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Paul Craig Roberts on Ron Paul, Citizens United, the fiscal cliff, and America today

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Cross-posted from Paul Craig Roberts

Recently, I was interviewed by Washington Times columnist Joseph Cotto about a variety of issues -- the financial quandary this nation is facing, and the politics of it all.

This article, which appeared first in The Washington Times was reproduced with required written permission from Joseph Cotto. Read it below...

The Conscience of a Realist  by Joseph Cotto

FLORIDA, December 5, 2012 -- Most pundits talk a good game about economics and politics. Few, however, are prepared to deliver anything beyond a superficial analysis of our time's most controversial issues.

At times it seems like peer pressure and the groupthink it breeds are more important than life's inescapable realities.

Thankfully, Paul Craig Roberts seems immune to this syndrome. As an assistant Treasury secretary under Ronald Reagan, he played a key role in formulating the Gipper's now-legendary fiscal policy. As a journalist, he made no scruples about reporting the facts as he saw them. Now, as a columnist, he shares his opinions about America's turbulent sociopolitical climate.

Agree or disagree with Roberts, and for me it depends on the day, one would have tremendous difficulty doubting that his ideas are genuine, and arrived at on an independent basis.

So, can America escape the clutches of the Great Recession and reclaim its economic vitality? What has the impact of free trade really been on our country? Did the Ron Paul movement bring any particularly important issues to the forefront?

Allow Dr. Roberts to explain about all of this and much, much more.

***

Joseph F. CottoAmerica remains firmly caught in the Great Recession's clutches. How do you think that our country can reclaim its economic vitality?

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: The US cannot reclaim its economic vitality, which US corporations have sent abroad to India, China, and elsewhere, unless it can retrieve the offshored middle class jobs. The only way in which the US can retrieve its middle class jobs is to tax US corporations according to the geographical location at which value is added to their product.

If corporations produce domestically with US labor, they would have a low tax rate. If corporations produce abroad they would have a high tax rate.
The tax rate can be calculated to more than offset the lower cost of foreign labor and, thus, cancel the excess profits that corporations make from substituting low cost foreign labor for US labor.

CottoProminent economists and politicians often say that free trade will only benefit America in the long run. What are your opinions about this idea?

Dr. Roberts: Ralph E. Gomory and William J. Baumol have proven conclusively in their 2000 MIT Press book, Global Trade and Conflicting National Interests, that David Ricardo's free trade theory was incorrect from the beginning. Therefore, the free trade issue is mute and a red herring.

Jobs offshoring is not free trade. Even if free trade theory was correct, jobs offshoring is pursuit of absolute advantage, the opposite of comparative advantage, which is the basis for the free trade argument. The economists who continue to advocate free trade and continue to confuse jobs offshoring with free trade are simply incompetent and professionally ignorant.

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http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente's Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available here. His latest book,  How America Was Lost, has just been released and can be ordered here.

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When police meet for roll call, who do you think p... by Steven G. Erickson on Thursday, Dec 6, 2012 at 12:58:38 PM