Yesterday in the Senate, Sen. Byron “Smoot” Dorgan (D-ND) held a hearing on whether “free trade is working,” focusing mainly on trade agreements. One of the witnesses was fellow protectionist Sen. Sherrod “Hawley” Brown (D-OH). Luckily they were offset by trade expert and NAM alum Christoper Wenk who actually was armed with the facts, showing that trade agreements create jobs for Americans. Doncha just hate it when the facts don’t jibe with the hysteria? Dorgan, don’t forget, is also hyping his widely-panned book of (mostly) fiction and hype. (For the record, we think it’s crass to use a public forum to shamelessly hype your [widely acclaimed]book.)
The growing protectionist tide among the Democrats is most troublesome, threatening the prosperity and growth of thee economy. But hey, it sells at campaign time, right? The plain truth is that trade creates jobs and prosperity. Recall that 100 Democrats voted for NAFTA — which also created jobs — but only 15 voted for CAFTA last year. And in the year since CAFTA passed, we’ve gone from a $1 billion trade deficit with those countries to a $1 billion trade surplus. That’s a $2 billion swing in one year. Hard to see how that costs jobs.
And when all else fails, just check out this chart. It’s pretty clear that our trade deficit is with countries with which we have no trade agreement. Trade agreements open markets to US-made goods.
Byron? Lou? Are you listening?
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