Tag Archives: International Trade

New report finds that America is falling behind on international trade

This is a good editorial on why Obama’s policies haven’t led to more exports.


President Obama claims he’ll double U.S. exports in five years. But a new report from Congress shows U.S. firms losing major ground to competitors because he won’t act on free trade pacts with Colombia and Panama.

In a report titled “Losing Jobs and Alienating Friends: The Consequences of Falling Behind on Free Trade With Colombia and Panama,” the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Richard Lugar presents a bleak picture of Latin American markets and allies slipping away as the administration fails to enact the Colombia and Panama free-trade agreements.

While President Obama tries to get on the good side of business by saying he’d go forward with the U.S.-Korea free-trade deal, he’s making only vague statements of support for the other two treaties.

“What the president says matters a lot less than what he does,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday in calling for the passage of the long-languishing other two pacts.

Staffer Carl Meacham visited Colombia and Panama in late January and has returned with a long list of horror stories for the Foreign Relations Committee report to be released Tuesday. He tells of lost contracts, evaporating market share and unhappy allies writing off America as a partner in favor of new relationships with more trade-friendly partners like China.

The trend also affects other Latin states. Obama is getting ready to visit Brazil and Chile next month and will tout those new relationships. But he’s unlikely to note that both have quietly made China, instead of the U.S., their top trading partner.

In 10 years, China will also become the top trade partner of Colombia and Panama, nations that would rather have America in that spot. Without the trade pacts, however, it won’t happen.

Meacham found that the contractual losses to American companies in the absence of the pacts are already mounting. They include $5.25 billion for Panama Canal expansion, $1.5 billion for Panama City Metro construction and millions in highway contracts in both Panama and Colombia.

These contracts are going to foreigners from countries where duty-free trade has given their companies a competitive advantage as U.S. companies pay tariffs.

Meacham also found market-share losses in the same grim league, as Colombia signs off on free-trade deals with Canada (expected in two or three months), Europe (expected this summer) and South Korea (in third-stage negotiations in Los Angeles now).

Free trade is not only good for jobs, but also for foreign policy. It gives you leverage with a country because you’re more tightly coupled to them. Unfortunately, Obama is a socialist and he opposes free trade. So not only will be lose jobs, but also influence and goodwill abroad.

Fiscal and social conservatives unite in new free e-book “Indivisible”

There’s a new book that just came out from the Heritage Foundation, my favorite think tank.

Here’s an excerpt from the introduction by Jay Richards:

To listen to media and political strategists is to get the impression that American public life is a checklist of issues. Some are known as “social” issues (marriage, family) and some are known as “economic” (international trade, wages). There may be some good reasons for this distinction, but when we itemize and divide these topics into two separate categories, we fail to convey the underlying unity of the principles behind the American Experiment in ordered liberty. In reality, the two groups of issues are interdependent. For instance, a free economy cannot long exist in a culture that is hostile to it. The success of free market economic policies depends on important cultural and moral factors such as thrift, delayed gratification, hard work, and respect for the property of others. A virtuous and responsible populace derives, in turn, from strong families, churches, and other civil institutions.

Conversely, economic issues have a strong influence on culture and the institutions of civil society. High taxes, for example, put pressure on families and force parents to spend more time in the workforce, leaving less time to devote to their spouses and children. When government expands spending and control in education, it crowds out parental responsibility; when it expands its role in providing social welfare services, it tends to erode a sense of responsibility among churches and other groups doing good work to help neighbors in need.

The connections are such that the individual issues rarely fit neatly and exclusively into one set or the other. An “economic” issue is rarely exclusively about economics. For instance, poverty in America is often as much a moral and cultural problem as an economic problem. Reducing such poverty depends on civil institutions that inculcate virtue and responsibility as well as policies that promote economic freedom and discourage dependency. Most poverty among children in America is not caused by a lack of jobs but rather by factors such as family breakdown, negligent or absentee parents, substance abuse, or other social pathologies. To consider American poverty in strictly economic terms is to fail to see the full scale of issues involved in this problem.

[…]The following essays are intended as a concise exploration of the link between liberty and human dignity and of the policy issues that tend to cluster around these two themes in American life. This collection brings together a number of well-known social and economic conservatives. To encourage cross-fertilization of their ideas, those known as social conservatives have written on themes normally identified with economic conservatives, and vice versa. The authors highlight economic arguments for issues typically categorized as “social” and social/moral arguments for “economic” issues. Each author focuses on a single topic, briefly summarized below, that is associated with either social or economic conservatives or, in some cases, both.

That’s also one of the main purposes of my blog, to show how fiscal conservatives and social conservatives depend on each other.

Here are the essays and authors:

  • Civil Society: Moral Arguments for Limiting Government – Joseph G. Lehman
  • Rule of Law: Economic Prosperity Requires the Rule of Law – J. Kenneth Blackwell
  • Life: The Cause of Life Can’t be Severed from the Cause of Freedom – Representative Paul Ryan
  • Free Exchange: Morality and Economic Freedom – Jim Daly with Glenn T. Stanton
  • Marriage: The Limited-Government Case for Marriage – Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.
  • Profit: Prophets and Profit – Marvin Olasky, Ph.D.
  • Family: Washington’s War on the Family and Free Enterprise – Stephen Moore
  • Wages: The Value of Wages – Bishop Harry R. Jackson, Jr.
  • Religion:  Why Faith Is a Good Investment – Arthur Brooks, Ph.D., and Robin Currie
  • International Trade: Why Trade Works for Family, Community, and Sovereignty – Ramesh Ponnuru
  • Culture: A Culture of Responsibility – Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.
  • Property: Property and the Pursuit of Happiness – Representative Michele Bachmann
  • Environment: Conserving Creation – Tony Perkins
  • Education: A Unified Vision for Education Choice – Randy Hicks

Seeing the names of people paired with these topics just blows my mind. It would be as though William Lane Craig were suddenly to write a book defending free market capitalism or the war on Islamic terrorism. It’s just WEIRD. And you’ll notice that many of the Wintery Knight’s favorite people are in there; Paul Ryan, Michele Bachmann, Jennifer Roback Morse.  I also like Stephen Moore’s writing a lot.

The entire book is available for free as a PDF download, or you can order it from the Heritage Foundation. I ordered 10 copies of everything at the store, because I wanted a bunch to give away to all my friends. I think this is the perfect gift to give someone who doesn’t see the relevance of public policy to Christianity, marriage and parenting. There is no such thing as an informed Christian who is fiscally liberally or socially liberal.

Oh, and by the way: Ryan/Bachmann 2012 for the win!