10 Nov 2008

Pat Buchanan Blames Cheap Goods and Workers for Republican Defeat

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Usually I agree with Pat Buchanan, and plus I love his laugh. But I was flabbergasted to read in this column that he attributes the Republicans’ loss not to a foreign empire, not to a mountain of spending that would impress LBJ, not to a bank bailout, but to…(get ready)…low tariffs and open borders. Ta da! The Republicans did not use the force of the government to interfere enough with commerce,* and this is why they lost. In Buchanan’s own words:

Ultimately, however, the Beltway Republicans are losing Middle America because they are ideologically incapable of addressing two great concerns: economic insecurity and the perception that we are losing the America that we grew up in.

Economic insecurity is traceable to NAFTA-GATT globalization,** under which it makes economic sense for U.S. companies to close factories here, build plants in China and export back to the United States. Manufacturing now accounts for less than 10 percent of all U.S. jobs.

Social insecurity is traceable to mass immigration, legal and illegal, which has brought in scores of millions who are altering the character of communities and competing with U.S. workers by offering their services for far less pay.

These are the twin causes of death of the Reagan coalition, and as long as the Republican Party is hooked on K Street cash, it will not address either, and thus pass, blissfully addicted, from this earth.

* I know some libertarians think that the INS is a “market solution” to the movement of peoples across arbitrary geographical boundaries. Well, I don’t. If something requires armed agents of the state to implement it, I’m thinking it’s a bad thing.

** I also know that a staunch free trader could oppose GATT and NAFTA; in fact that applies to me. But Buchanan is making a standard mercantilist argument; he’s not complaining about supernational regulatory bodies in the above.

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