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Topic: Free Trade

An Open Letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham

Posted on Nov. 15, 10 | 01:23 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Free Trade
From the tenacious Don Boudreaux:

15 November 2010

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Capitol Hill
Washington, DC

Dear Sen. Graham:

Yesterday, The Hill reported on your disappointment that Pres. Obama failed to persuade Beijing to raise the value of China’s currency.  In response to this ‘failure,’ you proclaimed that “They [the Chinese] already have enough advantages.”

Given your belief that a currency whose value is lower than you think it should be confers “advantages” upon its holders, I hereby offer to confer such advantages upon you and your family.  Before you or anyone else in the Graham household spends dollars, contact me first.  I will give you a fifty-cent coin in exchange for each dollar that you would otherwise have spent on your purchases.  You will then make your purchases using only the 50-cent coins.  That is, you will have a lower-valued currency unit to spend rather than be burdened by the heavy yoke of having to spend a higher-valued currency unit.

I will also act as your agent to demand that your employers (and anyone else who purchases goods and services from the Graham household) pay to the Grahams only 50-cents on the dollar.

I promise to do this exchange for each and every dollar that you and yours wish to spend – and to act as your agent to ensure that you are paid no more than 50 cents on the dollar – for as long as you wish.  In this way, you will effectively devalue the currency used and earned by the Graham household and, I presume (because you are a knowledgeable and thoughtful U.S. Senator who has divined that lower-value currency is a blessing), earn for your family great riches and other “advantages.”

Do we have a deal?

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
Permalink: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/perm/?postID=14481
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What Are "American Built" Cars?

Posted on Nov. 15, 10 | 08:35 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Free Trade
From Rasmussen Reports:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 41% of Adults say they look for an American-built car first when shopping for automobiles. Slightly more (44%) say they look for the best possible deal regardless of where it’s manufactured. Just 12% prefer foreign-built cars.

So this begs the question, "what's an American-built car?"

Is a Daewoo (owned by GM) an American-built car?  Is a Mazda built by UAW workers on American soil an American-built car?  What about a Toyota Camry that has 80% of its parts made in the U.S.?
Permalink: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/perm/?postID=14475
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Think About the iPod

Posted on Oct. 25, 10 | 12:11 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Free Trade
From Shikha Dalmia in Forbes:

"Think about the IPod, for instance. It is designed in America and its 451 parts are made in dozens of different countries. But just because it is finally assembled in China, it officially counts as a Chinese import and therefore a contributor to America’s trade deficit — never mind that the Chinese add only $4 to the IPod’s $150 final value. Imposing duties on IPods to slash the deficit, then, won’t just cost Chinese jobs  in Beijing assembly plants, but American jobs in Cupertino (Apple’s headquarters) computer labs."

HT: Mark Perry
Permalink: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/perm/?postID=14323
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Protectionists Talk Turkey

Posted on Oct. 20, 10 | 09:24 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Free Trade
One way to bolster the economy is to increase global trade by lowering tariffs, but thanks to the protectionists in Congress (and one in the White House), that's not happening.  From Reuters:

The top U.S. trade official said on Tuesday the United States was unlikely to open its market to more textile goods from Turkey, as the two sides kicked off a high-level dialogue aimed at boosting trade.

"Turkey made a very strong case for what they would like to see happen. We were equally practical in trying to help them understand that this is a matter in which our Congress exercises very strong prerogative," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk told reporters after the talks.

Although the U.S. textile industry has dwindled over the years, the remaining companies are protected by double-digit import duties much higher than the average U.S. tariff rate of less than 2 percent.

Kirk said it would be hard for President Barack Obama to persuade Congress to waive those duties for Turkey, as the United States has done for some of the world's poorest countries to help foster economic growth.
Permalink: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/perm/?postID=14293
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Chile's Pinera: Free Trade Can Strengthen Economies

Posted on Oct. 11, 10 | 10:21 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Free Trade
GREAT QUOTE: "California has a surplus in the balance of payments with Chile. And we’re very happy with that because at the end of the day, the idea of free trade agreements is to create more flows of trade."

 
Permalink: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/perm/?postID=14237
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"The Enemy is Not Cheap Goods"

Posted on Oct. 06, 10 | 08:52 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Free Trade
That's the headline from Jeff Jacoby's latest column.  Here's more:

Experts can debate whether there is something unwarranted about China’s currency manipulation (which, as The New York Times points out, the World Trade Organization does not define as illegal). But there is no doubt whatever that its beneficiaries are legion, as a visit to any Wal-Mart or Target will confirm. Because it makes so many goods so affordable to so many people, China’s currency policy has been called “the greatest anti-poverty program in America.’’ And Congress wants to go to war to shut it down?

[...]Suppose Chinese firms were able to undersell their US competitors not because of Beijing’s currency policy, but thanks to a technological breakthrough that dramatically reduced Chinese manufacturing expenses. Or suppose Americans were flocking to buy made-in-China goods because Oprah Winfrey, Glenn Beck, Pastor Rick Warren, and Lady Gaga were all urging their followers to do so. Or because an eccentric billionaire was offering a 25 percent rebate on the purchase of anything imported from China. US firms might fume, but no one would expect Congress to “retaliate’’ on their behalf by slapping steep new taxes on Chinese products. Why should the bottom line be any different if consumers choose to “buy Chinese’’ because Beijing holds down the value of its currency?

Affordable imports are a godsend, not grounds for a trade war. It’s distressing that so many members of Congress have trouble understanding that. Maybe a return to private life would help them figure it out.
Permalink: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/perm/?postID=14205
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The Blue Dogs are Fierce Protectionists

Posted on Oct. 05, 10 | 09:21 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Free Trade

Blue Dog Democrats claim to be fiscal conservatives, but to them, that means holding the line on just taxes and spending. Nowhere in their agenda do they profess to be supporters of free trade, which is something you would expect from a true fiscal conservative.

There's a reason for that. The Blue Dogs, by and large, are huge protectionists.

96% of them (52 of 54) voted to slap tariffs on China last week. Before that, 86% of them (38 of 44) voted to block the free trade agreement with Colombia.

Worse still, twenty-three of them have sponsored the TRADE Act, which is the ultimate protectionist bill to sign up for. It would reopen all of our previous free trade agreements and essentially gut them. It's no wonder that the labor unions love it. Below is a complete list of where the Blue Dogs stand on all three. Incidentally, Henry Cuellar (TX-28) is the only Blue Dog who has a clean record.  Kudos to him.

If you'd like to see the full free trade voting records for the Blue Dogs, check out the Cato Institute's free trade scorecard here.

LEGEND
"-" - Bad vote
"+" - Good vote
"|" - was not in office
"X" - Absent
BOLD - TRADE Act sponsor

LAWMAKER COLOMBIA CHINA
Altmire (PA-04 ) - -
Arcuri (NY-24) - -
Baca (CA-43) - -
Barrow (GA-12) - -
Berry (AR-01) - -
Bishop, S. (GA-02) - -
Boren (OK-02) + -
Boswell (IA-03) - -
Boyd, A. (FL-02) + -
Bright (AL-02) I -
Cardoza (CA-18) - -
Carney (PA-10) - -
Chandler (KY-06) - -
Childers (MS-01) I -
Cooper (TN-05) + -
Costa (CA-20) - -
Cuellar (TX-28) + +
Dahlkemper (PA-03) I -
Davis, L. (TN-04) - -
Donnelly (IN-02) - -
Ellsworth (IN-08) - -
Giffords (AZ-08) - -
Gordon (TN-06) - -
Harman (CA-36) - -
Herseth Sandlin (SD-AL) - -
Hill (IN-09) + -
Holden (PA-17) - -
Kratovil (MD-01) I -
Markey, B. (CO-04) I -
Marshall (GA-08) - -
Matheson (UT-02) + -
McIntyre (NC-07) - -
Melancon (LA-03) - -
Michaud (ME-02) - -
Minnick (ID-01) I -
Mitchell (AZ-05) - +
Moore, D. (KS-03) - -
Murphy, P. (PA-08) - -
Murphy, S. (NY-20) I -
Nye (VA-02) I -
Peterson (MN-07) - -
Pomeroy (ND-AL) - -
Ross (AR-04) - -
Salazar, J. (CO-03) - -
Sanchez, Loretta (CA-47) - -
Schiff (CA-29) - -
Schrader (OR-05) I -
Scott, D. (GA-13) - -
Shuler (NC-11) - -
Space (OH-18) - -
Tanner (TN-08) X -
Taylor (MS-04) - -
Thompson, M. (CA-01) - -
Wilson, Charlie (OH-06) - -
 
Permalink: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/perm/?postID=14197
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House Passes Protectionist China Bill

Posted on Sep. 30, 10 | 10:10 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Free Trade
In a huge blow to free trade, the U.S. House passed a bill yesterday that would give the government more authority to slap tariffs on Chinese imports.  The bill was approved overwhelmingly 348-79.

Worse, a majority of Republicans supported it (99-74) and the delegations from a whopping 20 states voted for it unanimously.

If your representative voted for this bill and you have the opportunity to talk with him or her, ask them why they support increasing taxes (tariffs) on American consumers, especially when the economy is so fragile.  What a horrendous bill.
Permalink: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/perm/?postID=14168
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Translating Protectionist Rhetoric

Posted on Sep. 10, 10 | 09:37 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Free Trade
Two protectionists, Alan Tonelson and Kevin Kearns, wrote an op-ed in today's New York Times.  It included this key declaration:

"[A] successful recovery strategy will require aggressive measures to reduce the trade deficit — including new and expanded tariffs to encourage the sale of domestic goods over imports and a serious reindustrialization policy to create the manufacturing strength to exploit these new opportunities."

Encourage?  No, the more accurate word is "force."  This passage should have been written to say "we want to raise taxes on the American people by forcing them to purchase more expensive goods that are less preferable to them."
Permalink: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/perm/?postID=14028
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Lou Dobbs, Protectionist

Posted on Aug. 18, 10 | 12:34 PM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Free Trade
When economist Don Boudreaux called Lou Dobbs a protectionist back in April, Dobbs called Boudreaux "an idiot" in response.  

Earlier today, Boudreaux used Dobbs' own book as evidence of his entirely appropriate "protectionist" assertion.  

Who's the idiot now?
Permalink: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/perm/?postID=13919
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John Kerry Urges Passage of the South Korea FTA

Posted on May. 11, 10 | 11:42 AM by Andrew Roth | Topic: Free Trade
This is good news from an otherwise unreliable Senator.  From Reuter's Doug Palmer:

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry on Monday urged President Barack Obama to quickly press for a vote in Congress on a long-delayed free trade agreement with South Korea.

“The United States should work with South Korea to resolve legitimate concerns and quickly approve the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement,” the senior Democrat said in a statement touting the job-creating benefits of the pact.

Senator Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, joined Kerry in urging Obama to send the agreement to Congress for a vote “as soon as possible.”

[...]The senators’ plea for Obama to move quickly to resolve auto, beef and other trade concerns that have blocked the South Korean agreement came one week before South Korean Trade Minister Kim Jong-hoon is due in Washington.
Permalink: http://www.clubforgrowth.org/perm/?postID=13352
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