Friday, August 31, 2012

GOP Platform, "We Believe in America"

Res Publica
GOP Platform, "We Believe in America"
by David Trumbull -- August 31, 2012

Pop culture dominates the landscape of the American mind, so it's no surprise that the title of Republican Party Platform adopted this week in Tampa echoes a well known movie opening line. The Platform is a dense document that, like The Godfather, reveals more upon repeated viewings, and, like many serious works of prose, says as much by what it leaves out as by what it spells out.

We all know that, despite all the distractions thrown up by the mainstream media in their frenzy to re-elect President Obama, the only issue in this campaign is JOBS. Who can get Americans back to work at salaries and wages that make possible the American Dream. Current weak business conditions and unacceptably high unemployment and underemployment have many causes, but everyone -- that is everyone outside of the Washington, D.C., echo-chamber -- knows that one of the main reasons is our failed trade policy.

Let's look at what the GOP Platform and Mr. Romney have to say on trade policy.

The document contrasts Republican policy with the course pursued by President Obama. It praises, "The Free Trade Agreements negotiated with friendly democracies since President Reagan’s trailblazing pact with Israel in 1985," and charges, "That record makes all the more deplorable the current Administration’s ... failure to pursue any new trade agreements with friendly nations." This is true. The U.S. still maintains tariffs on imports of goods from Western Democracies, such as Italy, however President Obama is aggressively pursuing a Free Trade Agreement with Vietnam, an authoritarian state ruled by the Communist Party, which his own State Department acknowledges as one of the worst violators of human rights. Mr. Obama is also pursuing a Free Trade Agreement with Brunei, an Islamic state where most criminal activity is defined and punished according to draconian Islamic sharia law. According to the State Department it is illegal in Brunei to teach Christianity and violators can be fined or imprisoned. Education in Islam is required by law in Brunei.

The Platform also condemns the ways some governments unfairly "limit American access to their markets while stealing our designs, patents, brands, know-how, and technology -- the intellectual property that drives innovation," and cites as the chief offender, China. The current Administration’s way of dealing with all these violations of world trade standards the GOP Platform characterizes as "virtual surrender." This is true. Many reputable economists have calculated that China's manipulation of it's currency to maximize exports and minimize imports gives that nation an unfair advantage of at least 35%, yet President Obama has, repeatedly, refused to name China as a currency manipulator or file a complaint with the World Trade Organization that China is illegally distorting trade through her currency policy. This Administration's lack of action of China's theft of American intellectual property is appalling.

This Labor Day weekend, take a few minutes away from the cookout and fun with friends and family to look at the two presidential candidates and their platforms. Ask yourself, Which one offers working men and women of America the best plan to create jobs that allow you to raise a family and be proud of your contribution to society, and which offers bigger government and more dependency on government hand-outs instead of the dignity of a job.

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