Embracing our economic obligations to our own countrymen would be a far more meaningful step for anyone who really cares about other people than the phony humanism of economic globalists and "free trade" advocates.
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.
Propaganda being what it is we were somehow convinced to try a worldwide experiment in taking good jobs from democracies and turning them into bad jobs in thugocracies. Now, of course, the experiment has run its course and we can see the results.
With the Republicans and the Obama administration attempting to rush headlong into a new trade agreements with Korea, and possibly also with Panama and Colombia, it is incumbent on Americans to apply a bit of empiricism.
The idea of "fair" trade is very appealing, whether confronting the plight of autoworkers in Michigan or farmers in the Third World. Unfortunately, it will be only a small part of any trade solution for the U.S. and the world as a whole.
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."
Mercantilism has somewhat different application in developed, rather than developing, nations, but its fundamentals still hold good. We at least need to defend against mercantilist aggression against us, something we are not doing.
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.