|Source: Liberty Pen- Professor Milton Friedman-|
As huge as the United States is a country of roughly 320M people that basically the size of a continent, that stretches from one ocean to another, we still represent around 5% of the entire world. With two countries that have at least four times as many people as we do. And for our economy to do as well as possible, we need to be able to produce as many products as we can as possible, so we can sell them to as many people as possible. Not just in America, but the rest of North America, Latin America, Europe, Arabia, Asia, etc. To as many people as possible that can afford to buy our products and in exchange other countries that allow us to sell our products in their countries. They get to sell their products in this country, with roughly the largest middle class in the world and with the largest upper class in the world. And we get to see what the rest of the world is producing and what they do better than us and not as well as us and develop competition out of it. That's why it's called free trade, an exchange of products and ideas between these countries. That gives us and them and idea what they are up against, what they do well and what they need to do a better job of.
I don't know what's good about protectionism. But world trade as I prefer to call it, because its not free trade, has it's plus's and minus's depending on how each trade deal is worked out and they should all be designed from the American side to get more American products sold in foreign countries, where trade tariffs are as low as possible. And in exchange the countries we are trading with get the same benefits in this country. So where our tariffs on their products is low and where the tariffs that are put on our products in their countries are equally low. Where we don't negotiate trade deals where foreign companies can sell as many of their products that Americans are willing and can buy, but where we are very limited in what we can sell over there. Otherwise it would be unfair trade instead of free trade. Trade deals need to work well for both countries, or there isn't much point in having them.
One thing that comes from world trade is that jobs get cut and moved oversees and as a result well qualified Americans are left unemployed. Because their jobs no longer exist, or have been moved to another country, which is why we need to finance retraining for these workers. So at the very least they can find new jobs in other fields that they would be qualified to do, to make world trade as effective as possible. Foreign trade like any deal is give and take and comes with pluses and minuses. The trick is to run up the pluses and make the deals as good as possible for yourself and limit the minuses. Limit the damage of the minuses and when it comes to trade, you know jobs will be lost, because now your companies will be free to do business in other countries. Which is why you need trade assistance for employees that lose their jobs as a result of trade. That includes something in the effect of a severance package, retraining and help if needed finding another job.