George Lakoff, author of Political Mind and Don’t Think of An Elephant, argues that when liberals attack extreme conservative proposals like denying reimbursement for birth control, they actually help convince people that the position is right, not wrong. He says that repetition of a position makes human minds affirm it and work harder to defend it.
That may be going on when progressives attack so-called “free trade.” It just affirms the idea of “free trade” as legitimate and makes “free traders” fight harder to defend their position. The free traders persuade by repeating the appealing sounding term “free trade” and asking, “How can you be against anything that makes the market more free and brings us less expensive things? What’s free is always good!”
By contrast, other trade experts and professionals and I have been trying to convince progressives that our trade issue is now mostly a matter of patriotism – that there’s a trade war going on and we’re losing it badly! Our trillions of dollars of trade deficits and borrowing, plus lost U.S. manufacturers and jobs is proof we’re losing badly.
In a war, we must defend America as our highest priority. In this trade war, we haven’t fought back to assure our nation’s economic security!
I was just given a key new statistic yesterday. The trade data company, PIERS, tracks imports into the United States by companies and individuals. Their database now lists 3 million foreign entities that export to the U.S. That’s 3 million exporters fighting for a part of our market – the world’s biggest and richest.
Is it any wonder that our trade deficits keep increasing and the number of U.S. producers and jobs keeps dropping? And there are many more foreign suppliers entering this trade war from India, Brazil, South. Korea, etc.
There’s an answer: The U.S. must return to a policy of total balanced trade with the rest of the world. That would mean a cut of 25% in annual imports during a phase-in period. We’d still be the world’s biggest importer – so that’s not protectionism at all! We should enact the legislation now and be ready for full adoption and enforcement as of Jan. 1, 2013.
The place where the decision must be made is first at the U.S. Jobs and Competitiveness Council and then by the President. He’ll be a very tough “sell” in an election year and Wall Street and big banks will resist despite their past bail-outs.
Kenneth N, Davis, Jr. also is a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce/International and former IBM vice president and chief financial officer.
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Posted March 19, 2012 at 8:00 am, in Free Speech Zone