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Restore protective fees for imports: the chimera of "free trade"

By       Message Doug Korthof     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H2 7/11/09

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Speculators successfully repackaged the idea of predatory pricing as "fair trade", spurred perhaps by the ideas of amateur economist Ricardo. His corruption of Utilitarianism proclaimed that a few layoffs are justified by lower prices for all.

The old U.S. idea of protective tariffs -- fees -- for foreign goods was defeated. Common sense once told us that only such equalizing fees barred predatory foreign goods from destroying our manufacturing and causing our financial ruin.

Tariffs are as old as the battle against unfair English Colonial law, and all the Founding Fathers expected them as a matter of course. No one would be crazy enough to do away with those protections, they might have said; it's a matter of national survival.

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Currently, there is no bar to "free trade" -- predatory pricing -- as U.S. businesses feel the "Force to Outsource". Industry after industry has been helpless before the forces of predatory fast-money speculators, who bankrupt them, one by one, for their personal gain.

Each industry has faced the test alone, been broken, and then fast-money artists moved on to the next victim.

Honest U.S. lock makers, for example, found it impossible to continue making locks in this country, due not to "over-regulation" -- although there is that, too. What drove them to fire U.S. machinists, trainees, packagers, etc., was that they could buy subcomponents and, eventually, entire locks from outsource brokers.

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Thus, there is no longer a path to a good blue-collar job; no way to start as a drill press operator, learn how to run the lathe, then become a setup or NC machinist.

These worthy occupations were killed by "make to print" dealers who take specifications and name a price; the outsourcing company then receives a flood of cheap goods.

Each box of illicit foreign "Wal-Crap" masks a sea of misery: child labor, broken bones, amputations, sweat shop rules, political oppression -- a devil's brew of unheard moans, ignored cries and silent screams.

All that is visible are inert boxes of seemingly innocent outsourced components.

Pretty soon, the outsourcing business, like Mattel, Maganvox, GM, Frigidaire, printers, toasters, clothing mills, etc., even phone banks and data processing, joins the club of what they think of as the "new reality", where they are "design shops" and simply dream up blueprints and tasks to send overseas for manufacture or performance.

Eventually, you couldn't find a sock, much less a shoe, that isn't "Made in China" or other slave-labor market.

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Now that's the FIRST step to ruin, the fantasy of "becoming a design shop" and not realizing that everything has changed, and our productivity is gone, flown away with the orders and the money.

The SECOND step is the worst: after learning how to make the goods, the foreign sweat shops decide that they can design, them, too, and thus undercut the higher-paid engineers, sales people, clerical staff, inventors, managers and whatever workers are still left.

So the white-collar workers join their manufacturing brethren on the scrap heap of the unemployed and the unemployable.

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