US Trade Policy And Its Impact On Self Directed IRAs

As you listen to the political theater that came from both political party campaigns, these last two weeks, you can’t help but ask the question “where are your real solutions?”.

We hear both candidates talking about jobs. But really? You, the government can create jobs in the private sector? We never heard one single solution or set of tasks or activities that either candidate would implement that they could tangibly demonstrate could or would create jobs and prosperity. In fact, if we look to the current administrations track record, their attempts at creating jobs have failed miserably.

Now, lets consider US trade policy by this administration as well as those of Bush and Clinton. We now have what we consider a free trade policy. The argument put forth by the Clinton administration was that we need to have a policy that opens doors to foreign markets. This allows US manufacturers to sell their goods into those markets. This also provides cheaper goods back to the US consumer. The theory being that the US companies will hire more US workers to support their operations in foreign markets, as well as dropping the costs of goods in the US markets. Sounds like a win-win scenario.

However, the reality does not seem to support the theory. What we have actually seen happen is that the US has, since the Clinton era, ran massive trade deficits. The American worker’s wages have not kept pace with inflation. We saw a major economic bust right at the end of the Clinton administration. We’ve seen American manufacturing move offshore, and we have not created net new jobs.

Why is this happening?

We’re not here to beat the drum for American jobs, protectionism, or some socialistic economy. What we are pointing out is that what our government’s trade policy has accomplished or failed to accomplish. What we managed to accomplish is that we opened up our doors to cheap goods from from foreign countries. Foreign countries have the access to the same technology, education, information, and capital as we do in America. The only variable between us and the foreign country is the cost of labor. That clearly gives them a competitive advantage that we do not have here.

We hear the President proclaiming that we are going to bring back American manufacturing, and American jobs, but the reality is that those jobs are never going to come back with our current policies. We have deliberately implemented a trade policy that puts us on an unequal footing with 3rd world countries. How would you ever expect us to be competitive with someone that make less than 10% of what an American worker makes? the short answer is you won’t. My personal experience from a prior life in manufacturing management and consulting is that America has moved manufacturing offshore, closed US plants all in an effort to reduce cost. American companies were and are in a competitive dog fight with foreign goods. The US based companies more often than not have shareholders and are driven to earn a profit for their shareholders. That’s their reason for existing. So, its only natural that these companies look for lower labor costs in order to keep their goods price competitive with the foreign goods being imported.

The heart of the problem

The crux of the issue lies in how we define the purpose of an economy. Are we here to serve the economy, or does it serve our society? The second part of the issue is are economies suppose to serve their society or country or nation, or do nations, and societies not matter and its just one big global pot?

Let’s deal with the second question, first. If we value the concept of nations, countries, regions as being the highest level of our society or community, then the economy would be defined relative to that construct. If, however, you really say that we live in a global community, then the country is out the window, and there really is no economy or purpose for it. What we have is a free for all, and policy, borders, and countries do not matter. Therefore, you have to compete directly with the person making $2 per day living in a dirt floor hut.

The answer to the first question is that the economy is designed to deliver wealth and prosperity to its participants. Therefore, if you live in the US, then the US economy is designed to improve the lives and prosperity of Americans, not the Chinese, or Indians.

So, if you buy into the precept that the United States economy is here to serve the people of the United States and the objective is to improve the overall wealth and prosperity of American, then you have to have trade policies designed to do just that. Today, we do not have such policies and we are not going to see jobs and economic prosperity and improvement with the current policies of our government.

What does this mean for self directed IRAs

Ok, so we may have gone the long way around the barn, but the issue is clear. The political theater that you see come from the President or Mitt Romney are just that — theater. There are not any solutions being put forth, and there is no indication that either party or candidate will implement anything that will address our economic woes. This is why you have seen massive QE from the Fed and why the price of metals will continue to increase. The printing of money is the only way that the government can deal with our problems. Its because of this that we still recommend that people maintain a good, healthy position in precious metals held in their self directed IRA.

We are also advocating that you continue to look for self directed IRA investments that get you away from the markets and into hard tangible assets such as real estate or investing in small businesses that you know and understand or have some control over.

Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes only and are not a solicitation or offering of an investment, investment advice, or tax advice. You should consult with your tax, legal or financial advisor to determine the suitability of any investments made with a self directed IRA account.