Free Trade

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Ron Paul is a proponent of free trade and rejects protectionism, advocating “conducting open trade, travel, communication, and diplomacy with other nations.” He opposes many free trade agreements (FTAs), like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), stating that “free-trade agreements are really managed trade” and serve special interests and big business, not citizens.

He voted against the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), holding that it increased the size of government, eroded U.S. sovereignty, and was unconstitutional. He has also voted against the Australia–U.S. FTA, the U.S.–Singapore FTA, and the U.S.–Chile FTA, and voted to withdraw from the WTO. He believes that “fast track” powers, given by Congress to the President to devise and negotiate FTAs on the country’s behalf, are unconstitutional, and that Congress, rather than the executive branch, should construct FTAs.

Buy American, Unless… (February 12, 2001)
Members of Congress often encourage us to “buy American” during their speeches on the House floor. Some members regularly place a “buy American” clause in various trade-related bills, seeking to protect domestic jobs by encouraging the purchase of American goods. Ironically, however, many of these same legislators vote to prohibit American companies from gaining access to new markets overseas. They do so by supporting our senseless embargo policies, which simply help our foreign trading competitors at the expense of American companies.

Of course most politicians claim that they support free trade. Intuitively, most Americans understand that access to foreign markets provides significant benefits to US citizens and American-based corporations. However, we continue to pursue a policy of denying or restricting domestic companies from selling to Cuba, Iraq, Iran, China, and other countries. This inconsistency is especially evident when we consider “export financing,” which really is foreign aid designed to help other countries buy American goods. Most Washington politicians support the practice of export financing, arguing that access to foreign markets benefits American companies, and not just foreign consumers. However, the opposite argument is made with regard to our embargo policies. Suddenly, increased trade with countries some want to label as unworthy only benefits sinister foreign consumers, and not domestic producers. This nonsensical position is maintained by many in government who favor government-managed trade which benefits certain chosen special interests.

Conflicting and inconsistent views on trade policy result largely from a lack of understanding of basic economic principles. Free trade is not a zero-sum game where some countries benefit and others inevitably suffer. On the contrary, true free trade by definition benefits both parties. Free trade is the process of free people engaging in market activity without government interference such as tariffs or managed-trade agreements. In a true free market, individuals and companies do business voluntarily, which means they believe they will be better off as a result of a transaction. Tariffs, taxes, and duties upset the balance, because governments add costs to the calculation which make doing business less attractive. Similarly, so-called managed trade agreements like WTO favor certain business interests and trading nations over others, which reduces the mutual benefit inherent in true free trade.

Free Trade With All, Entangling Alliances With None (September 21, 2001)
Free trade with all and entangling alliances with none has always been the best policy in dealing with other countries on the world stage. This is the policy of friendship, freedom and non-interventionism and yet people wrongly attack this philosophy as isolationist. Nothing could be further from the truth. Isolationism is putting up protectionist trade barriers, starting trade wars imposing provocative sanctions and one day finding out we have no one left to buy our products. Isolationism is arming both sides of a conflict, only to discover that you’ve made two enemies instead of keeping two friends. Isolationism is trying to police the world but creating more resentment than gratitude. Isolationism is not understanding economics, or other cultures, but clumsily intervening anyway and creating major disasters out of minor problems.

Free trade makes sense (June 7, 1999)
[...] if someone says they are for “free trade,” one must look carefully what they really mean, for the classic (and common sense) definition does not apply.

All to often in Washington, free trade is used when one really means “subsidized trade,” or, tax dollars being funneled to foreign governments to buy American products. Similarly, the phrase can mean to use tax dollars to bail-out American firms for risky overseas ventures, or managed trade by the World Trade Organization to serve powerful special interests.

On the other hand, those of us who oppose using the taxes of American citizens to prop-up foreign governments or American corporations are derisively called “isolationists.” There are indeed some people who are isolationists. They call themselves “fair traders,” though. Exactly what this means is open to debate. All too often it involves letting the government determine what is and is not “fair” in the private trading between individuals who live in different countries.

Sadly, these definitions all hinge on the assumption that there are essentially only two options: tax dollars being used to subsidize corporations/foreign governments, or no trade whatsoever without the rubber stamp of government bureaucrats and special interest groups.

The bottom-line of both options, of course, is higher taxes for Americans. Higher taxes to finance the subsidies, or higher taxes on incoming products (and make no mistake, a tariff is a tax, paid by the American consumer).

There is another way. Free trade and free markets are, without a doubt, the best guarantor of peace. But this requires something all too few in Washington want: less government intervention.

It is indisputable that individuals know better how to provide for their families than government. It is also indisputable that a company is better equipped to know what its market will tolerate than a bureaucrat in Washington. In this way, a person is able to determine what goods best meet their individual needs, weighing numerous factors in their decision. But when government intervenes, it no longer becomes possible for an individual to provide for their family and business in the most expedient fashion. This is the antithesis of liberty.

The World Trade Organization (March 20, 2000)
The economic argument for free trade should be no more complex than the moral argument. Tariffs are taxes that penalize those who buy foreign goods. If taxes are low on imported goods, consumers benefit by being able to buy at the best price, thus saving money to buy additional goods and raise their standard of living. The competition stimulates domestic efforts and hopefully serves as an incentive to get onerous taxes and regulations reduced.

If one truly believes in free trade, one never argues a need for reciprocity or bureaucratic management of trade. If free trade is truly beneficial, as so many claim, unilateral free trade is an end in itself and requires neither treaties nor international management by politicians and bureaucrats. A country should promote free trade in its own self-interest — never for the benefit of someone else.

Those not completely convinced of the benefits of free trade acknowledge a “cost” of lower tariffs for which they demand compensation and fair management. Thus, we have the creation of the WTO. By endorsing the concept of managed world trade through the World Trade Organization, proponents acknowledge that they actually believe in order for free trade to be an economic positive, it requires compensation or a “deal.”

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6,740 responses to “Free Trade”

  1. Robbie

    I'm beginning to think a lot of you hear didn't actually read what is written above. His ideas make senes.

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  2. Ron C

    @ Jerry: You, ironically, have no understanding of the red herring fallacy. A red herring fallacy is when you change the subject of an argument. In fact, it is impossible to have a red herring in a single phrase. Ron Paul was just simplifying jargon to make it more understandable to the average voter. A good example of a red herring fallacy would be to initiate an argument with a premise that a person is being dishonest and then changing the subject of your argument to how important tariffs are and how important it is to buy domestic. Thanks :)

    On another topic, I think that what you don't understand is that free trade is essential to capitalism. I won't go into a lecture on economics, I'll just assume you are familiar. Free trade is essential to capitalism because without it the 'invisible hand', is not controlled by the consumers or the people, but rather the government.

    If company A makes a better, cheaper product than company B why should you support company B when what needs to happen is they adapt their business model or go away? What, I have to support an inferior product at a higher price because it was made by someone in the same country, by some union worker who spends an inordinate amount of time hiding tools from other workers rather than creating a product? No, that would be ridiculous.

    Here is a specific example of how tariffs hurt consumers. Mercedes Benz, clearly a superior car: more rivets, great steering, suspension, transmission, engine, and on and on. So superior that it is worth it to many people to pay exorbitant amounts for them. But, in Europe they are reasonably cheap and quite popular and, btw, they have free trade throughout the continent.

    There are many other benefits to free trade, but I'm not even going to bother reiterating what Ron Paul already put on this page because he hit the nail on the head. Mutually beneficial key words. If you don't believe him just ask an anthropologist...

    @ Robbie: Have you ever been to China? They kind of don't have homeless people, did you know that? Have you witnessed low standards of living in China and, if so, are they any worse than the United States? Or are you just parroting the mainstream?

    @James: There was actually quite a debate at the time. Remember founding fathers is plural. The founding fathers were certainly not in agreement on a great many things. But, they were really good at something that politicians cannot even fathom now--compromise. Anyway, Alexander Hamilton was an imperialist, wrong on the economy then and wrong now. I'd say that our strong economy at the time may have benefitted from a massive slavery institution, but that's a completely different topic. I would really love to see something closer to a Jacksonian republic. Have you heard of Andrew Jackson? He wanted a federal government that was inconsequential in the daily lives of its citizens. When Hamilton argued that a strong, prominent, centralized government was necessary for defense against foreign powers, Jackson responded that when you give the people liberty at the level he was talking about, and that liberty is threatened, they are damn well going to fight to keep it and win.

    So to put it into relations with today's politicians, Hamilton would be Bush and Obama combined and Jefferson would be Ron Paul. In fact, Ron Paul has essentially adopted Jefferson's platform. And, honestly, I just can't see mercantilism working today.

    In this upcoming election you will probably face a pretty inconsequential choice between two candidates that are from either the red business party or the blue business party. Or we could realize that there is a candidate in the running that is different and actually wants to do what is best for the majority of Americans, the consumers, the employees (or the 1/6 that are former employees), or "the people".

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    1. Ron C

      * Jackson not Jefferson... typo

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    2. Diane D

      To Ron C on his comment to Robbie. I work for a global company that has sites in China. Pay for a chemical engineer is less than 60% of what a chemical operator makes in the US. They have no health insurance. A few years ago, we took up money to help an engineer with leukemia unable to afford medical care. Is that what we want here? It seems people are becoming disposable.

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    3. MatthewOStroben

      Your right. "if company A makes a better, cheaper product than company B why should you support company B when what needs to happen is they adapt their business model or go away? What, I have to support an inferior product at a higher price because it was made by someone in the same country, by some union worker who spends an inordinate amount of time hiding tools from other workers rather than creating a product? No, that would be ridiculous."

      Tell me, how are we going to compete with 4 billion people that are willing to work basically for food. You don't get it. We need Jobs. Not everyone can do service work or high tech work. Do you think, just because someoen isn't as intelligent as you that they don't deserve to have as good as standard of living as you. That's off subject. Free trade only works for the countries benefit when the cost of living is the same. If you can save 20% of production cost why would you build or hire anyone in America?

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  3. jerry

    "tariffs are simply taxes on foreign made goods" -This is a red herring.

    Cheap foreign-made products are drug. Just like cocaine or heroin effectively make us feel 'good' in the short-term, there are very real long-term consequences. We like that we saved 300 on our new tv, but then we wonder why some of our relatives are slowly falling into worse jobs, being forced into smaller homes and trailer parks. The two are connected. I will proudly purchase fewer things at higher prices, if my brother doesn't have to work nights for half of what he made (and deserved) 10 years ago. But it's hard to do when the drug is still on main street. Harbor Freight, Wal-Mart, they're all there...dangling their wares and hoping we'll come back to put another nail in our neighbors' economic coffins.

    Tariffs aren't taxes, they're the antidote to the drug of foreign discounts. They exist as a net to keep our dollars in the USA. While I'm not confident (nor are you) in the government getting those dollars, it's much better than what currently happens. Currently *all* our dollars go straight to Beijing. Then, the Chinese purchase US Treasuries, and now commercial real estate in our cities. China doesn't need to go to war with us, they've cleverly found a way to BUY us instead without ever firing a shot.

    A clever regime has an advantage over a modern Democracy. They can put such a plan together without having to discuss it openly. Meanwhile, they can invest in our media and ensure our political parties battle each other to the extent that America can't produce any laws to defend itself. Currently we could have God, Ghandi and Einstein working in the oval office, and the minority party wouldn't let them pass a law.

    We're in big trouble as a nation. NAFTA etc is the problem, I'll agree with Mr Paul on that. But his only suggestion is to lubricate the very machine that sends our nation's wealth to Beijing. What motivates a person to tell their countrymen that this is ok?

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    1. Jean-François

      You said:
      "Currently *all* our dollars go straight to Beijing. Then, the Chinese purchase US Treasuries, and now commercial real estate in our cities. China doesn’t need to go to war with us, they’ve cleverly found a way to BUY us instead without ever firing a shot."
      They have 3 $trillion of US "assets", treasury bonds but also Freedie Mac Fannie Mae bonds, this is junk! That's the way they boost artificially the value of the dollar to make their products more competitive. But they don't *win* from it, because the sole way for the US to pay them back is with depreciated dollars. It's like if they were just working for free half of the time. In the end half of their manufactures will have to shut down and dozens of millions of their workers will need to find another way to survive. The US is guilty when it leaves a window wide open with those monstruous budget deficits, the Chinese are short-sighted and greedy when they want to have it both ways.

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  4. Robbie

    Yeah but the only reason Chinese goods are so cheap is because they are not paying their slaves a living wage. Why do you think the standards of living in China are so poor? It is basically criminal what the Chinese get away with. Not to mention they devalue their currency against the USD to keep their exports high. The system we have now is most DEFINITELY NOT FREE TRADE!

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  5. James Wilson

    I have to disagree with your stance on free trade and I wish you would take another look at it with a little more reason and big picture approach. This may be the one reason why I can't vote for you and it is a shame because I would love to see you be president!

    You speak so highly of our founding fathers. You believe so deeply in the constitution and original intent. Why then don't you go back to our founding fathers economic and foreign trade policies.

    I think we need to look closely at the policies put in place by Alexander Hamilton. A man so important to our economy that we put him on the $10 bill. It was these policies put in place by our founding fathers that built the worlds strongest economy. We must go back and end free trade.

    Free trade allows corporations to go overseas and build cars, make jeans, make toys, make everything. Ship it over here with no penalties for taking American jobs away. And then sell it for Record Profits! All because labor is cheaper overseas. We must have protected tariffs that protect American jobs and protect American wages! So we tax the incoming goods to make the cost to produce equal or higher to the cost to produce in America! This will bring jobs back to this country! High paying life long good jobs!

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    1. Jean-François

      If the princip of free trade based on a sound money is so evil, why don't you ban any import and close your border?

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  6. Martha

    Perhaps a "non-protectionist tariff" is a flat tarriff on everything say 10% - instead of the product dependent tarriff we have now which is 6% on somethings - 3% on others, 25% on others - which has been set by Congress to protect certain industries and their prices. I'm having a bit of a problem with this free trade thing - I cannot tell by the labeling who stands for what. So if NAFTA was the removal of all tarriffs between the US, Canada and Mexico for all goods moving in or out of those countries has caused businesses to move to Mexico where the labor is cheap, and losing jobs here in America, How is it that removing traffis and creating free and "fair" trade relationships going to improve the jobs of this country? Sure, it reduces the prices to consumers, however, it increases unemployment - therefore less spendable income of the population. Or we can have some "protection" with tarriffs on some imports or all imports and the prices of goods will go up and entreprenurs will get into the production of those goods and services and create jobs because they can produce those goods at cost lower than the import price and make a profit? So the choice is low prices or jobs? Surely there's some middle ground somewhere! Beside that, with smaller government, who's going to monitor this free and fair trade stuff? Buisnesses? If it doesn't put money to the bottom line - they will not do it? I guess that's where I have a problem with Ron Paul's entire prospective - that the market will sort everything out. Well, I do not trust that buisnesses are that open with their product problems. Do you think Ford would have recall the Pinto in the 1970's had they not been required to by the government? How many folks were killed before the public got the information that the gas tank "may" explode in a rear end collision? Ford went to court and sworn an oath to tell the truth and still denied any design flaw! And if you have some consumer protections in my state, can I avoid those just by going to another state which does not have the same protections? It looks to me that we should be careful of what we ask for - you just might get it along with a whole bunch of unintended side effects. I believe that a big part of government is public saftey - I want to know that my drinking water is safe, and that plane flying over my home is going to remain on its path because its been inspected, and that its really tuna in that can of tuna. I don't have the resources to sue companies or individuals who cut corners to make a profit and results in the death or maiming of folks. I don't trust the market to do the right thing - I trust that they will try to make a profit all any cost - and some will see lawsuits as just another cost of buisness. Like BP oil - after the death of 13 workers, may look into the safety measures for its employees but may not. - May look into better spill prevention - but may not. After all will it add to the bottom line? Why bother, who's going to make them do the right thing? Their customers are still there! I guess the market worked! Unfortunately, the government for what ever reason just gave them a pass as well as the entire industry. The government has "gotten out of the way" by issuing more drilling permits in the Gulf since the spill than the Bush adminstration did in his last term. Amazing! I guess under Ron Paul , there would be no permitting process at all. So when Paul become President and there is a spill in the Gulf - Texas, Louisanna, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida - you're on your own to enforce what ever laws you have on your books with respect to your beaches. Hope its in your budget! Good luck!

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    1. Jean-François

      The market wouldn't sort everything? What happens if the USD is based on gold? Americans buy more from Mexico/Canada/China than what those people buy from Americans. Gold is flowing out from the US. Those people don't buy anything from Americans, and the USA government hasn't a budget deficit, so it doesn't need to borrow gold from foreigners. How could the Americans continue to purchase foreign goods indefinitelly if gold is not flowing back?

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  7. PeoplePower

    Free Trade not Fed sht, can we just trade in obama for ron paul ? like a refund lol.

    Go Ron Paul :-)

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  8. Docten

    Just as in your position on Healthcare "charitable benefit provided by doctors who feel a personal responsibility for their fellow citizens", you have left the poor and repressed of the world out to dry.

    The WORLD must insist on human rights and pollution controls and any country that violates those should not be allowed access to the rest of humanity because they are not acting like a part of humanity.

    If you reward these countries with access to markets, you relegate these people to a life of poverty and abuse forever

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    1. DawgPewp

      I see two problems with this approach...

      1) Who has the authority to police/enforce this policy?

      2) When we are the country responsible for violated human rights, do we isolate ourselves? For how long?

      You see, that's the problem. We cannot claim human rights issues and then kill babies half way around the world....it's a double standard that cannot be reconciled. So, by your proposed solution, we'd be completely isolated from the world for the past *looks at watch* 80 years and counting....

      What could be more isolationist that that?

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  9. Reality Warrior

    I applaud you Ron, for having a forum to discuss issues on your web site that appears to be free and open, rather than just allowing “rah rah” props.

    I’ve often heard in your interviews “But we have no money for it!” True enough, but is money the real point? Or are PEOPLE the point? What comes FIRST, the money or the people?

    If the people are to come first -- and things happen that cause people to need help that the market – and often over-extended charities – will not be able to help – does not that money need to come from SOMEWHERE?

    It has to come from taxes… yes, that dirty word. Taxes. I’m not naïve enough to expect Monsanto, Exxon/Mobil, or even CARE, to help everyone who’s doing their best and “falls through the cracks.”

    But I AM more than happy to pay a percentage of the money I earn above what I need to live comfortably so there is a public means to help such people (and maybe someday myself or a friend or family member) survive such a crisis. And I think corporations should do so, too… at least out of money made by doing wrong by people (see below). Again, this is consistent with the idea of PEOPLE coming first – ahead of dollars or “even” gold.

    This is not to encourage free-loading and dependency on government… there are things to be done that able people can do to earn their aid, so everybody wins. In other words, turn the welfare system into a temp agency, child care network, and public enterprise that fills in some of the cracks that private enterprise does not.

    We don’t need tariffs to discourage trade, but we can ENCOURAGE businesses to hire Americans and pay them a good wage by having them write off wages paid to American workers up to a comfortable living (say 40K per year for a 40 hour work week) straight off their tax bill. Encourage businesses to invest in improvements that enable them to operate more cleanly by taking it straight off the tax bill. Enact massive credits for personal income that is invested in US businesses or in other ways that actually stimulate the economy. In other words, have taxes based on BEHAVIOR to a greater degree.

    This will create American jobs, and spur production that will create REAL wealth better than any amount of gold could ever do. And eventually enough jobs that we may not even NEED the public aspect of it.

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  10. Jimmy

    Maybe the American people should have sit ins to block the ports and not allow imports, that should get alot of people back to work, the Politicians are not going to do it and we can't compete at $2 per day, it's time for the Citizens to get ready to do something about this BS.

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  11. 60srad

    There is no free trade, any more than there is a free lunch. Trade is expensive, because there's always some scumbag skimming off the top, which is why the private sector will always be LESS efficient than the public sector, contrary to conartistive propaganda.

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  12. Jean-François

    I'm seeing many posts from people who say that the solution to the trade imbalance would be tariffs on import merchandises. However many of those people would be outraged to see that their homemade American products cost 50% more than Chinese products. If the Chinese goods are so present it’s because the consumers prefer them in general – for the price -. I’m living in Canada and when I buy something I prefer to buy Japanese or Western made stuff, not by nationalism but because I was disappointed by the Chinese quality often. So a little question for those who say that the USA should restore protectionism… how many of you are currently buying American stuff when you can, even if it is more expensive?
    My impression is that this big trade imbalance is caused by the policy of all those central banks; but especially the budget deficit of the US government. Under a gold standard there is never a durable trade imbalance provided that the USA hasn’t a budget deficit as well. In such a case the banks raise their interest rates to prevent gold from quitting the country and a deflation occurs, so American products become more competitive. It is only possible to maintain an artificial trade imbalance (until the whole system collapse) if the USA borrow gold from China to offset the trade imbalance, so if the US government has permanent budget deficits. You have some similitude with the actual system and the fact that China and Japan purchase treasuries, but in the end their “assets” will be worthless and whole factories will be shut down, malinvestments.

    The enormous expansion of the money supply in the West (due to low interest rates from the central banks) was masked by those imported products, so the CPI didn’t increase accordingly but when the foreign products stop to flow in, expect a strong inflation. Again I'm saying that there was no way under a gold standard and the absance of a budget deficit to see such a monstruous distorsion.

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    1. Jean-François

      Just a clarification regarding what I said on the gold standard:
      The parallel is that even without the gold standard, the US dollar could have act as gold under certain conditions, if the Fed hadn’t created too much money out of thin air. In such a case a trade imbalance means that US dollars would flow out of the country without flowing back, so the resulting scarcity of USD in the United States leads to deflation, both in prices and salaries. Real wages are stable or even grow ( if you look at the history of the USA in the early twentieth century), nominal wages fall but local products are cheaper as well while foreign products stay expensive, American products become cheaper abroad. So ultimately USD are flowing back. Overprinting money prevent the self-adjustment provided by such a mechanism, the US budget deficit didn’t help neither because foreign countries recycled their USD in the economy in the wrong way (treasuries), there was simply no scarcity of the US dollars in America regardless of the trade imbalance.

      Many companies have shipped their production abroad but they assume that the current Ponzi scheme can last forever. It is based on the illusion created by currency manipulations.
      In a system based on a sound currency and no permanent budget deficits you have some real, physical advantages with free trade.
      Americans consumers can buy oil from Alberta, cheap hydroelectricity from Quebec, cheap timber products from Ontario/British Colombia and some manufactured products without paying the extra tariffs, Canadians can purchase cheap and fresh fruits during the winter, cheaper chicken and beef (no need to heat the barns/henhouses during the winter in the US) as well a some manufactured products where American companies have developped an expertise.

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    2. Truth Is Self-Evident

      Ron Paul is not advocating protectionism.

      Please stop LYING about this!

      Ron Paul opposes FTA's that are far from free trade, rather these FTA's are corporate managed trade that establishes winners and loser. Ron Paul also opposes FTA's that violate the Constitution, Article One, Section 8.

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      1. Jean-François

        Well, before posting such an accusation and shooting yourself in the foot, why not reading carefully? I NEVER claimed that he was advocating protectionism, I said:
        "I’m seeing many posts from people from people who say that the solution to the trade imbalance would be tariffs on import merchandises"
        Where do you see the name "Ron Paul" here?

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  13. John

    Everybody seems to be asking how we can compete with with cheaper labor. The real question is, WHY should we compete with cheaper labor? It's CHEAP. It means cheaper goods. The only way for us to compete with that is to make it more expensive via tariffs and embargoes, and that does not help. It might help producers, but not everyone else. It may make more jobs, but it also makes goods more expensive so the labor is worth less. It also impedes the economy as a whole from developing the way it would without those barriers. The key idea in free trade is specialization, that everyone does what it is best at. This applies to countries as well as individuals. If other countries can provide cheap manufacturing, then let them. We do not have to manufacture the things that other countries can do better in order to grow. In fact, the only way we can grow and get out of our current economic situation is by doing what we can do better and more efficiently than other countries. The only way that will happen is if the government does not interfere with trade or the economy.

    The next logical question is, what are we good at? This is a very good question, and the answer is simply that I do know. I do not have all the answers. No one does. That is the entire basis for limited government. If someone really did have all the answers, then fine, let him run everything. But no one does. The problem is, the government ignores this very simple truths and tries to pick the winners and losers in our economy, both for the present and the future, as if they knew best, which they really don't. This is an exceedingly dangerous policy, and could insure the total stagnation of economy, because we will be stuck in industries in which we have no business. All I can say for sure is that everybody always has at least one area of competitive advantage, in which they can profitably specialize.

    Some of the practices involved in lowering labor costs are morally objectionable, of course, and I do not condone them or support them in any way. However, to say that their practices require intervention from our government is to say that I need the government to tell me what is morally acceptable and what is not. This is something that I cannot accept. The solution to this problem is a little something called personal choice. YOU make the decision not to buy things from countries and companies whose practices you find objectionable. No one else can make that decision for you. The government already has trade barriers with Chine, yet boatloads of Chinese goods make their way into our markets constantly. We cannot rely on government to do things for, to make the choices that we should be making for ourselves as citizens of the free world. It falls to the individual, as it should, to make moral decisions as well as economic ones.

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    1. Truth Is Self-Evident

      Good point, John.

      Everyone should ask themselves, why Communist Russia was unacceptable to trade with, as is Communist Cuba still today, but Communist China is no problem.

      Please don't give a load of bull about China being capitalists, there is no private property in China, no political parties allowed but the Communist Party, and when anyone goes to the streets to complain, you get another Tienamen Square incident where the Red Army crushes their own citizens with tanks. We are at war with Lybia, Yemen, and others for attacking their citizens like this!

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    2. Reality Warrior

      We can compete with cheaper labor by enacting tax credits that make it cheaper to hire here.

      People will, for the most part, buy what is cheapest, provided they don't see enough difference in quality to justify paying more.

      A totally free market without direction will lead us to "competitive" wages, which is basically what enough people find just barely preferable to begging or stealing. That's the reality of it.

      The government need not provide everything, but it can certainly DIRECT. We need it to direct for the benefit of the American people, not those who pay off its representatives, as we have now.

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      1. channingman

        Here's the issue with tax credits: the money has to come from somewhere. It may *seem* like a free lunch, but it isn't. The government isn't going to cut its spending because of this tax credit, so it acts as another expense - one that must be paid for by taxes somewhere else. So those tax credits (on your solar panels, or on employment/whatever) are really just government subsidies for failing industries.As to what America and Americans are good at: we are good at service, we are good at ideas, and we are good at entertainment, to name three things. We produce movies, business executives, ideas, medical procedures, perscription drugs, sports, services, food, etc. And all these things are *real* jobs that create value. You wouldn't pay for them if they were worthless, and even though they often aren't tangible (like movies and sports), they are still valuable. They improve your quality of life, and therefore have utility. to say that we *need* manufacturing jobs to be competitive (what competition is it again? I never got that), or to have a good economy, is just asinine.

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  14. david devore

    Right to work laws make Union practices to call strikes unfeasible. Since employers naturally have an advantage over employees, this is unjust. To gain competitiveness with other countries the minimum wage needs to be lowered, either nominally or through inflation. The only revenue source allowed in the Constitution is tariffs. Oil companies should be charged for the cost of wars fought on their behalf. That will raise gas prices and people will use less gas. Theft is an indicator that resource allocation is not working. I pity anyone wanting to try and solve all these problems. A radical change in the White House against growing government interference as a rule is what we need, nott supporting this program or that. Ron Paul for President!!!

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  15. Robert Reite

    Free trade only works if everyone plays by the same rules, meaning that they pay the same wages to their employees and have the same environmental controls on their factories. China doesn't play by these rules, they pay their workers 1/50th of what a US worker would earn doing the same job, and China is a polluted mess, they have so many people that the Chinese government doesn't care if they die from cancer caused by all the toxins in their air and water. So to make things equal, a tariff needs to be imposed on all Chinese goods, equal to the difference in wages and pollution control costs. This should not apply to just China, but trade with any foreign nation.

    By putting these tariffs into place, it will encourage companies to bring manufacturing back to the United States, thus creating jobs.

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    1. John_Galt

      I agree!

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  16. Rob Martinez

    The US went from $86 billion a year TRADE-DEFICIT to $816 billion a year, thats almost a 1000% increase in imports. Free-Trade does NOT work unless we are all on the same playing field. Americans can't compete against child and/or forced labor from foreign countries (like Communist China).
    Free-Trade only benefits greedy corporations and their Washington politician accomplices.

    Q; Why is the US in a recession, and why are so many Americans unemployed?
    A: Try to find 10 things in your home "Made in USA"

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    1. Identity Supressed

      If you read or listen closely to Ron Paul's version of "free trade," you realize that there is no such thing as free trade with nations where the citizens are not free... as in Red China for example.

      Free trade is only possible with free peoples!

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  17. Matt

    Alright.... A couple things here.

    1. Free market can create monopolies. But monopolies are not bad. They are controlled by the laws of supply and demand to gain the most profit. If they are economically being so ridiculous there will be a substitute in its place shortly after. The real problem is artificial monopolies/oligopolies created by the government themselves by making it near impossible for another competitor to enter the market place.

    2. Someone said protectionism works. Does it? Perhaps if you look at one side of it. The producer. It helps the producer. No doubt about it. But it hurts the consumer who is everyone else that buys the product. So essentially it helps a few to hurt a lot more.

    3. How do we compete with manufacturing overseas when they have such low labor costs? Well... Perhaps we don't. Perhaps our economic activity should go elsewhere. That is the point of capitalism. To not waste resources and allocate them properly. And labor is a resource.

    4. Economic sanctions on countries start conflict and wars.

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    1. WE THE PEOPLE

      A few points here.
      1)Monopolies are indeed bad. They can raise prices to where they want them. Case in point- the busting of Standard Oil. Blaming the government is conservative snake oil.
      2)As I stated, protectionism worked for Harley-Davidson when Reagan raised tariffs on Japanese motorcycle imports. It's also worked very well for Cjhina and South Korea. The only folks that really fear protectionism are those making billion$ off of exploitable foreign labor.
      3)If we want a middle class and an economy that the middle class was so vital in we most definitely want those American jobs back home. Unless you make a living gambling on derivatives etc...
      4)" Economic sanctions on countries start conflict and wars." That's ridiculous in light of recent history. That's like saying "invasions start conflicts and wars."We invade countries for mythical WMDs and oil, I don't think your point bears up well.Just sayin'.

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    2. Identity Supressed

      If economic sanctions on countries start conflict and wars, Matt, what happened in the Soviet Union (46 year economic embargo)?

      How about Cuba (52 year embargo, still on going)?

      Why wasn't there a war with the Soviet Union?

      When is the war with Cuba going to happen as you allude to?

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  18. WE THE PEOPLE

    I have to disagree with one element of Ron's free trade policy.
    Protectionism has worked very well for China and South Korea.
    We need to bring back American jobs and protect them. Protectionism worked for Reagan when he protected Harley Davidson by raising the import tariff on Japanese motorcycles in 1983.

    His opposition to NAFTA is good. That was a sell-out of American jobs to the cheapest exploitable labor that corporations could find. NAFTA has also gone a long way toward killing the American middle class.

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  19. Patrick

    I was ready to jump ship from Obama until I read your policy on "free-trade".
    Your tax base is labor. Labor needs jobs. "Real" jobs come from manufacturing.
    U.S. manufacturing can't compete with state sponsored / subsidized off-shore manufacturing. This was proven in the 70's with Japanese steel.

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  20. Donald Broms

    My concern may seem a little simple or stupid, but I’m struggling to understand how we can compete with lower cost labor pools given current free market trade agreements. What I’m having trouble with is the roughly two decade trend of our private sector job creators off-shoring jobs to cheaper (often slave-like) labor pools or importing high skilled labor (e.g., H1B contractors which are often nothing more than indentured servants to the H1B employer that sponsors them) in an effort to do what businesses are in business to do - cut costs to improve returns. In a perfect world, these guys would be rolling all the capital gains back into growth, but it hasn’t been a perfect world (as you can witness today with companies simply sitting on huge earnings, create little new work, and simply ride the Obama storm out). In a perfect world, U.S. companies would focus their growth on employing U.S. Citizens but today as companies enter the global market they are increasingly forced to spur international sales with foreign labor investments.

    If I’m running or starting a business today that makes widgets and I want to compete globally, and the government tells me I can manufacture my widgets anywhere in the world that is currently open to free trade with America. Unless I’m an idiot I’m immediately going to compare the cost of production in all my available resource pools. Without question, I’ll steer clear of the Unions, they are way high and difficult to manage. For due diligence and patriotic duty I’ll certainly run the numbers for as many cheaper facility build outs that I can manage to find at home, and then I’ll visit the off-shore talent pools. I will always be able to do it cheaper some where off-shore (based on my research and experience with off-shoring as a “Big 5” consultant). In some cases companies are producing goods or providing services for pennies on the dollar. And if I have some high-tech work to do here at home, no worries. I go to my local high-tech staffing firm and sign up a couple of H1B contractors for about half the cost of the local high tech U.S. Citizen techs (again based on my experience of doing this for fortune 100 companies across the nation). If I’m lucky, I can plug into a “Global” consulting company that can be my “one stop shop” for all projects and off shoring needs.

    So what am I asking? I’m desperate to hear either one of the following:

    1. Someone say they understand that bringing our work back home, and rebuilding our manufacturing base in the U.S. (at least to 20% of GDP for a start) is going to require more than just lowering taxes. As much as I love those words, I’m confused, knowing full well that most big corporations don’t pay a dime today. The rhetoric is that the U.S. has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, but that doesn’t mean very much to me when I hear G.E. made such large net revenues and paid $0. What I think I’m ready to hear as a republican is that we have some issues with our “Free Trade” agreements and what we should be talking about is “Fair Trade” agreements to replace them; in an attempt to at least give Americans a fighting chance at landing the work. All cost being equal – I think we’ve got the best workers in the world and would beat the off shore competition in a New York minute. But the labor cost differentials coupled with global market demands for participation in their markets are crushing us. At least a brief reset so we can figure out what to do in order to compete (remember the old manufacturing base to service base economy nonsense, we haven’t faired that well in services either).

    Or,

    2. I want to be educated why my logic is flawed.

    I respect your service and knowledge and want desperately to vote for you, but I’m holding out for what I feel is the only thing (with all integrated parts) that can save us. Putting Americans back to work.

    3. On reading your position on free trade I need to understand your position on leveling talent pools. America has one of the richest talent pools on the planet, and I'm talking dollars here. If we just accept and pass fair trade agreements on fundementals, our labor pools would continue to be crushed. NAFTA and others are shining example of that. And what of all this buy American rhetoric? Have you been to the store lately? I challenge anyone to go to any major store (e.g., Walmart, Target, Academy) pick twenty non-food stuff items, put them in your cart and then look at the "Made in" tags. If you find one item that is made in America, I would be absolutely amazed.

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    1. maggy simony

      A wonderful blog! For the life of me, I cannot understand those still quoting the free trade mantra when they have, now, decades of EXPERIENCE, REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE as to what happens to America under so-called "free" trade. I too approve that Ron Paul has joined with Dennis Kucinich to withdraw from NAFTA and the WTO. What he espouses in its stead--no trade agreements at all as I understand it--doesn't seem to fit in with the Libertarian devotion to the Constitution. Why is there a provision therein for trade and other treaties with the world if not envisioned by founding fathers?

      A question. Are the supporters of HR 4759 seeking a majority vote or a 2/3 vote?

      Instead (or at same time) why not launch publicity asking Obama to write that letter giving 6 months notice of withdrawal from WTO/NAFTA that he has the power to do? THEN seek the bare majority vote in support of Obama's initiative?

      Just the publicity so that voting public KNOWS the prez ALREADY HAS THE CLOUT (in the way NAFTA/WTO came to be) he COULD USE to negotiate better deals with China, Korea--any country with which we have a gross trade imbalance. He COULD DO THAT secretly first (good idea) or publicly.

      But then both Clinton and Bush also had that clout and chose not to use it. What does that tell us?

      It tells us that the corporations WANT TRADE POLICY AS IT IS! Why not? They have all the benefits of "living" in a democracy while access to slave/managed labor off shore, and then selling back to the country they left behind.

      What I DON'T UNDERSTAND is why Libertarians support present trade policy.

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      1. Wonkbro

        I believe that when Ron Paul talks of ending NAFTA, it is not that he doesn't believe in free trade, its that he doesn't believe that you need a free trade agreement to practice free trade.

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  21. Brendan Behan

    How can the USA have "free trade" with other countries when the citizens of those countries are not "free". For example, China is a 3rd world communist dictatorship where workers live in dorms and get fired when the manufacturing run is over. How in the world could a middle class America exist if everyone has to compete with 3rd world slave labor?

    These backward BRIC countries need to show they can create INTERNAL success economically first - like he USA did - before "free" trade would ever be possible.

    STRAIGHT 50% tariff on all imported goods. No need for "deals" or "dealmakers".

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    1. Fuscia

      Have you ever been to China? Or did you just watch a youtube video about it? Because you have no idea what you are talking about. I've lived in China as a U.S. Citizen and I must say that the larger population of the U.S. has no idea what China is really like. They have a great middle-class, they recently raised the taxes on the rich to further support the lower-class to create an even stronger middle-class.

      The one thing I don't like about China is the food. And petty crime is still a bit of an issue in more remote areas of the country. But some evil communist dictatorship? Absolutely not.. 3rd world? An even crazier thought..

      Crazy Americans who think China is so awful pay China almost $35,000 just to adopt a child.. Doing China a favor..

      If you want to be mad at China and cast an evil shadow on the nation, it is misguided and should be aimed at the U.S. government due to borrowing funds and importing an endless supply of junk.

      A very wise man once told me "To whom you give your money is to whom you give your power."

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    2. John Mueller

      Yeah China is what we want to be like:

      China: Teenager 'sells kidney for iPad'
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13639934

      NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    3. Veo

      "These backward BRIC countries need to show they can create INTERNAL success economically first"

      A true Ron Paul supporter - someone who wants Amerika to assrape the rest of the world, and not let anyone else have a chance of responsible governance. American exceptio-nationalism!

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  22. Marty

    There is another word for the market. That word is reality. When government, or anyone else for that matter, interferes with reality the unintended consequences are inevitable. When we act in accordance with reality, we can better predict what will happen.

    In short, we can't make other countries be fair short of by force. If we were to do that then they would respond with force if it endangered their national interests as they determine them. What we can do is act rationally in accordance with reality and know that having done that we can expect a result in line with what is rather than what we wish would be.

    Free trade is in line with reality. A rational policy embraces that.

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  23. Jason W

    This idea just seems like it would lead to a free-for-all race to the bottom that would put all our jobs into countries with no human rights or environmental standards.

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  24. meg

    The only individuals afraid of this concept of free trade are the big money makers, bureaucracies and corporations that ship most American jobs over seas, inport their products, and profit billions of dollars from the U.S. taxpayers and consumers. Making the argument that we will fall to other countries trade or business is absolutely absurd.
    Why not have American companies and small businesses compete for the same. Free market gives opportunites to average Americans and will introduce products and services from the American people to the American people.

    I'm so sick of hearing this fallacy argument that free trade will be a disaster for Americans. Research free market societies.

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    1. Jan

      After 2 Years, Here's Your Change...

      ~$ A Democracy Based on Money Is No Democracy At ALL $~

      Just take this last item: In the last two years we have accumulated national debt at a rate more than 27 times as fast as during the rest of our entire nation's history.. Over 27 times as fast. Metaphorically speaking, if you are driving in the right lane doing 65 MPH and a car rockets past you in the left lane. 27 times faster, it would be doing 1,755 MPH!

      Sources:

      (1) U.S. Energy Information Administration; (2) Wall Street Journal; (3) Bureau of Labor Statistics; (4) Census Bureau; (5) USDA; (6) U.S. Dept. Of Labor; (7) FHFA; (8) Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller; (9) RealtyTrac; (10) Heritage Foundation and WSJ; (11) The Conference Board; (12) FDIC; (13) Federal Reserve; (14) U.S. Treasury/
      You will have to go to the site to see the table of deflation, it won't copy a comparison sheet on this site..........

      And now with the Republicans working as CEO"s of our states, and helping the Corporations,reduce their corporate tax from 26% with perks down to 6% and making the seniors and poor make up the difference.
      by taxing our retirements and reducing wages even more and our healthcare out of existence! No, neither party will be
      able or is capable of getting this country back on line ,after giving all of our states GDP to the Military Complex and
      to the Rothchilds central banks of London........nope . they have robbed , continue to rob us .

      Sucking every dime out of our wages , need for food and travel to work and back or pleasure......they want the money for their lives, not for us now or our kids or their kid's even.....
      The bail-outs were to be given to bail us out , not to create debt, and bail out foreign banks! Ben Benacke bailed out the Libyan central bank a few weeks before the war started there, they got $26 billion. Then after the war and at the Commission meeting the Assistant Sec. of State says when asked , why can't we use the $30 billion the USA froze on Libya to pay for the war.......the Assistant says, because when that war is over and Gaddafi is gone that is the people's money!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Money we gave short of $4 billion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not one on that committee , knew what the Federal Reserve is doing or has done, I read it in a News article posted.....
      Government can't give us fee health care , but they sure let Bernanke pass out dollars bills to any bank in the world.......It isn't our debt on our own money I"ll tell yah that......that debt should be on the backs of congress and the senators salaries for doing it and on Wall Streets backs not ours........
      We were tricked.......and its nothing new under the Sun........
      This we are all realizing is what our Federal governments
      have done for centuries with our money.......
      In 2008 they wanted it all $$$$$$$$ and complete control , that is all, it is.....
      They needed to get it on the books is all.......confiscate it and do it quickly as possible so the people wouldn't reap,any benefits that the 70 million seniors who paid into for the past 50yrs , could not get THEIR hands on what belongs
      to us........
      We worked hard for and they wanted it alllllll....and had been robbing Social Security since its inception, and didn't tell us.......
      ..I still think that is the money they used to keep the Budget balanced, and not increase taxes for the rich or working class. for years...when the wars started they could reap those monies from Wall Street...
      While using IOU's from Social Security Trust fund to pay for government wages........to run the gov. with....
      That is my opinion, and conclusion.......and I don't like it if that is what they have done dishonestly with the American taxpayers, monies. But what can we do about it? I think Ron Paul should start a 2nd republic in the USA and let the bankrupt one find a way to fix their messes.......
      Then they also compounded the problem by not forcing or enforcing the illegals to pay into SS , Medicare and income
      taxes........and allowing them free housing , free food and free healthcare exempting them from disclosing their,citizenship, that they were not of the USA..when they apply at a Family Services Center for our benefits....
      50 million people not paying into the system , and 4%of the top income earners
      not paying into the system., due to perks and exemptions, the working class doesn't get it! And when they reduce our wages, they are also reducing their taxes ! How stupid can you get!
      ......and there you have it.........now with 70 million, non- working Senior Citizens not paying into the,system.anymore, they did their duty........it leaves very few able to pay for the debt, Mr. Benacke created.
      50% of the working class are,
      employed by one government or another....state , fed, city......how many children in the USA? who of course don't work, but need to go to school , and the public schools are funded by property taxes or lottery (Michian), and with 15 million homes foreclosed , no one is paying property taxes to fund the schools.........!
      If there is someone out there who can add this up of the unemployed due to layoffs, age or not counted e.g . illegal. And then how many multimillionaires billionaires not paying very much taxes, and how many ill from the war, how much does the health care cost for veterans in this nation a year.....and from DU radiation illnesses......how many with health problems in the Gulf..........Why this government really did a job ........and the Ironic part of this , USA /UN won't let Iran have Nuclear Power Plants.........and so they are the only nation that will not be affected if the multiple countries have earthquakes , and their nuclear plants start exploding.
      Plus the Atomic bomb testings is what the EPA worker said has caused the Hole in the Ozone.......depleting our plant of O-3...Shit will be all lucky to be able to breathe on this planet ,with all of the pollution in our atmosphere....
      When did we see that our government is and has been very incompetent?
      Notice , these committee's are not to ask us what we are concerned about....but what fellow government oversights think , or what corporations and banks CEO's want Congress and the Senate to pass for them and their company polices......for Money......
      Never about the people.......I am truly getting sink of watching those two powers yes be accountable in the end, they are padding their own pockets.

      ~$ A Democracy Based on Money Is No Democracy At ALL $~

      ____________________________________________________________
      Obama Urges Refinance
      If you owe under $729k you probably qualify for Obama's Refi Programs
      SeeRefinanceRates.com

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  25. Rich

    End NAFTA please...

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  26. Freedomfighter

    i am all for the dissolve of world trade organizations and unions, but i would also like to point out that Ron wants to lift the trade ban with CUBA. CUBA! are you kidding me?! Castro STOLE U.S. land when he nationalized it 50yrs ago! This is atrocious. I not only support the trade ban on cuba, but i wish there was a trade ban on ALL communist countries.

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    1. Grace Ibrahim

      hmmm i am inclined to agree with you

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  27. Jeremy

    Free trade

    Free markets create monopolies

    Millions out of work that will be replaced with cheaper labor

    Try to imagine a person holding a gun to someone’s head!
    Here is something to think about when looking at free trade.
    Ever wonder why an economic model supposed to make societies prosperous.
    So let us look into some facts that have hit close to home and still stand. In the past 16 years of the (NAFTA) North American Free Trade Agreement, what did it bring to the US, Canada and Mexico. Well in good old Canada some 10,000 companies were taken over by foreigners in the first 8 years. Then in the US, net manufacturing employment drop by some nearly 6 million. It destroyed the Mexican farms and their food self-sufficiency. All this led to the rise of monopolies and they acted against the producer and consumers interests oh wait they still due.

    Now got to ask the question if said free trade is good or that to benefit all countries, then why is it spreading poverty in most of these countries. Then how can this free trade be the way for economic success. Then why is it that today’s rich countries have never historically practiced this? U.S. tariffs remained high throughout America’s industrialization. For as the British, advocates of open markets and they lowered tariffs in the mid-19th century. Yeah only after its industries had firmly established their lead over foreign rivals. That’s a thought for the mind to think about!

    Protectionism- the theory, practice, or system of fostering or developing domestic industries by protecting them from foreign competition through duties or quotas imposed on importations.

    Or any program, policy, or system of laws that seeks to provide protection for property owners, wildlife, the environment, etc.

    It was protectionism that allowed Japan and Korea to grow, not that of free trade. So in other words beyond all this talk of free trade and its theory it’s historically being proven wrong. So when nations are forced into the free trade movement by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the World Bank. This has the local industries wiped out by their more powerful foreign competitors. And what is to come from all this many things and they are not good. The wage of collapse, to where the Middle Class becomes the Working Poor. Rural societies are destroyed and at the same time we will see the growth of vast urban concentrations. To where we see, uproot of farmers into slums, families shattered, and cultural traditions become erased. Along with corruption in government that will beyond any recovery. Free Trade does not profit to the ones it is supposed to, then who. Who is getting stronger because of all this, the largest corporations? These corporations are the ones who are merging their interests with the institution of government. How are they doing this easy by the help of World Bank, IMF and yes the WTO? (Hey quick question who is head of the World Bank again.)
    So how did the Free Trade end up going against becoming the opposite of what it was intended to do? Because with everything said it’s not free that’s right NOT Free Trade. It’s nothing more than an economic theory, reality says and tells was that it is nothing more than that of trade agreements. Said Trade agreements will mean more power to the global corporations, allowing them to move goods and investments to anywhere they wish, and this will allow them to be free from any accountability and the public interference.
    To look at this in some light the reality of all this is near universality of protectionism and entitlements.

    Protectionism of the good old sweetheart deals, as a partnership, subsidies and tax breaks. Basically it’s to protect the big corporation at the expense of the others. Did you know that the NAFTA has hundreds of rules those favorite mega corporations? I’m not going into these I will let Ron or Ran Paul put these out to the public so that we can see them.

    Or you can just research it more for yourself.

    “The myth of Free Trade: The Pooring of America”

    “Bad Samaritans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism”

    Trade agreements will mean more power to the global corporations, allowing them to move goods and investments to anywhere they wish, and this will allow them to be free from any accountability and the public interference.
    So now what from here on out let us demand from our elected seat holders that they educated us on things like this, and not just what they want us to know but everything that deals with such topic be it good or bad.

    Know the dream that is being sold to us. Where we live in an interconnected world, no borders, no boundaries, (this is close to a solider with no government) and where trade and cultural interaction flow freely. Peace to the world with its new found harmony. Sounds good yeah LOL! Um just for those who know the real world and live in and for those whom are at a lost here wake up. Look at outside your window and take a real good look at the world. Know this humanity is not coming together nor will it. We are being torn from anything and everything from ethnics and religious lines. Because of this reality the horizon to peace is nowhere near nor will it come to be. Why do I say this, know this and how we as a people are. We as a people are tribal and we think in such ways, its fact not to be put under the rug this will only make things worse. We think of things in the tribal aspect in the areas of blood, soil and creed to where we will die for and kill for without question without remorse. Our culture and faith are the two true universal forces in this world. Not that of ideas of democracy or capitalism.
    Educate yourself.

    People shall not fear their government, government should fear the people.

    We the people by the people for the people.

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  28. Nathan

    An equal free trade makes sense for competitive reasons. Since debt with interest is impossible to pay off in the U.S. because of the nature of our monetary system, the more currency that goes away overseas that does not come back only increases the level of defaults on loans for businesses, individuals, and possibly the government if it cannot take sufficient taxes. Every dollar that goes overseas has to come back plus more into our current system, or the system will collapse.
    In a different economic system with stable money that did not inflate and governments have close to the same business laws (or lack of) I can see free trade functioning for the general good.

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  29. Dfens

    Ron Paul is for the "unilateral elimination of tariffs" from the US market place. That's the economic equivalent of unilaterally disarming our military. In fact, it would probably bring about the unilateral disarming of our military because we'd be so damn broke we wouldn't be able to afford a military anymore. It's economic suicide. It would completely annihilate our middle class.

    We don't need government agreements to have free trade. We merely need to lower or eliminate taxes on the American people, without regard to what other nations do. Remember, tariffs are simply taxes on [foreign made goods bought by American] consumers. Americans have always bought goods from abroad; the only question is how much our government taxes [those of] us [buying that crap] for doing so. As economist Henry Hazlitt explained, tariffs simply protect politically-favored special interests [American industries] at the expense of consumers [former employees of American industries], while lowering wages across the economy as a whole. [Hazlitt had a hard time with the notion of supply and demand which explains many of his crackpot economic theories]. Hazlitt, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard, and countless other [crackpot] economists have demolished every fallacy concerning tariffs, proving conclusively that unilateral elimination of tariffs benefits the American [surely he meant, Chinese] people. We don't need CAFTA or any other international agreement to reap the economic benefits promised by CAFTA supporters, we only need to change our own harmful economic and tax policies. Let the rest of the world hurt their citizens with tariffs [and those nasty jobs they can't outsource because of tariffs]; if we simply reduce tariffs and taxes at home, we will attract capital and see our economy flourish [just like protectionist Communist China's economy has flourished, with double digit growth for 30 years. Oops, ignore that one, and Japan, ignore them, and Korea and Vietnam, pretty much all those Asian countries, just ignore them].Ron Paul on Lew Rockwell's site

    Of course, you used to be able to read all about Ron Paul's position on "free trade" here, but somehow is site was mysteriously reorganized and all of the "free trade" titles went here, except now not a single link actually finds an article. Someone who didn't believe that our government was responsible for 9/11 might rate the benefit of the doubt, but that wouldn't be Ron Paul.

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    1. Dfens

      My "comment has been awaiting moderation" for 3 weeks now. Censorship as usual on this site.

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  30. Mike

    Free trade is an inevitable race to the bottom. It is just the reinvention of slavery. But there isn't any stopping it now. Protecting property rights with the tip of the Government Gun leads the landless faced with the choice of starvation or surfdom. Ron Paul is against the minimum wage.

    The reason The US of A became great, was because of organized labor. Every country has resources, and entrepreneurs. But only the West did well for its people because of this ingredient. A few interlocking board of trustees is no different than a polit bureau. A handfull of people dictating how resources are used alway leads to disaster. When more people have a fair piece of the pie, more ideas can be persude, tested, brought to life. The economy grows. Well paid employees are good for an economy. But greedy capitalists don't understand this.

    And Libertarians don't get it either. Capitalism DOES have an FLAW. Will Ron Paul protect the rights of organized labor at the point of the Gov. Gun?

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    1. bill

      I'm European and American, we have tone of organized labor in Europe and they are killing western Europe. The middle class is getting poorer year after year and taxed, for what? Coporatocracy? (bail out, $ or euro devaluation (printing press), special interest).

      Europe is mostly Socialist, and we are failing, you do not help people just by giving freely (that is not the way human work, if you do that they always want more free stuff in exchange of nothing), you need to teach and encourage them to do things otherwise you raise generation of couch potatoes.
      You can punish a bad individuals or a bad company (all those financial companies should have go down so better financial companies could have bought what ever was interesting to them), but you can not punish a bad gov, or state or bad decision (they keep changing anyhow).
      So why taking the risk of having an enormous gov that you will never be able to punish? (by punish I really mean 'accountable for')

      People are confuse by Capitalism and Corporatocracy, they are 2 very different animals. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporatocracy

      Europe and US are dying of Corporatocracy and big gov.

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    2. Daniels

      Mike, please describe to me the similarities between FREE trade, and forced slavery, because I don't see a single one.

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  31. Philip B Kirschner

    Let's change the mantra abit. Why don't we support free and fair. Equal trade, zero trade imbalance. A country that refuses to buy our goods, does not get to sell thier goods here. Trade goes both ways...

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    1. Daniels

      An individual or company from another country who sells a good in the US IS buying a US good at the same time! (a US DOLLAR) There is no trade imbalance, the transaction is complete. Free trade is free trade. No restrictions period. Why does that scare you so much?

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      1. Billy Smith

        Free and FAIR Trade. The imbalance is caused when 'intellectual properties' are not included in the argument. How many Billions$ has China cheated Hollywood out of or Japan cheated Texas Instruments?. Article 1 Section 8 clause 8 of the Constitution requires copyright and patent enforcement, ahead of Declare War (clause 11). The failure to respect our laws while allowing unfettered access to our markets is Unconstitutional besides UNFAIR.

        Wanting fairness in Trade shouldn't be labeled Protectionist, it should be filed under EQUALITY.

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        1. John Law

          Forgive me if this seems a bit of a non sequitur .

          Company A is domestic and produces a widget for $15,000. A large portion of the product price ($3,000) goes into the mitigating the environmental impacts of the chemicals used in its creation.

          Company B is foreign and produces an identical widget for $10,000. No effort is spent to contain the chemicals used in the production. Instead they are released into the atmosphere.

          I'm all for adding a $3,000 tariff to that foreign product. While I understand that governmental systems never work as intended it is at least possible to protect Company A from unfair competition under the current model.

          --John Law

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  32. wil

    Interesting: The New York Forum – What does the rise of Asia mean for Western Economies and Companies?
    http://www.attali.com/videos/autres-videos/the-new-york-forum-whart-does-the-rise-of-asia-mean-for-western-economies-and-companies

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  33. Scott

    Above Sen. Paul advocates removing tarrifs, trade barriers and managed trading (ie. the WTO and trade agreements). If things play out like he says, I think it's a great idea. Markets would be more competitve and consumers would probably see lower prices to do more fair competition among domestic based companies and foreign based companies. However, on the Taxes page Sen. Paul says he is in favor of eliminating the income tax (again, great idea) and in favor of generating government revenue on corporate taxes, excise taxes and "non-protectionist tariffs." I thought advocating "non-protectionist tariffs" conflicted with his statements here. So, I tried to find a definition of a " non-protectionist tariff" but could not find anything other than howw Sen. Paul used the term. Does anyone know what a "non-protectionist tariff" is? (It sounds like an oximoron on the surface since tarrifs are protectionist). Wouldn't this confict with his views on how government should generate tax revenue?

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    1. Daniels

      I noticed this inconsistency too. I bothers me a little bit. I think when it comes down to it, he opposes both the income tax and the tariff and would do away with both if he could, but he sees the tariff as the lesser of two evils.

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    2. Wonkbro

      Yeah I too have trouble figuring this out. Libertarians believe that the one thing that the federal government should manage is national defense. To fund a national defense, it needs revenue. To get revenue, it has to take it from citizens (tax). If your for free trade, against the nat income tax, against a nat sales tax, against payroll taxes etc... how does the federal government fund national defense? Ron Paul say's tariffs, but this goes against free trade. I don't get it either. You mention corporate taxes, I didn't know Mr. Paul was in favor of those. Also, isn't an excise tax a form of protectionism?

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  34. wil

    May be instead of free trade we should have a "free conscious trade" or "free traceable trade", like the end product isn't only what matter but also how it was made matters.

    I can see the free market being more transparent and honest, like this product has been made by children from china or this product is made from people that have no protection while manipulating dangerous substance and might died early on, this product is made by Texan and respect the following criteria. I mean free market can do what it needs to do if the information is there for people to take an inform and conscious decision, otherwise with hidden information this is not really a free trade but just lies and manipulation.
    It seems there is a need for more traceability and more openness

    Wil

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  35. Wil

    Hello

    Too many jobs went and are still going to China because a lot of companies didn't invest in automatism but took the shortest simplest route to China/India (few companies did invest in automatism and are still able to compete)

    What is your position on this?
    Should we tax Chinese companies that do not compete on the same level as our american companies? ( by same level I mean taht do not respect pollution, not same human right, recognition and min salary, protection if employee work with dangerous substance etc..)

    This is interesting because we do not allow such behavior in the US and by our american companies but we all accept to buy products made from countries like China that use such a behavior....
    Or should we wait and let the market take care of it, meaning wait that china become more powerful and so their cost will also increase but I'm afraid ours will be so low.

    What scare's me is too see 1) everything is from China now days and 2) slowly the research and market are following the production and also going to china, which means investment are also going over there, and as we say, where the production is the money is, without prod there is nothing, 3) more and more new Chinese brand are appearing in Europe and the US

    As a friend always says, "The Chinese economy's best friend is the American and European government".

    Over the summer I went the the D-Day beaches in France and I heard someone saying to someone else, "I hope there will be no more war like this" and the guide replied "there is a big one but it is economical, this is just that we do not see it physically yet"

    I guess in few words my question is: I agree with free trade but I'm wondering if this is normal to accept to trade with companies outside of the US that are not respecting certain production rules, shouldn't they be tax and so give a chance to American companies that must go with those rules. At the end are we really proud to not make nike's in the US and buy then $60 to $100 because they are made by kids in China or india? Is it free trade? should we have free and equitable trade?

    Thanks for your help and guidance.

    Wil

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