The United States has no mechanism to stop or offset this foreign border-tax racket, which creates a severely unlevel playing field. Our complaints and petitions to the World Trade Organization have fallen on deaf ears.
But how could we expect any better treatment? We are only one vote out of 152, and most of the other countries don't like us anyway.
This border-tax subsidy started shortly after World War II. U.S. officials, steeped in a Marshall Plan foreign-handout mentality, agreed to allow France to protect its domestic market, going and coming, by border-tax subsidies and taxes.
What followed was monkey see, monkey do. Other countries found they could play the same anti-American game. Today, 149 countries use the border-subsidy-and-tax scheme to discriminate against U.S. products.
In addition, the foreign border-tax rates have grown and grown. France's border tax rate of 2 percent in the late 1940s has risen to 19.6 percent today, and the average for all 149 countries is 15.5 percent.
These figures show that the push for the United States to lower or eliminate our tariffs is one of the costliest con jobs ever perpetrated on Americans. We cut our tariffs in the name of "free trade," but 149 foreign countries simply replaced their tariffs with approximately equivalent border taxes benignly called "Value Added," and then doubled the indignity by handing out subsidies to make their products more saleable in U.S. markets.
The American people rose up with a mighty roar a couple of years ago to kill the Bush administration deal to outsource control of 22 East and Gulf Coast port operations to Dubai Ports World, which is controlled by a Middle East government. We are looking for a similar grassroots uprising to kill the deal to outsource the building of aircraft essential to our national defense.
America's industrial base is a vital part of our national security. We can't afford to put it under the control of foreign governments.
The French tanker-aircraft deal should be a red alert about the unfair treatment of Americans by various trade agreements and contracts. Then, perhaps we can build momentum to protect what's left of our manufacturing base and middle-class jobs by establishing a level playing field for foreign trade.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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