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The Trump Wall & Trade Pacts

Candidate Trump has stirred the pot on many issues, perhaps none so meaningful as those related to immigration and trade. As those who read about the world surely know, this issue is hardly one that challenges only the U.S. Western European nations are besieged with millions of people each year trying to enter their countries, fleeing less pleasant lifestyles in Africa, the Middle East, and the Balkans. The WSJ reported that as many as 800,000 will try to enter Germany this year alone. This represents a full 1% of that nation’s population.

Handled properly, immigration can provide both great value to a nation’s economy in the form of both cheaper, and at times, higher skilled labor; provide a safe haven with improved lives for the immigrants entering better run nations than the one’s they flee; and enrich the culture of their new nation. On the other hand, there is the potential for costs that cannot be discounted including the wage and employment challenges for citizens who work lower wage jobs and now find new competition, the potential for degrading a nation’s culture in the case of immigrants who invest no effort to integrate, and the security issues of sorting out those who enter a country to add value from those whose plans are less honorable.

Trade pacts are closely related to this immigration issue inasmuch as they have the potential for benefit in the form of bringing cheaper goods and services to a nation, as well as the potential cost of citizens having lost jobs to those of other nations.

The basic issue underlying the wave of people pouring over borders in search for better lives, or the desire for poorer nations to enter into trade pacts with stronger ones, is the reality that the systems in place in certain countries are inferior to the systems in place elsewhere. People are mostly the same everywhere, however, what distinguishes the fate of nations has mostly to do with systems – political, legal, educational, and financial. I must say that, while I'm surely not opposed to immigration on the whole, I am not in favor of fluid and open border immigration policies or free trade, per se. Rather, I would like to see weaker nations forced by their citizens to abandon their losing systems and adopt the systems that have worked well in other nations that they aspire to join. Allowing people to flee a failing country and to enter one that is prospering eliminates the needed accountability that the leadership of those failed nations must answer to, while also unfairly burdening the citizens of countries whose ancestors have fought for the superior systems that have allowed them to prosper.

 The freedoms and benefits that accrue to my generation and me represent the rewards of the efforts and sacrifices of our ancestors who fought hard to insure that they are bestowed upon all of us. For that we should all be eternally grateful and mindful to protect and respect that legacy.

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