In an otherwise unimportant post, one Alex Knepper makes this statement:
The debate about free trade is over. It works.
I confess I don’t quite know what to make of this. It seems to me that this is a bit like discussing morality and saying, “The debate about killing is over. It works.” Works to do what? For whom? Who benefits, and who pays? What are the consequences? Free traders don’t care to answer any of these questions, or at least the people who have learned to mouth free trader lines don’t. Economists who bother to answer them make it very clear that these policies are geared toward consumers and an economy built around consumption, and the American firms it primarily benefits are exporters of raw materials and sellers of imported junk. Of course, that doesn’t settle anything, but raises a host of new questions about whether we should continue down that path. I am equally baffled by general negative statements about protectionist measures, as if saying “it doesn’t work” is any more persuasive than just saying that it does.
Update: Knepper offers one response that amounts to little, and then complains that one of his colleagues gave this post any consideration at all. In the second response, he resorts to the globalist equivalent of “if you want to make an omelette, you have to break some eggs,” which is the sort of indifference to real economic and human costs that I would expect from this sort.