...Clinton, Sanders Bash Trade
Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders made free-trade bashing a linchpin of their respective presidential candidacies, blaming trade deals like NAFTA and the World Trade Organization for factory job losses, stagnant worker wages and income inequality.
And both came out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Asia and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with Europe, the centerpiece of Obama's trade agenda -- even though Clinton, as secretary of state, ardently supported both.
"I don't believe (TPP is) going to meet the high bar I have set for creating jobs and advancing national security," Clinton said last year, reversing her support for the 12-nation TPP trade deal, which she once had called the "gold standard" of trade deals. "I am also worried about currency manipulation not being part of the agreement, and that pharmaceutical companies may have gotten more benefits from the deal than their patients."
Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, has never wavered: "Let's be clear," he recently said, "one of the major reasons that the middle class in America is disappearing, poverty is increasing and the gap between the rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider is due to our disastrous unfettered free-trade policy."
Trump Trade Trash Talk
But it would be unfair to say only the left is protectionist. Like Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump has come out against the Asian and European trade deals, and has repeatedly promised to pursue "fair trade" rather than free trade.
Just two weeks ago, Trump warned in a speech of a "wave of globalism that wipes out our middle class and our jobs along with it." In another speech just last week called "Declaring American Economic Independence," he again inveighed against free trade, especially TPP, which he termed "another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country, just a continuing rape of our country."
The free-trade smack-talk doesn't stop at the boundaries of the two major parties.
"Even among libertarian-leaning conservatives and free-market liberals (there are a few left), trade pacts such as NAFTA and the WTO are in bad odor," wrote the National Review's Kevin Williamson recently.
In short, the very idea of free trade is struggling. Funny, since it's one of the few things that economists of all stripes agree on. ...Read Terry Jones Full commentary HERE.
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