What will tariffs cost us?
To the Editor,
If we enact tariffs to protect and promote domestic production, and thus increase employment, the free traders are correct; it will increase costs to the consumer. How can it not when China, whom we have the largest accumulated trade deficit and is our biggest competitor, freely pollutes, manipulates its currency, dumps, steals, pirates, counterfeits, falsifies quality control documentation, uses child labor and sweat shops and pays a fraction of what we do for labor?
The free trade band wagon for the last quarter of a century has been preaching importing cheaper goods is better for our economy regardless of the “temporary disruption” to our work force. That “temporary disruption” has taken the greatest economy in the world from WWII to the mid 80s on a downward spiral of both wages and the living standard of the middle class in 25 short years.
So, overall have cheaper imports really been good for our economy? Has it been better for our country? Has it been good for our society when wealth accumulation has become more concentrated in fewer hands, we have more than ever jobless college graduates swamped with loans, while our country is drowning nationally in debt, our standard of living is decreasing, and half of the workforce is supporting through taxes and various programs the other non-taxpayer half?
From a societal standpoint, work gives purpose and promotes growth. In addition, one becomes a contributing productive member of society as well as a tax payer as opposed to a tax on society for a whole host of reasons associated today with too many of the idle.
Chinese imports are notoriously inferior in quality. We are lucky if their useful life is a third of what the same product was when manufactured in the U.S. So we pay half of what we used to for goods, but have to replace them three times more often!
Historically, giant economic powers become military super powers. The reverse is also true. Look at the fall of the Soviet Union. it disintegrated when its economy collapsed. At 20 trillion in national debt, as well as trillions in trade deficits and counting, we are an economic paper tiger on a fast track to being a shadow of our past.
China on the other hand, although ethically bankrupt, is a lender not a borrower, is growing its economy at 8 percent a year, is engaged in a prolonged military build up, and is beginning to flex its muscles toward its Asian neighbors. When China becomes a military super power, who will have the means to confront her!
Yes, it will cost us consumers more to enact tariffs to once again put our people back to work, grow our economy, and have the tax base to balance our budget and thus begin to live within our means — which besides work is an essential ingredient to prosperity.
What will it cost us if we don’t?