Thomas Friedman’s recent column (TNT, 8-12) used a lot of words to tell us something we already know: American schools are not the best in the world, not even close. But what he neglected to mention was that even if our education system regains the top spot, our standard of living is going to continue downward unless additional steps are taken.
Friedman said it himself: CEOs manufacture their goods where labor is cheapest. So no matter how smart and educated we are, businesses are going to abandon America until our wages fall below the wages of places like China and Mexico – unless we take action and put a tariff on any good sold in America that was not manufactured in America.
Tariffs are not some radical new idea. Prior to the income tax, the American government was almost completely funded by tariffs, so Thomas Jefferson won’t be rolling over in his grave – not because of tariffs anyway.
Fear retaliatory tariffs? That ship has sailed. Check the price of a Ford in Beijing.
Tariffs will have a tremendous effect. When Apple realizes that an iPhone made with Chinese labor plus tariffs costs them more than one made with American labor, they will quickly open manufacturing facilities in the United States to make products for Americans. Other expatriated manufacturers will follow.
Top-notch education is a necessary but not a sufficient condition to reverse the declining American standard of living. Tariffs will return family wage jobs to America.