Friday 27 February 2004

Bill Clinton: free trader

The former President is giving some business to Scotland. Not all Americans are pleased:
Staff at Netherfield Visuals, in Midlothian, were at the centre of a debate about the US economy - a key issue in the race for the White House.

While Democrat candidates complain that too many American jobs are going overseas, the party’s last president has indirectly awarded Netherfield Visuals a contract worth £600,000 to make cabinets for his forthcoming presidential archive.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this:
With more than 2.4 million jobs lost as a result of free trade since George Bush took office in 2001, the loss of manufacturing and IT jobs and contracts abroad has become a major issue.
The current administration hasn't been all that positive towards free trade - remember the tariffs suddenly imposed on steel and timber imports? In some ways the previous regime was friendlier to trading freedoms, but that won't stop populist Democrats spouting economic nonsense in the presidential election campaign.

As Bastiat made clear back in the 19th Century:

Free trade, Bastiat explained, would mean "an abundance of goods and services at lower prices; more jobs for more people at higher real wages; more profits for manufacturers; a higher level of living for farmers; more income to the state in the form of taxes at the customary or lower levels; the most productive use of capital, labor, and natural resources; the end of the "class struggle" that . . . was based primarily on such economic injustices as tariffs, monopolies, and other legal distortions of the market; the end of the "suicidal policy" of colonialism; the abolition of war as a national policy; and the best possible education, housing, and medical care for all the people."
Free trade doesn't "lose" jobs; it allows some jobs to be replaced by others, to the long-term benefit of mankind.

Incidentally, I rather thought that Bill Clinton was too involved in other matters during his presidency to have amassed enough reading material to fill a £600,000 bookcase.