Rep. Robin Hayes yesterday advocated for new laws that would help out North Carolina's textile industry (a good thing) and in the process revealed that he doesn't understand the importance of fair trade policies (a much bigger bad thing). Until politicians like Hayes get the message, North Carolina's economy will continue to suffer.
From The Business Journal:
U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.) wants to require federal agencies to buy uniforms and other supplies from domestic manufacturers in an effort to boost the U.S. textile industry.
On first blush, that sounds pretty good. The only thing better than a good customer is a guaranteed customer, and the textile industry in NC can use the boost. But combine this idea with Hayes's industry-shattering vote for CAFTA and his less-than-spectacular work on the China agreement and a picture begins to emerge.
It's a picture of a Congressman who believes in free trade, not fair trade. He'll bow to the big-business wing of the Republican party when they want to make it possible to send NC jobs overseas. Then, wanting to look like he's making things right, he'll promise to coerce the one customer he holds some power over—the American taxpayer.
On a level playing field, the NC textile industry—arguably one of the most skilled and advanced in the world—wouldn't need government handouts to thrive, but Hayes either doesn't understand that or doesn't care. And the gift that Hayes proposed yesterday is nothing but an umbrella in a hurricane. In the final analysis, there will be hundreds (thousands?) of NC jobs gone, and those who remain in the textile industry will get a little boost from Uncle Sam. US agencies will be buying their uniforms in a marketplace skewed by CAFTA, and will probably end up paying above market rates. That extra cost will either come out of their budgets (TSA? Border Patrol?) or taxpayer pockets.
Somebody tell Robin Hayes how silly he looks offering the textile industry scraps when he's part of the reason it can no longer fend for itself.