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R: Raise Tariffs

The United States has free trade agreements in place with over a dozen countries, and there is no doubt that these deals have led to cheaper prices on consumer goods for the American people. However, the reality of job outsourcing and rising trade deficits has plagued thedefense of old and the implementation of new such deals with foreign countries. Before NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was implemented in 1994, Ross Perot's "giant sucking sound" was used to warn against free trade with Mexico and other countries that undercut the American minimum wage and allow companies avoid costly American business regulations. Current proponents of US tariff reform argue that tariffs help to keep wealth and jobs within America, while critics argue that free trade and low-cost imports stimulate the economy through increased efficiency and competition.   

Is it proper of a nation to incentivize the buying of domestic products?  Or is it better to allow the free market to dictate where goods are produced? Is a more globally intertwined marketplace better for keeping world peace and instilling multinational cooperation? Furthermore, should nations reserve the implementation of tariffs for use only as economic sanctions? Is it unfair to restrict developing countries' access to the the world's largest economy? Or is it immoral for Americans to capitalize on the often underpaid labor and harsh working conditions of these nations? Should Americans be willing to possibly pay more for goods in order to ensure that they are manufactured at environmentally regulated factories with humane labor wages? If so, what power, if any, do tariffs have in dictating where goods are produced?

Join us this Wednesday, April 12th, at 7:30 pm in the Berkeley Mendenhall Room to discuss all this and more! All are welcome!

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