Before Donald Trump came along, I was more of a libertarian purist — I took the view of the Nobel Prize winning economist, Milton Friedman, who was an effective champion of free trade and zero tariffs.
His point of view certainly held sway in the U.S., and it came to Canada too, under both Conservative and Liberal governments. The Canada-U.S. free trade deal, and NAFTA, have made every party a free trader.
The corollary to that was the free movement of labour. That’s what the European Union did. And it’s amazing to be able to move freely around that continent.
But it brings problems too. Most acutely, huge masses of Muslim migration into Europe.
And in the U.S., too, where at least 13 million Mexicans illegally work — a benefit to employers, sure, and to consumers who save a few pennies on a head of lettuce. But what about the other costs to society that aren’t as easily quantified?
In Canada, we don’t have as large a problem with illegals. But we legalized our cheap foreign worker problem and called them temporary foreign workers. Again, it’s a gift to fast food restaurants and banks who don’t want to pay an extra dollar an hour to hire Canadians.
That’s great for people who won’t want to pay an extra dime for their Big Mac. But is it as good for Canadian teens who should be getting a first job?
There's been a similar hollowing out of industrial jobs, six-figure jobs — and the fancy people say, well, steelworkers should just retrain and do “coding”. You know, just learn to design an app for an iPhone, we’ll get new jobs for the 1,000 men laid off at your steel factory ——because China is subsidizing steel, to sell into America, for the strategic purpose of killing America’s steel industry.
Should Trump let Chinese cheap steel kill off factories in Pennsylvania?
He's said no. And so far, it seems to be working.
Because, in a way, he’s forcing the other countries in the world to live up to Milton Friedman’s ideals:
If you want free trade with us, then act like it. If you don’t drop all of your tariffs, we’ll hammer you until you do. And, country after country has said yes.
It’s realigning American politics. Trump is doing what no Canadian Liberal or NDP, and what no U.S. Democrat, has done in decades: actually fighting for the working man and praising heavy industry.
In Canada, were shutting down perfectly fine power plants. We’re banning pipelines and defunding oilsands. In America, they can’t build fast enough — 4.2 per cent GDP growth last quarter.
Who would a thunk it? A billionaire property developer is the best friend the working man has had in a generation...
NEXT: I'm joined by Catherine Swift of Working Canadians to talk more about this, as well as Trudeau's ill-advised trade war against the United States.
FINALLY: Your messages to me!