The businesses that support and lobby for so-called free trade are always trying to wrap themselves in Ronald Reagan. But that's false because Reagan would not have allowed America to be cheated coming and going by foreign countries.
Of course, Reagan was for international trade, but he did not see it or use it as a stepping-stone to global governance; he did not accept cheating by foreign countries or rules set by panels of countries that hate and envy us or any vision of globalism. Reagan looked upon foreign trade as a component of American economic and military superiority and as a vehicle to bring down the Soviet Union, otherwise known as the "evil empire."
Reagan stood for the United States maintaining a strong industrial base because that translates into good jobs for Americans and an expansion of the middle class. Reagan came from the generation that understood that America's World War II victory was based on our tremendous manufacturing industry that overnight turned from producing automobiles into military weapons and tractors into tanks.
Reagan signed a Buy America policy for federal highway and transit projects. No way would he have approved building a Keystone XL oil pipeline with steel pipe imported from a Russian-owned mill or a San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge assembled from steel sections made in China.
Reagan imposed tariffs on motorcycles to protect Harley-Davidson and on electronic products from Japan. Like Alexander Hamilton and the Republican Party's policy for many decades, Reagan understood that a strong manufacturing base is a major element of America's greatness, military superiority and prosperity.
It's impossible to believe that Reagan would have knuckled under to impertinent edicts of a bunch of anti-American countries in Geneva called the World Trade Organization, which is demanding that we repeal our COOL law (Country of Origin Labeling).
You can bet that Reagan would never have kowtowed to Communist China stealing our intellectual property and building a vast industry of making illegal replicas of American products based on ignoring our patents. Reagan never would have tolerated Communist China requiring U.S. companies to give China their patents and manufacturing secrets in order to build a plant in China.
Obama's jobs Czar, GE's Jeffrey Immelt, is now urging American companies to welcome Chinese investments. That would be another route to losing control of American innovation and patents to Chinese state-owned enterprises.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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