President Barack Obama has taken some valuable time off from wrecking the Middle East and fomenting cultural civil war within our nation. He has gotten bored enough with community organizing to actually accomplish something that could be in the long term best interests of The United States of America. That would be a free trade agreement known as The Trans-Pacific Partnership.
I generally like free trade agreements. They are meritocratic and allow for greater individual choice. I tend to think that producers and buyers of any given product know vastly more about how it works and how much it should cost than the average government regulator. I say that as someone who estimates the cost of complex manufactured items for a living and therefore, know how uncertain the necessary facts needed to estimate accurate prices as a 3rd party truly are. I also know that the sufficient data needed to ameliorate this information asymmetry can be expensive and hard to obtain. Therefore, given the absence of unusually high negative externalities, it is a better policy for the government to butt out completely and let the people who make and drive cars negotiate how much a car will cost. Free Trade, in the abstract, is a morally decent idea. The freer the trade, the better the deal for all informed parties.
I find it a rare day when I disagree with [mc_name name=’Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’S001141′ ] from Alabama on much of anything. But here I break with him. I believe that the US Senate should ratify the TPP for 3 reasons. It expands and improves our relationships with countries all around The Pacific Rim. The elimination of 18,000 tariffs makes American goods and services more widely available to people all over the world. The people who oppose this agreement (Senator Sessions serves as the exception that proves the rule) comprise a veritable Halloween Coalition of malcontents, big government totalitarians and enemies of giving individual freedom to the American People. Therefore, I hope that the US Senate will ratify the TPP despite the fact that Barack Obama is President.
When the Obama Administration announced that new American foreign policy would involve a pivot to Asia, I figured it was his way of slinking away from any potential confrontation with the Russians. Sinophiles saw this as unnecessarily provocative and potentially bellicose. To be workable, the policy had to have both military and diplomatic components. A policy that adds extra military bases in some region must address the question of “Why should we consider you a defense force instead of occupiers?” There has to be something in it beyond just military security for people to want your nation to be active in their backyard. There has to be an open hand to go along with the mailed fist.
The TPP Agreement motivates countries all around the Pacific Rim (Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, and Japan) to continue to cooperate with the United States. While nobody rational would ever want to see the US and China engage in active warfare, the list of countries in the TPP reads like at least a partial who’s who of nations we would need to work with in order to maintain naval and air supremacy in the tragic event of such a frightening war. The TPP will both militarily and diplomatically strengthen the US throughout the Pacific Rim.
The elimination of tariff barriers will allow American Companies to sell in many new markets. This will naturally give them at least the option of being more amenable to adding jobs. Many other government policies (immigration visas and border enforcement, Federal Reserve Policy, and healthcare employer mandates) will have to be reformed or scrapped before hiring a Native-Born American is a non-toxic decision with respect to the corporate balance sheet. However, giving us access to more markets is always a step in the right direction. It is necessary although not sufficient. People do need actual revenues before they can go out and hire.
The TPP is currently opposed by Bernie Sanders, The Donald™, The Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and just in time for political fundraising season, Hillary Rodham Clinton. What all these groups have in common is that they are wire-pullers and manipulators who make their livings off of monopolies over political force.
All of them oppose any sort of arrangement that takes power out of the hands of state and devolves it so far down the chain that it resides in the wallets of people such as you and me. When you look at what all of these enemies of the TPP have in common, you can see their sneering disdain for individual freedom. The hideous visage beneath the Populist mask is revealed when they support things such as Carbon Taxes, Eminent Domain, Single-Payer Healthcare and rampant Gun Control. Think of this Rogues Gallery of opponents to TPP as a list of America’s foremost totalitarian want-to-bees. Think of the TPP as a measure that spikes at least a few of their canons.
Free Trade will help determine who amongst our current elite deserve Economic Darwin Awards. It will help sort out on a basis of quality and service who deserves to be winners in the great game of life. The TPP may be flawed and imperfect like all things emanating from government. Yet it remains a positive vehicle for enhancing the freedom of individuals throughout the world. If you believe that you can decide things for yourself better than some Commissar can decide them for you, then support the TPP in spite of the fact that it comes from the desk of Barack Obama.