China’s Rise Has Free-Market Conservatives Changing Tune

The emergence of China as a world economic superpower has once-staunch, free-market conservatives reimagining their stance and now seeing a place for government intervention into trade, manufacturing, and economic policy.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is among those advocating for the federal government – as stressed by President Donald Trump, a new-age Republican with an America-first agenda – to identify sectors critical to national security and the economy in what he called “21st-century pro-American industrial policy,” The Washington Post reported.

“Ultimately, capitalism is the best economic model,” Rubio told the Post. “It will always yield the most efficient outcome. But there are times where the most efficient outcome is not the best outcome for America.”

Among the legislation backed by Republicans is semiconductor grants that pump billions from the federal government into technology to be made in America, for America, and with American parts. Semiconductor companies like NVIDIA and AMD have since taken off to stock market highs on the NASDAQ.

Before the rise of China’s economic superpower challenge to U.S. dominance, Republicans from the Reagan years had sought to keep government policy out of trade or economics.

But national security concerns, including forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft sought to be addressed in trade deals with China, have softened the political opposition from members of the GOP.

“It’s one thing to think we can collectivize agriculture,” Scott Hammond of the Niskanen Center think tank told the Post. “It’s another to propose public investment in manufacturing. The latter does not lead to bread lines.”

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