There's a big political fight happening in Washington, but for once it does not break down easily along partisan lines. There are free-traders among both the Democrats and the Republicans, and opposition exists on both sides. But the main skirmish in this fight is currently happening between President Obama and some of his fellow Democrats.
The jump in the March trade deficit, coupled with the weak job numbers for the last two months, should highlight the importance of including rules on currency in trade agreements. Such rules could ensure that the dollar does not remain over-valued and prevent the economy from reaching full employment.
The White House claims that Obama's Trans-Pacific Partnership would help counter China's growing economic and military threat. Many Republicans, including nominal pro-defense patriots, are curiously supportive of the President in this case. Ironically bipartisan trade policy created our China problem in the first place.
BRUSSELS -- A discrepancy exists between the benefits of globalization on the one side and the legitimate values shared by diverse communities on the other. The benefits of globalization go with magnitude, with size. The larger, the better because of the economies of scale. Big is beautiful. Identity, legitimacy and politics go with proximity, the small and diseconomies of scale. Small is beautiful.
The trade deals negotiated by the last three presidents have lowered U.S. wages, lost jobs and generated a chronic trade deficit. President Obama's main argument that exports have risen, without mentioning that imports have risen much faster, is now transparently deceitful to anyone who can add and subtract.