Much has been written these last few weeks about the struggle for the soul of the Democratic party over trade. Bill Clinton, his Administration and his allies in the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) were unabashed free traders. But some new Dems in the ascendancy are more Dobbsian in their bent.
Two of them — protectionist Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Sherrod Brown (incoming D-OH) have an op-ed in the WaPo today, blaming the world’s ills on trade, hammering away at the two basic commandments for the new Smoots and Hawleys, i.e., that trade agreements cause trade deficits and that companies are frantically relocating overseas to take advantage of low wages in a global “race to the bottom.” We are weary of repeating the facts — the facts — but repeat them we must:
In any event, the growing cadre of protectionist Dems — and some Republicans — is worrisome. We want more trade agreements because they open markets for our US manufacturers large and small, just do. These so-called “multinationals” are nothing but a mass of small companies in the supply chain, exporting their stuff all over the world.
As the new Congress convenes, the fur will undoubtedly fly over trade. Let’s just hope that in the process, the facts do not fall victim to the debate.
UPDATE (By Carter Wood, 12-24-06): North Dakota blogger Rob Port at Say Anything links to us and Greg Mankiw and offers his own thoughts on prairie protectionism in this post. See, not everyone in the Great Plains is opposed to trade.
And best wishes on the upcoming wedding, Rob!
UPDATE 2: And Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek has wise words about “utterly bizarre and cartoonish” arguments.
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