Is the "Free Market" Tea Party Anti-Trade?


At the reacent 9/12 Tea Party rally in Washington, D.C., documented by here, I asked dozens of protesters if they supported free trade and if they believed, to employ the loaded language of protectionism, that too many American jobs were being being "shipped overseas." Not one person I spoke with, in a crowd of people offering paeans to the free market, would offer an even qualified defense of free trade, instead worrying that American industry was being "shipped to China and India." Now the dispiriting anecdotal evidence of 9/12 is backed up an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll:

While 65 percent of union members say free trade has hurt the U.S., so do 61 percent of Tea Party sympathizers. Democratic pollster Peter Hart and his Republican counterpart Bill McInturff, who conduct the NBC/WSJ poll, say the greatest shift against free trade has come among relatively affluent Americans, or those earning more than $75,000 a year.

In 2009, spoke with Columbia University professor Jagdish Bhagwati (who was name-checked on The Simpsons this week, incidentally) about Obama, free trade, and globalization.