COME TO CHARLESTON! The Ron Paul Institute and The Future of Freedom Foundation are co-hosting a conference on U.S. foreign policy in Charleston, SC, on Sunday, April 29, from 1-5 pm. Speakers: Ron Paul, Dan McAdams, Richard Ebeling, and Jacob Hornberger, with special guest Congressman Mark Sanford. Details here.
It is a fundamental economic axiom that trade raises people’s standard of living. That’s because in every trade, both traders are giving up something they value less for something they value more. As soon as a trade is completed, both actors have raised their standard of living, based on their individual, subjective valuations.
You go to the grocery store and spend $100. You gave up the $100 to get things (groceries) that you valued more than the money. Your standard of living just went up. So did the standard of living of the grocer. He gave up something he valued less (the groceries) for something he valued more (the money).
Therefore, to the extent that President Trump and the rest of the U.S. government interfere with the ability of Americans to trade with others with tariffs of other coercive measures, to that extent they are harming the ability of the American people to raise their standard of living.
But there is something more important for every American to consider, a point that unfortunately is lost on the mainstream press: Trump’s actions are an attack on our freedom, the freedom of the American people.
From the first grade, government schoolteachers teach Americans that freedom consists of the rights expressly protected in the first eight amendments to the Constitution (except, of course, the one in the Second Amendment).
Not so! Amendments 1-8 were not intended to an all-encompassing list of our rights, as expressly pointed out the Ninth Amendment: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Privacy, for example, is another fundamental, God-given right that the government is prohibited from infringing upon.
So is economic liberty — i.e., the right of people to engage in peace economic activity, accumulate the fruits of their earnings, and decide for themselves what to do with their own money.
Your money belongs to you. You made or you inherited it. It does not belong to the government. It does not belong to “society.” It does not belong to your friends and neighbors. It is your private property.
That means that you have the right to do whatever you want with it. You have the right to save it, spend it, invest it, or donate it. It’s yours.
If you wish to buy groceries with it, that is your right. If you choose to spend it at Disneyworld, that is your right. If you wish to buy a foreign car with it, that is your right. You have the right to use it to buy whatever you want from whomever you want.
It is the natural, God-given right of economic liberty that is destroyed or infringed upon in communist countries, like China, where the government controls economic activity or engages in economic activity with monies it has coercively seized from the citizenry through taxation.
But here’s the kicker: To respond to the Chinese government’s control over economic activity, President Trump does the same thing to the American people! He implements federal control over the economic activity of the American people. In the name of punishing China for its socialist actions, Trump destroys our freedom here at home by doing the same thing.
The way to fight socialism in China or elsewhere is not by destroying freedom here at home. The way to fight socialism over there is through freedom here at home. That means protecting not just such rights as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the right to vote, gun ownership, and due process of law. It also means protecting economic liberty, i.e., the natural, God-given right of Americans to do what they want with their own money, including buying whatever they want with whomever they want anywhere in the world.