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Tariffs and bailouts: Necessary evils if conservatives want free trade to return sooner

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Tariffs and bailouts Necessary evils if conservatives want free trade to return sooner

Republicans can debate all day whether they can fend off election day backlash from the trade war with China by bailing out farmers in key red states, but there’s no way to argue that these are conservative moves. They’re not, and the GOP will have to reconcile that well beyond the 2020 election.

At this stage, true conservatives are being forced into a major conundrum. Do we ignore the “fair trade” tactics that people like Senators Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer have been promoting for years and support the GOP for fear of Democrats, or do we stick to our guns and demand free trade continue to do what it has done for decades – drive American prosperity?

It isn’t popular in today’s politically charged atmosphere to be a conservative who opposes anything the President does. Few Republicans in DC have the political capital accumulated to enable them that luxury. Many who could survive getting on the President’s bad side by speaking out against his progressive view on trade have still chosen to support him even if that means simply avoiding the question. The taciturn approach seems to be the most popular one among free trade conservatives, including most in the House Freedom Caucus and some staunch conservatives in the Senate.

Others are taking the approach of blaming China, and while there is definitely truth in this notion, it doesn’t change the fact that the solution the President is employing not only goes against fiscal conservatism, but also fails to address the actual problem with trade. His constant hammering of trade deficits is a leftist talking point that is demonstrably untrue; when a nation’s economy is doing well, it will accumulate a trade deficit because it has the money to import. In other words, conventional wisdom has always shown trade deficits are a positive indicator of a country’s financial health.

But what the President says, perhaps for the sake of making it easily understandable to voters, isn’t actually what he’s fighting. He’s pushing against reliance on other nations for resources and labor as part of his goal to bring American jobs back home. He wants people to buy American and businesses to rely on each other instead of importing so much. These are goals that make sense until we look at actual trends of a rising global economy and apply the reality that we’re a consumer nation. With those concepts in the mix, it’s clear the President’s goals and plan to achieve them are two or three decades too late.

For the past three years, I’ve posted at least a dozen articles promoting free trade and reminding Republicans over 80% of them opposed Schumer’s Chinese tariff proposals as recently as 2015. Once the President embraced the Chuck-China plan, suddenly most in the GOP forgot what fiscal conservatism and unadulterated capitalism actually meant. I’ve invoked economists like Thomas Sowell. I’ve pointed to clear indicators that the economy is thriving despite tariffs and that if we stuck with free trade the economy would actually be doing even better. But the masses were unswayed. More importantly, the White House was unswayed.

The United States cannot survive a trade war for long because as prices go up, Americans will get antsy. The only solace is knowing China will be impacted more. That’s what the President is banking on.

Like it or not, that’s what conservatives have to bank on as well. We’re on this path and the President isn’t going to back down based on conservatives speaking out. It’s difficult for me to say that since I’m a huge proponent of keeping our politicians heading in the right direction, including our often-malleable President, but he’s pulled the trigger and placed his future in the hands of Xi Jinping, so we’re just going to have to ride out the storm.

We may be able to survive as an overall economy, but there are people who will be affected in the short term DC needs to protect from a political perspective if Republicans don’t want a bloodbath in 2020. The most obvious are the farmers, which means the other leftist economic policy must be invoked as well, namely bailouts. I can argue all day about how bailouts and subsidies are the least American financial concept in existence, but again I’m forced to stand down from coffee shop arguments over them and focus on political realities. If we’re stuck with tariffs, we’re stuck with bailouts. Thankfully, there’s a chance that if they are done properly, the revenue from the tariffs can pay for the bailouts. It’s a conservative solution for a progressive problem that shouldn’t have to be offered, but at this point there aren’t many other options.

The bottom line is this: If conservatives rightly want to put an end to tariffs, we need to either support them or stand down in arguing against them. China will be looking for weakening support for the President to decide whether or not to make a deal. If support for the President remains strong, especially in his caucus, then China will be more inclined to come to the table. We know mainstream media will bemoan the exact same tariffs they would have wholeheartedly supported if a Democrat proposed them, so we already have that uphill battle to fight. But if there’s contention within the GOP itself, China will be more emboldened to ride out the storm until a Democrat is in the White House.

Don’t get me started on the irony of a world where China’s hoping a Democrat will come in and bring back free trade.

When you’re going through hell, keep going. Winston Churchill was talking about more pressing matters when he said those words, but they apply to fiscal conservatives today.

If conservatives really want free trade to reemerge as our fiscal mantra, we have to push forward with these tariffs and bailouts. The sooner they can be effective, the sooner we’ll get back to doing things the right way.

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Economy

Gary Vaynerchuk never talks about politics, but he’s great when he does

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Gary Vaynerchuk never talks about politics but hes great when he does

Language warning, in case you’ve never listened to Gary Vaynerchuk before. I have, and he’s great.

Those who know of Gary Vaynerchuk think of wine, social media, and digital strategy. The Belarusian American entrepreneur has been an outspoken advocate of all things “віно і маркетинг” for over a decade, but he rarely speaks about politics.

Recently, he did, and one prediction in particular caught my eye.

In an interview for Capitalism by Ryan Daniel Moran, Vaynerchuk said, “I believe we’re seeing the beginning stages of a four party system in America in the next 50 to 100 years.”

The way he sees it, both major parties are pushing to the extremes on the ideological scale, opening up spots for moderate progressives and moderate conservatives to have major parties of their own. This is the case in most countries; the United States is one of the few that has a true two-party system despite the fact that most of our founding fathers didn’t want it to turn out this way.

John Adams said:

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

But Vaynerchuk, who has built a career around being write much more often than he’s wrong, says the opening is already being seen today. He railed against both parties, blaming both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama for poorly handling the financial crisis of the late 00s.

Millions have learned over the years to listen to Gary Vaynerchuk when he’s offering opinions. Though his political opinions are few and far between, there’s a wisdom to them you don’t hear from the pundits. It’s authentic, a rare quality indeed.

Petition Capitol Hill for Term Limits

Sign the petition. We demand Congress immediately put together legislation that spells out term limits for themselves. Americans need to know who is willing to suppress their own power for the sake of the nation. This can only happen by bringing legislation to the floor.

Will you help revive the American Conservative Movement?

 


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Economy

Charlie Kirk: Capitalism saves lives

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Charlie Kirk Capitalism saves lives

I’m normally not a fan of quick bursts of talking points, preferring longer, fact-filled discussions on topics as important as capitalism versus socialism. With that said, Turning Point‘s Charlie Kirk knocks it out of the park with talking points that totaled 33 seconds.

But even though the video was short, this article will take a bit longer to read. I’m not going to talk about the clear evidence that capitalism is far superior to socialism (or any other economic -ism). Instead, I’d like to focus on the challenge pro-capitalism activists face. Our message is right, and for the most part our nation accepts this. But things are changing. The indoctrination in schools combined with the propaganda in mainstream media and the false narratives from Democrats are all combining to deceive the masses in ways many thought impossible just a few years ago.

Would you have thought over 50% of college students would support socialism over capitalism at any point in American history if someone told you that a decade ago? If you would have, you’re much smarter than me. I couldn’t imagine the will of the people being so misled that many would abandon the system that has clearly worked in exchange for a system that has never worked. It makes no sense, and therein lies the problem with the progressive movement today.

As our EIC noted, logic doesn’t always prevail.

We must, as conservatives, continue to push out the right message. We might think it’s commons sense, but apparently common sense is becoming less common in America. We need to keep pushing.

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Economy

Executive order targeting Huawei is the right move at the right time

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Executive order targeting Huawei is the right move at the right time

American technology companies, particularly those in the telecommunications industry, have been fools for far too long. While China as actively and aggressively sought to not only steal our technology but subvert it by inserting their own untrustworthy components into our systems, many American companies have turned a blind eye to the threats they pose to every American.

That won’t happen anymore. President Trump signed an executive order defending against technological attacks by the Chinese and specifically targeted Huawei, the Chinese telecomm giant that has been inserting itself rapidly into as many technological conversations as it can all across the world.

The right move

There are certain aspects of protectionism that do not appeal to me, but when it comes to technological protectionism, I’m all in. For years I’ve done what I can to limit the amount of Chinese technology in the devices I use for one simple reason: I don’t trust them.

Yes, they’re cheaper. But they’re also cheaper in the way they’re produced. Though China has made many technological advances in recent years (much of which can likely be attributed to theft of technology from other countries), they’re still behind in most regards compared to Japanese, Korean, Israeli, Australian, and European technologies. But that’s not a huge deal at this point; you get what you pay for and if certain sacrifices to quality make sense, so be it as long as it’s cheaper.

But there’s a nefarious aspect to the way the Chinese have inserted their technologies into the global mix. China has a very poor track record of obeying international laws, adhering to security protocols, and believing in the right to privacy. In China, there is no privacy which is why their technology often bypasses privacy controls put in place to protect individuals.

With the growing 5G infrastructure at the center of this move, now is not the time to take risks. If Huawei cannot be trusted, then 5G is the last place we want them involved.

I’m not a fan of executive orders, either, but this is one that makes sense since it’s a dynamic topic that moves much faster than Congress can handle and it’s administrated solely by the executive branch.

The right time

It’s obviously not a coincidence that this executive order was signed just as the trade war with China is ramping up. As our EIC noted, we’re in a time when we must use full measures to win this war. I’m not a fan of tariffs, but if we’re going to use them, let’s make them effective and get rid of them as quickly as possible.

This is just another arrow slung at the Chinese in that trade war. It may be technically separate and it’s hard to imagine this is another bargaining chip, but it will cause further harm to the Chinese economy, making it more likely they’ll come to the table ready to make a deal.

We’ve reached a moment in history where technology can have catastrophic effects on the lives of nearly every American if the wrong actors are allowed to run free in our infrastructure. This is a step towards safeguarding us from the threats.

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