David R. Henderson  

Canada Can't Dodge Two Bullets

PRINT
The WSJ's odd critique of the ... Saving cannot go "into" existi...
At this writing, the odds that Hillary Clinton will defeat Donald Trump for the U.S. presidency are very high.

If your concern is trade between Canada and the United States, Canada dodged a bullet. Donald Trump is hostile to trade, mainly with China but also, it appears, with anyone outside U.S. borders. He has never shown an inkling of understanding about the benefits of trade and, although he's inconsistent on many things, Trump has been a steady opponent of foreign trade.

I recall a news item about a speech he gave against NAFTA in Fresno, California in 1993 or 1994. He told his audience that Mexican businessmen favoured NAFTA and, therefore, it couldn't be good for the U.S. This showed that he didn't understand the basic economics of trade. In any trade, both sides gain or, at least, expect to gain. And unless what they get in return is a big disappointment, they do gain. Otherwise, they wouldn't trade. And if they got disappointment after disappointment, they wouldn't keep trading. Trump didn't understand that.

So the good news is that Canada will likely dodge the Trump bullet. The bad news: Canada won't dodge the Hillary Clinton bullet.


This is from my "Canada can't dodge two 'trade' bullets shot from the U.S." Fraser Forum, October 24, 2016.

Read the whole thing.

I would add, by the way, that Canadians, like the rest of us, should be very worried about the military policy of both major candidates, and possibly especially of Hillary Clinton, given her pro-war views. There are many bullets.


Comments and Sharing


CATEGORIES: International Trade




COMMENTS (11 to date)
Thaomas writes:

Surely you do not trust a politician like Sec. Clinton to be telling the truth when she says she opposes trade do you? Don't you remember when candidate Barack Obama said he would "renegotiate" NAFTA? Politicians will say anything to get elected! Mr. Trump, in contrast not being a"politician," presumably really means it.

LD Bottorff writes:

It is a sad state of affairs when one of the few positive things we can say about the likely next president is that she lies, therefore we can trust her to not screw things up as badly as her opponent.

I wish I could trust her to be lying when she says she wants to overturn Citizens United.

Thaomas writes:

Yes, it would be nice if politicians would just campaign openly for good policies, but coalition building largely prevents that.

I somewhat agree on Citizens United. The problem is not so much the expenditures as the failure to know who is paying for what political message.

Andrew_FL writes:

@Thaomas-"Don't worry, Clinton's lying." #flawlesslogic

Rick Bohan writes:

Geez...even here, folks resort to the "She's lying!" baloney more suited to Breitbart.

I noticed no one here has wondered, "Gee, if trade with other countries is so good, I wonder how we got to the point where the only thing the two parties agree on is the reining in of "free trade" agreements?" These candidates didn't all just wake up one morning and decide to be against NAFTA, et al.

As for HC's position, if a candidate hears from enough of her potential constituents that they distrust the agreements presently in force and the agreements being proposed, should she ignore them?

Lots of folks in the furniture industry in my home state of NC have lost their jobs. Pretty much, the only response they've gotten is, "Get used to it. The economists tell us this is good for you."

Andrew_FL writes:
I noticed no one here has wondered, "Gee, if trade with other countries is so good, I wonder how we got to the point where the only thing the two parties agree on is the reining in of "free trade" agreements?" These candidates didn't all just wake up one morning and decide to be against NAFTA, et al.

It's not that no one has wondered, it's that we know exactly why people are against free trade, and we don't care about their opinions because they're ill informed and wrong.

As for HC's position, if a candidate hears from enough of her potential constituents that they distrust the agreements presently in force and the agreements being proposed, should she ignore them?

Yes. As Edmund Burke said "Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion"

David R. Henderson writes:

@Andrew_FL,
Thanks for answering better than I probably would have done.
There is one thing, though, on which I disagree. You wrote:
It's not that no one has wondered, it's that we know exactly why people are against free trade, and we don't care about their opinions because they're ill informed and wrong.
First, you’re right that we do know pretty much exactly why they are against free trade. I see the lightbulbs go on when I teach about trade. It’s counterintuitive to most people. So that’s not what I’m taking issue with. The part I take issue with is that “we don’t care about their opinions.” I do care, partly because their opinions affect policies that affect you and me. But only partly. Part of what makes me a good teacher is that I do care about my students’ opinions. Which doesn’t mean I share them or think they are correct.

Rick Bohan writes:

[Comment removed. Please consult our comment policies and check your email for explanation.--Econlib Ed.]

Rick Bohan writes:

"it's that we know exactly why people are against free trade, and we don't care about their opinions because they're ill informed and wrong."

I'll tell you what, Andrew...let's you and I go to Youngstown, OH and Lenoir, NC and you tell them what you just told us and let's see how it all goes. Maybe, as Prof. Henderson says, the "lightbulbs will go off" and they'll see that the destruction and decay within their communities is really in their best interests.

Andrew_FL writes:

You know Rick, attempting to settle arguments through intimidation does not reflect well on you.

Rick Bohan writes:

"You know Rick, attempting to settle arguments through intimidation does not reflect well on you."

You said, "we don't care about their opinions because they're ill informed and wrong."

I suggested you explain that to folks who have been materially affected by the policies you recommend.

I guess I'm not surprised that you find the prospect intimidating.

Comments for this entry have been closed
Return to top