Politicking in Iowa: Protecting You from Prosperity

By November 21, 2007Trade

From the Wall Street Journal, page one, “A Globalization Winner
Joins in Trade Backlash

WATERLOO, Iowa — At a John Deere plant here, bright green tractors bound for Brazil, Russia and China roll off assembly lines. Global demand for tractors is good, and that’s been good for Waterloo.

Yet over the last couple of years, workers and voters in this blue-collar manufacturing outpost — and throughout Iowa — have grown decidedly downbeat about globalization. Trade has become such a hot subject that Democratic presidential candidates seeking support in Iowa’s influential Jan. 3 caucuses are turning into trade skeptics, and the issue is splitting traditionally free-trade Republicans.

Iowa’s ambivalence is all the more remarkable because the state is on the whole a big winner from global trade. “Iowa, as much as any other state, is on the plus side of the ledger,” says James Leach, a 30-year Republican congressman from Iowa who now runs Harvard University’s Institute of Politics. “It would be highly ironic if pro-protectionist candidates prevailed in the Iowa caucuses.” Trade wasn’t always such a high priority: In the 2004 Iowa caucus, Richard Gephardt, the most outspoken Democrat on the issue, attracted so few votes he subsequently pulled out of the race.

In the posts below commenting on Senator Coleman’s votes for CAFTA and sugar politics, we failed to make an obvious point, relevant to the above article since Minnesota and Iowa’s economies share many similarities: Coleman’s vote for CAFTA helps to expand Minnesota’s exports. It was a good vote for the economy, no matter what the impact on sugar.

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