In the midst of all this hoopla over Trump’s Carrier deal, I was reminded of the economic ignorance exhibited by his supporters and critics alike. I don’t want to harp too much on this topic, so suffice it to say, while the Carrier deal was a victory for freedom, it has likewise fueled protectionist rhetoric, but not in the typical sense.
There are some who argue that it is better for American companies to stay in America, not so much out of nationalistic pride, but for the sake of protecting Chinese workers (or other similar labor forces) who presumably work at slave labor rates and under harsh conditions. Whether the working conditions and wages in Chinese factories fail to meet the standards and working conditions of those in America, it is a moot point. If sheer emotion and compassion for our fellow man — the Chinese — were the basis upon which we should build our arguments, then what would matter most is the overall increase in the quality of life for Chinese workers who are given employment by American companies who seek cheaper labor than what can be found in America.
Someone smarter than I once said that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. This much is certain when one takes into account the reduction of living quality for Chinese workers once their employment is terminated. What is thought to be good for them, is actually bad; and whether or not supporters of protectionism realize this, it will either reveal their harmful ignorance or their false humility. The same argument being made for protecting the jobs of Americans could be used for the Chinese. Under China’s command economy, it is no wonder why the quality of life of its workers is already so low. Imagine if China actually allowed capitalism to flourish within its own borders. I imagine Chinese work ethic and Chinese ingenuity would far exceed that of many Americans, and businesses would still move their. Conjecture aside, the important matter is consistent free market practices which are ethically superior because it allows choice in the market whereas the government-controlled economies of America and China alike, do not.
The Carrier deal was good in only one respect — the net decrease in taxation. And though it was only granted for one company at this moment, we should celebrate any and all instances where it is revealed that taxation stifles business and true progress. Moreover, the only people who should really be celebrating this deal relative to their own convictions, is us libertarians. Why? Because we deplore taxation. The failure to retain the majority of jobs provided by Carrier should be reason enough to draw criticism from Trump’s supporters. Over 1,300 — that’s two-thirds — of Carrier’s jobs are still moving to Mexico; a place where the same arguments can be made for their workers who would no doubt benefit from American employment. Alas, Trump’s supporters, not unlike Clinton’s, still refuse to face the reality of their own indifference to real economic problems.