Yeah, yeah…we know. But sometimes you just hafta.
Anyway, items of note in the encouragingly forceful pushback against the anti-trade rhetoric that came from the presidential campaign trail last week.
Ohio workers would pay a heavy price for pulling out of Nafta. Canada and Mexico are the top two markets for exports from Ohio, accounting for more than half of the state’s exports in 2006. According to the Ohio Department of Development, 283,500 workers in the state earn their living in the export sector, with machinery, car parts, aircraft engines and optical/medical equipment among the leading exports. A trade showdown would put those good-paying jobs at risk.
The Democratic candidates understand that trade with the developing world has both costs and benefits, which are not evenly distributed across the United States. Two days before this week’s debate, Mr. Obama said, “I don’t think it’s realistic for us to repeal NAFTA,” because that “would actually result in more job loss . . . than job gains.” Ms. Clinton awkwardly pleaded that NAFTA has benefited some parts of the country — such as Texas. Yet the urge to win Ohio trumped, and both Democrats made a threat that, if taken seriously, can be described only as reckless. In other words, we have to hope that they were only pandering.
Goolsbee comes out of this entire matter smelling like a rose. And rightfully so. At the very least, he tried to make it clear to the Canadians that NAFTA would remain a going concern despite Obama’s rhetoric on the campaign trail. This is a good thing; absent Goolsbee’s intervention, the Canadians may have been convinced that an Obama Administration was going to ditch or renegotiate NAFTA and if they were so convinced, the Canadian government may have taken measures that we would not have liked them to take, such as altering the deal the United States has regarding Canadian oil.
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