Where Does the TEA Party Stand on Trade?

As I was commenting on some editorial the other day, I began to wonder where the TEA Party stands on the issue of foreign trade.  The TEA Party has been extremely effective in driving the debate on debt and government spending.  If the TEA Party ever aspires to become a real force in American politics in general, it has to have a position on every issue, especially one as important to the American economy as trade.

So I visited their web site to learn more.  For starters, here’s how their banner reads:


Hmmm.  “Free Market.”  What does that mean?  Searching further on the site, here’s their explanation:

… we support a return to the free market principles on which this nation was founded and oppose government intervention into the operations of private business.

What exactly does this mean?  It sounds like it’s focused more on intervention in the market by the federal government.  But what about intervention by world government, which is exactly what the World Trade Organization does, stripping the U.S. of its right to set trade policy and manipulating international trade in favor of developing nations.  When the TEA Party says “… free market principles on which this nation was founded …,” does it understand that our founding fathers relied heavily on tariffs to protect our fledgling economy and build it into an industrial powerhouse?  Does it realize that “free market principles,” at least as they relate to “free trade,” didn’t even exist in the late 1700s when our nation was founded?  It wasn’t until 1812 that economist Ricardo came up with his “principle of comparative advantage,” laying the foundation for free trade theory.  And it wasn’t until 1947 that we were bamboozled by economists into giving it a try.

So I used their web site’s contact form to submit to them the following question:

I run a blog that’s dedicated to a new economic theory and its ramifications for trade policy.  I’m interested in learning the TEA Party’s stance on U.S. trade policy.  In its banner, the TEA Party champions “Free Markets.”  Does that apply only to government interference in markets or more broadly to international trade in general?  Does the TEA Party support America’s membership in and deference to the World Trade Organization, or does it support America’s right to set trade policy in its own best self-interest?

If the TEA Party supports U.S. membership in the WTO, then I’d like to understand how the TEA Party reconciles that stance with the fact that deficit spending is necessary to offset the negative consequences of a trade deficit?  Also, does the TEA Party believe that it’s possible to balance the federal budget while enduring a continuing trade deficit?

Thanks.  I look forward to your reply.

I hope I get a response.  I suspect that the TEA Party hasn’t really given foreign trade much thought.  If they did and if they came to realize that membership in the WTO is “government intervention” in the extreme, and that trade deficits only exacerbate deficit spending, I believe they could become a formidable force in the move to take back our right to manage trade in our own best self-interest.

26 Responses to Where Does the TEA Party Stand on Trade?

  1. In my view, Republican or Democrat, both parties still adhere to free trade mantras–although it is laughable calling it free trade when the US provides the largest US farm subsidies (Ok maybe Europe is larger) and preferential bilateral FTAs.

    So if the Tea Party wants “limited government intervention”, does that mean they will stop susidies to US farmers? Way to go…

    • Pete Murphy says:

      Sucking up every U.S. manufacturing job isn’t enough for you, Jie? You want all of America’s farm jobs too?

      “Free” trade is anything but, based on 19th century economic theories that are fatally flawed. It’s time to put them out of their misery and let every nation set their own trade policy however they see fit. Like I said, America should be willing to buy as much from China as we buy from you. That’s only fair. If China isn’t able to live with such an arrangement, then perhaps we should end trade with China altogether.

  2. Tony Newbill says:

    They have No clue as to the Path that created their economic demise . They are the epitome of the term ” Sheeple ” !!!!

  3. ClydeB says:

    In my experience in the TEA party, the emphasis has been limited to the subjects of taxes, limited Constitutional government and individual responsibility.
    Quite frankly, I think it will be difficult to move the discussion to trade. I stress the trade deficit in every communication, but the resopnse is less than enthusiastic.

    Tony, I did not pick up on the subject of a Free Market in his talk.

    With respect to US farm subsidies, the goal is more EXPORTS of farm products. I don’t agree that it is the right thing to do, just that the beneficiaries are at least in the US. Most of our “trade agreements” focus on subsidies to companies who export jobs. The three most recent on the table provide money to the companies for “re-training of their former or about to be former employees. This is bad policy and in no way constitutes free, fair or balanced trade policy.

    • Tony Newbill says:

      Clyde at 10:05 he says Western Civilization needs to be destroyed , and 11:30 he talks about Obama Policy making
      thats a threat to the Free Markets wouldn’t you say ?

      What this Guy is talking about is way more Important than anything that can cause risk takers fear of the future

      • Pete Murphy says:

        Tony, I too stopped listening to the video after a bit, not seeing any relevance to the discussion of trade. But, after your comment, I went back and listened to those portions of the speech you highlighted. I think you’ve completely misunderstood the part of the speech you’re referencing. The speaker is actually being critical of the Islamo-fascists who call for the destruction of civilization. And, in his remarks about Obama, I think he was actually praising Obama for including reasonable muslims in his administration – holding this up as an example for Canada to follow. I think the whole point of his speech was to rally Canadians to speak our more against Islamo-fascists.

        That said, let’s try to get back to the topic of trade.

  4. ClydeB says:

    I completely agree that his subject matter is of extreme importance. His is the most direct warning I’ve heard from a Muslim. I disagree, however, that he is an advocate. Clearly, at least to me, he is telling Canadians to wake up and recognize the danger that Islamo-Fasism presents.
    The three Muslim members of the Obama inner circle also represent a danger in my understanding of what he said. He especially warned of their Muslim Brotherhood ties.
    Again, I heard nothing of trade mentioned, directly or by inference.

    • Pete Murphy says:

      You may be right. Since it was off-topic, I didn’t pay all that much attention to it.

      • Tony Newbill says:

        Pete this ad for Investment opportunity is a blatantly stated agenda that seeks to take advantage of hoe the Trade Policy is Not working for a balanced trade goal , I found this amazing !!!!


      • Pete Murphy says:

        Tony, I hear all kinds of ridiculous claims about the relationship between China and the U.S. all the time. Either these people don’t understand the relationship or they’re simply lying to suit their own agenda. The simple truth is that China is far more dependent on the U.S. and our consumer market than we are dependent on their purchases of treasuries. They have to buy U.S. treasuries because every dollar spent on their products has to return to the U.S. This is because the U.S. is the only place where American dollars can ultimately be spent. Sure, they could spend it on oil or something, say from Saudi Arabia, but then Saudi Arabia is stuck with a bunch of dollars that have to come back to the U.S. It’s the soaring trade deficit that is driving the demand for U.S. treasuries.

        Some say that China could choose to dump their treasury holdings and destroy the U.S. any time it wants. That’s ridiculous. That’s like driving your car into a bridge abutment in order to kill a bug that has landed on your windshield. The fact is that China is going to be the ultimate loser, one way or another. We can cure all our ills by simply changing trade policy. It’s going to happen, sooner or later. Our trade deficit is a source of weakness that can be fixed with the stroke of a pen. But China is powerless to deal with the consequences of its overpopulation problem. Its overpopulation is a source of weakness that will ultimately destroy it.

  5. Tony Newbill says:

    Pete check this guys story out on how Policy in Washington is working …..

    • Pete Murphy says:

      So who is this guy? All we know is that he’s supposedly a California businessman and a TEA Party member. And he speaks with what sounds like a heavy Russian accent in broken English. That makes me suspicious about whether he is what he claims to be.

      Even if he is, it illustrates the problem I have with the TEA Party. It’s heavy on demanding that government get out of the way of business and eliminate regulations, and has little to say about anything else. The fact is that it was a lack of regulation that allowed the mortgage crisis to spiral out of control and even the Republican party admitted to as much when it voted in favor of regulations to prevent it from happening again. The cost of complying with government regulations is absolutely miniscule and in no way can be held responsible for driving companies out of business. Believe me, as someone who worked for a major chemical company for 30 years, including time in safety, health and environmental, I know what I’m talking about. You’d have to go to the fourth or fifth digit in the unit price of a product to find the effect of government regulations. The cost of government regulations is way, way, way down on the list of unit costs of a product, behind the cost of raw materials, labor, utilities, maintenance, depreciation, sales and administration and a whole host of other things.

      I’ll believe in the TEA Party when they start tackling REAL issues like trade and immigration. If the TEA Party wants to be a real force in politics, then they have to have a position on all the issues.

  6. Tony Newbill says:

    here is the other halh of that businessman example of how Policy has hamstrung the economic system

  7. Tony Newbill says:

    And Pete I think this shows How the Trade Policy is making the unions struggle to the point that they are starting to Lash out at any ad all opposition to even just Bails and More stimulus . This is not a good sign at all because if we lose our ability as a society to negotiate even in our own ranks then how can we negotiate policy with foreign trade Policy makers ?

    • Pete Murphy says:

      Their problem is that labor, organized or not, has absolutely no leverage in an environment where labor is in a state of gross over-supply relative to demand. Living here in the Detroit area, I saw the report of this speech on the local news.

  8. Tony Newbill says:

    Pete this is evidence of the Society breaking down and lashing out and it due to a stalled out economy and that can be traced to the Trade Policy too …..

    • Pete Murphy says:

      I’ve always said that 1 out of every 100 people is so mentally unbalanced that they shouldn’t even be walking around loose. In a population of 300 million, that’s about 3 million people. Psychopaths, sociopaths, undiagnosed schizophrenics, etc. One of the problems I have with these social network forums like Facebook and Twitter is that it gives a voice to such people and others who are incapable of expressing themselves without descending to that kind of rhetoric. What kind of people would actually publish such comments in a public forum? Don’t they realize what it says about them? Don’t they have anything better to do?

      Hopefully, this will be the last comment I ever have about anything that comes out of Facebook or Twitter.

  9. Ken Hoop says:


    Buchanan has more to say than the Tea Party.

    The TEA PARTY started out as an anti-bankster group, recoiling from the Collapse. Then it was coopted by
    Koch Brothers corporatism.

    The original Tea Party was protectionist “Perotista.”

    Now, it’s an anti-union, deregulate finance crowd with a strong war hawk tinge–excepting Ron Paul’s
    non-interventionist folks, which are about 20% of the ranks.

  10. Ken Hoop says:

    Pete, I believe unions are failing their ranks on the immigration issue by not asking for a moratorium.
    But you might have heard differently. If the unions plan to woo the hispanics rather than limit immigration, they are selling out the American worker as surely as the financiers are, from the other side.

    • Pete Murphy says:

      I agree, Ken, and they’ve sold out on the trade issue too, instead thinking they can have some sort of role in improving working conditions in China. What a laugh. Like all laborers, organized or not, they have no leverage and have become irrelevant.

  11. Tony Newbill says:

    The 2 Party economic trade Policies has failed to secure the American People’s Ability to Sustain Self Reliance and Liberty and the Tea party is falling for the same trade policy theocracy that the Republican RINO’s are advocating still and the failure of US Dollars being able to be repatriated back into the US economy so that economic solvency is achieved is NOT being accomplished as these next Links show this to be the proof !!!!!!!

    Matt Taibbi: “Is the SEC Covering Up Wall Street Crimes?”

    MOODY’S ANALYST BREAKS SILENCE: Says Ratings Agency Rotten To Core With Conflicts


    Wall Street Pentagon Papers Part III – Are The Federal Reserve’s Crimes Still Too Big To Comprehend?


    More on how the GAO’s phony Fed audit failed to disclose some dirty secrets about BlackRock and JP Morgan


  12. ClydeB says:

    Pat Buchanan comes as close to Pete Murphy as anyone in telling it like it is or as it should be.
    That bit of history needs to be constantly repeated.

    • Pete Murphy says:

      That’s true, but I gave up on Pat Buchanan some time ago. He had a chance when he ran as an independent, but torpedoed his campaign with a weird pick for running mate, immediately calling into question his judgment. It was a huge disappointment.

  13. Ken Hoop says:

    I would never give an all around endorsement to the now seemingly GOP-loyal-at-any-cost Buchanan. He’s right on trade and when he’s right he’s as succinctly eloquent as they come.

    For example, he dismissed Bush as a gullible dupe when Bush got us into Iraq on false intelligence, then supported Bush for his second term.

  14. ClydeB says:

    He does have a larger audience than I do and to read a piece such as the one mentioned is heartening. Every voice, even in the wilderness, is welcome to my way of thinking.

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