Tariff and International Trade
IF AFTER THE WAR the industrial and commercial life of most of the countries of the world is either state-owned or controlled, then the whole problem of the survival of a free economic system, even in the United States, will be complicated. Certainly the pattern of our foreign trade policy will have to be fashioned to government supervision, allocations and perhaps even price fixing. For state-controlled economies can sell without regard to costs. In other words, prices can become political. Therefore the type and kind of economy which exists in other countries is important to us. Obviously we cannot interfere in the economic life of other nations. There is much however that we can do to create an atmosphere conducive to the development and growth of free economy in the rest of the world. Among the measures which are indispensable to the development of such an atmosphere are revision of our tariff and cooperation in a policy of international currency stabilization. To these problems the Republican Party must address itself.
In the minds of generations of Americans the Republican Party is associated with a high protective tariff. Yet already at the turn of the century, such Republican leaders, as McKinley, Taft and Root, sensing the inevitable interdependence of the twentieth century world, were urging modification of the tariff through reciprocal trade agreements. In the nationalistic swing that followed the last war, however, Republicans, ignoring the fact that America was for the first time a creditor nation, and that other countries must sell to us if they were to buy our goods, passed successively the two highest tariff bills in our history, the Fordney-McCumber and