By Steve Hunley

At one time, the United States of America was the undisputed greatest economic power on earth.  That economic engine was clearly evident when America rebuilt most of the countries in Europe and more than a few in Asia following World War II.  The U. S. did not discriminate in its rebuilding and economic aid program, as we helped friends and old foes just the same.  Through NATO, we picked up virtually all the tab for the defense of Western Europe, a point made recently by President Donald Trump.  It remains a fact.  Most of Eastern Europe had fallen under the influence of the Soviet Union, which was precisely why the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was formed in the first place; to protect and prevent Communist incursion into Western Europe.  It was pretty easy for many of the western European countries to create welfare states without much responsibility for paying for the defense of their own countries; in the meantime, American business got complacent.  Soon, both Germany and Japan become our economic rivals.

Eventually it became easier for many American businesses to compete by closing plants and facilities in the U. S. while manufacturing in Asia or Mexico.  Even as business contracted in this country, we continued to underwrite foreign aid all over the world, as well as paying for the defense of many of our allies.  Those people who are aghast at President Trump’s tariffs are part of the ruling political establishment whose ultimate premise is based on the notion America’s power is unlimited and infinite.  Many of those same elitists have accumulated vast fortunes by slicing and dicing American businesses and selling off the various parts.  The Europeans are horrified at the prospect they might not be eternally subsidized by American taxpayers via Washington; China is shocked the United States might not be committing economic suicide after all.

What one doesn’t much hear in the mainstream media is the fact virtually no one can really win a trade war with the United States because all of our trading partners need us more than we need them. It is certainly true consumers may see slightly higher prices for some products, but we will also see more Americans steadily employed and paying taxes to produce those products.

Another thing one doesn’t much hear about in the mainstream media is the profits of “intellectual” properties have been protected, like big pharmaceuticals and software, while manufacturing concerns have been left to die.  Is it any wonder industries employing blue-collar workers have been virtually ignored while software concerns and big pharma have been protected?  Both NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreements required concessions from our trading partners to increase protection of intellectual property rights; these same agreements have regularly been labeled as “free trade” agreements when they clearly are no such thing.  Both agreements effectuated much higher levels of protection for specific sectors of the American economy.   In fact, they were much higher than the protection President Trump wants for American aluminum and steel.

What few Americans realize is a great many Chinese businesses and companies are state-owned, meaning they are owned by the Chinese government.  The Chinese have insisted American companies doing business in China to give up trade secrets as a condition of doing business is extortion.  In other words, to do business in China, Colonel Sanders would have to surrender his secret original recipe of 11 herbs and spices.  China has also continually turned its head over the theft of intellectual property.

We may hit some bumps in the road, but I remain convinced President Trump is doing the right thing and better still, he’s looking out for the best interests of working families and all Americans.