Speaking at the Alumisource manufacturing plant in Monessen, Pennsylvania, on June 28, Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump outlined his plan to “Make America Great Again,” focusing on globalization, which he blamed for “moving our jobs, our wealth, and our factories to Mexico and overseas.”
During his 35-minute speech, Trump repeatedly attacked the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, whom he blamed for joining her husband in supporting the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.
NAFTA was the worst trade deal in history, and China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization has enabled the greatest jobs theft in history.
It was Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA in 1993, and Hillary Clinton who supported it.
It was also Bill Clinton who lobbied for China’s disastrous entry into the World Trade Organization, and Hillary Clinton who backed that terrible agreement.
Then, as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton stood by idly while China cheated on its currency, added another trillion dollars to our trade deficits, and stole hundreds of billions of dollars in our intellectual property.
Trump’s remarks were addressed to a group of factory workers in an area of Pennsylvania that has been hard hit in recent decades, as the Pittsburgh area steel industry went into decline and tens of thousands of jobs were lost. He told the workers:
Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache.
When subsidized foreign steel is dumped into our markets, threatening our factories, the politicians do nothing.
For years, they watched on the sidelines as our jobs vanished and our communities were plunged into depression-level unemployment.
He added, “Many Pennsylvania towns once thriving and humming are now in a state of despair.”
During his talk, Trump cited our nation’s poor balance of trade as a contributing factor to our poor job market, stating: "Today we import nearly $800 billion more in goods than we export. This is not some natural disaster. It is politician-made disaster."
In what may have been a new talking point for a candidate who usually sticks to today’s issues rather than historic ones, Trump quoted several early American leaders, saying:
George Washington said that “the promotion of domestic manufactur[ing] will be among the first consequences to flow from an energetic government.”
Alexander Hamilton spoke frequently of the “expediency of encouraging manufactur[ing] in the United States.” The first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, warned that: “The abandonment of the protective policy by the American government ... must produce want and ruin among our people.”
He followed up those quote by observing: “Our original Constitution did not even have an income tax. Instead, it had tariffs — emphasizing taxation of foreign, not domestic, production.”
While he did not suggest abandoning the income tax and returning to financing our federal government by means of tariffs, Trump’s reminder of how things “used to be” is certainly food for thought.
Some of his most significant remarks were his warnings against the Trans Pacific Partnership — or TPP. He stated:
The Transpacific-Partnership is the greatest danger yet.
The TPP would be the death blow for American manufacturing.
It would give up all of our economic leverage to an international commission that would put the interests of foreign countries above our own.
It would further open our markets to aggressive currency cheaters. It would make it easier for our trading competitors to ship cheap subsidized goods into U.S. markets — while allowing foreign countries to continue putting barriers in front of our exports.
The TPP would lower tariffs on foreign cars, while leaving in place the foreign practices that keep American cars from being sold overseas. The TPP even created a backdoor for China to supply car parts for automobiles made in Mexico.
The agreement would also force American workers to compete directly against workers from Vietnam, one of the lowest-wage countries on Earth.
Not only will the TPP undermine our economy, but it will undermine our independence.
The TPP creates a new international commission that makes decisions the American people can't veto.
Trump went on to contrast his opposition to the TPP with Clinton’s support of it, saying: “It should be no surprise then that Hillary Clinton, according to Bloomberg, took a ‘leading part in drafting the Trans-Pacific Partnership.’”
Trump then proposed seven steps that he would implement if elected president that he said would bring back jobs. Among these are:
• Withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
• Tell our NAFTA partners that he intends to renegotiate the terms of that agreement “to get a better deal for our workers.” If they do not agree to a renegotiation, then he will “submit notice under Article 2205 of the NAFTA agreement that America intends to withdraw from the deal.”
• Instruct the U.S. Trade Representative to bring trade cases against China, both in this country and at the WTO, on the grounds that China's unfair subsidy behavior is prohibited by the terms of its entrance to the WTO.
• If China does not stop its illegal activities, including its theft of American trade secrets, Trump would use “every lawful presidential power to remedy trade disputes, including the application of tariffs consistent with Section 201 and 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.”
While most of Trump’s stated plans for trade policies sound sensible, we must emphasize that all political candidates’ promises must be viewed with skepticism, since even the most conservative-sounding candidates, including the much-liked Ronald Reagan, broke many of their campaign promises. For this and other reasons, neither The New American nor its affiliated educational action organization, The John Birch Society, ever endorses political candidates.
That said, it is worth taking a brief look at the webpage created to promote The John Birch Society’s ongoing campaign: “Choose Freedom — Stop the Free Trade Agenda.”
The introductory statement on the page explains:
Free trade agreements have decimated the base of American manufacturing by off-shoring jobs and factories, fueling the import of cheap foreign-made (and sometimes deadly) products. A free trade agreement is nothing more than trade heavily regulated by unaccountable regional governmental bodies that operate outside of the American judicial system. The global power elites view multilateral free trade agreements as one of their main vehicles for establishing, step-by-step, socialistic regional governments controlled by themselves as stepping stones toward a socialistic global government under the United Nations. Take action today to tell Congress to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Then learn more, so you can tell others to help.
It is worth viewing all the material on the webpage and following the links found there to read a wealth of information exposing the entangling, sovereignty-destroying agreements sold to an unsuspecting American public under the guise of “free trade.”