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U.S. trade policy has become horror show

July 18, 2016

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If the host of vampires attempting to suck the lifeblood out of American manufacturing and industry is any indication, U.S. trading policy has become a real live horror show.

[Paul Nehlen| July 13, 2016 |JS Online

The nightmare has been deepening for decades with every massive, multinational, crony trade deal we've embraced. Now, the looming Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens to finish us off. As if TPP weren't enough, at least two similar agreements are lined up behind it.

This latest round of slurping the U.S. economy dry comes courtesy of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). As one of Washington's chief vampires, he's drawn all kinds of blood money to promote, justify and clear the way for TPP.

Before looking more closely at what TPP and similar "deals" actually do — and what we should be doing instead — it's important to recognize that those pushing such agreements have engaged in false advertising, heavily leveraging vocabulary against Americans. Regularly promoted as beneficial-sounding "free trade," these highly complex contracts are in no way actually free or open. They aren't even all that much about trade. Rather, they are political, regulatory and judicial in nature.

So if these agreements aren't free trade, what are they?

The agreements are designed to benefit elite partners in government and multinational business — not the rest of us. The contracts generally yield what amounts to subsidization of the preferred corporate partners. They often allow for significant currency manipulation. They always impose a flood of binding rules and regulations that supersede a participating nation's own laws. And they make it very difficult for anyone but preferred partners to function.

The 5,500-page TPP, negotiated in secret, can now be seen to demonstrate all of these hallmarks.

A principal goal of these agreements, then, is to create favorable conditions for those favored corporate partners — allowing them to control markets and reduce or eliminate competition. You and I are told that manufacturers, farmers and others will all benefit. In reality, only preferredpartners generally gain. The rest is spin, intended to fool us into exposing our necks to the vampires willingly.

In fact, researchers at Tufts University, as well as a report by the U.S. International Trade Commission, already indicate that manufacturing — the heart and soul of Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District — will suffer under TPP. Corn, currently Wisconsin's top cash crop, is projected to do well. But don't be fooled: U.S. agriculture has taken hit after hit under these dangerously mislabeled multinational debacles.

The long and short of it? Preferred multinational partners will get rich at our expense. You and I, however, will be saddled with more crippling trade deficits and all that comes with them.

Fear not. There's a way out of this horror show. It's called balanced trade, and it requires just two main action items: 1) limit ourselves to true, bilateral trade agreements, and 2) utilize the scaled tariff, a transparent way to leverage nations that run trade surpluses with us. Our scaled tariff plan would simply rise or fall automatically in relationship to the trade deficit we run with any given nation. Balanced trade would re-incentivize trading partners, replenish our Treasury with hundreds of billions in the first year, and unleash U.S. manufacturing unlike anything we've seen in our lifetime.

Isn't it time to drive a permanent stake through the heart of a long regime of vampiric multinational agreements that has been bleeding us to death?

Paul Nehlen is a manufacturer, entrepreneur and inventor who lives and works in southeastern Wisconsin. He is challenging Paul Ryan in the Aug. 9 Republican primary for Wisconsin's 1st Congressional District seat.


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