September, 2011    Volume 18, No. 14

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Presidential Candidate Buddy Roemer Picks Up The 'Fair' Trade Mantle -- With China Being His Chief Focus

By Richard McCormack

The 2012 race to the presidency suddenly has one candidate involved who is picking up where the great sucking sound of Ross Perot left off.

Buddy Roemer, former governor of Louisiana and member of Congress from 1981 to 1988, is the new darling of the "fair" trade community, having announced his Republican candidacy for president on July 27.

Roemer, a graduate of the Harvard Business School, got into the race because he believes the U.S. economy will fall off a cliff if the federal government doesn't address the most important economic issue of the time: unfair trade that is destroying the U.S. manufacturing sector. "The global free trade experiment has been tried and has proved to be a disaster to our economy," he says. "I am the only presidential candidate that is talking the truth about global free trade."

As founder and head of Business First Bank, a small business community bank for the past 16 years, Roemer has watched as his American industrial clients have been wiped out by Chinese competition. In his first speech on how to restore jobs, Roemer said that no other candidate for president either has the insight or the guts to recognize what has gone wrong with the American economy. They have all been bought off by corporations and bankers that benefit from the unfair global trading system.

"There is a bear in the room," says Roemer. "It's fat. It's eaten our jobs." That bear is China. "Why is it I'm the only presidential candidate who can see the bear?" he asks. "Could it be that I'm the only one who has not sold himself out to the big corporations, PACs and their campaign money?"

Roemer's focus is on rebuilding American industry through changes in the tax code that encourage U.S. production and through a "fair trade adjustment" tax on products made in countries that provide their manufacturers with unfair advantages. Once industry is re-established, most every other U.S. economic ailment, from housing to health care to unsustainable government deficits, will be ameliorated.

Roemer rails against free-trade orthodoxy, arguing that the United States places taxes on factories operating in America while having "eliminated any tax on factories that produce goods abroad and import those goods into America." This has led to a flood of cheap imports that have destroyed industries and millions of jobs. "We allow them to do it for free," he proclaims. "We tax our guys. You come beat us to death. By doing this, we have not only allowed our manufacturing industries to move outside the country, we have encouraged them to leave America and go overseas. It's cheaper and it's tax-free!"

Roemer speaks clearly and in perfectly constructed sentences, with no "ums" or "you knows," and in a sonorous southern accent, similar to that of Perot's but without the nasalness. He exudes a populist sense of confidence and competence. He also has more political experience than most of the other Republican candidates in the race. He won't go AWOL a la Trump.

He calls himself a crotchety old man, though 67 can't be considered old. He represents a generation of Americans that missed the presidency. Ronald Reagan (born 1911) and George H.W. Bush (born 1924) were of the World War II generation. The presidency skipped the in-between generation (those born between 1928 and 1945 -- too young for WW-II and too old for Vietnam), directly to the Baby Boomers, with Bill Clinton (born 1946), followed by George W. Bush (born 1946) and then Obama (1961).

Roemer made is jobs speech standing directly in front of the Chinese Embassy in Washington. "Governor Huntsman made his [jobs speech] in New Hampshire," said Roemer. "Governor Romney will make his in Nevada. I made mine where the problem is. The problem is not in Nevada. The problem is not in New Hampshire. The problem is not in Congress. The problem is in the bear den."

The 8,400 word transcript of Roemer's economic speech including his answers to questions from the press is available to subscribers.

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