That's the lede from today's New York Times' editorial calling for Congress to pass the Colombia free trade agreement:
Mr. Bush signed the deal two years ago. The Democratic majority in Congress has refused to approve it out of a legitimate concern over the state of human rights in Colombia and less legitimate desires to pander to organized labor or deny Mr. Bush a foreign policy win.
We believe that the trade pact would be good for America's economy and workers. Rejecting it would send a dismal message to allies the world over that the United States is an unreliable partner and, despite all that it preaches, does not really believe in opening markets to trade. There is no more time to waste.
Lots of companies fail. Lots of cities, built around those companies, decline. If employees of the Big Three deserve to have taxpayers pay part of their relatively lavish salaries, then employees at thousands of failing businesses deserved the same. They had no chance of getting it, though, simply because they don't have the right history with Washington. There is no other reason.
There is nothing that helps people more than high rates of economic growth, compounding, compounding. But everyone is not helped equally. Economic growth requires dynamism, requires "creative destruction," and some people get trapped in the wreckage, become wreckage. Not everyone is hurt equally…. But the impulse to freeze the system, to try to tape all the cracks and staple all the cleavages, to ensure that nobody has to explain to their kid why Christmas this year is going to be a lousy Christmas, that is one of our greatest dangers. Our sympathy, untutored by a grasp of the larger scheme, can perversely make itself ever more necessary. When we feel compelled to act on our uncoached fellow-feeling, next year's Christmas is likely to turn a bit worse for everybody. And then somebody has to explain to the kids that they can't find a job at all.