Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders' Free Trade Mythology

More economic illiteracy from the Vermont socialist.

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Bernie Sanders' upset victory in Michigan came just two days after he stood on the debate stage in the perennially beleaguered city of Flint, Michigan, and decried the economic condition of the surrounding area. He put the blame where he, like Donald Trump, often puts it: on free trade.

"Do you know that in 1960, Detroit, Michigan, was one of the wealthiest cities in America?" he demanded. "Flint, Michigan, was a prosperous city. But then what happened is corporate America said, 'Why do I want to pay somebody in Michigan a living wage when I could pay slave wages in Mexico or China?'"

A pre-debate tweet from Sanders featured bleak photos of abandoned buildings and said, "The people of Detroit know the real cost of Hillary Clinton's free trade policies."

Michigan has seen more than its share of economic trouble, but the senator from Vermont is not the guy to explain it. The decline he lamented and the causes he cited didn't come close to coinciding. Many vacant buildings in the Motor City were vacant when Clinton was practicing law in Little Rock.

Michael Moore's documentary film Roger & Me, about the calamitous shutdown of General Motors plants in Flint, came out in 1989—more than four years before the North American Free Trade Agreement took effect and long before China exported much of anything. Detroit lost more than a third of its population between 1960 and 1990.

A generation ago, the auto industry was competing not with companies in Mexico or China but with those in Japan. Toyota, Honda and other Japanese companies took sales away from the Big Three, particularly after the energy crisis of the 1970s, by offering cars that were more reliable and fuel-efficient.

They won over American consumers at a time when trade was far from free. President Ronald Reagan protected U.S. automakers by forcing "voluntary" limits on Japanese auto sales. Japanese trucks faced a 25 percent import duty—which is still in effect.

The other changes that hurt the Michigan auto industry were not the product of trade agreements. One was the migration of production to other states, particularly those with right-to-work laws that impeded the powerful United Auto Workers union. Today most U.S. factories operated by Ford and General Motors are located outside of Michigan—as is every plant operated by foreign automakers.

The other change came in the form of automation. Many of the jobs that have vanished in American car factories haven't moved abroad; they've gone to robots and other labor-saving machinery. Since 2000, when domestic auto employment peaked, the number of workers required to produce a given number of vehicles has fallen by more than one-third.

Breaking down trade barriers would actually help the American auto industry and those on the assembly lines. One major attraction of building cars in Mexico is that it has free trade agreements with 45 countries—while the U.S. has free trade deals with just 20. Exporting to most of the world is easier there than here.

Bernard Swiecki, an analyst at the Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research, told Business Alabama why Audi recently decided to put a factory in Mexico instead of the U.S.: "If they export it, they save $4,500 per vehicle in tariffs they don't have to pay."

Sanders said Sunday that American workers shouldn't have to compete with "people in Mexico making 25 cents an hour." He's greatly exaggerating. U.S. automakers there pay $8 to $10 an hour.

That's a lot less than American autoworkers earn, but the wage gap doesn't matter as much as you might think. U.S. plants still roll out three times as many cars and trucks as their Mexican counterparts.

Sanders falls in a long tradition of trying to wall our economy off from the world. The AFL-CIO opposed the 1987 free trade agreement with Canada. The Vermont socialist would deny American consumers the better products and lower prices that such accords provide.

Those benefits are especially important to people of limited means, who spend a disproportionate share of their income on necessities. Yet many of these people have cast their ballots for Sanders and Trump.

If Michiganders went to Wal-Mart or Home Depot tomorrow and found the shelves stripped of everything made abroad, they would quickly grasp the upside of free trade. If either of the people they chose for president gets to the White House, that realization may come, but too late.

NEXT: Hillary Clinton Should Stop Playing Dumb

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  1. This board is more silent than Hillary Clinton on her husnand’s status as a repeat sex offender!

    *crickets

  2. But in all fairness to Bernie “three types of deodorant on the market is enough” Sanders, he is actively FOR limiting consumer choice in all possible spheres. Thus, he’s not so much economically illiterate as a devious, totalitarian ideologue dressed in the guise of everyone’s crazy old Uncle Bernard who ruins every family gathering with his naive political ramblings.

    1. True. He has the guts to just come out as a market-hater in all possible aspects, whereas Trump at least nominally made his living in markets and still doesn’t like trade.

  3. but, but, all those jobs will come back!

    bernie is a good guy, but his problem is he read a book once, and he hasn’t been right ever since.

    good thing hillary was there to set him right on this free trade nonsense. what’s that you say…?

  4. To put a positive spin on it – if Bernie baffles enough economic illiterates that he wins the nomination and then the general election, maybe he keeps America out of further warfare. Meanwhile, those trade deals aren’t getting unraveled no matter how much he stomps his feet.
    Clinton – more war, beholden to Wall Street, at the mercy of the Chinese she sold secrets to.
    Trump – I’d like to believe he’ll say anything to get the nom, then win the presidency, followed by turning the White House into a reality show where nothing actually ever gets done, which would be a win for libertarians.

    1. maybe he keeps America out of further warfare

      Like Obama did?

      1. Maybe if we give President Sanders TWO Nobel Peace Prizes to encourage him in advance, he won’t end up being King of Drone Killings III…

  5. There is also the fact that U.S. car makers were building crap cars.I’ve bought Nissan’s since the mid 1980’s.Never had a bad one.The trucks hold up great even with all the hunting and hauling wood and gravel.Had my first one 9 years and 195,000 miles.Put a new exhaust on on,other wise just oil,tires and brakes.

    1. Were.

      In the 9 years I’ve had my ford, it’s had no more issues than you describe*. I broke the bracket holding the exhaust up, but a new one got welded on and it’s fine. Wore out a couple of set of tires, had to change brake pads, oil and windshield wipers (winter does a number on wiper blades).

      *this excludes damage from me driving into stuff, or stuff driving into me, like having to replace a rear light or the sideview mirror due to minor collisions. None of that can be blamed on the manufacturer.

      1. I’ve had nothing but shit-luck with American cars.They cost less to fix because there aren’t tariffs on the parts, but they require many more fixes than their Japanese counterparts.

        1. Most parts for (older) Japanese cars are made domestically.

      2. Honestly, even if American cars were now as good as the Japanese ones, I’d still buy a Honda (if I wanted a car that is) just because the UAW can go fuck itself. I’ve met a lot of people from Japan and a lot of people from Michigan. I like the Japanese better.

        1. My GMC pickup was made in Mexico, just like its twin, the Silverodriguez. So basically I bought an Maerican truck and STILL told the UAW to go fuck itself.

      3. A buddy of mine disagreed with me praising Toyota and Ford trucks and said his Chevy Silverado trucks he has for his business were super-reliable.

        A week ago I rode with him in his truck to a jobsite, and when he was opening and closing the driver-side door, there was a loud CR-RICK noise coming from the hinges. No damage to the door–it was utterly puzzling what was making the noise.

        He kinda laughed it off as no big deal. I realized immediately that his standard for quality is set really, really low.

        My relatively new Jeep has been in for one recall for poorly-designed electrical wiring. That was an ordeal because the line at the dealership on a weekday morning took an hour. The others in line were in for recalls too!

        Then it sprung rain leaks at the door seals on both doors. I went to the Jeep forums and found that many are dealing with unfixable leaks. They have an official leak diagnostic manual and many user-contributed DIY fixes. I fixed it myself with jury-rigged “cheats” rather than go through the ordeal of bringing it back to the dealership. Apparently the doors weren’t fitted properly at the factory–I’ll someday have to take the time and a 2nd person, loosen the hinge bolts and re-fit the door to the frame.

        Way to go, Chrysler. If Trump or Sanders wins and succeeds at his trade war, we can look forward to more DIY fixes, dealer recalls, and probably higher prices for lower quality crap. Yay.

    2. I live in the city that has the largest Nissan plant outside of Japan: Aguascalientes, Mexico.

  6. Free trade did not destroy American industry. Unions and oppressive taxes did. Bernie wants to increase taxes by 15.2 trillion dollars, i.e. he wants to destroy what is left of the American economy. Everyone from the local doughnut stand to the palate manufacturers to the retail stores would be crushed. We wouldn’t have to pay for our healthcare because there wouldn’t be any.

    Remember, this is a guy who says bread lines are a good thing, press censorship is just spiffy, and genocide in the name of socialism is nothing to worry about.

    1. Amen, amen.

      But Free Trade will get the blame, just like Capitalism will when the Western economies collapse. People in general THINK that the Western economies are capitalist, but they’re really command economies now and have been for many decades. The regulatory state is too large for there to be a free market outside of near-anarchy regions like Somalia.

      Black markets are freer than gov’t-approved markets, but they still aren’t free since one must expend treasure or time to hide one’s activities and risk jail or worse.

  7. Many of the jobs that have vanished in American car factories haven’t moved abroad; they’ve gone to robots and other labor-saving machinery.

    Machinery built abroad?

    1. When robots start making other labor-saving machinery, they won’t be built abroad. Robots don’t care where they work and it makes sense for them to work near every place where goods are needed.

  8. I can’t believe were even having this conversation. It’s like someone dug up some zombies from the 1980s. Raaah Japanese cars….Flint…Detroit…braaaains…..

    1. You’d think factory work was somehow typical of the U.S. economy, too, or that the average American was somehow worse off today than we were when we were working in factories.

      We have entire new industries that didn’t even exist in the 1980s.

      When I turned 16, and was old enough, I took a job in the sawmill half of a furniture factory to work my way through boarding school. It was heartbreaking work. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Feeding a damn machine hour after hour.

      That’s a society where people get married right out of high school, and women stay home, too. And if the factory disappears, your economic viability does, too? Why would I want my job to depend on proximity to some factory?

      I was not better off when I was working in a factory, and neither were most of the American people. We’re better off now, more prosperous, too, now that manufacturing isn’t the basis of the American economy. Flint, Michigan is not typical of the American economy or the American experience since the 1980s. It’s what happens when your economic policies are stuck in the 1970s.

      1. At the very minimum, close to 100% of Trump and Sanders supporters disagree with your assessment of how ‘better off we are now with no manufacturing’. A cognitive disconnect which is IMO the main reason the mere existence of those supporters is instead attributed to ‘racist bigots’ and/or ‘just a bunch of socialists’. Ignore those who support those two pols and pretend that getting rid of the pols will eliminate the issue as well.

        And in addition, they are all too stupid to realize what their own self-interest is (the libertarian equivalent of the lumpenproles) – so we need TOP MEN to keep delivering liberty to those who just don’t seem to realize that its good for them. Either that or libertarians have just become the useful idiots for utilitarianism/majoritarianism.

      2. Well you also notice the anger is pointed only at certain countries. Our trade deficit by percentage is worse with a number of let us say less darker countries. Both Sanders and Trump have successfully tapped into the “Brown people r takin r Jerbs” Mentality.

  9. “The other changes that hurt the Michigan auto industry were not the product of trade agreements. One was the migration of production to other states, particularly those with right-to-work laws that impeded the powerful United Auto Workers union. Today most U.S. factories operated by Ford and General Motors are located outside of Michigan?as is every plant operated by foreign automakers.”

    Even as Flint was imploding, new plants were proliferating elsewhere in the country. Nissan, Toyota, and Honda were building them–outside of Michigan.

    Here’s a map showing all Honda’s, Nissan’s, and Toyota’s plant locations:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-_e8s…..00/map.jpg

    The unions were so bad, new arriving auto manufacturers decided to build new factories elsewhere and train new workers from scratch–rather than use existing idle facilities in Flint and hire laid off but trained workers in Flint.

    Unions destroyed Flint. Unions are so bad, they’d rather see a city like Flint ruined than change. I’d call them parasites, but parasites are generally too smart to destroy their host. The host here wasn’t the big three. The host we’re talking about is the people of Flint. Look what the unions did to them. It’s like what the Soviet Union did to their own manufacturing towns. Why would anybody want to go there anymore?

    1. Yes, and GM’s union employees were the worst.

      I worked as a tooling engineer in the automotive industry during the early 1990s for a tier one Japanese company doing business with Ford and Chrysler. These two companies were innovating their way toward viability and getting concessions from their unions. GM, on the other hand was not. Quality was the big issue and Ford did it best–in my experience.

      Flint was a mostly GM town–IIRC. Quality was less important. They made the bed that they now lie in. The socialistic/communistic union killed the Golden Goose because they were greedy. All the while accusing corporate management of greediness.

      1. I’m not an Objectivist or a big Ayn Rand fan, by any means, but one of the things she got right in Atlas Shrugged was in her description of when they went to the auto factory town and found the Galt engine.

        The run down factory town, abandoned factories, the crime, juvenile delinquents running around, the despair, etc., that could easily have described Flint in 2016.

        But she wrote it in 1957! It was during the auto manufacturing heyday!

        I don’t think she was being prophetic, exactly, it’s just that the outcome of those union towns was entirely predictable. In other words, not only was the future of Flint clearly foreseen, it was also clearly foreseeable.

        That ultimate consequences of what Clinton, Sanders, or Trump want to implement–the same sort of policies and practices nationally, the same practices that made Flint what it is today–are also entirely foreseeable. They’re all over Flint!

        That’s our future if we do what Flint did. Flint’s future was apparent without their example. With their example, there’s no excuse.

  10. Sanders falls in a long tradition of trying to wall our economy off from the world.

    Why do so many people want to turn this country into North Korea? That’s what happens when you wall your economy off from the world.

    Economic illiteracy and an inability to grasp basic math is pretty much what I’ve come to expect from most people at this point.

    1. Somebody should ask him: if free trade is so bad, would he support walling off Vermont from the rest of the country? After all, shouldn’t it make Vermont richer? He wouldn’t want high-paying “Vermont jobs” going to Mississippi, right?

    2. The lure of free shit is a siren song that has ruined many a socialist/communist country, just like Venezuela is finding out firsthand today… Never underestimate the might of the Free Shit Army…

  11. slave wages

    If an association is voluntary, one is not a “slave”. Additionally, these idiots never consider (when citing some “$2 a day” bs) that the money paid to people in “sweat shops” in foreign countries goes much further in said countries than it does in the US.

    1. Nor do they consider what happens when those ‘sweat shop’ employees go from $2 a day to unemployed; they starve on $0 a day.

      So, which is the charitable thing to do? Save some money and help a third world person survive? Or pay extra to help an entitled American unionized factory worker afford a second car? Sanders apparently thinks the latter.

      1. the entitled american unionized factory worker can vote for him. sorta the same deal as the free college thing; if you’re really worried about poor people college wouldnt even be on your radar.

  12. One thing that grates me about so much free trade commentary–by everyone from *Reason* to the *Washington Post* editorial page–is the smug “unlike you boobs who are misled by Sanders or Trump and don’t know anything about comparative advantage, *we* understand economics” tone. Honestly, one can know something about economics and still think free trade agreements have more of a downside than economists were traditionally ready to admit. See, e.g., Autor, Dorn, and Hanson http://www.nber.org/papers/w21906 who write “China’s emergence as a great economic power has induced an epochal shift in patterns of world trade. Simultaneously, it has challenged much of the received empirical wisdom about how labor markets adjust to trade shocks. Alongside the heralded consumer benefits of expanded trade are substantial adjustment costs and distributional consequences. These impacts are most visible in the local labor markets in which the industries exposed to foreign competition are concentrated. Adjustment in local labor markets is remarkably slow, with wages and labor-force participation rates remaining depressed and unemployment rates remaining elevated for at least a full decade after the China trade shock commences. Exposed workers experience greater job churning and reduced lifetime income. At the national level, employment has fallen in U.S. industries more exposed to import competition, as expected, but offsetting employment gains in other industries have yet to materialize…”

    1. The ‘free trade’ meme has become more religious than economic. And conveniently so since it is being used to disguise the subsidies/protections given to cronies in the financial sector. Call it ‘free trade’ and, like magic, all those who favor the idea of free trade will come to the defense of whatever uses that meme as its justification.

      Just like NSA surveillance is magically acceptable cuz – its against terrorists. The only ones who can possibly oppose it are – supporters of terrorists.

    2. I’ve been saying for years that it simply isn’t as easy these days to shift to an entirely different line of work here in these United States. The training and education to shift from, say, an automotive mechanic to a computer scientist or a construction worker to a nurse is a vast gulf to bridge. The overall complexity of many, many job categories implies to me that the shift in employment will take longer and longer until it becomes a virtual impossibility for all but the genius level individual.

      1. The overall complexity of many, many job categories implies to me that the shift in employment will take longer and longer until it becomes a virtual impossibility for all but the genius level individual.
        Judging by the quality of those coming out of our “education” system, that pretty much means all of them.

    3. 1) Go over to econlog and read Scott Sumners’s (and David Henderson’s) refutations of Autor, Dorn, and Hanson. Just because something is published doesn’t mean it’s right.

      2) Autor, Dorn, and Hanson don’t actually demonstrate that the US suffers a net loss due to Chinese trade; all they demonstrate (whatever they claim) is that certain industries in the US suffer disproportionately and are slow to recover. They do not demonstrate that lower prices and increased consumption by the rest of the US does not more than make up for the loss.

      3) The problem, which Autor, Dorn, and Hanson miss entirely, isn’t trade; it’s that restrictive labor markets (thanks to unions and excessive licensing regulation, among other things like restrictive housing policies) that render domestic industries unable to compete with foreign companies. In other words, the solution is less, not more, state intervention.

      1. An economic free trade argument however can’t be based on utilitarian politics. In economics, the winners of a policy MUST compensate the losers or else you can’t actually assert that the policy is an improvement. Otherwise, you could just as easily say that slavery is beneficial as long as the majority benefits more than the slave suffers. In reality, the beneficiaries of free trade agreements never do compensate the losers – and in economic terms the only way to do so is to offset the reduced tariff with – a tariff. so this is a real problem that everyone just chooses to pretend away.

        And I’d argue that unions stopped being relevant to the private sector about 25 years ago – and longer ago outside the Rust Belt. The reality is that the biggest competitive barrier that manufacturers face in a world with very low tariffs is hyperactive currency exchange rates. That is a bank/Fed created tax on everyone else – that can only be offset by companies – large and small whether they export, import, or are anywhere in the space where imports/exports are – buying perpetual currency hedges. And that is a cronyist product of most free trade agreements.

        1. ” In economics, the winners of a policy MUST compensate the losers or else you can’t actually assert that the policy is an improvement. ”
          Um, no. If I start buying Sprite instead of Sierra Mist, neither I nor Sprite is or should be obligated to compensate Sierra Mist and its employees for the loss of my business.

          Just the same, there is no reason why I should have to pay some asshole in Dearborn for permission to buy a Japanese car. You are assuming the absence of free trade to be the default, and free trade is a policy that creates winners and losers. But why not free trade be the default? Then, tariffs reduce the purchasing power of the entire country and disemploy people working in sectors that are actually globally competitive to the benefit of the non-competitive overpaid manufacturing workers. And unions are still very much relevant in the fact that they keep wages artificially high, thereby driving their industries into the ground. Those very industries that are getting outsourced might note be so irrelevant if the strictures imposed on their labor markets were relaxed. And how on earth do you figure changing currency exchange rates negate the price declines and consumption increases induced by freer trade?

          1. The default is countries exist – and some level of control/tariff exists between them – and it is states that negotiate changes in what exists.

            Reduce the tariffs from their existing state and you have winners/losers. In economics, the winners compensate the losers and keep the excess gain. The only way that can happen is via a partial/temporary rollback of the tariff reduction since that’s where the gains come from. So true ‘free trade’ is iterative. In power politics, the winners can just say FU to the losers. But it is dishonest to say that that has anything to do with actual free trade.

            And look at a long-term graph of the trade deficit. Trade self-corrects via the value of the currency. The trade deficit has fallen off a cliff since 1990. There is no self-correction occurring at all. It is not an accident. It is the consequence of cronyism in our trade policy that favors the financial sector (the money side of the trade transaction) rather than everything else (the stuff side of the transaction). It is not caused by increasingly powerful unions making ‘stuff’ uncompetitive. It is not caused by some Whiggish notion that we are now all post-industrial consumers.

            A company focused on making stuff is now at an information disadvantage because the currency (the unit of account) no longer has anything to do with trade. It has its own manipulation cycle and only the financial sector knows what that is and it uses information asymmetry to distort a free market.

  13. It is certainly arguable that the gains to US consumers make up for the downside of free trade agreements that Autor and others mention. (Besides, I think that free trade does benefit poor people globally, though Sanders would probably deny that, and to Trump, the fact that it helps foreigners is no doubt a bad thing…) Moreover, even if some free trade agreements had negative effects, junking them might bring about chaos in world trade and do more harm than good. So it is not that I am endorsing Sanders on trade policy. But the know-it-all tone in pro-free trade commentary is annoying…

    1. Trade exposed the weakness inherent to labor regulations predicated on unrealistic fantasies about what workers “should” be paid and how they “should” be treated. The comparative advantage of third-world labor is mostly the fault of first-world governments, and thus by the magic of “democracy”, the voters.

      You can’t have a “minimum wage” when someone is willing to work for less. And somebody always is. It’s just that, prior to the growth of many foreign economies like China’s, people were more than happy to look past the effects of labor law in this country. So what if 4-6% of the population is always “unemployed” and the LFPR is always under 70%? Just call that “normal” and move on!

      Unless and until the voters are willing to go after their cherished but onerous domestic policies concerning labor, there will always be comparative advantage for foreigners (whether working here or abroad).

      1. ” The comparative advantage of third-world labor is mostly the fault of first-world governments, and thus by the magic of “democracy”, the voters.”

        Sigh, you don’t understand the concept of comparative advantage. Not exactly your fault, since most American media doesn’t get it right and you have to get all the way to college to get a decent Economics class.

        A labor cost savings is an “Absolute advantage”. That’s when something costs less to produce. A comparative advantage is when a single country is relatively more efficient at one product versus another product. For example, let’s assume the US produces airplanes more efficiently than it does cars. In that case the US would be better off producing only airplanes and buying cars from Mexico.

        Even if Mexico has an absolute advantage in both cars and planes, the US would be better as only producing planes. In that case the US would have to lower the costs of the planes (and presumably either lower it’s wages or automate), but it would not have to drop the costs of planes as much as it would the costs of cars.

        It’s important to remember, comparative advantage, doesn’t mean your competitive. If another country, say China, has an absolute advantage in all tradeable products, then the US would have to lower it’s per unit costs to compete.

        http://www.economicsonline.co……ntage.html

      2. So what you are saying is that it is pointless for the US to have a law against slavery. Because we need to accept that a)other countries do have de facto slavery and b)we must ensure that those countries face no tariffs in sending their slave-produced goods here. Is that where American libertarianism leads?

        And stop spouting crap about ‘comparative advantage’. Comparative advantage is COMPLETELY about physical trade flowing in BOTH directions. What you are actually talking about is absolute advantage. And the reality is that absolute advantage trade can only occur when the currency of the structural trade deficit country is itself deemed to be a ‘product’ – a reserve currency. The country with that structural trade deficit is, mathematically, protecting the products of its financial sector from competition. For a reserve currency country, the threat to that reserve currency occurs when opportunities to export that currency dry up (ie trade deficits either reduce to ‘balance’ or reverse to surplus). And there are also other inevitable consequences for any country that is protectionist about its reserve currency role – namely lots of foreign/imperial wars to impose functionality for its currency within other countries and/or to protect the raw commodity sources that are directly linked/valued in terms of that reserve currency.

        1. God you’re an idiot. A person’s right to own another is analogous to a person’s right to by and sell things freely to or from people living on the other side of an imaginary line?

          Try sniffing a little less glue, buddy.

          And btw, comparative advantage does indeed apply here. When the US government uses regulations (or subsidies) at the expense of other industries and consumers to prop up industries in which we do not have a comparative advantage (like the auto industry compared to the Japanese auto industry), and thereby inhibiting industries in which we do have a competitive advantage, the state is indeed trying to break the laws of economics, which is beyond foolish.

          1. No it is not comparative advantage. And ‘competitive advantage’ is not even an economic concept – it is biz school gibberish. And like it or not, every trade agreement has both winners and losers. The whole point of true free trade and limited government (v some stupid anarcho strawman) is that government is NEUTRAL in the long-term. In practical terms, that the winners sometimes are the losers and vice versa. What has happened since probably 1990 (roughly when GATT morphed into WTO) is that govt has chosen to subsidize/protect the financial sector at the expense of everyone else. Without any compensation whatsoever from the winners to the losers. And at this point, the financial sector now owns government (and apparently libertarian ideologues) so there is no prospect of any reversal back to politically normal/balanced.

            And yes – if slavery exists outside your country, then the effect of reduced tariffs with that country is to import slavery. If you’re too dim to see that, then that can’t be helped I guess.

            1. Ah, so you’re a WTO conspiracy theorist. Got it. I guess you’d have to be to contend that: being able to freely trade with people in other countries = slavery, while requiring people to pay a tithe to someone with a nonproductive job in order to trade with other people = freedom. War is peace, ignorance is strength.

  14. Sanders, et al are under the naive impression that all jobs and all industries are guaranteed to be permanent, that there is no allowable competition in the market that affects labor supply and demand. With that kind of logic, we should have read this article from a stone tablet and not on a computer.

  15. There is no such thing as free trade. What we in America have is disadvantage trade. Unfairly manipulated currency is in affect a one sided tariff. We have transitioned to a consumer, service economy and by definition our wealth is/has been extracted. You cannot build a wealthy nation without producing goods the world wants. Real wealth not to be confused with debt. Since we have nothing but fiat currencies all over the world that can be manipulated. this is the new normal. The US would have to have slave labor to compete in production of goods. And now as China “trys” to transition away from manufacturing, SE Asia will become the new China under TPP.

    1. How do Singapore and Hong Kong continue to thrive with free trade? They have no natural resources and do much less manufacturing than they used to. Switzerland doesn’t produce much besides coo coo clocks and really cool pocket knives. Their currency is so strong they can only manufacture luxury goods. Currency can only be manipulated so much and then internal inflation and interests rates put you out of business. See China.

      1. None of those countries are the reserve currency country. The rules are different for the reserve currency – because the math is different on trade. We are the only country where trade is driven not by our desire for stuff but by other countries desire for reserve currency (using excess stuff to pay for it). The only comparable to us is the last reserve currency country – UK in the 19th century.

        And economics as a profession is freaking horrible at even attempting to understand this.

    2. Oy, so many idiots in the comments today. The US manufactures more than ever before in its history. It simply does so with less labor than ever before, which leaves more labor to be allocated to the service sector, which experiences a demand increase because the wealthier people (or countries) get, the greater the fraction of income they spend on services (or save, which increases demand for financial services).

      Seriously, stop it with this ‘we don’t build shit no morez!’ nonsense.

  16. RE: Bernie Sanders’ Free Trade Mythology

    C’mon people!
    Comrade Bernie is just showing off his economic illiteracy so he can attract other economic illiterates to vote for him.
    What else would you expect from a die hard socialist and someone who didn’t start work until he was 40 years old?

    1. All this personal ignorant and vulgar attack does not change what is. Serving people is not work in your book. Wall street buying futures and derivatives no doubt is back breaking work which deserves the kinds of income they earn. This is not about ignorance it is about perspective. Does everyone deserve a decent life? The resources in and above the earth were not created by those who now say they own them but rather belong to all of the earths people, that is my perspective. I want a world of peace and oportunity for all not a world where a few grab the earths resources and pretend they created them and are entitled to them. Most of what is owned by the few on the earth today is owed through pillage slavery and ugly wars. This is why native Americans are the poorest Americans because their land were stolen by “hard working europeans” and every treaty broken by the law abiding invaders. Bob Marley said “The truth is an offense but not a sin” The holy and so- call unassailable truths of your mind controlled world is becoming increasingly unacceptable to the worlds peoples and is breeding unending conflicts. BUT REMEMBER AND UNASSAILABLE TRUTH OF THE UNIVERSE WHAT A MAN SOWETH THAT ALSO SHALL HE REAP. ” YOU CANT SOW PEAS AND REAP CORN”

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