On the issue of free trade and tariffs, Mark Levin is not a Constitutionalist. I am referring to the national radio show host Mark Levin. That’s right! I said it!
On many other issues, he understands and defends the intent and wording of the U. S. Constitution quite well. I listen to him often and on many matters, I support what he says. So, why does he oppose using import taxes (“duties” or “tariffs”) as the constitutional authors intended?
Perhaps it is because the terms “free trade” and “freedom” are confused in his mind. Many people have that problem. But, free trade has nothing to do with freedom. In fact, free trade is often used to oppress freedom.
One of the chief sources of revenue for the federal government under the U. S. Constitution was supposed to be “IMPORT DUTIES”, “tariffs”, or “import taxes” in modern terms. Tariffs were the main source of revenue for the federal government for more than a century. Why did the constitutional authors write that into our federal constitution?
I believe that the constitutional writers knew that if the federal government does not have a monetary interest in guarding our borders, shores, and ports, then that responsibility will not be done well. At least, it won’t be done as well as when the federal government derives significant amounts of revenue from guarding our borders, shores, and ports.
With free trade, the federal government has less motivation to guard our borders, shores, and ports. Without deriving revenue from import taxes or tariffs, the federal government is less likely to perform those duties vigorously enough to protect our nation and our people.
Many people do not understand that well designed import taxes are important to protecting our workers and businesses from unfair competition from other countries that use slave labor or nearly “slave” labor to compete with us.
In the Lincoln – Douglas debates of 1858, Abraham Lincoln told the voters that when free labor is forced to compete with slave labor, neither the free laborers nor the slave laborers gain anything and that only the masters of the slave laborers gain anything.
Our country has very high standards for how workers should be treated and how our environment should be protected for the health and safety of all our people both now and in the future. Many other countries don’t have such high standards and allow abuse of working people and the environment. Forcing American workers and businesses to compete against countries with low standards is unfair and unpatriotic.
American business leaders who want to make deals with business leaders or governments in other countries that ignore human rights, workers’ rights, and environmental protection should be financially hindered rather than financially rewarded. Free trade policies reward business leaders for making an “end run around” America’s labor, health, and environmental laws (to put it in American football terms). Fair trade policies and adequate import duties discourage or prevent such tactics. Import taxes make sense and help America.
Here are examples of other countries and their low standards. A few years ago, I read an article in USA Today which told of an incident in Honduras. A factory worker took a few days off to care for a sick relative. When she returned to the factory to resume her job, her supervisors punished her by beating her. They beat her to death.
Buying things for less money because the product was made in another country often means that we are supporting bad treatment of workers in other countries. I once heard Robert Kiyosaki, the author of the book RICH DAD POOR DAD, explain that when he went to a foreign country and watched as the workers made a product for a company to sell in the U.S., he was so disgusted with the bad working conditions and bad treatment of the foreign workers that he divested himself of any interest in the U.S. firm that had hired the foreign company to make the products that would be sold in America. He did not want to be any part of treating people so badly. America needs more business leaders who have a conscience and a heart like Robert Kiyosaki.
In China, workers are not allowed to organize labor unions that are independent of the Communist government. Chinese mine workers are often hurt or killed in mines because the Communist government cares more about profiting from coal production than about workers’ health and safety. China spews enormous amounts of pollution into the air and water. People who live in Shanghai must wear air filtering masks to breathe. Why? Because the leaders of the Communist government (the slave masters of China) want profit and they don’t care if they hurt or kill the working people of China in order to get that profit. It is exactly as Abraham Lincoln warned: Only the masters of the slaves will gain anything when free labor and slave labor are forced to compete.
The air pollution from China travels northeasterly to Alaska, Canada, the North Pole, and Europe. The greed of the Communist Chinese leaders is incredible. Many leaders of the Communist Chinese government have become millionaires through free trade and their influence in the Chinese government. The pollution that their firms create harms the world more than the pollution of any other country on the globe. But, America trades with China without imposing import taxes to help pay to clean the environmental mess that China causes to our country. That is insane! Why do we do that? Because we have the bad policy of free trade.
Some claim that Americans will enjoy products at lower prices if we import cheap goods from the rest of the world with free trade. But, the harm done to our people and our country comes at a very high price. Our government will tax our people and our non-import businesses more and more while most Americans will have less and less to tax because free trade is sucking away jobs for people and revenue for America based businesses. With business leaders in America who do not care about fellow Americans while doing business with foreigners who do not care about Americans or their own countrymen, it will be a case of the leaders of one country doing business with leaders in another country to get rich while crushing working people and other business owners in both countries.
America can solve many of its financial problems by abandoning free trade and adopting good import tax policies to increase the revenue of the federal government to help solve problems with funding Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, healthcare, and lowering income and other taxes on our people and businesses. Why not embrace the intent and wisdom of the writers of our constitution to impose import taxes and solve these problems?
Free trade has nothing to do with freedom. Free trade is not free. For a growing number of Americans, the price of free trade is too high. Free trade must end before free trade ends America’s high standards and our great country.
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