Friday, July 29, 2005

My View on CAFTA

I threw up a post on CAFTA yesterday that spakred some internal comments on how we as a party view our "targets" in House races for 2006. Anyways, BlueInTheCommonwealth_Va brought the conversation back onto CAFTA with his comments. I though I would respond here and leave the thread open for discussion. I am really tired of the hypocricy of the liberal folks on the issue of free trade and other such economic issues. The left will sit here and constantly whine about the "free trade" concept being an absolutely horrible idea for a multitude of reasons (loss of jobs, exploiting third world, unfair labor practices, etc.). But, the left is more than willing to take YOUR tax dollars and send to a third world country as part of good ole "foriegn aide". Newflash to everyone on the left... The best way for third world countries to develop and prosper is by allowing them to compete on the global market with the United States. Free and open trade builds not only the economy of a country, but also the freedoms available to their peoples through overall prosperity of their country. This mindset though seems to be the overall mindset of the left. The third world countries are much like the downtrodden of our society. The best way to get them back on their feet is to give them the opportunities to develop themselves. Foriegn corporations, much like individuals, will succeed in the marketplace because they provide the best product at the best price. Handing them money and telling them to build themselves a better life is such a farse because they have no idea what to do when they have the funds. Or, the money is spent to advance causes I am sure the left would not like(other than maintain a communist regime). The ironic fact is the capitalist mentality of economic freedom and individual prosperity is what has given the liberal left its ability to speak their mind and attack our system constantly. I agree with CAFTA. If American business and products are truly superior than we should have little to worry about. I would much rather be partners with the countries of North and Central America than act like dad on Friday night giving them $20 to go on a date. Two lines in closing I think fit:

Give a man a fish and he eats once, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. In any society the rich will always be rich, only in an open free economy does the rest of society receive the oppurtunity to buld their own assets and truly prosper.


At 7/29/2005 09:40:00 AM, Blogger Ben Kyber said...

Unfortionately, free trade agreements often don't pave the way for third world industry expanding and finding a market in the US. Usually US companies find a cheap way to produce in a foreign country. That helps no one except the corporation and the American consumer, who can now buy the good for a lower price.

If there was some sort of inter-treaty wage requirement mentioned in the agreement, it would be MORE preferable, but still wouldn't combat the problem of lost jobs due to outsourcing.

At 7/29/2005 09:51:00 AM, Blogger James Young said...

blue makes comments that you might expect from one who: (1) is educated in the public schools; and (2) never had a job. I give him credit, however, for skillful and reflexive parroting of Democrat talking points.

At 7/29/2005 11:00:00 AM, Blogger Ben Kyber said...

I love that guy! Hes like a mini-Sean Hannity!

At 7/29/2005 12:37:00 PM, Blogger James Young said...

Only not nearly so handsome nor well-paid.

At 7/29/2005 04:34:00 PM, Anonymous Waldo Jaquith said...

I think it would be nice if we could discuss the relative merits of people's ideas, rather than attacking the people themselves.

James, I can only assume that "BlueInTheCommonwealth_Va" said something with which you disagree, but I conclude (perhaps wrongly) that you have conceded the merits of the discussion to him, because you've neither rebutted them nor demurred ("you're wrong, but it's a big and confusing topic that probably isn't suited for a blog conversation"), but instead disparaged the poster.

FWIW, I am opposed to CAFTA and its effects, but I recognize that it would be folly to fight globalization, and bad global economic policy to close off our borders. It can be very difficult to reconcile this with a conversation with an individual who has just been laid off from their job as a direct result of a free trade agreement, and it's for that reason that I tend to oppose such things, even in the face of logic.

At 7/29/2005 05:27:00 PM, Blogger Ben Kyber said...

Go Waldo!

Sorry to say...Mr. Young practically follows me around and does that to every post i make anywhere.

Apparently i'm just a liberal public school educated brat. Not good enough for an upstanding member of the federalist society.

At 7/29/2005 07:16:00 PM, Blogger The Chief said...

The problem with free trade agreements is that their benefits are generally absorbed in increments-the price in the store that never seems to change, for example, whereas the cost is felt in a lump sum, like when a person loses their job. Free trade holds the promise of a globalized economy that produces goods most efficiently while valuing education and human rights. But until then, the short run costs seem worse.

At 7/30/2005 01:24:00 AM, Blogger criticallythinking said...

If you teach a man to fish well enough, he will do the work of 10 men. And 9 of them will now have to find new work.

Is that a good thing, or a bad thing? depends on whether you are the employer of the 1 man, or one of the other 10.

But know this: We will never prosper trading with ourselves. And no matter what we do in the rest of the world, EVENTUALLY they will learn how to manufacture things that we manufacture.

And then we will be right back at the problem of how we compete with our high-STANDARD_OF_LIVING products against products built by people who are JUST AS SKILLED (after all, they are human beings just as we are), in plants that are just as modern. But those people have a standard of living 1/10th of ours, because they don't live in the land of excess known as america. So they work for 1/10th the money, and therefore their products are much cheaper.

Free trade might get them sales here against our own manufacturers. But without free trade they will still beat us in the foreign markets, so unless we force america to buy american we will not be any better off.

What we need is to somehow raise the standard of living (and expectations) of the entire world so that every worker who might have a chance to work in a high-tech plant will also expect a big-screen TV with cable and high-speed internet, and little boxes which play music you can steal off the internet.

So long as some people in the world are OK with living in cardboard huts, while we live in $500,000 houses (which oddly enough are often sheathed in carboard and plastic), it will be hard to compete on worker cost.

As for the rest, it is hard to imagine that a country getting a high-tech plant is really concerned with, or even recognises, whether the plant is an evolution of a third-world industry, or is a transplanted american-owned plant. Either provides jobs for the locals, and tax revenue for the country, and ships its goods cheaply back to the USA.

Trade barriers are most often nothing more than dikes built to keep nature from going where it wants, and they have the same end success. Years when everything looks peachy, followed by sudden and catastrophic failure.

At 7/30/2005 11:35:00 AM, Blogger James Young said...

The real problem is that the protectionists ... er, "fair traders," lost the argument over free trade decades ago and worldwide, in the disaster which was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Bill.

Imposing socialism is so much more difficult when the world embraces competition and its benefits.

And Waldo, while I find things about "blue" which are to his credit --- he's fairly respectful in his form of address, and he has an element of courage in putting out his idea, though under a pseudonym (unlike you and I) --- it is difficult to take seriously on economic issues a self-identified 17-year-old who's very likely never held a meaningful job, or paid taxes, and therefore does not understand the burdens that government imposes upon those of us who do, or the benefits of free trade that we all enjoy with the availability of cheaper goods and services. Just like it's very difficult to take seriously limousine liberals who want government to seize the wages of my work, but don't divest themselves of their wealth for the benefit of the poor. Or environmentalist wackos who support Kyoto, but whose mode of transportation is anything more complicated that a bicycle. Arianna Huffington and her private jet trips come to mind.

And P.S. --- with all that having been said, I've never even owned a foreign car (both Gramps and his father were GM dealers, so it might be genetic). I wonder how many vocal opponents of CAFTA have or do? I'm pretty sure that's a hypocrisy check item, too.

At 7/31/2005 12:39:00 AM, Blogger Ben Kyber said...

1. I sincerely appreciate the nice things you said about me. Thank you.

2.But my age shouldn't matter. I seem to be facing an undue amount of age-discrimination lately.

3. I do hold a meaningful job, a union job, and I work with people everyday who do what I do for a living. I've met with union leaders to discuss CAFTA's impacts on labor, both in the US and abroad. Both low-wage workers and union officials also weigh the benefits of lower prices vs. the loss of jobs, exploitation of foreign workers, etc. when they decide their stance on the matter, just as you do. It seems, in almost all cases, they seem to oppose it. I tend to believe that whatever is good for those who have the least is the best course of action.

4. I paid taxes last year.

At 8/01/2005 09:55:00 AM, Blogger James Young said...

Rejoinder to 2: As P.J. O'Rourke once observed in a book title, "Age and Guile Beat Youth, Inexperience, and a Bad Haircut." Lacking a basis for comparison, I make no comment upon the haircut.

Rejoinder to 3: Union bosses ALWAYS hate competition; that't why they demand monopoly bargaining privileges, among other things.

Rejoinder to 4: I don't doubt it. But unless you're a trust fund baby, it was substantially less than what my family paid. Indeed, with my income, I not only support my family, but -- with taxes -- one or two others on welfare, too. As for that portion which went into Social Security, if you believe that you're ever going to see any of that, at your age, then your more naive than I thought possible. I'm 41, and I'm not enough of a damn fool to believe that I will.

At 8/01/2005 01:42:00 PM, Anonymous marty nohe said...


"I've never even owned a foreign car..."

Didn't I see you driving a fairly new 'Buick Rendevous' the other day? If so, did you know that they are built in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico? If it wasn't you, or wasn't your car, I apologize.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. I, for one, make no apologies for driving an auto that was made with pride in Torslanda, Sweden... Free Trade is a great thing.

At 8/04/2005 12:53:00 PM, Blogger James Young said...

Yes, you did. Anyone who's going to buy a new car in the next two years should've done so in the last two months, with these deals. Didn't know where it was made. "Buick" was on the vehicle, so that says "American" to me. And the profits stay here.
However, this wasn't a subtle slap at you.
Besides, I'm here because of a Buick. No, no, it's not what you think. Dad was the Buick District Manager who persuaded Gramps to take on the line in his Pontiac/Cadillac dealership, and met and married my mother. Hence, I am here because of a Buick.


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