Free Trade

Free trade is about economic freedom and limited government. People should have the right to buy and sell from whomever they please, without the interference of government. When government hinders the otherwise free flow of goods and services it ends up picking winners and losers in the marketplace. For instance, if China is allegedly “dumping” cheap steel into the country, and the U.S. government responds by enacting some form of a trade barrier (often a tariff), then negative consequences occur. Yes, the domestic steel industry might experience relief, but the American businesses that use imported steel to make a final product (i.e. auto companies, construction) will suffer, as will the final purchasers of those products. All the while, government grows its bureaucracy and the revenue it takes in from American taxpayers. Therefore, in the end, the costs of protectionism are largely borne not by some foreign country, but by American businesses, consumers and taxpayers.

Policy Recommendations:

  • Take unilateral action to repeal the remaining protectionist policies and trade barriers that are a drag on growth and prosperity.
  • Ensure that the costs of physically moving goods into, out of, and around the United States are not unduly burdensome.
  • Encourage Congress and the President to promote all of the benefits of trade, including the tremendous value that imports have, rather than continue the mercantilist-Keynesian rhetoric that “exports are good and imports are bad.”
  • Permanently terminate all trade-distorting export subsidy programs like the Ex-Im Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
  • Eliminate all agricultural subsidies like direct payments, crop insurance, and quotas.

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