A few words are in order regarding the President’s State of the Union address on Monday night. The president raised two issues that are of particular interest to me, of course. First of all, he raised the issue of free trade, imploring Congress to pass free trade agreements with Columbia and South Korea. And he did some “cheerleading” for free trade in general, observing that exports are up and that we need to open more markets to American goods.
Secondly, he implored Congress once again to pass immigration reform with features that make it easy for immigrants to arrive legally to do the work that “needs to be done.”
I have no problem with a free trade agreement with Columbia. With a population density of 103 people per square mile, they are very similar to the density of the U.S. (83 per square mile) and so they represent no threat to American manufacturers. South Korea, however, is a far different story. With a density of 1257 people per square mile, more than 15 times as densely populated as the U.S., their market is very badly stunted by over-population. They have virtually no market to offer in return for access to ours. This deal would be a guaranteed loser for American manufacturers. If fact, it already is. Cars from South Korea – Hyundais, Kias and even Chevy Aveos – have been pouring into this country for years, contributing to the devastation of our domestic auto manufacturers. In return we get absolutely nothing. It’s a crime against the American people to permit such a situation to persist.
Regarding his general cheerleading for free trade, yes, exports are up a little. As a result, our annual trade deficit is something like $710 billion per year instead of $720 billion. The result is a loss of 14 million jobs. Free trade cheerleaders like president Bush always conveniently ignore the import side of the trade equation. Opening new markets is fine, as long as they are markets that are equivalent to ours, where their customers are likely to buy as much from us as we buy from them. I am not opposed to free trade. On the contrary, I believe that free trade in natural resources and between countries of roughly equal population density is truely beneficial. However, free trade with countries that are much more densely populated than us is a sure-fire loser for domestic manufacturers and should never be pursued.
Regarding immigration, we do need immigration reform. We need to seal the border and then work to reduce legal immigration by 95%. Rampant population growth is the number one challenge facing this country. No progress on problems like energy independence and global warming is possible without first stabilizing our population, not to mention the damage done to Americans’ finances and quality of life by increasing our population density.
We need a president who’s willing to face realities and take meaningful action to address the real problems instead of symptoms.