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My Letter To The Editor Regarding Free Trade

September 14, 2016

Last week Professor Emeritus of Economics Terry Liska from UW-Platteville wrote a most compelling Letter to the Editor about the need for the Trans Pacific Partnership.  I followed up this week with additional comments with my letter to The Waushara Argus.

I heartily applaud the views of Professor Terry Liska’s Letter to the Editor (Sept 7th) regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership. As a strong proponent of free trade, I have been dismayed with the tone and lack of facts from the major presidential candidates on this issue. What we need at this time are leaders who also know they must be educators.

The anti-trade rhetoric was so loud from various campaigns during the primaries that facts were supplanted with emotional populism run amok. I would like to see candidates who wish to show leadership qualities make the election as much an education on the issues as hunting for votes.

The fast track authority granted by Congress, along with the supportive voices for the TPP from members on both sides of the aisle heartens me, given the usual rancor and dysfunction in Congress. I know trade is a common area where the nation can find a way forward. 

The United States’ biggest and fastest-growing commercial partners are in Asia, accounting for $1.5 trillion worth of trade in goods in 2012 and $242 billion worth of services in 2011. They’re responsible for 40% of the world’s GDP and 26% of the world’s trade. It is only logical to seek a common bridge and create stronger market power for our goods while also creating more jobs. The facts show other trade deals over the years have created those same positive results.

But it takes political leaders to step up as educators on the topic of trade and turn back the many falsehoods. I love reading history and enjoy telling the following about such needed leadership.

In 1947 Congressman Richard Nixon took a poll of his district and found that 75% of his constituents were opposed to the Marshall Plan.  But that did not deter Nixon from voting his conscience on the bill.   He then worked over-time to educate and convince those who were opposed.  In fact, he spent almost a month in California selling the Marshall Plan.  In the face of just plain wrong information that voters thought to be true Nixon repeated over and over the need for the plan.  Many have argued that this was Nixon’s finest hour in politics as he soared over partisanship and dealt with a needed national policy. He also turned his constituents around on the matter. History of course proves the policy was a most correct one for all the nations involved.

As an internationalist, I do see hope on the horizon with trade in the long term based on the events of the past months. Populists were openly challenging some Democratic members of Congress with primaries for supporting trade-promotion authority. But it turns out that all 28 who cast such a vote won their primary.

I am now hoping that the reasoned and experienced mind of Hillary Clinton will turn away from her retreat toward protectionism and again be a free trade advocate. This country—indeed the world—needs her to be a free trader.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2016 3:10 PM

    Thanks–this matter is most important to our economy and one we must keep pressing on with our elected officials. Please vote and also tell those you know the importance to cast a ballot, too.

  2. Jaun permalink
    October 20, 2016 6:20 AM

    I live in Ripon and work for an industry that must have the ability to trade. I know my job and others in my field must have as many markets as possible. We only hurt ourselves by not allowing as much free trade as we can.

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