Friday, February 27, 2004


The WSJ really demolishes Senators Kerry and Edwards over their opposition to free trade. The opening salvo: "Trade is a "moral issue," declares Senator John Edwards. The Democratic Presidential candidate is in high dudgeon that "bad trade agreements," by which he means those signed by Bill Clinton, are stealing jobs away from American workers. It should be no surprise by now that his main competitor, Senator John Kerry, has responded by saying, "Me too." Just as Mr. Kerry parroted the rhetoric of Howard Dean on Iraq, the man who voted for NAFTA now claims there is no difference between him and Mr. Edwards on trade."

The real morality involved: "Protectionism is a violation of natural rights because it is a use of governmental coercion to prevent people from peacefully pursuing their own interests in enhancing their lives, exercising their just liberties, and making use of their legitimately-owned property. It is a coerced transfer of income from consumers and foreign businesses to a small, politically active cabal of domestic businesses. It raises the prices consumers must pay for their goods and gives them nothing in return, thereby reducing their standard of living. Even worse, the lack of competition always results in lower quality products as well. By reducing the incomes of our trading partners -- leaving them with less income with which to buy American-made goods -- protectionism harms American exporters as well. Protectionism is legal plunder."

Fruitcake Dobbs: "as long as Lou Dobbs is still kicking at CNN, we'll continue to hear nightly nativist tirades against the loss of manufacturing jobs, the off-shoring of tech jobs, immigration, and general alarmism about the 'outsourcing of America.' The truth, of course, is a bit more complicated than the simplistic picture painted by protectionists."

An extreme example of 'outsourcing' shows that we have nothing to fear from it.

Friedman of the NYT has it right about the desirability of globalization, free trade and "exporting jobs": "I've been in India for only a few days and I am already thinking about reincarnation. In my next life, I want to be a demagogue. Yes, I want to be able to huff and puff about complex issues - like outsourcing of jobs to India - without any reference to reality..... although the U.S. has lost some service jobs to India, total exports from U.S. companies to India have grown from $2.5 billion in 1990 to $4.1 billion in 2002. What goes around comes around, and also benefits Americans".


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