Dealing with Reality

From David Ignatius of the Washington Post:

In the run-up to last week's Wisconsin primary, Edwards was proclaiming himself the anti-NAFTA candidate, which to me is the economic equivalent of joining the Flat Earth Society. A defensive Kerry was almost apologizing for his support for the 1993 free-trade pact with Mexico and blasting "Benedict Arnold CEOs" who export jobs overseas in an effort to cut costs.

This anti-trade talk is dangerous nonsense, and the Democrats should be embarrassed by it. It suggests to U.S. workers that there is an alternative to change and adaptation -- to getting the skills that are necessary to compete in an increasingly competitive world. That's wrong, most of all because it misleads people about their real options. Rather than helping workers build a bridge to the future, as Clinton tried to do, these Democrats talk as if they want to build a roadblock. Shame on them.

Shame on the Republicans, too, for disowning the administration's chief economist, Gregory Mankiw. He made the "gaffe" (a Washington term for stating something that is true but politically embarrassing) of saying that "outsourcing" jobs abroad can be beneficial, by lowering costs and improving efficiency.

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