John F. Kennedy on Free Trade
All of us in the Senate meet endless examples of such conflicting pressures, which only reflects the inconsistencies inevitable in our complex economy. If we tell our constituents frankly that we can do nothing, they feel we are unsympathetic or inadequate. If we try and fail--usually meeting a counteraction from other Senators representing other interests--they say we are like all the rest of the politicians. All we can do is retreat into the Cloakroom and weep on the shoulder of a sympathetic colleague--or go home and snarl at our wives.
The 1962 bill gave the President a 5-year authority to cut all tariffs by as much as 50% and to cut tariffs down to zero on those commodities traded predominantly by the US. He never avoided the fact that, in order to sell more, we would have to buy more; and he proposed a measure to provide Federal "adjustment assistance" to firms and workers injured by any increase in imports deemed desirable. "It is time we recognized," he said, that trade is "no longer a matter of local economic interest but of high national policy. This bill by enabling us to strike a bargain with the common Market, will 'strike a blow' for freedom."
The granting of export licenses to sell wheat to the Russians was not prohibited under any of the statutes limiting commercial transactions with the Communists. But Congress had added to the Agricultural Act of 1961 an amendment opposing the sale of subsidized agricultural commodities to unfriendly nations. Republican legislators were already invoking this provision as an obstacle to any sale.
Kennedy decided to ignore it, and offered ample reason. It was only a non-binding declaration of intent. It had been adopted at the height of the Berlin crisis in a wholly different climate. And the subsidy went not to the foreign buyer but to the American heat farmer, regardless of where and whether the wheat was sold.
|Other past presidents on Free Trade:||John F. Kennedy on other issues:|
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Past Vice Presidents:
Natural Law Party