Robert J. Samuelson’s April 1 commentary, “Trade — its overstated vices and underrated virtues,” has things backward.
True, trade is beneficial, but only if both sides of the deal gain from it. This, among other things, requires that the trade between the parties grows in a balanced manner.
He mentions the good foreign competition has done, increasing our standard of living by increasing productivity. There is some truth to this, but it is vastly overstated.
He gives us proof by mentioning the same thing has happened in agriculture, which it has. But the increased efficiency in agriculture came about with very little competition from imports.
He goes on to mention the vices of the job losses and wage cuts, which he understates. We are running a trade deficit of about $500 billion a year. He claims that causes a loss of about 2.7 million manufacturing jobs.
That may be true, but he fails to mention that every manufacturing job creates more service jobs. So, if three service jobs were lost for each manufacturing job, the true figure of jobs lost due to our trade deficit would be more than 10 million.
Samuelson also downplays the damage trade deficits have done to this country over the decades. Just imagine if 10 million more people were working in the country. It would reduce our social problems and the size of the deficit.
The bottom line that Samuelson and other free traders cannot ignore is that no family, city, state or country can consume more than it produces indefinitely and maintain its inflated standard of living. Over the past 35 years, we have consumed about $10 trillion more in goods and service than we have produced.
Lesson in situational ethics
As a father, grandfather and longtime Sunday school teacher, I am constantly looking for teachable moments and life lessons to share with the young people in my life.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank U.S. Sen. Rob Portman for giving to me a perfect example of situational ethics.
Instead of standing on firmly anchored beliefs as the basis for a life code, those with situational ethics will follow their moral compass until a “situation” comes along to change their course.
This situation could cause embarrassment, opposition or any number of uncomfortable feelings. So rather than staying the course, such people allow the situation to dictate their core beliefs.
Another lesson that Sen. Portman provided is that anyone can twist the words of the Bible to make them fit his or her viewpoint.
Portman uses the ubiquitous word “love” to whitewash what is truth. The scriptures instruct us to “speak the truth in love.”
It is often not an easy thing to do both simultaneously. In this case, Portman failed to do either.
Control guns, control violence
OK, it’s another article about someone killed by a “disturbed” individual. This time, it’s a woman in Pennsylvania shot by her estranged husband (“Police say retired trooper killed wife, himself,” March 29).
Tomorrow, it will be someone else, and let’s hope it’s not 26 more first-graders and their teachers, as in Newtown, Conn. There are those who think it’s just fine to have assault weapons and high-capacity magazines because, they say, the fault is with the mentally ill.
I would like to know how we identify the mentally ill and disarm them. We can’t lock up every angry spouse, disgruntled worker and teenager who spends too much time playing violent video games. None of those activities is illegal.
The only way we can make our citizenry safe is to limit the firearms. If only our politicians would grow a backbone and stand up to the National Rifle Association, which is in it for the money.