To the People

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or TO THE PEOPLE.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tarriffs and Trade Barriers=Freedom

From the back country of western Maryland, where the trees grow and the pulp is pressed, we are given this example of the continued creep of populist protectionism in America.
LUKE, Md. - China is 7,000 miles away from this speck of a town in the mountains, half a world away. But as a looming economic threat, the country has never seemed so stiflingly close.

The paper mill here that employs 950 is feeling the pressure of cheaper Chinese imports. On New Year's Eve, it shut down one of its three huge manufacturing machines and cut 130 jobs, touching off rumors across the tri-state region where employees live that it was only a matter of time before the plant closed.

But now there's cautious hope that things will get better, or at least no worse. NewPage Corp., the mill's Ohio-based owner, has persuaded the U.S. government to slap tariffs on Chinese competitors for operating with what investigators call unfair advantages


Tom Caldwell, president of the local United Steelworkers union, which represents most of the mill's workers, sees the tariffs as a line in the sand.

"In order to be a free country, we have to have manufacturing," he said. "We cannot continue to let jobs go overseas."


"Everything I have depends on if that place stays," said Bowers, 33, a mother of three.

She worries -- how can she not? And she wonders about American manufacturing. Everywhere, it seems to her, plants are closing. "I really do feel as long as the government allows the foreign trade, there's no job safe in the United States, because we can't beat or meet their prices," she said.
Shut down foreign trade and help keep America free! I don't know about you, but I never feel more American than when I walk into Stables and overpay for domestically produced computer paper. Viva la papel americano!

I'll leave you with some thoughts of compassion for those consumers, or workers in others industries that might feel the pinch from the trade barriers. Courtesy of Luke's mayor, Joseph LaRue:
Even so, he can't help thinking about paper customers paying more because of the tariffs. Maybe those companies will have to cut jobs. Maybe someone, somewhere else, will feel the pain.

"I don't have the answers to this problem," LaRue said. But this time, he added, "it's not going to be our people that has to pay."
Full article here.

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