By Dan King
I wrote in my personal blog, before yesterday’s Democratic Debate, about a growing anti-free trade sentiment in both major parties.
Last night’s Democratic Debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders proved my point, as both continued to push for more protectionist policies. Clinton actually went to the extent of trying to one-up the socialist on protectionism, by calling out Sanders’ support for abolishing the Export/Import Bank.
It should seem crazy to any pragmatic liberal that a leading candidate in the Democratic Party would show unabashed support for one of the prime examples of cronyism and corporate welfare, but that’s exactly what Clinton did with her support for Export/Import. When I speak to my friends on the left, whether they be greens, democrats or left-leaning independents, they all seem to lean libertarian on the issue of general disdain toward corporate welfare. The fact that many liberals dislike corporate welfare makes Clinton’s support for Ex/Im all the more peculiar.
Hold on, though. Don’t start thinking the support for an end to Ex/Im lets Sanders off the hook. Sanders was still rallying against free trade, just in different tones than Clinton. Look at the previous debate in Flint, Michigan. Sanders went after Clinton for supporting such “disastrous trade policies” as NAFTA and TPP.
Sanders, during the Flint debate went on to say, “I was on a picket line in the early 1990s against NAFTA, because you didn’t need a Ph.D. in economics to understand that American workers should not be forced to compete against people in Mexico making 25 cents an hour.”
Again, that is the general misunderstanding that Sanders has about free trade. People in Mexico making dirt cheap products and trading with us allows us the opportunity to focus out time and resources on new innovations.
It’s just sad to note that neither of the Democratic candidates supports free trade (and one doesn’t even support ending corporate welfare). However, it’s even sadder that the party that is supposed to like free trade isn’t any better, you know, with their front runner calling for tariffs on imported goods.
This election has made it clearer and clearer that for those of us with an inclination toward free markets, free trade and economic liberty, the answer has to come outside of the two party system – most likely the Libertarian Party nominee, whomever that ends up being.