John Hendrickson has written an excellent and though-provoking editorial published by The Toledo Chronicle explaining Calvin Coolidge’s view of trade policy. It presents a very welcome discussion of so important (and controversial) a national policy long taken for granted in the United States. Mr. Hendrickson reminds us that even the good thing that is freedom can be abused, mishandled, and stretched beyond its beneficial limitations. Who, after all, would dare oppose freedom? But what if, as Coolidge understood, free markets on a global scale led to harmful effects for Americans? Would it be just or principled to adhere to a policy that hurts creative growth and the quality of its production at home for the sake of global quantity?
The issues we currently face with TPP are not original to our time. They have been discussed and found wanting before. Perhaps it is time again to reconsider the costs that have been inflicted on Americans through years of a blind and unquestioned adherence to a removal of tariffs. By taking away the protection of the excellence of goods and people replacing them with an abundance of goods and cheapening of people, is America really better off?
Perhaps Coolidge’s case for protectionism merits our attention once more. Perhaps it is time to honestly read the score of a policy that has emphasized cheap goods and cheap labor for a policy that once again restores an expectation of a more excellent way.