Sunday, June 14, 2015

Free Trade or Not; That is the Question...

Rational Nation USA
Purveyor of Truth



As America faces tough economic times and perceives the benefits of trade as being realized only by only the wealthiest of Americans and corporations the following article by David Frum in The Atlantic provides an interesting perspective on free trade in general an the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) specifically. Regardless of your trade stance the article warrants attention.

The natural tendency of democratic societies is gradually to accumulate barriers to international trade. The Bush administration itself exemplified this: At the same time as it pleaded for fast-trade authority, it imposed restrictions on foreign steel. Relentless international action on trade liberalization offsets equally relentless domestic pressure for trade protection.

Freer trade is always a tough vote. As long ago as the 1960s, Barry Goldwater tried to make a campaign issue out of John F. Kennedy’s allegedly excessive trade liberalization. Yet from the 1940s through the 1990s, freer trade benefited from the almost unanimous elite consensus in its favor—and the strong public instinct to defer to elites when unanimous.

That deference has eroded. A recent Pew Research poll found that although 58 percent of Americans felt that free trade benefits the national economy, just 43 percent thought such deals benefited their own families finances. And pluralities of Americans believe that free trade slows economic growth, lowers wages, and leads to job losses.

These are responses that cause economists to roll their eyes. But most of us aren’t economists. We know what we experience—and what most Americans have experienced are many more foreign products on their shelves, a half-decade of weak job growth for Americans, and stagnating or declining living standards for all but the wealthiest.

Economic and political leaders can argue that the nation’s economic troubles are not traceable to free trade—that Americans would have been even worse off if they reverted to protectionism. The trouble is that Americans no longer trust their leaders. If polls can be relied upon, trust in leaders and institutions has plunged to the lowest levels ever recorded, lower even than during the dismal days of the mid-1970s.

The belief that the economic system is rigged in favor of the wealthy and that ordinary people can no longer get ahead run is especially intense. Americans increasingly perceive the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer. Their view of business corporations has turned especially hostile, very nearly as hostile as their view of government.

Trade is a pro-growth policy. But when the proceeds of growth are not widely shared, and not perceived as widely shared, it becomes difficult to sustain the consensus in favor of pro-growth measures—especially when those measures seem to impose costs on American workers. That’s the warning in today’s congressional action.

For trade to be truly free it must be reasonably regulated.

Find complete article BELOW THE FOLD.

Via: Memeorandum

6 comments:

  1. Hmm, no free traders, no p rotectionists.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, I expected a comment from Will explaining why destroying American jobs is awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I Guess you're a protectionist and believe trade is bad for America them?

    Don't recall Will has ever; anywhere, taken the position that destroying American jobs is Awesome.

    So, unless you can provide a link to to a post or comment where he wait that I suggest you STFU.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, we need to protect our jobs. This does not mean we can or should not engage in trade. Trade is good, but it needs to be balanced. When other countries sell much more to us than we sell to them it is bad for us. Also, most trade today is not real trade, but labor offshoring (a company that used to manufacture here moves to a lower wage country and then ships the goods back here). I'm all for actual trade. I'm 100 percent opposed to labor offshoring. Will thinking destroying American jobs is awesome is my characterization of his position on this issue. He has said he thinks we need to send our jobs to poor countries as some form of charity, however.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He has said he thinks we need to send our jobs to poor countries as some form of charity, however.

      He has? I must have missed it. As I know you keep close tabs on Will's blogging activities could you provide a like to support this statement? If Will actually said this (which is hard to imagine) it is very wrongheaded.

      Delete
    2. He has said he thinks we need to send our jobs to poor countries as some form of charity, however.

      He has? I must have missed it. As I know you keep close tabs on Will's blogging activities could you provide a like to support this statement? If Will actually said this (which is hard to imagine) it is very wrongheaded.

      Delete

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