Kelly Fox Global Issues = Spring 2012 Issue/Topic: Protectionism April 22, 2012

When the U.S. economy is strong and growing, we fully embrace the idea of free trade and argue the benefits of less regulation. But once our economy starts to fail, all of these theories become meaningless. Workers and their unions want to protect themselves at all costs. When the fear sets in, only the short-term is considered and liberal mindedness ceases to exist. These people fail to consider the negative effects protectionist measures have on the rest of their fellow citizens, the country’s economy, and the global economy as well.

The strongest argument for protectionism is that it protects domestic jobs, but even this argument has its flaws. When the government instates protectionist measures for a particular industry the benefits apply to a very small sector of the country’s overall workforce. Unfortunately, these special benefits only offer a temporary fix to the problem, while at the same time, creating many long-term disadvantages for the rest of the country’s population, not to mention the global citizens. The act of “blocking or limiting trade can bring advantages to particular groups at the expense of the broader society. But the more these groups succeed in enforcing such restrictions, the lower the standard of living and the slower the pace of economic growth for the community as a whole.” (Destler 4)

While “firms with expanding markets and ample profits tend to concentrate on business; their worry is that government may get in their way by placing constraints on their flexibility and their profits. It is the embattled losers in trade who go into politics to seek trade protectionism.” (Destler 5) Only struggling industries, in their phase of decline, cry for help. Their days at the top have passed, during which they became too comfortable in their success and laxed on innovation and reinvestment. Their greed and complacency has led to their demise. Why should the government reward these unsuccessful corporations? This again would only be a short-term solution, in which the relieved

M. They are attempting.executives would be encouraged to continue on the same path and rely on the government to bail them out of their future mistakes. to hold on tightly to the way things were and what they had when life was good. We need longterm objectives and concentrated efforts towards achieving them. DC: Institute for International Economics. where they are employed. and you fear protectionism and the ever-rising spiral of retaliations. and protectionism is just what the nation needs—unless you just paid $69 for a made-in-China tire that cost $39 before the US imposed high tariffs on imports of these low-end tires. Others fear it won’t. and the sooner everyone admits this the better it will be for all. while hurting the masses.” (Stelzer 2012) This statement successfully demonstrates the controversy that is the nature protectionism. Sit in the chair of the president of a trade union. both within our country and outside its borders. An individual’s viewpoint on the matter is completely dependent on who they are. But living in the past simply isn’t an option. in vain. specialized industries and their workers. Sit on the sofa of an unemployed worker whose lost job is being filled by a $1-a-day Chinese worker. we need to seek to benefit everyone equally. “Some fear America is about to go protectionist. Where you stand on this issue depends on where you sit. Citation Destler. This being said. they risk continuing to protect the few. American trade politics. They refuse to face the harsh realities of the present and the future. (2005). I. Sit in the chair of the CEO of a major exporter. Sit in the chair of a Wal-Mart customer and you fear anything that will drive up prices. needs to focus on the bigger picture and stop attempting to protect specific individual’s and industry’s interests. The individuals and groups who seek protectionist measures do so for selfish reasons. On the other hand. the government. Washington. our country as a whole. and you welcome what others call protectionism and you call fair trade. and in turn. If the government continues to look out for only the interests of our economy. what they value and what their goals are. . putting pressure on your over-stretched budget.

Retrieved from the Weekly Standard website: http://www.M. I.weeklystandard. (2012).Stelzer. Will America embrace protectionism? [blog].com/blogs/will-america-embraceprotectionism_620936.html .

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