Radio Address to the Nation on Free and Fair Trade
My fellow Americans:
It's sometimes said that if you put three economists together in a room and ask them a question, you're liable to get more than three answers. It's true, economists don't often agree. But there is one issue on which almost all responsible economists, whatever their political persuasion, are unanimous. They agree that free and fair trade brings growth and opportunity and creates jobs. And they all warn that high trade barriers, what is often called protectionism, undermines economic growth and destroys jobs. I don't call it protectionism; I call it destructionism.
why our motto is: free and fair trade with free and fair traders. Now, we've
seen that governments sometimes don't play by the rules. They keep exports out
of subsidy -- or subsidize, I should say, industries, giving them an unfair
advantage. Well, our patience with unfair trade isn't endless, and we're taking
action to bring other nations back in line to ensure that free trade remains
fair trade. We're aggressively using existing trade laws to pry open foreign
markets and force others to play by the rules. This week, for instance, we
signed a breakthrough trade agreement that'll open up Japanese markets to
agreements are examples of positive, result-oriented trade action. Instead of
closing markets at home, we've opened markets to
What doesn't bring results is the sort of destructionist legislation now before the House of Representatives. Next week the House will vote on whether to override my veto of a textile trade bill, and I'm hopeful this won't happen. My Council of Economic Advisers estimates this bill would cost you, the consumer, $44 billion over the next 5 years: $70,000 for every job saved, jobs that pay about $13,000 on average. Even worse, these temporarily protected jobs would be more than offset by the loss of thousands of other jobs -- jobs in retail, marketing, and finance and jobs directly related to importing, such as dockworkers and transportation workers. And then there are all those who would be thrown out of work as we began to feel the effects of foreign retaliation, and you can bet there would be retaliation. I'm thinking, especially, of our struggling agricultural sector and its many connected industries. At a time when we're trying to increase agricultural exports, let's remember that some of the first victims of retaliation would be our farmers -- kicking them when they're already down.
our trade policy remains a positive one that will not play off one region
against another or one American worker against another, doing grievous damage
to the industries involved. In trying to help workers in ailing industries, we
must be careful that the cure is not worse than the disease, like the infamous
Smoot-Hawley tariffs that deepened and prolonged the Great Depression. The best
way to help is with the progrowth policies of free
and fair trade that have created more than 10 million new jobs in the last
3\1/2\ years. In the last 7 months 1,650,000 people have found jobs in the
Until next week, thanks for listening, and God bless you.
The President spoke at from