Trade

Dan McLaughlin in the NRO Corner has a strange post on trade.  Here is a part:

Which brings me back to the question of why, in a field with 16 other presidential candidates, nobody’s polling or grassroots instincts alerted them to the possibility that taking a harsher line on trade – especially with China – could resonate with a potentially decisive segment of primary voters. Even Ted Cruz, who shifted from his prior position in June 2015 (shortly after Trump entered the race) to turn against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, never really made it a big part of his pitch. And DC insiders were still busy trying to prop up the Export-Import Bank.

Three questions to consider: First, why not go anti-trade?  The GOP side is for trade while the Democrats are against it.  Or more honestly, the GOP is a little protectionist while the Democrats are much more highly protectionist.  So a Democratic candidate can be solidly anti-trade while a GOP candidate must be more circumspect.  Mitt was concerned about China in 2012.  The Donald has just added a lot of hyperbole to Mitt’s position.

Second, should we support the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)?  It is not clear that is a free trade agreement.  It is a typical Obama length document.  It has some free trade elements with a bunch of other stuff.  If you are a free trader, you can’t be a strong supporter of the agreement.  Frankly, pro or con is not an easy sell in a campaign.

Third, there is the Export-Import Bank and the curious use of and as the conjunction.  The recent revival of the Bank is surely an anti-free trade act.  The two GOP candidates, Santorum and Graham, who supported the bank surely didn’t benefit much from it.

Anti-intellectuals like The Donald and The Bernie are not measured logically.  Of course, the current President has paved the way for them.  Herself has a whole special set of evaluation issues.  So The Donald and The Bernie make all manner of foolish proposals and nobody has the authority to take them to task.   The general election will be as troubling as the races for each party’s nomination.

 

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