Matthew Continetti from the Washington Free Beacon is on NRO with a piece on Edward Conrad that is titled, The Next Republican Agenda. It certainly sounds close the agenda of the current GOP nominee. The story starts well enough:
Conard said the advocates of free enterprise have lost control of the GOP and won’t return to power until they reach an understanding with the workers whose anger has driven them to Donald Trump.
Clearly the first part contains some truth: the advocates of free enterprise do not have control of the GOP. We are not sure when those halcyon times were when the advocates of free enterprise controlled the GOP but rumor has it that it was December 27, 1977. We do not see Trump as being a particularly economic phenomenon. Immigration restriction, his main talking point, is partially, but only partially, economic.
Conrad’s solution on employment is Trump’s solution of restricting immigration and negotiating better deals:
The first is rebalancing American trade. Not abandoning free trade altogether but writing parity into trade agreements. “If you sell us a dollar of labor, find a dollar of labor to buy from us. We’ve got lots of stuff to sell, we don’t care what you buy, find something and buy it, but your trade has to be balanced with us.” As Conard told Ben Smith, balance could be achieved through a system of import licenses. These are sure to be controversial. “Unfortunately,” Conard went on, “we have to dial down low-skilled immigration. We have to recognize that there is more unemployment among the lesser-skilled workers than among the most-skilled workers.” [Emphasis added]
You would be surprised to find out that the first book of man suggesting these kind of trade agreements was called Unintended Consequences. It seems that nobody can resist thinking that they anticipate everything the market can do.
We have a possible explanation for the word unfortunately in the quote above. Later on the story of Arizona is recounted without division. The state of Arizona took a hit because of immigration restriction according to the open-borders enthusiasts at the WSJ. We suspect that this is a failure to divide. If we bring in low skilled workers then GDP might go up but GDP per capita goes down. We would leave out the “Un”.
Conrad is Trump with less gusto on enforcing immigration laws. We hope it is not the 2020 GOP agenda. It would be a step backwards from Trump.