Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mankiw in NY Times: McCain vs. Hillbama on Trade



From Greg Mankiw's article in today's NY Times:

No issue divides economists and mere Muggles more than the debate over globalization and international trade. Where the high priests of the dismal science see opportunity through the magic of the market’s invisible hand, Joe Sixpack sees a threat to his livelihood. This gap in perspective grows especially wide whenever the economy experiences short-run difficulties, as it is now. By all indications, the issue could come to dominate the presidential campaign.

This shift of public opinion toward economic isolationism may well become a political problem for John McCain. Compared with those of either of his possible Democratic rivals, his track record shows him to be a more unequivocal free trader.

Mankiw gives 5 example of McCain supporting free-trade legislation, which is consistent with the chart above on McCain from a previous CD post, which showed the voting records of Clinton, Obama and McCain on trade from Cato's interactive website (see charts above).

Mankiw continues:

Nafta is the latest whipping boy for the anti-globalization crowd. During their last debate, Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama said they would withdraw from the treaty unless Canada and Mexico agreed to further concessions. Canadian authorities were quick to respond that if negotiations were reopened, they would ask for some concessions of their own. True to form, Mr. McCain offered his unconditional support for the landmark agreement.

It is hard to be confident, however, that on issues of trade policy either Democratic candidate would act like the last Democratic president. Maybe the candidates’ records as legislators are not good indicators of what their policies might be as president. Maybe campaign rhetoric about Nafta is nothing more than that. But counting on it requires, one might say, the audacity of hope.

7 Comments:

At 3/16/2008 12:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"audacity of hope"

An unfortunate consequence of choosing what you want to hear is that one either encourages duplicity, compliance or ignorance in others. More importantly, we fail to rise above the level of our fears and to look beyond them to opportunities. We choose to limit what we are and what we can become.

As FDR put it "There is nothing to fear but fear itself."

We do not need to hope for a leader who can transform our lives but to understand that that power lies within each of us. We are more powerful than we can imagine.

 
At 3/16/2008 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mankiw is a Krugman-esque liberal who gets muddled by his socialist ideology at times. Other times he is brilliant, but the net result is that he is teaching economics to susceptible freshmen and sophomores who will take his fragile, vapid worldview and make it their own. He and Tyler Cowen would make good autocrats, since they both have the solutions to all of the world's ills. That cultural relativism that they espouse will be the undoing of civilization. They and other liberals/marginal libertarians are anti-freedom.

skh.pcola

 
At 3/16/2008 1:33 PM, Anonymous Machiavelli999 said...

Here is the problem. I am a Free Trader and despise the term "Fair Trade". However, are our Free Trade agreements really free. In China, for example, their exports to the US can be classified as Free Trade, but what about our exports to them? By keeping their currency artificially low they have managed to achieve a huge trade surplus with the US and the rest of the world. It is a stealthy protectionist policy. It is catching up with them as the yen is appreciating against the dollar simply because the dollar keeps falling. The dollar keeps falling because of the huge account defecit and because of the credit crunch. Yet, the dollar's appreciation does not seem to have much of an impact on the trade defecit, so far. I believe that it will.

Exports are growing and one obvious example of it is the US steel industry. For many years, it has been slowly dying, but although it is far from being back to its glory days, US steel companies are enjoying a boom period. Look at US Steel's stock for the evidence. Perhaps the dollar's devaluation will in the long run fix our trade defecit?

 
At 3/16/2008 9:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg, you really shouldn't take comments on blogs so personally. A lot of them obviously are pure nonsense or worse.

It's a pity you don't have comments on YOUR blog anymore. Any chance you can bring them back and get your book publisher to hire someone to screen out the really obnoxious ones?

 
At 3/16/2008 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 12.27,
You are right.If Keynes was alive, I think he would have kicked Prof.Mankiw from his warring followers camp.He is,I doubt, a classical spy in the Keynesian camp
and the very act of him orbidding comments in his blog shows that he is anti-democratic who has no tolerance to hear critical comments.

 
At 3/17/2008 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @9:40 PM: I find it a bit ironic that you're criticizing Mankiw for criticizing someone else's criticism. Why should criticisms of criticisms go unobstructed if criticisms of people should not, as noted by your implicit remark? So really, now, who's the anti-democratic one?

And I agree with anonymous @9:05 PM.

Sorry for raiding your blog, Perry. I'll stay anonymous.

 
At 3/17/2008 12:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

^... Sorry, sloppy wording with second question. You know what I meant.

 

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