Depressing news story of the day
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Democratic candidates are falling all over themselves in Iowa to blame NAFTA for all of the state’s economic woes. The highlights: Trade has emerged as a potent political issue in Iowa in the final days before the state’s Jan. 19 caucuses start the process of determining a Democratic presidential ...
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Democratic candidates are falling all over themselves in Iowa to blame NAFTA for all of the state's economic woes. The highlights:
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Democratic candidates are falling all over themselves in Iowa to blame NAFTA for all of the state’s economic woes. The highlights:
Trade has emerged as a potent political issue in Iowa in the final days before the state’s Jan. 19 caucuses start the process of determining a Democratic presidential nominee…. All of the Democratic contenders’ stump speeches call for at least modifying NAFTA and trade agreements with China, and some go so far as to talk about ending NAFTA and withdrawing the U.S. from the World Trade Organization [To be fair, I’m pretty sure Kucinich is the only one proposing anything in this last sentence–DD.]…. Indeed, Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri, who unlike his rivals battled NAFTA in Congress, told a crowd of union organizers and activists in Des Moines recently that Maytag was planning more Iowa layoffs and job shifts to foreign operations. The company has made no such announcement. “You don’t have to stir people on trade,” said Donald Kaniewski, legislative and political director of the Laborers’ International Union of North America. “I represent a union that is not largely trade-sensitive, but the reaction of our members isn’t just that they’ve bought into the whole labor thing on trade,” Kaniewski said. “Our folks feel it in the places where plants have shut down. They see it in their lives and they understand it. Trade is an easy political sell, the easiest sell there is.” Bruce Babcock, a professor of economics and director of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University in Ames, said NAFTA and other agreements “probably sped” the natural consolidation of farming operations while opening new export markets for products. On the manufacturing side, Babcock said complaints of job losses caused by NAFTA are “somewhat overblown,” adding that a shift in jobs would have come about anyway because of globalization. Babcock said Democrat and Republican rhetoric on trade is “just so far from reality.” Democrats, he said, are moving so far toward a protectionist posture that President Bush can make marginal steps toward managed trade and still look like a free trader. (emphases added)
Unfortunately, that last sentence is dead-on.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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