Friday, April 11, 2008

Trade and American Descent into Insanity, A Roundup

Let's not forget that a wave of protectionism led to the Great Depression. Maybe it's just part of the Democrats' continuing descent into insanity. It would seem bizarre that given the fairly broad base of support (and funding) to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that both have now become beholden to special interest groups. By fighting trade, they condemn developing countries to poverty while reducing the standards of living of the poor in the US. Even forgetting for a moment the merits of economic liberty, there's little to no evidence that trade causes a net decline in jobs (and in fact quite the opposite, consider the record low unemployment in recent years despite a growing population). Meanwhile politicians and demagogues perpetuate the myth that manufacturing is dead.

While protectionism is on the rise - particularly against highly educated foreign workers (and more here) who contribute significantly to the wealth creation on which US prosperity depends, maybe the good news is that the Department of Homeland Security has quietly relaxed rules that allow more foreign workers without congressional approvals (disclosure: I used to hold an H1-B visa though this rule wouldn't have helped me).

But it's the Columbian Free Trade Agreement that's been most in the news, from the Boston Globe:

The agreement, which President Bush sent this week to Congress for an up or down vote, essentially makes permanent the trade preferences that Colombia has had for 17 years. What is new is that the treaty opens the Colombian market to US exports.
For the Democrats, trade to Cuba good, Columbia bad. Meanwhile Hillary Clinton laughs off questions. Then again, is it really surprising that the Democrats are doing the bidding of their union benefactors despite the lack of merits? From the Miami Herald (H/T: ShopFloor Blog):
Latin America is following this issue intently. Spurning Colombia undermines an ally in a dangerous part of the world and hands Venezuela's Hugo Chávez a victory. It sends a message that the United States doesn't know who its friends are -- or doesn't value them.
I thought Democrats were supposed to build on international goodwill - not destroy it. May Hispanics take note and serve notice that they represent a far larger and more dynamic group than dying unions gasping in vain to show their relevance. And we haven't even started talking about trade and China...

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