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Second Battle of NAFTA


By Patrick J. Buchanan

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Neither Hillary nor Obama has laid out a new trade-and-tax policy to deal with the de-industrialization of America and our deepening dependency on foreign technology, manufactures and the loans to pay for them. But at least they are listening to the country. John McCain seems blind and deaf to the crisis. In Michigan, he informed autoworkers their “jobs are not coming back” and explained his philosophy: “I’m a student of history. Every time the United States has become protectionist … we’ve paid a very heavy price.”

This is ahistorical nonsense. From 1860 to 1913, the United States was the most protectionist nation on earth and produced the most awesome growth of any nation in history. In 1860, the U.S. economy was half of Britain’s; in 1913, more than twice Britain’s.

Alexander Hamilton and James Madison moved the Tariff Act of 1789 through Congress. Aided by Henry Clay, John Calhoun, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, President Madison enacted the Tariff of 1816 to protect U.S. infant industries from British dumping. The 11 GOP presidents who followed, from 1865 to 1929, all protectionists, made America the greatest industrial power in history, with a standard of living never before seen. Mocking protectionism, McCain is repudiating Republican history and all its achievements up to the era of Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon.

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America rose to power behind a Republican tariff wall. What has free trade wrought? Lost sovereignty. A sinking dollar. A hollowing out of U.S. manufacturing. Stagnant wages. Wives forced into the labor market to maintain the family income. Mass indebtedness to foreign nations, and a deepening dependency on foreign goods and borrowings to pay for them. We have sacrificed our country on the altar of this Moloch, the mythical Global Economy.

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