Monday, January 12, 2009

A sign of hope? Yes, I think so ...

This is so great. I'm so excited that nations around the world are finally starting to realize that building economies inside their own borders is the way to prosperity, security, and long-term economic growth: ["Surge in Protectionism Threatens to Deepen World-Wide Crisis"].
Ignore the illegitimate headline. It's not true. If you invest, build, and hire within your own borders, your wealth stays with your own borders! It really is that simple ... and true.
Despite what everyone is taught in elite business schools, our nation was built on protectionism. Most of the Founding Fathers were protectionist. Abraham Lincoln and most presidents after the Civil War were protectionist. It was Lincoln who helped to create the American steel industry by stating something along the lines that if the country bought steel from England, the nation would have the steel but the money would be gone, but if the steel for the railroad system was built and bought in America, the country would have both the steel and the money.
Tariffs did not extend the Great Depression - that is one of the big lies out there. And, the "free trade" mantra was only forwarded by the cultists in the 1970s. It was not public policy before that time [although, some people were noodling with the idea and there were Founders who were not protectionist].
But what happened here in the United States when the free traders got control of the economy, the media, and the business schools? The middle class got fried, poverty rates soared, crime, social ills, and divorce skyrocketed, and wealth rose to the top, to the point that just a few hundred super rich folks pretty much control everything [and frankly, still do, now that we have given them trillions of our treasure]. It is worse in the nations of the world.
I have spoken and written about this many times, for so many years, it's a bit dizzying. The key to global economic growth and stability is to lift the economies of the world up to our level - not drop us to their level, which is what has been happening. The only way to bring those economies up is for them to create macro economies inside their own borders which will build wealth, worker security, and economic development.
Here's a great quote by President William McKinley, just as an aside:
"Under free trade the trader is the master and the producer the slave. Protection is but the law of nature, the law of self-preservation, of self-development, of securing the highest and best destiny of the race of man."
Beyond Pat Buchanan, when was the last time a Republican talked like that? You know, that was the GOP once.
I have always said, pleaded, begged, if you will, for our national leaders to insist on creating a global economy based on a level economic playing field. Instead of creating free trade slaves throughout the world, to feed our retail economy, let's build their economies up. Let's get them making products for themselves. That investment will reinvest in other things and bring their living standards up.
Well, now, with our economic collapse, this is the time! It's a perfect opportunity to fix everything. There is no American retail economy any more. It's gone. The nation is busted. Broke. At 19 percent interest. We can't afford the cheap Chinese and Mexican imports marked up 2,000 percent. Mark it down to 90 percent off, we still can't buy them. What are we going to do without our cheap shoes? How will we survive if we can't go shopping? How are the other countries going to make ends meet when we can't buy the soccer goods made by children at 5 cents an hour? And this is just the retail sector, never mind the government, which is in hock $12 trillion, at least, with bloated defense budgets, war machines that can kill people a thousand times over, and way too many employees doing nothing but shuffling paper around. It should all fall down or be totally ripped apart and redone from scratch.
Now is the time to start investing in ourselves and now is the time for other countries to start investing in themselves too. Now is the time!
Maybe it's because it is early in the morning and I have had too much coffee or the snow is beautiful outside or I'm happy and healthy or whatever. But at this moment, I have never felt more hopeful about economic things than I have in years. And no, it has nothing to do with Obama and the Democrats. They will probably screw things up just like Clinton did. Mark my words, they will.
I think it is just that you can't really fix things until you get to the bottom and work you way back up again, and it looks like we're getting close to the bottom. The shift to global protectionism is a sign - a good sign - of what is possible, meaningful, and just. It truly is. Don't listen to the naysayers. If we all stick together on this one, focus on what is important, and help each other out, everything will be OK. It will take a while. There will be pain. But in the end, there is reason to be hopeful and optimistic. I can feel it.

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