Amid the usual chastisement and chiding, The New York Times strikes a sort-of sensible position editorially today in “Trade and Prosperity.”
Trade, like technological change, can produce wrenching dislocations that hurt some workers. But trade barriers are not the proper tool to deal with these changes. What is needed is a bold strategy to rebuild a functioning safety net, deploying some of the vast wealth this nation has gained through globalization to assist those hurt by the forces of economic change. This will allow Americans to embrace globalization, rather than fear it.
Agreed, wrenching dislocations do occur, hitting specific industry sectors, regions and communities. But if these dislocations are specific, then shouldn’t the remedies be targeted? Despite its fair analysis of the politics of trade, the Times’ recommended and utterly predictable solution, a massive expansion of the government, is an overreach.
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