I have a feeling we’ll have to explain more carefully the principles of free trade if Trump gets elected.
First, let me explain some terminology. What Clinton and the globalists are proposing, what TPP and NAFTA are, that is most definitely NOT free trade. Those are arbitrary trade restrictions hiding under the guise of free trade, designed to oppress the weak and poor and empower the rich and wealthy.
What free trade would actually look like is pretty much what we have inside the United States, but for all the world. To wit, let’s say you wanted to buy shoes. You could order online from anywhere in the US without paying a dime in taxes, or you can order from China or Mexico or wherever. And the shoe companies can move their product and workers across borders as they see fit.
Now, the complaint people have is that by moving low-wage, low-skill jobs to countries where people are willing to do that work for a fraction of the cost, we are somehow hurting the average American worker.
Let me explain why we move things overseas and then why, under free trade, if we had free trade, people moved jobs that would be a very good thing.
Remember, what we have today is not free trade. The reason why your job is moving to Mexico is not because the Mexicans are willing to work for less or anything like that. Instead, the reason why is because our tax code is so horribly evil in how it punishes people for being productive, they can make a lot more money by simply becoming a Mexican company. Let that sink in: They will make more money by speaking Spanish and celebrating Cinco de Mayo rather than speaking English and celebrating Independence Day. What person, in his right mind, if offered a choice, would turn down a lot more money if he simply moved cultures? The answer is, not many. You would have to love your country a lot in order to convince yourself to stay just to make a lot less money.
Remember, people came to America to get rich. The freedoms were a nice added bonus. The people who loaded themselves onto the boats and ended up in Ellis Island all had money and property on their minds. None of them thought, “I’d love to own a gun” or “I’d love to speak my mind against the government”. They came here because they knew if they came to America and lived as a poor person, they would be far wealthier than if they stayed home.
Well, now the tax code, the regulations, and the so-called free trade agreements all conspire together to mean leaving the US means making more money. And so what do companies do? They leave.
How would free trade solve that? For starters, there would be no benefit to making things overseas in terms of tax bonuses. You wouldn’t have to pay a penalty to make stuff here in the US, because real free trade would mean all the business would leave the US if the tax code weren’t more fair here. Find me a true free trader who also wants to make the US tax code uncompetitive and I’ve found you an idiot who can’t tie his own shoes. Even Clinton isn’t that stupid. She knows that NAFTA and TPP are supposed to keep American businesses prisoner.
Well, don’t forget about regulations. Make regulations limited, make them fair, and enforce them equally and every business in the world would move the US, even if the tax code weren’t that great. The reason why is businesses thrive on fair and just regulations. Take, for instance, standard measures. What business wants to operate in a country where there is no system of standard weights that is carefully measured and enforced? Every business expects that a pound is a pound, a foot is a foot, and so on and so forth. If that were built-in to the economy from the ground up, that would translate into pure profit.
So, in short, free trade must go hand-in-hand with low taxes and fair regulations.
Now, let’s say we have a country where our tax code is the best in the world, where our regulations are fairly written and fairly enforced, and where government simply can’t pick winners and losers. Let’s say that you work for a company and your boss brings you into a meeting and says, “We’re shutting down this factory, and we’re moving operations to Mexico.”
Why would they ever do that? Is it because they get a trade advantage? No. Is it because they get a tax advantage? No. Is it for the regulation advantage? No. There is simply no economic reason to do that — except one and one alone.
That is because the wages of the American worker are simply too high. They can go elsewhere, buy inferior labor at a much lower price, and make more money.
Now, you, as an American worker, making a decent living working for that factory because your market rate is just that good: What do you do when your boss says they are closing down? You go get another job.
See, the reason why your wages were so high in the first place is because there are six or seven factories who would be buying labor from you if it weren’t for the fact that they were outbid by the factory you work for. Now, when you switch jobs this way, you don’t always get a raise (after all, if you could be making more money somewhere else, why didn’t you already move?) but rest assured, there’s a reason why you were being paid what you were being paid.
What now? You go out, pound the pavement, move your family if you need to, and you get a job paying maybe quite a bit less. Guess what? Something else magical happens. Those gizmos you were making have suddenly become cheaper. The reason why is because your company has to make a profit, and every other company making those gizmos all moved to Mexico or whatever, and now they are not swimming in pools of money anymore. First one company, and then another, lowers the price on gizmos, and now the market is flooded with cheap gizmos. So, you should take solace in the fact that your money is now worth more. You can buy more gizmos than you could before.
But more importantly, you’re smart. You study the markets. You’re always worried your bosses will up and move companies, so you’re looking for careers in those areas where nobody moves to Mexico. You go to school, or you use the internet, and you, with your native American accent, and your git-er-done attitude, have opportunities that no Mexican has. You can get a new job, a better job, a job that Americans are in high demand for.
I am telling you this because I am living it. I work in a market where I am literally competing with everyone else on the planet. No one cares where the code I write is written. It could be written in China or India or some unheard of place in Africa. And no one cares that my code is written by an American. The company I work for right now is filled with cheap Chinese and Indian workers. So I learned how to out-compete them. People know that because I am an American, I do certain things far better than the Chinese or Indian programmers. They know that if they need to do X, they better hire me and not them. On the other hand, there are things Chinese and Indians do better than me, or rather, more cheaply, so I do the right thing: I write code to put them all out of work.
Yes, you heard that right: I don’t write code that means we need to hire armies of Chinese and Indian workers. I write code so that my team of 5 or 6 can run circles around teams of hundreds of Chinese and Indian workers. When they finally catch up, they do so with inferior understanding and always too late to the game. I’m already on the sixth iteration before they even hear of what I’ve done.
It’s really not hard for Americans to compete with the world. There’s something about our independent spirit, our stick-to-it-iveness, our ability to work together, to appoint leaders and to treat them appropriately, that make us special, and frankly, superior to everyone else on the planet.
I welcome competition, because I know I will win and they will lose. Every time. And if I happen to lose a few, I’ll figure it out quick enough and they won’t know what hit them.
Folks, Americans should embrace free trade, because we get far more out of it than they do. They get access to our infinite expertise, and we get a whole new country full of cheap labor. We get to be even more specialized in designing and engineering the world, while they have to put it all together for us.
Bottom line, if you’re against free trade, it’s because you think they’re better than us. And if you believe that, you can’t win no matter what you do. You have to learn how to beat them at their own game, and then invent a few new games of your own.
Be an American. Show the world that we don’t lose when it counts. Embrace free trade, and bring it on.