Election 2020

Weld: What's So Wrong with Free Trade When U.S. Gets the High-Wage Jobs?

Vice presidential nominee William Weld speaks at the Libertarian Party National Convention in Orlando, Fla., on May 29, 2016. (Phelan M. Ebenhack via AP)

The Libertarian vice presidential candidate said trade shouldn’t be such a tarnished topic on the campaign trail as the United States has “such an edge in productivity per worker that we always get the high-wage jobs out of free trade.”

“He’s all over free trade,” former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld told MSNBC this morning. “He wants to have a closed economy and pretend there’s no world out there. And traditionally, as recently as NAFTA, when I worked with Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich to get the votes to get that passed, the Republican Party was where Clinton needed the votes to put that through. And now both the major party candidates have really turned their backs on free trade.”

Weld added that “Donald Trump thinks every car is made in one country and sold in another country.”

“He doesn’t realize that there are stages of manufacture. Maybe Mexico does a little bit of the low-wage stuff, so low-wage jobs go to Mexico, but that allows the car companies to sell more cars in Korea and Japan against those manufacturers and hire more engineers and marketing people, which are high-wage jobs,” he said. “…The solution is just not to disregard the geographic areas and the industries where we do lose the low-wage jobs.”

“Might not be everybody’s dish of tea, but I’m a big public/private partnership guy, and I read about efforts in Appalachia right now to bring in environmental engineering industries, internet companies, that are necessary in the new economy. Not the buggy-whip economy, but the new economy. And people are kind of doing that themselves, self help to make up for the coal and steel jobs that are being lost, and that’s very good, and I think the government can assist that and reinforce that.”

Weld said the country would be better off if it focused on the “third way” by embracing the majority as fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

He explained Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson’s flubs on foreign affairs as the former New Mexico chief’s experience consists of being “a western governor.”

“He hasn’t had occasion to travel as much as, for example, I have in the last dozen years, both on business and as member of organizations of heads of state. So I’ve had probably more foreign exposure the last 10 years than I had previously, just because of how I’ve been spending my time, and Gary’s time has been spent more in the West,” Weld said.

The VP nominee said “what would be the silver bullet for what’s wrong with Washington would be term limits.”

“I was national chair of U.S. Term Limits with Howie Rich when I was in office. You know, a Congress won’t act on that. The states have a power to do a convention to force a constitutional amendment for term limits,” he added. “I think that would be a worthy cause after the election.”