One characteristic of humans – is we each view the world through our personal prism. Perfectly understandable – how else would we?
But it can lead to difficulties.
If you are an honest and honorable person – you tend to look at everyone else as being honest and honorable.
You think “That’s how I would handle this situation – so that’s how he/she/they will handle it too.”
Unfortunately, more often than not, he/she/they will not handle the situation the way you would.
Americans are for the most part open and optimistic people. Because we live in the most open and optimistic governmental system ever devised and enjoyed by humans.
So we enter the world – with smiling faces and arms wide open. And far too often, the many other nations of the world – punch us in the face.
Our nigh eternal optimism – very often costs us dearly.
For my part, I am a realist – or a cynic. Take your pick. We realists/cynics look at optimists and pessimists both – a little askance.
So too did apparently realist-cynic writer William Arthur Ward:
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The realist adjusts the sails.”
Of the three – only the realist is actually looking to solve the problem.
Far too often, pessimists and optimists accept far-from-optimal situations. Pessimists assume it could always be worse – optimists that it can’t be any better.
We realists – are always looking to improve things.
And so it is with international trade.
International trade can be a very good thing – in theory.
In practice – many, many problems rapidly arise.
Actual international free trade – is free from government interference or imposition.
That’s mostly how we in the US do it. That’s not how nigh any other country in the world does it.
Other nations tariff the daylight out of our stuff. Other nations severely limit the imports of our stuff. And other nations mass-subsidize their stuff – thereby artificially lowering their prices when competing with our stuff.
None of that is free trade. Nor is it fair trade.
“Act like wherever you are – that’s the place to be. ‘Isn’t this great?’”
No, Trade-Uber-Alles freaks – it hasn’t been great. At all.
We have been getting royally screwed – for half a century-plus. By basically the entire planet.
And these nations – often get very creative in their screwing of US.
Including: Screwing us internationally – then screwing us domestically…so as to further screw us internationally.
“One year after winning anti-dumping and countervailing duties averaging about 35 percent on imports of Spanish olives, California growers are hoping a long-running dispute over European support for Airbus will lead to even more taxes on the tasty Mediterranean fruit.
“Michael Silveira, chairman of the Olive Growers Council of California, testified at a Trump administration hearing on Monday in favor of USTR’s proposal to include olives on the list of EU goods that could be hit with 100 percent duties in the aircraft dispute. He also asked that three ‘bulk’ categories of olives be added to the nine olive categories already proposed.
“Silveira complained that ‘the Spanish industry is working overtime’ to find any way it can to avoid the duties imposed last year. ‘A Spanish olive company has just invested in a U.S. ripe olive processor. The combined company has now terminated nearly all its contracts with U.S. growers, enabling it to import provisionally prepared bulk olives from Spain,’ Silveira said.”
“But wait” the Trade-Uber-Alles freaks screech – “Why did we impose tariffs in the first place?
“On June 12, 2018, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) announced its affirmative final determinations in the antidumping duty (AD) and countervailing duty (CVD) investigations of imports of ripe olives from Spain….
“In the AD investigation, Commerce…established a final dumping margin of 20.04 percent for all other producers and exporters of ripe olives from Spain.”
Spain’s government is mass-subsidizing olives. Then Spain is mass-dumping them into the US.
Which has absolutely zero to do with free or fair trade. And is egregiously damaging to our olive farmers.
So we imposed some tariffs.
The Trade-Uber-Alles freaks will ignore all of Spain’s anti-free-trade actions up to this point – and screech “Protectionism!!!” and “Tariffs are taxes!!!” when we finally respond to getting royally screwed.
The Trade-Uber-Alles freaks – appear to be thoroughly America Last. At least when it comes to the hundred-million-or-so Americans who grow and make things.
“Thank you Sir – may I have another.”
Spain responded to our tariffs – by infiltrating our domestic supply chain. And cutting almost all ties with domestic producers – and replacing them with Spanish producers.
Which has absolutely zero to do with free or fair trade. And is even more egregiously damaging to our olive farmers.
About which the Trade-Uber-Alles freaks will say…absolutely nothing.
But if our olive growers get their way – and the tariffs are rightly upped and broadened to further deal with Spain’s anti-free-trade behavior…the Trade-Uber-Alles freaks will again screech “Protectionism!!!” and “Tariffs are taxes!!!”
“Thank you, Sir – may I have another?”
I’ll give Spain credit for its creative ways to implement its anti-free trade agenda. And for their putting Spain First – even cheating out the wazoo to do it.
But that doesn’t mean we have to remain the eternal optimist – and continue to take it in the shorts.
We have to be a realist – and adjust the sails.
Which in this case means – upping and broadening the Spanish olive tariffs.
We should be at least as America First – as Spain is Spain First.
This first appeared in Red State.