Sunday, March 2

Megan McArdle hopes Obama is a liar

Well, I certainly hope he's lying, because I think he's going to be the next president of the United States.
And he's her chosen presidential candidate! Not that Hillary Clinton is any better:
Since Nafta took effect on Jan. 1, 1994, the U.S. economy has added a net 26 million new jobs. The average real hourly compensation (wages and benefits) of workers has climbed 23%. Real median household net worth has increased by a third. Of course, Nafta was not the primary driver of all that good news. But it is a useful counterpoint to the sense that large numbers of Americans have been "devastated" by Nafta and other trade agreements.

In recent years, U.S. manufacturers have enjoyed record output, revenue, exports and profits. Since Nafta, U.S. manufacturing investment in Mexico has averaged a modest $2 billion a year -- a tiny fraction of the $150 billion or more those same companies invest annually in domestic manufacturing capacity. American factories actually added a net half-million new manufacturing jobs in the five years after Nafta.

The irony of the present Democratic cat fight over free trade is that the Nafta agreement was a policy triumph of the Clinton administration. President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore fought hard and successfully for the agreement, which passed Congress in November 1993 with the support of 102 Democrats in the House. Hillary Clinton boasts about the robust U.S. economy of the 1990s as evidence of sound economic stewardship -- yet she and Mr. Obama now reject the very free-trade policies that were an integral part of that record.


Backtracking on Nafta and other trade agreements will not restore a previous era of glory to organized labor or Youngstown, Ohio. It will only slow America's own economic progress while unnecessarily alienating our closest neighbors.

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