Lets speak of Hawley-Smoot.
The free-traders who drove us into our current mess are forever holding up this benighted piece of legislative nincompoopery as the reason that the great depression went on so damn long. They were right. They were also wrong.
But the trouble is that they are too damn hidebound and blinded by the dogmas that they have been spouting to stand back and rationally examine the whole thing. Hawley-Smoot was badly written by two of the biggest simpletons in the history of the Senate. The bill was written to decrease the amount stuff coming into the US, forcing the US consumer to buy US stuff. Now this while this is a noble idea, the two morons who wrote the bill hadn't figured out that the US during that period of time was a huge exporter, kinda like China is today.
Well, as the free traders say, the bill did start a series of retaliatory tariffs in other
countries. So the other counties started a set of "retaliatory" tariffs, which made our export dependent industry lose a major portion of it's market. But lets think about that whole process.
The free-trade morons don't bother to tell you that in other countries the tariffs worked pretty dang well. Britain and the Commonwealth actually did a lot better than we did during the depression because their tariff barriers. I will dig out the figures, but if my memory serves, Britain and the commonwealth only contracted by about 5% during that period of time compared to the US 30%. Pretty good in the grand scheme of things. So maybe the "retaliatory" tariffs weren't retaliatory, but just good common sense.
So what I am saying here is that just maybe, we should stop believing the blinded cant of the idiots in the Chicago School and the quasi-syphilitic ravings of the free traders and instead look at the whole picture.
We are no longer an manufacturing powerhouse, we have been crippled by a generation of greedy and inept leaders (both corporate and governmental) who have gutted our manufacturing base. There is no such thing as a "post-industrial" society. We are going to have to rebuild our industrial base. We will have to protect this nascent creature. We can't do it if China and the rest of the world can flood us with low-cost material.
I would say that we have to look out for ourselves. We can do this, but we have to get over the blind beliefs that have led us to where we are. Free trade and globalism is not a panacea. We are not an industrial powerhouse anymore. We are not even a rich country anymore.
Time to hunker down.