A Historical Perspective on Why Free Trade (NAFTA, TPP) Has Screwed the American Middle Class for 30 years

The following are from an article by Thom Hartman, where you can read more:

When Washington became president in 1789, most of America’s personal and industrial products of any significance were manufactured in England or in its colonies. Washington asked his first Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, what could be done about that, and Hamilton came up with an 11-point plan to build American manufacturing, which he presented to Congress in 1791.

By 1793, most of its points had either been made into law by Congress or formulated into policy by either Washington or the various states.

Those strategic proposals built the greatest industrial powerhouse the world had ever seen, and were only abandoned, after more than 200 successful years, during the administrations of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, and Bill Clinton (and remain abandoned to this day, as President Obama prepares to further expand “free trade”).

China, instead of following our recent path, implemented most of Hamilton’s plan, and it brought about a remarkable transformation of that nation in just a single generation.

China has been following the lead of Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea during the past half century, and has become an industrial powerhouse as a result. And, ironically, each of those countries got their strategy from us:

South Korea did all this in a single generation by closing its economy and promoting its export industries. A decade earlier Japan had done the same thing. Forty years earlier Germany had done it.

Consider the historical impact of Hamilton’s plan, which was adopted in a series of piecemeal legislative and executive action steps mostly by 1793: Tariffs became so important that they constituted pretty much the only source of revenue for the federal government until the Civil War, were the single largest source of federal revenue from then until World War I. And even when government had grown exponentially as we led up to World War II, fully a third of all federal revenues came from tariffs.     [Note: Free trade, by eliminating tariffs, is like excessive tax breaks for the wealthy, they rob the government of revenue to enforce the moral purpose of government to equally protect and empower all the people such that 1) Their individual freedoms are maximized and 2) Economic, social, racial, and environmental injustices are minimized.]

After 34 years of Reaganomics, we’ve completely flipped this upside down. We’ve become the world’s largest exporter of raw materials, the world’s largest importer of finished goods, and the world’s largest debtor. We now export raw materials to China, and buy from them manufactured goods. And we borrow from them to do it. Our trade debt right now stands at over $11 trillion, and it’s the principle reason why one-seventh of all assets in the United States are foreign-owned.

See the full article for Thom’s recommendations.

Today Thom Hartmann reviewed this history on FreeSpeech TV.

 

 

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About Andy Hailey

Vietnam Vet, UT El Paso Grad, Retired Aerospace Engineer, former union rep, 60's Republican now progressive, web admin, blogger.

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