February 1, 2014
INCOME VS OUTCOME:
Obama's Free-Trade Conundrum (DAVID E. BONIOR, JAN. 29, 2014, NY Times)
IN his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama focused on reversing the growth of economic inequality in the United States and restoring the American dream. At the same time, he also announced his support for fast track authority that would limit Congress's role in determining the content of trade agreements.The president's call follows on legislation introduced earlier this month to grant him fast-track authority as a way of forcing Congress to speed up its consideration of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation pact with Latin American and Asian nations.But Mr. Obama's desire for fast-track authority on the T.P.P. and other agreements clashes with another priority in his speech: reducing income inequality.
It is, of course, the case that freeing up trade has reduced the need for employment in America, which means that, to the extent that we have traditionally redistributed wealth via jobs, opportunities for income have been reduced. However, it is also inarguable that the outcome of this freer trade has been to make us a wealthier society.
The simple question before us is whether we would prefer to maintain the old system of redistribution and be poorer or craft a new system of redistribution and be wealthier.
Posted by Orrin Judd at February 1, 2014 8:49 AM