The globalists have co-opted a beautiful term: free trade. As the mini-Maos congregated in Davos, Switzerland, for the annual World Economic Forum, the inner authoritarians came forth and offered their public policy proposals for the upcoming year. It was the typical clarion call of the acolytes of the globalist agenda: more free trade and mass immigration. At least half of these terms might be music to the ears of conservatives or libertarians, but there is something rotten in Denmark.
Free Trade and Immigration
Suzanne P. Clark, the US Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, delivered her yearly State of American Business keynote address with a spotlight on the “Agenda for American Strength.” It was a blend of espousing American exceptionalism and presenting items from the globalism laundry list. “Business is ready—we’re not waiting. We’re putting forward a plan, because that’s what business does… that’s why business works,” Clark said.
One of her talking points was to advocate for a “government that rejects gridlock and chooses governing.” But a broken government is good for business because it prevents the state from creating more ways to regulate and restrict the private sector. Another concept worthy of applause is requesting Washington “accelerate permitting for new exploration and production” and “quickly finalize a five-year program for offshore leasing.” By engaging in permitting reform, even clean energy projects can be finished faster and more efficiently, according to Clark.
Here are two of Clark’s demands that require further discussion: expanding free trade “with our global partners” and approving two million immigrants per year. So, let’s break this down and dive a bit deeper.
Managed Trade Is a Better Term
Right now, does the United States have free trade? Despite all the names suggesting the US government has facilitated such an environment, this is only partially accurate. What the nation presently has is managed trade. As Liberty Nation has noted before, free trade is without state intervention, meaning that an entrepreneur can waltz across a border, buy t-shirts for 50 cents, and sell them back home for $1. Today, the government imposes a broad array of clauses, rules, loopholes, taxes, and prohibitions that advance the interests of big business, support the needs of the unions, and push forward the principles of wokeology and ESG.
Since arriving at the White House, President Joe Biden and his administration have been pursuing trade pacts that eschew conventional free trade agreements. On the surface, this might seem like a positive step. Unfortunately, it is more of the same but with different objectives, including prioritizing clean energy, digital regulation, and corporate accountability (remember the global minimum tax?). These efforts refrain from achieving the most basic reforms, be it reducing tariffs or bolstering market access.
An example of this is the current administration’s top multilateral trade deal: The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity. The existing structure targets decarbonization, clean energy, and inclusivity. It is the management of trade rather than concentrating on the free part of free trade agreements.
Former President Donald Trump championed the USMCA, but it was merely a second version of NAFTA that, as eminent economist Murray Rothbard would describe, “a very long campaign to integrate and cartelize government in order to entrench the interventionist mixed economy.” Put simply, this was a crony deal that benefited corporations, unions, and wokeness.
So, is managed trade better than no trade at all? Of course, in a perfect world whereby everyone has a little bit of libertarianism in his or her soul, there would not be any need for a trade agreement containing hundreds of pages. In fact, there would not need to be a government-manufactured deal at all, as it would consist of business-to-business or business-to-consumer. This is not a libertarian utopia. Therefore, even cronyist trade is better as long as economies receive goods and services, whether from a conglomerate that controls 95% of a market or a product subject to a dozen different regulations.
Clark’s second goal is a controversial subject for conservatives and libertarians: immigration. Some want more; some want a lot less. But what do the economics of immigration suggest is beneficial for a country?
The current system is broken. Biden and the Democrats have encouraged illegal border crossings. The federal government has made legal immigration a costly red-tape nightmare. States are subsidizing migrants flooding the country while breaking the law. Immigrants who have entered the nation legally are resentful of illegals. In today’s climate, there are many components to sift through.
The first is the widespread labor shortage, a reality fostered by governments handing out free money and destroying Americans’ work ethic. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are approximately ten million job openings, which has been pretty much the same for the last year. As a result, companies have been offering everything from higher pay to better perks. But many workers are not applying for these positions. A recession will inevitably kill demand, but the point still stands!
The second is population. The US birth rate has declined about 20% since 2007, with the average number of children per woman falling from 2.1 to 1.5. Families are choosing not to have kids, whether it is because of the enormous cost of living or the decay of Western civilization. Whatever the reason, this is not good for the plethora of unfunded entitlement programs. The fewer people there are, the harder it is to sustain safety nets, be it Social Security or Medicare. Indeed, SS is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme, relying on the current generation of workers to pay out benefits to today’s retirees. The US appears to need legal immigrants to work and keep the system afloat.
The third is the issue of education. Let’s be honest: The US education system has failed youth. Despite spending approximately $13,000 per elementary and secondary pupil and doling out billions of dollars every year to post-secondary institutions, the return on investment has been abysmal. Consider this, high school graduates from the 1960s maintain the same level of intelligence as university graduates from the 2010s. Yikes. Overseas, education standards, particularly in Asia, are higher and free from leftist indoctrination, meaning that math and science are the focus rather than drag queen story hour.
Finally, what is the appropriate level of immigrants anyway? The Chamber suggests two million a year. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is welcoming 1.1 million newcomers in the next couple of years. The radical left desires unlimited illegal immigration. These are all arbitrary, so the marketplace should have a better say pertaining to labor demand.
Many critics assert that immigrants have taken jobs from Americans and outsourcing has been a war on US labor. Perhaps it is a very libertarian thing to ask, but should the Leviathan intervene in the free exchange between US individuals or companies and foreigners? And surprisingly, research has found that automation has killed far more positions than shipping factories across the pond.
Is Globalization Dead?
The World Economic Forum is worried that globalization has reached its demise. But has it? It seems like the ideas behind modern-day globalization, from international institutions (World Trade Organization or the United Nations) to multilateral managed trade deals to mass illegal immigration, are alive and well. According to various polling on this issue, globalism is becoming increasingly unpopular. This makes sense, considering the worldwide uncertainty, be it global inflation or a supply chain crisis. However, this is more of an issue of centralization, micromanagement, and politicians imposing their corrupt ideologies into every aspect of society. The economy is too important to be left up to the bureaucratic globalists.
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