Have you ever noticed that when the United States has an increase in the trade deficit, the middle class reports stagnant wages, massive foreclosures, the number of Americans living in poverty jumps or massive underemployment surges, the pundits come out and call everyone a Protectionist?
How did the concept of protecting the United States economy and national interest end up being a dirty word?
That God Damn, evil movement, Protectionism, even made it to the G8 summit:
The Group of Eight club of rich economies said they would resist protectionism in international trade and called for the urgent conclusion of the Doha round of trade talks. We will resist protectionist pressures against international trade and investment in all its manifestations, the leaders said in a special statement on the global economy issued at a summit here. The leaders said concluding the stalled round of the World Trade Organisation
Carly Fiorina, fired HP CEO and McCain adviser, is notorious for saying:
There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore
Now is anyone noticing a pattern? Anything that is good for the United States national interest economically and gives Americans increased paying jobs, financial security, is magically this awful, dirty thing called Protectionism.
What do they even mean? Let's go back a few years and try to expand -
Let the Slump liquidate itself. Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers....People will work harder, live a more moral life. Values will be adjusted, and enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people. - Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury, 1931 (approx.)
This was during the start of the great depression. Mellon, often cited for the basis of Reaganomics, expands the definition to Social Darwinism. We all know what happened with that philosophy during WWII. Is that the America we want, a place where the most predatory, sociopathic, me first, fuck you members of our society are deemed the winners? Is this some sort of reality game show, but with real consequences? How many more will be booted off the Island?
It becomes clear what policy elites intend by name calling people protectionists is to shame them into demanding nothing. This is a massive public relations war, going back decades. The minute Americans are hurt economically, vested interests try to insult them, shame them and blame them.
Americans are blasted with words like whiners, losers and now these insults are summed up as protectionism, with an emotional disdain of the super rich spitting on the homeless on the street, as if protectionism is the new dirty word.
Why? Well, because the national interest and working America's financial interests interferes with multinational corporation's globalization agenda and short term profit gains.
Nowhere has anyone introduced massive tariffs or anything even remotely like that as policy modifications. All that is going on with many groups and economists is a statistical awareness the United States is plain losing it's ass on the global economic stage. It is protectionist? You bet your ass is it and that's a good thing! Last I heard trying to keep the nation economically competitive and a 1st world economy is a fairly reasonable concept.
Has one noticed also that these broad insult strokes of labeling others as protectionist puts the focus on name calling and represses the actual statistics and details being brought to light? This is a discrediting campaign. Vested interests try to repress information by insulting and name calling various economists and legislators so the facts they are concerned about are not brought to the public view. Only the insult is reported upon, not the statistical realities or policy details.
Most working on trade issues do not promote tariffs or extreme measures, they simply point out how US trade policy is akin to selling a sucker the Brooklyn Bridge. We have trade treaties that are completely unfair to the United States, give incentives to take capital and jobs offshore. Other nations, especially those categorized as emerging economies, have the most unfair tariff schedules....against the United States.
From the Economic Policy Institute:
Two issues in particular that should worry American workers about globalization: job losses stemming from growing trade deficits; and downward wage pressure for tens of millions of American workers. These problems are not unexpected consequences of expanded trade; quite the opposite, they are exactly what standard economic reasoning predicts.
So, when you hear the phrase protectionist, dig deeper. Odds are you will find a snake oil salesman behind the scene trying to ensure you never look behind the curtain.