Trade

By Megan McArdle

They've moved onto trade. Goolsbee is dodging and weaving like George Foreman at the Rumble in the Jungle. He claims that the agreements are riddled with loopholes. This makes no sense. The loopholes in bilateral trade agreements all run in favor of protected industries in the US--not surprising, since our partners get more out of trade agreements than we do. The protectionist movement in America isn't upset about the bits of the trade agreements that have loopholes; they're upset about the bits that don't.

More reasonably, he points out that we'll have more support for free trade if we take care of the people who lose out. Kemp rejoinders, also reasonably, that we don't have any very good way to make them whole.

Now Kemp loses it by claiming that NAFTA was negotiated by Clinton. This does not make him look like a genius, especially when Goolsbee corrects him. Still, the fundamental fact that Goolsbee is advocating a platform which I, for one, certainly hope he doesn't really believe, kind of shines through.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2008/07/trade/3769/