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
John McCain claims Americans sing the Siren song of Protectionism as well as his economic adviser, Phil Gramm, insulted The American people as a A Nation of Whiners.
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.
Great Article Robert
Spot on. The word gamers are painting protectionist as a dirty word just as they did liberal. Perhaps we need to start a word campaign to smear the words "corporatist" and "globalist"?
This is the typical framing of an issue we have seen perfected by the right. Using extremism and hyperbole to shout down your opponents.
The great fallacy is that no one is suggesting we should not trade. What we are suggesting is making trade more fair,balanced and advantageous for all, not just the elite.
Is it really protectionist to encourage keeping jobs, technology and investment at home before going abroad? Is it really protectionist to have products that are safe?
we need to change the discussion and emphasize that manufacturing and industry is the greatest generator of shared prosperity, innovation, as well as the insurance policy for long term economic health and national security. we have lost so much manufacturing that we would be in big trouble if all the middle east saber rattling got us into a 3rd world war and we were incapable of a World War I and II build up. we need to continue to point out the fallacies of the globalist arguments as loudly and quickly as possible - to a wider and wider audience
If its protectionist to want to make sure your neighbor, your relative, yourself has an opportunity for a gainful job, if its protectionist to want a vital domestic industrial base, if its protectionist to want strong national defense, if its protectionist to want non poisonous toothpaste or safe toys, if its protectionist to want fair and sustainable trade then sign me up - I am proud to be a protectionist.
I guess one advantage of antifreeze in your chinese toothpaste, when they come to shut off your heat because you lost your job to outsourcing it wont freeze in the winter!
That's the thing, by destroying the United States middle class it does clearly affect the macro economics of the nation (witness subprime, trade deficit, health care), which will affect the bottom line of these very multinational corporations. In my view, the United States is the worst of the worst in terms of selling out it's people to make a fast buck.
Hopefully on this site we can get down to the nitty gritty of various trade agreements, policy and generate more public awareness, diligence on the details for in my view so much of the main stream press is about the trivial.
Although anyone writing on this blog has to be aware to analyze the nitty gritty with any intelligence takes more work. It's much easier to focus on the trivial in terms of brain power.
Globalism and protecting "Just in time processing"
Globalists are so freakin gullible, the entire premise is dependent upon mobility. They have been practicing protectionism by favoring foreign labor, not so much that they need the foreign labor, or that foreign labor is more qualified. They favor the foreign labor to reduce the likelihood of formidable competition. They know that the highly educated domestic candidates are not likely to leave the U.S. and the percentage of the world's population with recent advanced degrees is miniscule.
Now, the globalists have a severe problem with mobility, which is the rising cost of mobility and its relationship to "just in time processing." Just in time processing, assumes that raw materials can be delivered at the time of production, therefore, there is no need to warehouse raw-materials.
The raw-material suppliers are experiencing higher production costs, but the sale price of raw materials is on the rise also. Raw material providers are now disinclined to ship/sell today because the sales price will be higher tomorrow.
Here is an article from a Globalist that claims this profiteering is protectionism and almost suggests "price controls" as a solution. Corporate Protectionism? You bet-ya!
Some nations are beginning to wake up and realize that globalism is about controlling food supplies -- they are storing food and refusing to reduce tariffs, you can't have a growing economy and food riots on the same real-estate.
Globalist Analysis > Global Trade
When Commodities Revolt
By Llewellyn King | Thursday, July 10, 2008
"As if by some secret signal, the commodities of the world have risen up in a great modern-day peasant revolt, ready to shatter economies, overthrow governments — and to make fools of economists. Llewellyn King argues that protectionism and price insecurity are causing the commodities market to run rampant." http://www.theglobalist.com/DBWeb/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=7113
Vivek Wadhwa, while no longer a Globalist, uses protectionist banter to justify an increase in Employment based green cards.
"Now we’ve set the stage for them [U.S. exchange students & temporary workers] to return to countries such as India and China, where the economies are booming and their skills are in great demand. U.S. businesses large and small stand to lose critical talent, and workers who have gained valuable experience and knowledge of American industry will become potential competitors."
That is true, they want unlimited, but corporate controlled labor mobility for this is a major element in controlling wages on a global scale (per their profit agendas of course).
EBs or employment based green cards, well that can be almost worse than guest worker Visas for once again, employers control and now universities control mobility (immigration) and if employers and the higher education system do not invest , support, employ Americans 1st, this is just another method for global labor arbitrage and displacement. The tricky thing here is the US has always been a magnet for the rare, extremely talented, but this has been manipulated for pure labor (wage) arbitrage purposes, so we have a problem. My solution is everything, including scholarships, acceptance, research grants, all of it, should be "Americans only" or "Americans first" and enforced to ensure displacement isn't happening. On top of it, investment in the American people (education, training, other supports) is almost nil and we must have policies in place that invest in America and Americans. Then, I think employers AND universities need to prove, much more burden of proof that the non-citizen they are bringing in is not simply a replacement or a denial of opportunity for a qualified American.
This issue is very tough and will be masked by labeling everyone who examines it a xenophobe when that's not what's going on and unfortunately within this issue xenophobia can go on.
Myth of labor mobility
Labor mobility is yet another supply side free marketeer fallacy.
Labor really isn't all that mobile afterall. Family and community ties often make relocation dificult if not out of the question for most people. There are many middle aged folks such as my wife and I who have elderly parents to look after as an example.
And how does one expect to sell a home in this time of real estate bust? - at least without a loss?
I had read an article in a business mag a little while back, I am pretty sure it was Industry Week, that said a recent trend is fewer and fewer employers are offering relocation assistance as part of a hiring package. who wants to lose money on their house, pay their own moving expenses and take a job for often less pay than the one you just lost? Sounds like a great deal - not.
Whoever heard of a labor shortage that did not have a corresponding upward pressure on wages, and employers willing to help with relocation assistance and or signing bonuses?
I have a tough time feeling sorry for employers who move from a skilled labor rich region such as the industrial midwest to a skilled labor scarce region such as the rural SE or a 3rd world country and then whine because they can not attract and retain skilled workers.
Alan "bubble boy" Greedspan once suggested flooding the market with college educated workers as a way to suppress middle class wages.
Yes, they have the labor unit without family, most assuredly without kids, no family obligations, no ties, no illness....so you know what happens when these life things pop up as far as the employer goes.
Yes, people are just head count on some CFO's spreadsheet.
Another article on the subject
Rewriting capitalism's script
>>You know the talking points: Regulation is the problem and deregulation is the solution. The distribution of income and wealth doesn't matter. Providing incentives for the investors of capital to "grow the pie" is the only policy that counts. Free trade produces well-distributed economic growth, and any dissent from this orthodoxy is "protectionism."<<
I am a Proud Protectionist...!
I have been a Republican all my life and have voted generally for Republican-backed economic polcies, but this election of 2008 (and if I am blessed w/ many more opportunities to vote thereafter), I will vote "Independent" meaning I will not be swayed by either party on this issue. I believe in Free Market Capitalism, but UP TO A POINT, because human greed, left to it's own devices w/o any restrictions or barriers, can only lead to abuses (both economically and socially), both here and abroad.
Globalism, while helping some poorer countries raise their standard of living, has also enriched & empowered a privilege few while subsequently and arguable lower standards here. Of course we still have one of the highest standards of living tin the world, but it can also be argued that it takes now two incomes to raise a family of, say 4, when in the 50's one income sufficed. On local trade, I have encountered many businessman who exploit the policies of Free Trade w/o regard to the effect it has on our local community, which was had a once-proud labor force. It would take me too long to list the negative effects and how they outweigh the positive ones, but suffice to say both parties have failed on this issue miserably. If it means NOT voting for anyone who refuses to stand for the interest of the American people from now on, then so be it. I will no longer fall for the "choice of lesser evils". Either elected official represent our collective interests and respect our viewpoints or they don't.
I believe and know that an equitable & fair balance can be agreed upon that will allow America to be competitive (like comprehensive tax incentives for businesses who remain in the mainland) while at the same time preserving it labor force and offering higher wages based on productivity, but there is simply too much "money" being exchanged in Washington that no one is willing to take up the battle of fine-tooling our policies on Free Trade. Furthermore, how can John McCain claim that his strong suit is not economics, yet so easily throw the "protectionist" term to anyone who disagrees on certain policies as if he were an expert on economics? Clearly, he shows he is another stooge for Globalist forces and not as "independent" as he has tried to portray himself. As for Obama, the less I say about his "economic expertise", the better. My point is no matter who wins this fall, the American people can only lose...and bigger than ever before.
Welcome to EP, Proud Protectionist
I understand your frustration with both parties and honestly I don't think you're alone and I believe this cuts across party lines.
This blog is to write details on all things economic and I think everyone one here wants fact based policy instead of this corporate lobbyist/special interest propaganda we get on a daily basis.
How to get more people demanding true changes, deep structural changes in how our Government monitors and crafts economic policy...well, the first step I believe is we must have people, in mass, demand it.
You exactly have a point there Robert. As Blueneck would say "If its protectionist to want to make sure your neighbor, your relative, yourself has an opportunity for a gainful job, if its protectionist to want a vital domestic industrial base, if its protectionist to want strong national defense, if its protectionist to want non poisonous toothpaste or safe toys, if its protectionist to want fair and sustainable trade then sign me up - I am proud to be a protectionist." It seems to be the other way around.
One thing that your specific industry could do
Is to make deals with mutual aid societies such as the Odd Fellows, Knights of Columbus, and Masons to provide Employment-independent dental insurance.
Far too many small companies cut dental out of their health plans to save money. And with nearly 10% of the labor force moving into unemployment or self-employment over the next year, there's a huge untapped market for a new type of group insurance out there.
Maximum jobs, not maximum profits.