Sunday, February 19, 2017

America First

You mention the time we were together
So long ago 
Well, I don't remember
All I know is that it makes me feel good now
--The Motels

Some people have treated Donald Trump's statements about focusing political energies internally (e.g., his campaign slogan "Make America Great Again") as something new and dangerous.

They are nothing new, as demonstrated by the picture below borrowed from renowned Coolidge expert Amity Shlaes' Twitter feed. I suspect that such 'America First' platforms were common and in fact largely implied before the progressive era when the globalism mindset first gained widespread traction.

They are also not inherently dangerous. Putting America first does not necessarily imply some nationalistic, xenophobic fervor as progressives often suggest. Instead, it means prioritizing scarce political resources internally toward issues affecting everyday Americans.

Putting America first does not necessarily mean isolationism either. In order to advance standard of living, America (nor any other country for that matter) cannot be independent and self-sufficient. Instead, as Trade Theory 101 tells us, America should specialize its production and engage in robust trade with other nations.

Paradoxically, one of the best policies for putting America first is to let its citizens trade freely (no trade agreements necessary) with people from other countries.

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