Once protectionism is conceded to be a valid political position, it will eventually win the public debate, if free trade's unpopularity continues to mount at the pace it has been mounting over the last 10 years.
Despite being one of the most pressing policy choices facing America, and despite having been one of the biggest controversies in the last, oh, 400 years of economic history, free trade rarely gets a real debate in this country.
If Tea Partiers want to get back to the original intent of the Constitution, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution says plain as day that Congress has the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations."
Contrary to the endlessly repeated myth of a world converging on one big economic sameness, economic diversity is a fact of life. Economic policies that assume a homogeneous world are an attempt to defy this basic fact.
Despite the fact that every major American trade agreement since NAFTA has worsened America's trade balance, Obama actually seems to think he can improve America's export performance by going for more.
While a rich nation can indeed borrow a huge amount of money and has a lot of assets to sell off, this doesn't mean Santa has installed an ATM on every street corner. Which is what a lot of people seem to think.
The use of bad arguments to defend a position is a fairly strong telltale that the position cannot be defended with good arguments. This seems to be the case with the Korea FTA. NAM must think the public is fairly dumb to fall for its claims.
Here's a fascinating article by an intelligent economist, Jim Tankersly, apparently a perfectly nice fellow, puzzling over the "big mystery" of why the U.S. economy has lost so many jobs and isn't creating any more to replace them. It is rife with phrases like: