Secretary of the Treasury Jacob J. Lew admitted Monday that America’s regulatory environment renders it effectively incapable of competing globally with countries like Mexico and China.

The comments came during a discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations titled “The Case for U.S. Leadership,” during which Lew also dismissed the concerns of Americans skeptical about the benefits of free trade and globalization.

Lew addressed the root cause of job losses resulting from free trade and globalization. “If you have high labor standards in the United States and low labor standards in other countries it means the other countries are always going to have lower costs and be able to outcompete you,” he explained.

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Lew’s solution is one befitting Marie Antoinette herself: The American worker just needs to be patient and wait for those other countries to enact similar job-killing domestic legislation.

“As the other countries raise their standards and meet our kinds of labor concerns and our kinds of environmental concerns and our kind of business practice concerns, the playing field becomes more level for the U.S. to compete better,” he said.

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But the current regulatory leviathan imposed on the U.S. — a monstrosity of draconian child labor and minimum wage laws, burdensome environmental regulation, and Big Labor — would be an unthinkable act of economic suicide to the Chinese or Mexican governments. It is also the product of over a century of regulation — perhaps Secretary Lew expects the American worker to wait that long for other countries to raise their standards.

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Indeed, Lew’s “Case for U.S. Economic Leadership” was little more than an ode to America’s continued subservience to a global economic order that enriches a relatively small group of international financiers at the expense of the American worker.

Despite admitting that the global economy “has for decades now not necessarily provided the kind of opportunity to middle class workers and their families that they want to have and they have a right to expect,” Lew nevertheless insinuated that the real problem that has led to a populist revolt in both parties isn’t the negative effects of free trade and globalization — it is the average person’s inability to understand free trade and globalization.

“I think all of us who believe that the benefits of U.S. economic leadership are profound have more work to do to make the case” to skeptics, he said. But the truth is that what Lew so enthusiastically refers to as U.S. leadership is neither leadership nor is it the national interest.

Lew’s presentation was accompanied by the publication in Foreign Affairs Monday of an article titled “America and the Global Economy: The Case for U.S. Leadership,” which mirrors closely his speech. In it he extols the Trans-Pacific Partnership, claiming the trade agreement “will level the global playing field for U.S. workers and firms.”

A 2015 study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics estimated that more than 800,000 jobs will be lost to the TPP.

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However a 2015 study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics estimated that over 800,000 jobs will be lost to the TPP. If a level global playing field means the loss of 800,000 jobs through the TPP (not to mention the over two million total already lost to NAFTA, KORUS, and the normalization of trade relations with China), any sane and loyal American would want to pick up his ball and glove and go play somewhere else.

Lew was also eager to argue that the devastation of the American middle class over the last few decades was “not all because of trade.” He pointed out that “between globalization and technological change and income concentration, we’ve seen an awful lot of change.”

Again Lew reveals the astonishing extent to which he is out of touch with the average American — and the extent to which his ilk believe they can pull the globalist wool over the average American’s eyes. Globalization and free trade are inherently linked. Indeed, one cannot exist without the other. Moreover, the disparity of income concentration to which Lew referred is a direct result of the global economy he is so fond of in the first place.

Finally, Lew had the audacity to ascribe the plight of the middle class in part to the government’s unwillingness to fund U.S. infrastructure. “If you don’t live near the jobs that are available … it becomes a real hurdle to your own personal mobility,” he said.

Unfortunately because of “U.S. economic leadership,”fewer and fewer Americans live near the jobs that are available, and more and more of those jobs are shipped to other