Free Trade


The Most Common Error in Economic Debates

Have you ever been in an argument about whether we should raise taxes and then someone tosses out a real whopper? “The top tax rate for decades after World War II was over 90% and look how the economy boomed!” Or perhaps you read a Paul Krugman column where he said that, “there’s a big […]

The Only "Fair" Trade is Free Trade

In a recent defense of what he calls “fair trade,” Barack Obama stated that one major purpose of trade agreements is to ensure that American products are made at home — not bought from other countries. No such thing is true. The purpose of any trade agreement should be to liberalize trade to the greatest […]

Free Trade versus Protectionism

There’s a growing anti-trade sentiment in our country. Much of the dialogue is grossly misinformed. Let’s try to untangle it a bit with a few questions and observations. First, does the U.S. trade with Japan and England? Put another way, is it members of the U.S. Congress trading with their counterparts in the Japanese Diet […]

Anti-Free Trade Paradise

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, pandering to anti-trade activists, suggest that should they become president, they will restrict trade agreements. Before you buy into their promised paradise, there are a few trade questions you might consider. Suppose you were choosing a country to live in. Which country would you prefer: a country that […]

Subsidized “Free Trade” Is Not Free Trade

For a small-scale corn farmer driven out of business in Mexico by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the fancy economic theories about the benefits of “free trade” might not seem too believable. As the theory of comparative advantage goes, we’re all richer when we concentrate on what we do best and then trade. […]

The Anti-Free Trader’s True Enemy

There’s the “Free Trade but Fair Trade” crowd, and the “Level Playing Field” crowd, and the “America First” crowd, all calling for tariffs and other international trade restrictions. Their supposed adversary is corporate America, seeking to boost profits by either importing goods made by cheaper foreign labor or relocating plants in foreign lands to directly […]

Republicans vs. The Free Market: Tariffs and Trade Restrictions on Imports

On Nov. 18, the Bush administration announced a decision to impose new trade restrictions on imports of some Chinese textiles. Although rationalized as a means of saving American manufacturing jobs, no trade expert thinks it will have more than a trivial effect in this regard. Its principal impact will be to further enrich a few […]

Free Trade with a Slave State?

Q: Should a free country trade with people who live under a dictatorship (e.g. China, Cuba)? And, if not, should the government of the free country restrict such trade with dictatorships? A: If you enjoy living in a free country, then you benefit from that freedom whether you care about political ideology or not. Unfortunately, […]

Free Trade: Why Think Local When You Can Go Global?

If Bush administration officials think they have their hands full shepherding the president’s tax-cut package through a closely divided Congress, wait until they turn their full attention to reviving a moribund U.S. trade policy. As U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick recently admitted to Congress, Washington spent the better part of the past eight years all […]

Let There Be Free Trade

Leaders of 34 American countries are meeting this weekend in Quebec City at the Summit of the Americas to discuss the establishment of a free trade zone extending from Canada to Chile. A Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) is a top priority of the Bush administration, and would encompass 800 million producers and […]

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