I started Pat Buchanan's The Great Betrayal: How American Sovereignty and Social Justice Are Being Sacrificed to the Gods of the Global Economy.
begins his book with a story about a lady who worked at a Fruit of the
Loom plant and helped to support her family with the money that she
earned from that job, but then the plant closed down. Buchanan then
went on to cite statistics about the decline in real family income, the
increase in the share of wealth that is held by the top 1 per cent of
families, the drop in the percentage of Americans who work in
manufacturing, and the increase in the number of people who work at
Wal-Mart. This all is in a chapter entitled "The Two Americas", which
would later become a phrase that Democratic Presidential candidate John
Edwards used when talking about poverty. And Buchanan wrote about the
top 1 percent a little over a decade before the Occupy Movement, which
often refers to the top 1 percent.
Buchanan confessed that he used
to be a free-trader, even when Democrats (such as John F. Kennedy) were
the ones peddling it, but some in his family confronted him about his
position because they saw the devastation that free trade was wrecking
on communities----as companies had to close down due to their inability
to compete. Now, as Buchanan looks back on the free trade policies of
the 1950's-1960's, he questions their rationale. The Eisenhower
Administration, for example, heralded free trade as a way to gain allies
in the Cold War against Communism, but Buchanan does not think that
free trade was even necessary to get countries as allies: after all,
many of these countries were already afraid of Communism, and so they
were already with us!
In terms of the historical narrative that
Buchanan tells, much of it overlaps with what I read in Edward Gresser's
pro-free trade book, Freedom from Want. Buchanan, like
Gresser, talks about how Woodrow Wilson sought to reduce the tariff yet
still wanted an active government, which required revenue, and so Wilson
supported an income tax. Buchanan also notes that Republicans for
years tended to be the protectionist party, whereas Democrats leaned
more towards free trade, a point that Gresser emphasizes in his attempt
to portray free trade as a liberal virtue. Buchanan, however, sees
nothing virtuous about it, for not only does free trade undermine
American companies, but it also challenges American sovereignty, which
was why a number of Republicans in the late 1940's opposed the ITO, a
body that decades later was resurrected as the WTO.
between Buchanan and Gresser is that Buchanan calls Thomas Jefferson a
protectionist, whereas Gresser quoted a statement by Jefferson that
supported freer trade. I'll see how Buchanan portrays Jefferson later
in the book, but I wouldn't be surprised if Jefferson believed in trade
yet did protectionist things. Jefferson had strong ideological beliefs,
yet he could be pragmatic. As President, he gave a green light to the
Louisiana Purchase, for example, even though he initially thought that
he needed to jump through hoops for that to take place.
That evil Bible, again.
9 hours ago