Jindal and the Farm Bill Vote

August 5, 2007

I’ve been asked about Bobby Jindal’s vote on the farm bill, which is said to have raised taxes. True, it raised taxes on foreign owned companies operating in the United States. I’ll explain the significance of the latter point in a moment. But first, here’s some thing from National Review’s the corner:

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The Farm Bill that passed the House today (231-191) contained far more weighty matters than the non-binding anti-obesity resolution. It also contained a tax increase of somewhere between $6 billion and $7.8 billion on the U.S. subsidiaries of foreign corporations. This could possibly threaten the jobs of tens of thousands of Americans and discourage multinationals from establishing a presence in the United States. It’s also a corporate income tax hike, which will ultimately be paid for by higher consumer prices.

Pay attention to those sections that are highlighted. Another way to view this is that Jindal voted to make it harder for foreign companies to come here and compete with American companies. In short, it was an anti-globalist vote. Like it or not, the tide seems to be turning against globalism in both major parties. Economic nationalism seems to be making a comeback.
I was once a staunch globalist and free-trader. That is, until having observed the actual results. Now, rather than take a position pro or con, I try to look at the electoral realities. And it appears as though globalism is a fast becoming an electoral loser. I believe that the November ’06 elections clearly demonstrated this.

Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio all fell to Democrats. Incidentally, these are all states where manufacturing jobs were lost to competition from cheap, third-world labor. People in those states lost jobs that were outsourced to China and India, and those who found jobs since are not making as much as they were before their jobs went overseas. Their jobs were lost due (in part) to the trade deals that were passed by a Republican congress and a Republican president.

In short, their standard of living has been driven down by competition from third- world labor. While Americans are willing to compete with other Americans, there is growing evidence that they will not support a candidate who puts them in a position of having to compete with foreigners. We’ve seen this in recent, nationalistic uprisings like the immigration issue and the Dubai ports deal.

The G.O.P. position in recent years is a total embrace of globalism- which puts American workers in the position of having to compete with some of the lowest paid workers in the world. If Republicans seriously think they can continue to win elections with those kinds of policies, I fear they are destined for near-extinction.

We’ve all probably heard of the “conservative crackup.” One of the issues fracturing the G.O.P. is the fight between globalism and economic nationalism. The latter seems to be winning, and that is the side that Jindal seems to have taken in his farm bill vote.


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