We’ve been talking since at least 2013 about how un-free and un-fair our global trade has been.
Global trade has been an anti-US mess – for decades.
The planet has been massively ripping us off – in myriad ways. Which has done massive damage to our domestic economy – in myriad ways.
Today’s Free Trade Uber Alles Crowd is freaking the heck out about President Donald Trump’s tariffs – and what they do to some prices of some stuff from some countries. They are massively, myopically missing the much bigger picture.
There are three main ways every country on the planet can – and does – screw us:
- Tariffs on our stuff entering their countries.
- Import limits on our stuff entering their countries.
- Subsidies for their stuff entering our country.
These three ways can – and have – done dramatic damage to our domestic economy.
Of the three, the far-and-away most damaging – are the subsidies.
Tariffs and import limits – reduce our foreign sales. Which of course damages our domestic producers…to a degree.
But other countries’ subsidies – are stealth weapons killing us from within. They are an innumerable armada of Trojan Horses – which we have been willingly bringing inside our gates.
Because cheap stuff. Because the Free Trade Uber Alles Crowd thinks nothing is more important – than cheap stuff.
But we are a nation – with an economy. Not an economy – with a nation.
I’m all for free trade. Right up until it hurts our nation.
When the health of free trade and our nation are in conflict – the nation must prevail.
Importing government subsidies – undercuts our domestic producers of…everything that is subsidized elsewhere.
So millions of domestic producers – have been thusly driven either overseas…or into extinction. Taking with them tens of millions of domestic jobs.
That ain’t good for our nation.
Oh – and importing government subsidies…isn’t free trade.
So this murder of tens of millions of jobs – isn’t the result of free trade doing its worst. It’s all a giant fake “free trade” lie.
President Trump – understands this. So he’s trying to level the playing field – by punishing the countries shoving their subsidies down our throats.
Trump Trade Goals Include New Anti-Dumping Tool
Trump’s Antidumping Promise Ignites World-Beating Steel Rally
Trump Administration to Launch Anti-Dumping Probe Against Steel Flanges on India and China
Trump Pursues Antidumping Case on China Aluminum
U.S. Department of Commerce Initiates Antidumping Duty and Countervailing Duty Investigations of Imports of Glass Containers from China
US Imposes New Anti-Dumping Duties on Chinese Mattresses, Beer Kegs
US DoC Issues Affirmative Preliminary Antidumping Duty Determination on Wooden Cabinets and Vanities from China
I’m sure you noticed the repeated mention of China here. Shocking, I know….
Almost inarguably, the most important good we have going – is food. We all have to eat.
Our ability to feed ourselves getting crushed under an avalanche of imported government subsidies would be…a bit of a problem.
President Trump – understands this.
US Plans to Reopen Anti-Dumping Probe Against Mexico
Trump to EU: Include Agriculture in US trade Talks or Face Tariffs
“Every year, the 28-country bloc pays out $65 billion in farm subsidies….”
$65 billion. That’s a lot.
That of course means EU farmers – can artificially charge $65-billion-per-year less for their crops. Which does in fact royally screw our farmers.
Is it just the EU mass-subsidizing farmers? Heavens no.
India’s Dangerous Food Subsidies:
“India’s agricultural subsidies are threatening its own food security, while harming farmers worldwide.”
India to Forgive Billions of Dollars of Farm Debt
Japan Farm Subsidies Distort Trade
Cartels and Subsidies in Canadian Agriculture
China Nearly Doubles 2017 Subsidy for Farmers
Brazil Sets Up $38 Billion Ethanol Subsidy Program
Ethanol is, of course, the very stupid practice of burning food for fuel.
Brazil’s $2.5 Billion a Year in Sugar Subsidies Exposed
Thailand’s Rice Market Exploitation Wildly Backfires:
“The program worked like this: the government would buy rice from farmers at up to double the market price. Then, the rice would be stockpiled and withheld from the global market in order to drive global rice prices up. Once global rice prices rose, the Thai government would sell the rice and make a profit in the process.”
More Than $1.3 Billion in Thai Sugar Subsidies Exposed
And on, and on, and….
These tens (hundreds?) of billions of dollars in annual global government subsidies – massively undercut US farmers.
Who have a Farm Bill of their own – but it is unbelievably tiny in comparison. And the vast majority of the “Farm Bill” – doesn’t go to farms or the farmers.
Most Farm Subsidies Go to Nutrition for the Poor
President Trump has helped out the farmers…a comparatively tiny bit.
Trump’s Second Ag Bailout Will Provide $16 Billion for Farmers Slammed by Trade Wars
The EU subsidizes more than four times that one-time amount – each and every year.
Brazil is spending more than double that amount – just on ethanol.
US farmers know how massively out-government-gunned they are. Which is why….
Despite Tariffs, American Farmers Still Support Trump
Because President Trump is the first American president in more than half a century to not pretend our domestic producers – farmers and otherwise – aren’t getting royally screwed by fake “free trade.”
And they are getting royally screwed most perniciously – by our titanically stupid importation of the globe’s massive government subsidies.
I don’t know about you – but I’d like to continue to be able to eat.
Thankfully, American farmers still want to continue to feed us.
We should remake global trade – in a manner that allows them to do so.
This first appeared in Red State.