the industries of the nation that was defending them. Both Nixon and Reagan had to devalue the dollar to counter the predatory trade policies of Japan.
Since Bush I, we have run $12 trillion in trade deficits, and, in the first decade in this century, we lost 55,000 factories and 6,000,000 manufacturing jobs.
Does Flake see no correlation between America’s decline, China’s rise, and the $4 trillion in trade surpluses Beijing has run up at the expense of his own country?
The hysteria that greeted Trump’s idea of a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum suggest that restoring this nation’s economic independence is going to be a rocky road.
In 2017, the U.S. ran a trade deficit in goods of almost $800 billion, $375 billion of that with China, a trade surplus that easily covered Xi Jinping’s entire defense budget.
To continue reading: Why Is the GOP Terrified of Tariffs?