Free Trade

Free trade has to be the issue that puts Trump most at odds, not only with the GOP Establishment but with practically the entire world economy. And yet it doesn’t have to be. The next generation of leaders can either see this as a setback or as a teaching point, and a chance to earn their keep as leaders of the free world.
Talk about the drawbacks of free trade in any established circles and you will immediately be shunned with a chorus of boos and slurs. Protectionist, Mercantilist, trade wars – free traders hurl all these slogans and I wonder how much thought even goes behind them. To the point where people try to avoid the charge by using weird terms like “fair trade”. Which doesn’t really help the discussion.
Of course we know, free trade benefits both parties to the trade. Expanding trade grows economies. Los Angeles is a major benefactor of expanding trade in the Pacific Rim, and I want to stay on top of our privileged status.
But regulations are also a part of a healthy economy. Not too many, not too few. The problem is we’ve set immense regulations on our internal activity but practically none on anything coming in. One almost hears the chuckles of politicians who think they found some brilliant loophole – instead of polluting or exploiting here in the USA, we just export it to some country that doesn’t care as much.
This has to stop. Either by easing regulations here at home, or by tightening them on imports. This should be basic policy – if you can’t produce it here, you can’t import it either.
I think this is what Trump is getting at when he talks about trade policies that don’t screw over our citizens so much. And I do think he’s pushed the envelope a bit on this. I don’t think government should be putting personal pressure on companies. Government should set a policy, and then get out of the way. But whatever policy we set, should be fair. Snickering about loopholes will only lead to backlashes down the line.