It missed my attention yesterday, but the Democrats have injected a “Buy American” Rider into the stimulus package that the House of Representatives passed yesterday. Words cannot properly express my disillusionment with this, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway. Protectionism is one of the most short-sighted, xenophobic policies that politicians can enact, but that didn’t stop the Democrats from jumping on that bandwagon with gusto. I guess it won’t be too long now before the same ardent liberals who hated America when President Bush was leading our nation will soon be swept up into an overzealous level of nationalism either. Because if history has taught us one thing it’s that Protectionism and nationalism have always resulted in positive effects, right?
This comes as no surprise, either. The Democrats are fervently opposed to free trade agreements. They fail to recognize the many benefits of free trade, from lower prices enjoyed both American and international consumers, an increase in capital flows, new levels of diplomatic relationships, and an increase of freedoms both at home and abroad. They apparently have absolutely no clue that the economy is globalized. When the last time you bought a product that was was made entirely in America? That is, no part of the item, no component, no customer support, no shipping, had value added services from another nation. I wonder if they realize how many international companies employ American workers and vice versa.
I wonder what their feelings are about the workers of Circuit City who had the audacity to sell goods that were made in foreign nations. Are they happy that 35,000 people lost their jobs and that maybe a few more Sony products won’t be sold here in America? I wonder if they’ll ship the Statue of Liberty back to France, it’s not American made, after all.
Many leading CEOs are shocked that this provision was included in this bill, even ones who are receiving assistance from the government as we speak. No good has ever come from protectionism and this type of shameless, harmful political gimmick hurts America badly. How fast will the WTO haul us in for reviews and how much retaliation will other nations seek against us if we refuse to import their goods. For that matter, how much capital will stop flowing in that helps to offset our balance deficit?
Remember all that talk about America being “ready to lead again?” Is this leadership? Slapping every nation that we trade with in the face and essentially pinning the blame for some of the problems that our government has created on our allies and trading partners? How do you think that will go over with world leaders?
You should also keep in mind that all rational consumers buy the best value at the best price. If two items are of the same quality and the distinction is price, you buy the item with the lower price. That being said, if we are in such dire straits that the Government wants to go on a massive spending binge, we now know that not only will be ineffective it will also by its very nature not be cost effective in the least. The Democrats are willing to pay more for items which will result in even lower amounts of quantities purchased with which to work with, while alienating markets altogether and hurting American opportunities overseas.