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Presidential Issues: Trade


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Ted Cruz Borrows from Both Trump and Sanders to Oppose Free Trade

March 21, 2016

By K. William Watson

Last week’s GOP debate began with a series of questions about trade policy and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  Donald Trump’s answer was thankfully short.  Ted Cruz, however, had a lot to say in an apparent attempt to convince people that he, too, favors economically wrongheaded protectionism.  Here’s his response to a question about the Trans-Pacific Partnership:

And when it comes to trade, look, free trade, when we open up foreign markets, helps Americans. But we’re getting killed in international trade right now. And we’re getting killed because we have an administration that’s doesn’t look out for American workers and jobs are going overseas. We’re driving jobs overseas.

And the people who are losing out are in manufacturing jobs, or the steel industry or the auto industry. But I’ll tell you who else is going to be losing out, which is the service industry. This Obama administration is negotiating the Trade in Services Agreement which is another treaty to allow services to come in and take jobs from Americans as well.

And you’ve got to understand. Trade and immigration are interwoven, and they are hurting the working men and women of this country. So the question is, what’s the solution? It’s easy to talk about the problems. But do you have a solution to fix it? And I think the solution is several things.

Number one, we need to negotiate trade deals protecting American workers first, not the corporate board room. Number two, we need to lift the regulations on American businesses here so we see jobs coming back. And number three, we need a tax plan like the tax plan I’ve introduced that will not tax exports and that will tax imports, and that will bring millions of high-paying jobs back to America.

This is full-blown mercantilism.  Cruz claims “we’re getting killed in international trade” as if a great number of mutually beneficial exchanges that enrich Americans can somehow become bad for the country’s economy in the aggregate.  Casting trade as a competition leads inevitably to government intervention to “protect” the economy from the ravages of economic growth, higher productivity, lower prices, and greater consumer choice.

When Bernie Sanders criticizes the TPP he says things like, “We need trade policies that benefit American workers and consumers, not just CEOs of large multi-national corporations.”  Channeling the Vermont socialist, Cruz states that Obama “doesn’t look out for American workers” because free trade has sent jobs overseas.  Free trade agreements, he says, hurt workers while benefiting “corporate boardrooms.”  He then claims that his plan to raise taxes on imports “will bring millions of high-paying jobs back to America.”

Read the full article at the Cato Institute: Ted Cruz Borrows from Both Trump and Sanders to Oppose Free Trade

Issue Categories : Ted Cruz, Trade