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Lemmings Watch
Howard Richman, 4/22/2015

I just found a poll on FastTrack. It does not bode well for those who promote it. Here's a selection:

Two-thirds (68%) of Republicans say they are less likely to vote for a Member of Congress who votes to give President Obama fast-track authority. Among the conservative Republicans who dominate many primary electorates, this figure is an extraordinary 74%.

We are about to observe an extraordinary political event. Those Republicans who promote trade with mercantilist countries (countries that maximize their trade surpluses) are about to commit mass suicide. It is becoming clear that they are not only voting for America's continuing economic decline, but they are also voting for their own electoral defeat. 

Hopefully, the Republican candidate for President will break with this lemming tendency. Just this week, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin broke with the other Republican presidential candidates on immigration. Instead, he took a position in favor of the American worker:

Well the one thing they're not saying is we need to make sure as part of that any future legal immigration system that goes forward has to account for American citizens and the workers of this country and their wages to make sure that even with legal immigration in this country we respond to it in a way that doesn’t take jobs away from hardworking Americans.

My hope is that whoever runs for President in 2016 will reach out to those economists who understand trade (e.g., Peter Morici, Ralph Gomory, Clyde Prestowitz, ourselves). The majority of Republicans in Washington believe the myth that increased exports produce economic growth, even when imports grow faster.

We debunked that myth with a graph that we published in our American Thinker commentary about FastTrack (Fast Track to a Bad Deal). Here's that graph:

This graph shows that the slowdown in American long-term growth (shown in black) in recent decades closely parallels the worsening U.S. trade deficit (shown in blue), but has little to do with increasing U.S. exports (shown in red).

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  • [An] extensive argument for balanced trade, and a program to achieve balanced trade is presented in Trading Away Our Future, by Raymond Richman, Howard Richman and Jesse Richman. “A minimum standard for ensuring that trade does benefit all is that trade should be relatively in balance.” [Balanced Trade entry]

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  • [Trading Away Our Future] Examines the costs and benefits of U.S. trade and tax policies. Discusses why trade deficits matter; root of the trade deficit; the “ostrich” and “eagles” attitudes; how to balance trade; taxation of capital gains; the real estate tax; the corporate income tax; solving the low savings problem; how to protect one’s assets; and a program for a strong America....

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  • In Trading Away Our Future   Richman ... advocates the immediate adoption of a set of public policy proposal designed to reduce the trade deficit and increase domestic savings.... the set of public policy proposals is a wake-up call... [February 17, 2009 review by T.H. Cate]