Monday, June 25, 2007

Top Domestic Concerns: Protectionism

I see many signs of protectionism creeping into current politics and public opinion. I regard protectionism as being close to the top of issues that are on my list of domestic concerns. My worry list goes something like this:

Anderson Top Ten Domestic Concerns
  1. Global War on Terror / fear of reversion to pre-9/11 mindset and appeasement of declared enemies
  2. Protectionism / bad tariff and trade policies reversing important gains, and total misunderstanding of trade deficits and rationale behind foreign holders of US Treasury instruments
  3. Global Warming / fear of adopting bad and overly aggressive and expensive programs based on bad economic models, i.e., global warming trends are real, significance of economic impact way overstated
  4. Energy Independence / need movement on issue from national security, environmental and economic perspectives to firmly and realistically reach independence with environmental sustainability factors
  5. Deficits / not current deficits which are very much under control but looming Social Security and Medicare, Medicaid liabilities
  6. Health Care / need market based universal coverage now with strategies to slow medical cost inflation
  7. Taxes / fear of higher taxes slowing economic growth; fear of myths about income inequality and state of our economy; need to simplify and overhaul tax code
  8. Education / need to move toward school choice and voucher system, improve accountability and transparency of results to consumers at all levels of education; emphasize basic US history and basic economics for all citizens
  9. Broken Government Bureaucracy / bloated and poorly agencies are the norm, need accountability, ability to fire employees; need to regulate down power of government worker union for federal, state, and local workers particularly in federal agencies and schools; need line item veto
  10. Immigration / enforce non-hiring of illegals by businesses, secure borders, national IDs, adopt realistic and needed immigration policies from all countries based on skills and less on families, only then assimilate and integrate existing aliens in fair manner

Issues that will not probably not adopt my solutions:

  1. War on Drugs / Phase out WoD outside of the United States (just give aid to South American counties outstipulations about drugs) by legalizing possession of some drugs and regulating where feasible (particularly marijuana to liquor stores, etc.) and continue control other drugs with reasonable quantity limitations, and continue criminalization of some drugs; as products more available price goes to nothing and economics for gangs and organized crime disappears, money spent for enforcement goes to hugely increased, accessible, well funded, professional treatment programs resulting in lower prison populations
  2. Revamp Legal System / Eliminate hate laws and return to equal justice under the law; eliminate affirmative action; concentrate on reducing minority inmates that make up majority of prison population; institute "drug court" concept; examine and fight disparity in sentences and punishment due to income, race, drug and alcohol addiction (need rehabilitation and programs to maintain employment where possible); make Sixth Amendment right to speedy trial a reality again
  3. Voting Rights / Add constitutional amendment: 1) to require all citizens to pass same test of knowledge of US history and government as required of applicants for citizenship in order to acquire right to vote just as a driver's license is based upon required standards, and 2) that guarantees and stipulates enforcement that no applicant for the license and right to vote shall be denied due to race, handicap, or any disability other than inability to comprehend, location, or education (any basic classes provide free of charge and accessible to all.

Now back to protectionism which is what I had intended this post to be all about:

[Protectionism] likely to become an increasing concern for the market in the months ahead,'' says Jens Nordvig, an economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in New York.

A poll for NBC News and the Wall Street Journal in March found only 28 percent of Americans viewed free trade deals as beneficial, compared with 46 percent who said they were harmful. When the same question was asked in December 1999, 39 percent were positive about free trade, 30 percent negative.

``We who believe in open economies are swimming against a strong protectionist tide these days,'' U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said June 5.

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