April 18, 2007


Big Foot, Unicorns, and Pro-Trade Democrats: Are they fantasies after all? (Daniel Ikenson, 4/18/07, National Review)

Since last November’s elections, Democratic leaders have been asserting that, despite the hostile rhetoric of their rank and file, they view trade openness and engagement as indispensable to U.S. economic and security objectives. That with some accommodation of Democratic priorities on labor and environmental issues, the administration and Congress can work together to advance a bipartisan trade agenda.

The credibility of those assertions is about to be tested. The recently concluded but yet-to-be ratified U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement will reveal whether the Democratic congressional leadership can be trusted to continue the time-tested tradition of promoting economic growth through liberalized trade.

South Korea is one of the fastest growing markets for U.S. exports, the seventh-largest U.S. trade partner, and the world’s tenth-largest economy. Its citizens enjoy a per-capita income of $24,000, placing them among the world’s richest. A free-trade agreement would increase U.S. national income by an estimated $17 billion to $43 billion per year.

But already opposition is building among Democrats, despite the fact that labor and the environment are virtual non-issues. And it’s not just the boisterous rank and file agitating. The leadership is more than complicit here.

Of course, the far Right brought a lot of this on by its hysteria over steel tariffs on the one hand and the Dubai ports deal on the other.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 18, 2007 12:08 PM

Don't use the right as an excuse for the Dems. the Dems have traditionally been anti-free trade. Wasn't NAFTA passed with mostly GOP votes? The right opposed the steel tariffs because they didn't see it was a carrot to get the FTA extended and opposed Dubai on pc grounds. If the US-SK deal doesn't pass it will because only a few Dems joined most of the GOP in supporting the bill.

Posted by: AWW at April 18, 2007 2:26 PM

The GOP had the votes until the Right went berserk.

Posted by: oj at April 18, 2007 7:00 PM