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OpinionColumnistsTed R. Bromund

’Twas no trade before Christmas

In this Dec. 13, 2017, photo, President Donald

In this Dec. 13, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump speaks in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington. Photo Credit: AP / Evan Vucci

With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

American stockings were hung up with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

Their eyes were so bright, for our children knew,

That our borders were closed, so no trade could get through.

We’d drawn down the shutters, we’d closed up the gates.

All their toys would be made, right here in the States,

Those stockings were small, of course it was true,

Tho they were the best that our sweatshop could do.

Foreign yarn would be cheaper, but that’s no surprise.

But why the wages we paid so truly pint-sized?

Yet St. Nick would still call, of that we were sure,

With no imports to trouble, we’d never be poor.

To make at home, we knew, that was the best.

For those without trade are the ones who are blest.

They’d stolen our jobs, they’d taken them from us.

Our factories closed, and so it was thus,

That new heroes sprang forth, to tell us to win,

We must make it ourselves, like good bathtub gin.

Our eyes were now clouded, but still we could see,

That this was true wisdom, the best there could be.

Why buy from the world, why shop for the best?

To do it right here, yes that was our quest.

In bed as I lay, I mused on the tale,

Of how that it was, how we’d gone off the rail.

How we’d decided, that you had a right,

To buy what you wanted, to do as you might.

Our boys needed jobs, and yes our girls too,

Buying from them was the right thing to do.

Imports were wrong — but yet they were cheap.

As I pondered half-dreaming, I heard the roof creak.

’Twas the sound of St. Nick, the knell of his bell,

That merry old elf, my fears would dispel.

More slowly than snails, his heralds they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

Now, BARRY! now, DONALD! now, SHERROD and BANNON!

On BERNIE! on TRUMKA! on WARREN and CLINTON!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now crawl away! crawl away! crawl away all!

His eyes they looked pained, his face drawn and sallow,

And that bag on his back was surprisingly hollow.

So I asked, “good old St. Nick, have you a toy?”

And he said with a groan, “you dull, silly boy.”

Toys are for children, and often on sale.

But your workers are not — they cost without fail.

Jet planes, black gold, new drugs, and machines.

You’ve never made more, you’re no has-beens.

But you’re not good at cheap. And that’s no surprise.

To pay the best wages, you have to upsize.

Yet those stockings you made are too small for your feet.

And the price that you charge for them’s just as petite.

So don’t look at me when you start asking for toys.

It’s not me who believes that it’s trade that destroys.

Home-made is fine, I agree that it’s true.

But a free choice it must be, one only for you.

Now you force me to buy where and when you see fit,

So don’t be surprised at my bag, not a bit.

Buying is buying, from home or abroad,

And shopping for value is not to defraud.

When you buy as you wish, the money you save,

You spend in the States for the goods that you crave.

I don’t need your help, I don’t want it at all.

All I ask is this: just tear down this wall.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all creaked, like a steam-powered missile.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he swerved out of sight,

IT’S TRADE THAT YOU WANT — IT’S TRADE THAT’S YOUR RIGHT.

Ted R. Bromund is a senior research fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Thatcher Center for Freedom.

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