You know something is up when even the Republicans are angry at Wall Street.
Republican presidential candidate Buddy Roemer, former governor of Louisiana, just released the following statement to the press:
Governor Roemer Stands by Occupy Wall Street Movement
As I continue touring college campuses throughout New Hampshire, I am reminded of all the young Americans currently taking part in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Please know that I stand by you.
It is Main Street that creates the majority of jobs in America; it is Main Street that sends our brave young men and women to war; it is Main Street that hurts when another manufacturing plant closes only to be re-opened in China; it is Main Street that is being foreclosed on; and it is Main Street that is suffering while the greed of Wall Street continues to hurt our middle-class.
Too-big-to-fail banks have only gotten bigger thanks to government bailouts, and as president, I will end the corporate tax loopholes that un-American corporations take advantage of only to ship our jobs overseas. Fair trade not free trade.
Money in politics has created institutional corruption. Both parties are guilty of taking the big check and are bought by Wall Street. My campaign is the only one that speaks out against this and I look forward to the day lobbyists are not allowed to donate to campaigns.
Wall Street grew to be a source of capital for growing companies. It has become something else: A facilitator for greed and for the selling of American jobs. Enough already.
The Wall Street mess is, of course, closely related to the trade mess, because America’s trade deficit entailed a backwash of cheap foreign capital into our markets for debt and other assets.
I was on the phone talking trade policy with Gov. Roemer this morning, and so far, he’s by far the best Republican candidate on the issue. Here are some of the things he’s been saying about trade:
(Speech delivered Saturday, July 9th, 2011 at Bossier, Louisiana.)
We are a nation in great peril. For almost 200 years, we enjoyed a positive balance of trade, becoming the industrial giant of the world, gaining wealth each year as we sold more products to other nations than they sold to us.
Since 1971, that has reversed.
For 40 years American has suffered the worst trade deficits of any nation in world history. This is unsustainable! Today, almost everything the American consumer buys is made in a foreign country. Every time we go shopping, we are sending our dollars out of our economy, which makes America poorer.
Today, China enjoys the greatest economic boom in world history, as we Americans are paying for it.
Our first U.S. treasurer, Alexander Hamilton, believed that we had to have our own industries and be economically independent of Europe if we hoped to defend ourselves in the event of another war.
So he persuaded our first Congress to adopt a tariff tax on English products imported here to make them more expensive. This would encourage Americans to create factories and industries to produce the industrial goods that America might need and to pay a decent wage to our workers. Establishing and maintaining a tariff system protected our emerging factories from cheaper foreign competition that would have otherwise driven our industries out of business.
Protective tariffs worked. They allowed us to change from a country of farmers to a country of manufacturing. Protective tariffs allowed our nation to develop and become the industrial giant of the world, providing millions of jobs at good pay, forming the economic base of our affluent society.
Adopting protective tariffs was the most successful economic policy in the history of America.
During the 160 years when American used tariffs to build and protect our manufacturing industries, we had the factories necessary to supply our armed forces with shoes and clothing, rifles and cannon, warships, tanks, armored vehicles and transport vehicles. These tariffs allowed us to be prepared for the British in the War of 1812. And for the Civil War where we won to hold our nation together and World War I and World War II.
The protective tariff built a manufacturing base to keep us free. And during this 160 year period, we had no income tax and the government received its revenue from the protective tariffs.
The primary reason for unemployment and recession today is that we have abandoned the policies that made America great. We have allowed our manufacturing industries to move outside the country where labor is cheap.
Now, we have lost not only our factories and jobs, we have lost our military independence as well.
How did we allow this to happen? After WWII, all of the major industrial nations in the world were devastated, except the United States and England. We were not satisfied to produce all the goods needed for our own U.S. market. We wanted to produce all the goods used by the entire world.
Global free trade without tariffs was our idea. Economic experts taught that global free trade without tariffs would benefit the entire world with the highest output of goods at the lowest prices. They expected that if we could persuade all the world to eliminate tariffs, American business would supply the entire world. Global free trade became the sacred cow of American’s largest corporations, its government and its economists.
Global free trade did not work, because other countries did not accept it. They put up barriers to our products, while the U.S. allowed foreign unfair competition to kill our industries.
There were two major industrial nations that did not accept the free trade idea – Japan and Germany. After WWII, they both moved their global trade policies in the exact opposite direction to protect their industries from U.S. competition.
While we lowered our trade barriers, Japan and Germany, whose factories had been totally wiped out, increased their trade barriers. For decades, and even today, it has been almost impossible to sell an American industrial product to Japan or Germany.
This policy is what brought the Japanese economy from total collapse to become the second largest in the world.
Taking advantage of America’s open trade policy, Japan started eliminating our industries. They almost wiped out most of America’s camera and optical industries, then, our toys, television and consumer electronics, musical instruments, motorcycles, bicycles, steel, and finally, the dominant American automobile industry. And the USA allowed Japan to do this without trade retaliation.
We allowed their products into America while the Japanese would not allow our products into Japan.
Like Japan, Germany imposed a broad spectrum of economic barriers to protect its re-emerging industries. As a result of Germany’s protectionist trade policy, Germany today has the highest trade surplus and the strongest economy in Europe, while America has the worst trade deficit and monetary loss in the history of the world.
By protecting their industries that were totally destroyed in WWII, Germany and Japan have recovered world manufacturing dominance while America’s manufacturing sector has been devastated. Comparing the industrial powers of the world – the USA, Germany and Japan – in 1941 when we entered the war, to the powers now, it looks like Japan and Germany won the war and America lost. But our industrial sector was not devastated through war.
It was by our own misguided economic policies … without anyone firing a shot.
The story gets worse.
The biggest disaster for the American economy arose out of our opening trade with China in the 1970s. Nixon and Kissinger [claimed] that this would be an economic bonanza for our advanced industrial society. Our politicians and leading economic experts promised us that America would attain unprecedented wealth selling our products to that untapped, deprived consumer market.
American factories would be working days and nights for decades to supply the Chinese demand.
But China had a different idea.
China was smart while we were stupid. They set up trade barriers to prevent the importation of American products. The Chinese government insisted that if America wanted to sell in the Chinese market, we had to send them our technology, we had to send them our managerial skills, and we even had to send them our entire factories, to produce all the products not only for the Chinese market, but also for the U.S. market, using Chinese labor.
Our economists, our corporations, and our politicians promised America that it was for our own good. They said we do not need to employ millions of Americans in blue-collar factory jobs. Instead, American labor would move up into higher paying skilled jobs in high-tech development, in international finance, in corporate management.
Let the Chinese have those tedious, dirty, factory jobs. Americans will prosper as we become the world’s entrepreneurial engineers, the world’s economic managers, the professional innovators of this new world order.
The old rules of trade and economics were cast aside as out of date.
Why did they not understand that not every American can be an Eli Whitney, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs? We need employment for those Americans who want and need to work in factories. We need to produce our own so that we are not dependent upon other countries and do not send our money to other countries whenever we go shopping.
Our political and business leaders should have seen that moving America’s factories to China would be a threat to the economy and to the security of our nation. Instead, some American corporations saw this as an opportunity to make fantastic profits by moving our American factories to China, using cheap Chinese labor.
And our politicians were persuaded by political donations to look the other way. They had no concern for the destruction of the American economy.
They did not care that two-thirds of the industrial workers in America lost their jobs. They had no concern about what this would do to the families of the unemployed American factory workers. They had no concern about the effect of closing thousands of factories throughout the United States. They did not care about the burden upon our society to provide unemployment support to the millions of works who lost their imcome.
They looked the other way when small business faced bankruptcy as their customers disappeared. They did not care what this would do to the American economy, our national defense, or to the life of our industrial cities.
The only concern of the businesses moving their factories to China was the huge profits that they could make working with the Chinese, as they transformed America from a land of prosperous independent producers to a declining nation of dependent consumers.
And the only concern of the politicians in America was the huge campaign donations that they received for giving those corporations the legislation they wanted to make this happen.
What happened to those American businesses that did not move their operations to China? What U.S. factories could survive the unfair competition for China?
While our factories were subject to minimum wage laws and union collective bargaining that assured a high standard of living for blue-collar working Americans, the Chinese factories employed up to 50 workers for the same cost as one U.S. worker. Chinese children worked 60 hours per week for no more than room and board. Chinese prisoners were forced to work in Chinese prisons for nothing.
Chinese factories operated with no rules and no expense to protect the health and safety of the workers nor any penalty for polluting the environment.
If necessary to destroy our factories, the Chinese government subsidized its factories to dump goods on the American market at a price lower than the Chinese cost. And our factories disappeared.
Worshiping an untested theory of global free trade, our political leaders abandoned the tried and true, successful economic policy of tariffs. They failed to protect our factories. They betrayed and abandoned the millions of American workers who paid taxes, supported our small businesses and formed the foundation of a prosperous nation.
President Obama is the latest in a long line of free traders loved by the big corporations. Now we find growing, unending unemployment.
We all know the rest of the story. Today, almost everything we buy in the United States has a label that says, ‘Made in China’ or in “Taiwan’ or in India or Japan or in South Korea.
America’s economic prominence was not lost. It was stolen.