With Thanksgiving fast approaching, Americans are invited to reflect on our history while enjoying the fruits of prosperity. On November 26, 1988, 31 years ago today, then-President Reagan used his weekly radio address to discuss how Americans should be grateful for trade and its importance to achieving prosperity.
President Reagan’s comments on free trade have a clear resonance today, though the current administration -- which has erected protectionist tariffs that hurt Americans and small businesses -- seems to have passed on this particular serving of wisdom.
Below are some collected quotes from President Reagan’s brief address, with uncanny resonance despite the gap of three decades:
Here in America, as we reflect on the many things we have to be grateful for, we should take a moment to recognize that one of the key factors behind our nation's great prosperity is the open trade policy that allows the American people to freely exchange goods and services with free people around the world.
Over the past 200 years, not only has the argument against tariffs and trade barriers won nearly universal agreement among economists, but it has also proven itself in the real world where we have seen free-trading nations prosper while protectionist countries fall behind.
The record is clear: when America’s total trade has increased, American jobs have also increased.
Our peaceful trading partners are not our enemies; they are our allies.
We should beware of the demagogues who are ready to declare a trade war against our friends, weakening our economy, our national security, and the entire free world all while cynically waving the American flag.
The Trump Administration should continue President Reagan’s fight to maintain and enhance trade relationships that benefit Americans. Despite the best attempts to sugar-coat and distract voters, tariffs and protectionism harm U.S. consumers and workers.
Just a bit of food for thought. Happy Thanksgiving!