Michael D. Tanner
Democrats running for president have certainly not hesitated to criticize President Trump’s trade policies.
There is a good reason for the rhetoric. Several recent studies, from researchers at Harvard, Columbia, the IMF, and two different branches of the Federal Reserve, have all concluded that the tariffs imposed by President Trump on China and others have indeed hurt American consumers and threatened economic growth domestically and internationally. For instance, scholars at Columbia, Princeton, and the New York Fed found that the Trump tariffs had reduced U.S. real income by $1.4 billion per month by the end of 2018.
In response — or perhaps just because Americans have a reactive response to any Trump policy — polls suggest that support for free trade is on the rise. A Monmouth poll found that 52 percent of Americans in 2018 think free-trade agreements are good for the United States, a dramatic increase when compared to 24 percent in 2015.
Democrats are right to disagree with Trump. Too bad they don’t bring any good ideas to the table.
But what exactly are the Democratic presidential candidates proposing as an alternative? Their policies — as opposed to their words — don’t seem all that different. In fact, some of the Democratic plans may be even more restrictive.
For example, many experts believe that the best way to restrain China would be to join with our regional allies in some sort of block, similar to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). And there is reason to believe that our allies would be happy to have us join the pact. But with the exception of extreme long-shot Representative John Delaney, every major Democratic candidate either joins Trump in opposing the TPP or is highly critical of the current negotiation. Even former vice president Joe Biden won’t commit to the treaty his administration negotiated.
Biden’s change in position is just his latest concession to the special interests and unions that dominate the Democratic primaries. He once voted for normal trade relations in China, NAFTA, and pushed for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but no longer.
Nor is it just the TPP that Democrats oppose. Like Trump, most of the major Democrats oppose NAFTA. But, with the exception of Beto O’Rourke, they also oppose Trump’s renegotiation of NAFTA (renamed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA). Most Democrats have also opposed other, bilateral trade deals, such as those with Korea and Colombia.
The left flank of the Democratic party is even more anti-trade. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, wants the focus of trade to be on labor, the environment, and, ironically, consumers. She wants the U.S. to trade only with countries that have signed the Paris Agreement and meet onerous human-rights and labor standards.
This policy would fall most heavily on poor nations who can least afford costly environmental or labor upgrades. Countries such as El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala would be devastated, sending a new flood of refugees streaming toward our border.
And Bernie Sanders’s opinions are quite similar to Warren’s. Both of them are in favor of steel and aluminum tariffs and oppose all current trade deals. Sanders, like Warren, wants all future negotiations to be centered around labor, the environment, and human rights.
This shouldn’t be a surprise. The Left has long opposed free trade. After all, the ability to buy and sell to whomever you wish is the antithesis of central planning.
Unfortunately, though, for those of us who believe in the free market, the 2020 race continues to offer less of a choice, and more of an echo.Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the author of The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America’s Poor.
Triggering the Google Social Credit System
by Michelle Malkin
I learned last week from a Silicon Valley whistleblower, who spoke with the intrepid investigative team at Project Veritas, that my namesake news and opinion website is on a Google blacklist.
Thank goodness the Big Tech giant hasn’t taken over the newspaper syndication business yet. Twenty years of column writing have allowed me to break news and disseminate my opinions without the tyranny of social justice algorithms downgrading or whitewashing my words. But given the toxic metastasis of social media in every aspect of our lives, especially for those who make their living exercising the First Amendment, it may only be a matter of time before this column somehow falls prey to the Google Ministry of Truth, too.
Armed with internal memos and emails, former Google software engineer Zachary Vorhies exposed how MichelleMalkin.com (online since 1999) was placed on a news blacklist banning my content from appearing on newsfeeds accessed through Android Google products. I do not advocate violence, publish porn or indulge in vulgarity or profanity (other than my occasional references to Beltway crapweasels). But I triggered the Google Social Credit System and there’s no going back.
My apparent sin: Independently growing a large organic following of readers on the internet who share my mainstream conservative views on immigration, jihad, education, social issues, economic policy, faith and more.
Other conservative victims of the Google ban hammer include: Twitchy (a Twitter aggregation site I founded in 2012), FrontPage Magazine (founded by prolific conservative author and journalist David Horowitz), the Daily Caller (founded by Fox News host and journalist Tucker Carlson), Legal Insurrection (founded by Cornell University law professor and investigative blogger William Jacobson), NewsBusters (founded by Media Research Center in 2005), The Gateway Pundit (founded by grassroots social media pioneer Jim Hoft in 2004), the American Thinker (another of the veteran conservative blogs founded in 2003 by Thomas Lifson), LifeNews.com (an independent, pro-life news site founded in 1992 by Steven Ertelt), the Catholic News Agency and The Christian Post.
I suspect, because so many of the blacklisted sites belong to the original generation of conservative bloggers, that Google’s ideology-based censorship significantly predates the timeframe of the documents that Vorhies (who worked at Google for eight years) shared with Project Veritas. Indeed, my first substantiated censorship by Google/YouTube, which was covered by The New York Times, occurred 13 years ago in 2006. Around that time, it also became clear to me that humans, not algorithms, were manipulating Google Images to prioritize unspeakably crude photoshopped images of me disseminated by left-wing misogynists. And not long after, my heavily trafficked blog posts started dropping off the search engine radar altogether.
Several previous Google insiders have confirmed that the Big Tech giant discriminates against right-leaning journalists, pundits and personalities — not to mention free-thinking employees within its own workforce who’ve been persecuted, fired and even harassed by police for their whistleblowing. Leaked documents also show that a small cadre of meddling social justice overlords at Google Central Command manually manipulate search engine results — despite the company elite’s brazen denial of the practice at a recent congressional hearing.
In the early days of New Media, entrepreneurs on the left, right and center rallied around the transparency and open access mantra, “Information just wants to be free.” Now, in the wholly disingenuous names of “trust” and “safety,” the overlords of the internet want to throttle information with which they disagree. Google employees actively demote content on YouTube deemed “controversial queries,” according to internal documents from Vorhies, including the following phrases:
–Abortion is barbaric.
–Abortion is wrong.
–Abortion is murdering.
–Abortion is a crime.
“Do vaccines cause autism,” “climate change hoax,” and “Girl speaks about the danger in Germany due to rape refugees” were also all red-flagged as dangerously “fringe” by the Google P.C. police. So was President Donald Trump’s factual statement that immigration chaos has led to “people that are from all over that are killers and rapists and they’re coming into this country,” which one open borders employee complained was “explicit bias” that “we should take a stand on.”
So they’re for foreign killers and rapists coming into this country? Noted.
Internal staff complaints catalyze search engine manipulation, so political agitation among Google employees is a harbinger of speech clampdowns to come. Just last week, more than 1,000 Google employees lobbied the company to shun any contract work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection or Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Given that Google works with the hate racket and smear machine known as the Southern Poverty Law Center, you bet I’m worried that my immigration blog and column archives (not to mention all my reporting on the treasonous Silicon Valley CEOs in my upcoming book, “Open Borders Inc.”) will trip the Google Social Credit wire.
With Google’s homegrown menaces squelching our freedom of expression, damaging our reputations and livelihoods through slimy and secretive blacklists, and hampering our ability to do honest research — not to mention mining student data in schools by tethering children to Google apps/email/Chromebooks and holding their academic progress hostage to Google’s high-tech leash — who needs foreign enemies? China ain’t got nuthin’ on America’s “Don’t Be Evil” thought control freaks.