At times, the world around us is sending negative messages about how we look, how smart we are and even how valued we are. It is only our view of ourselves that fights off all that negativity and gives us the courage to ignore or even laugh at what is said.

It is time to write about foreign trade again, sadly. Over the past few weeks the Trump administration has been locked in ongoing trade negotiations with China and announced the suspension of perhaps a half million visas for foreign workers. These two issues are tied closely, as I shall shortly explain.

To say that the United States is in a time of crisis would be a massive understatement. COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket, the unemployment rate is in the double digits, and the economic fallout of repossessions, foreclosures and evictions have yet to commence. Many of these problems were not on most Americans’ radar just a few months ago, and now they dominate the news cycle as well as our consciousness.

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Forty-one years ago as the U.S. reeled from oil shocks and long lines of cars just to get gas, the conservative tabloid New York Post editorialized: “Independence Day, 1979 the American paradox is bleakly apparent. As a nation, we appear to have become steadily more dependent on forces seemingly beyond our control, losing confidence in our ability to master events, uncertain of our direction.”

As a kid growing up in central Illinois, Carly Schmitt listened to her great-grandfather's dinner-table stories about Franklin Roosevelt, public works projects and the days of the New Deal. By age 18, she served as a trained volunteer for the first of many voter registration drives. Civic engagement has long been a part of Schmitt's life.

Last week the Trump administration announced the suspension of visas for seven different categories of specialized workers and their family members. Many might be tempted to shrug this off, thinking that such a restriction will help American workers find better jobs. That conclusion is mistaken.

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