URBANDALE — GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee sang the praises of U.S. craftsmanship Wednesday and warned against trade deals that will continue to export jobs and weaken America’s ability to defend itself by eroding vital manufacturing capabilities.
“If we lose the ability to manufacture here and everything is shipped off shore to manufacture, we lose our freedom,” the former Arkansas governor said after touring Quality Products Manufacturing’s five-building complex that employs about 430 workers.
“It’s a blow to every American because if we cannot manufacture our own weapons of self-defense, if we can’t make our own tanks and trucks and planes and bombs and bullets, then we’re done. Whoever then is making that for us is going to own us,” he told employees on the full-service metal fabricator.
Speaking to reporters after the tour, Huckabee said trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership will put U.S. manufacturers and their workers at a competitive disadvantage against foreign products, aided by government subsidies that skew the marketplace while benefiting only Wall Street investors.
“I feel like a voice in the wilderness among the Republicans because everybody just sort of lines up with the Wall Street crowd. There will be a lot of money to be made if the TPP does go through,” he said. “Unfortunately, it won’t be made by guys out here on this floor as much as it will by guys on Wall Street because they don’t care where the money gets made. If it’s made in Indonesia, gets made in China, gets made in Mexico — it deposits in their accounts all the same.”
The Republican presidential candidate said he supports free trade if it’s fair trade, but the international marketplace has been skewed because America plays by the rules in its trade dealings while other partners don’t, “and they’re beating our brains out.”
The result of the trade imbalance has been that America has rung up an $11 trillion trade deficit since 1990 and has lost 60,000 manufacturing plants and five million jobs over the last 15 years, Huckabee said. But of even greater concern, he noted, is that the eroding manufacturing base is creating vulnerability by making it increasingly difficult to make the weapons and ammunition it would need in a wartime situation given the growing volatility on the world stage.
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“The world is a much more dangerous place than it was just a few years ago and if we think that we can defeat the enemy by having a software program, we’re kidding ourselves,” he said. “Ultimately, we’re going to have to have weapons to destroy the threat that exists in the world against America and against all freedom-loving people, against western civilization.”
Huckabee said history has shown that a nation that cannot feed itself, fuel itself and fight for itself will fail. Currently, he said, there are extremists with a 7th century mentality that want to create a 7th century world and we will never, ever be acceptable. They want to move backwards. That’s a clash that we cannot reconcile and at some point it will become necessary for us to have that battle.
“And if we cannot prepare for it and if we cannot manufacture our own weapons of self-defense and our own weapons to destroy that evil that exists on this planet, then we will not win that war,” he added. “We cannot afford to outsource our defense because when you do that, you outsource your freedom, and God help us if we outsource our freedom.”
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