Public Policy: Half-Free Trade

One of the chronic afflictions of the U.S. economy is the limp state of the nation's textile industry. U.S. textile production is growing at only one-third the rate of manufacturing output as a whole; since 1948, textile companies have closed down more than 800 mills employing 250,000 people. Many of the industry's ills stem from obsolete equipment and the loss of markets to plastics, paper and synthetic fibers, but most textile makers choose to blame their troubles primarily on foreign competition and to clamor for protective quotas. Two months ago, when President Kennedy unveiled a vaguely worded "assistance program" for...

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