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pampango

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Hometown: Xenia, OH
Member since: Tue Sep 19, 2006, 04:46 PM
Number of posts: 24,686

Journal Archives

Krugman: "The case for TPP is very, very weak. ... if a progressive makes it to the White House,

he or she should devote no political capital whatsoever to such things."

A Protectionist Moment?

Furthermore, as Mark Kleiman sagely observes, the conventional case for trade liberalization relies on the assertion that the government could redistribute income to ensure that everyone wins — but we now have an ideology utterly opposed to such redistribution in full control of one party, and with blocking power against anything but a minor move in that direction by the other.

But it’s also true that much of the elite defense of globalization is basically dishonest: false claims of inevitability, scare tactics (protectionism causes depressions!), vastly exaggerated claims for the benefits of trade liberalization ... I’ve always been clear that the gains from globalization aren’t all that great ... less than 5 percent of world GDP over a generation.

The truth is that if Sanders were to make it to the White House, he would find it very hard to do anything much about globalization — not because it’s technically or economically impossible, but because the moment he looked into actually tearing up existing trade agreements the diplomatic, foreign-policy costs would be overwhelmingly obvious. ... Trump might actually do it, but only as part of a reign of destruction on many fronts.

But it is fair to say that the case for more trade agreements — including TPP, which hasn’t happened yet — is very, very weak. And if a progressive makes it to the White House, he or she should devote no political capital whatsoever to such things.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/09/a-protectionist-moment/?_r=0

Thanks for this. Interesting that the labor chapter of the US-Peru FTA is a model

for what unions were endorsing for the TPP. Has the implementation of the labor chapter in the US-Peru agreement been effective since it took effect in 2009?

Krugman: Republicans and Trade Wars (much less respectful of international obligations).

Actually, a bit of background: establishment Republicans may talk free trade, but they are if anything more protectionist than Democrats in practice (although neither party is seriously protectionist these days.) Remember, it was Bush, not a Democrat, who imposed a WTO-illegal steel tariff, then had to back down in the face of European pressure. And going back, remember that Reagan, not Carter, imposed import quotas on Japanese cars.

The reason for this difference, I think, is twofold. First, Republicans are much less respectful of international obligations; it took a while for the Bushies to realize that trade rules apply to us, too, and that the EU is as big a trade superpower as we are. Second, there’s a level of cynicism, of willingness to play politics with foreign affairs, on one side that isn’t matched on the other.

Which brings me to the latest fight. Romney declares with horror that Trump would start a trade war. His economics is all wrong, which is the main thing; but it’s also worth noting that three and a half years ago Romney himself argued for exactly the same policies Trump advocates now, blithely dismissing the dangers:

“I’ve watched year in and year out as companies have shut down and people have lost their jobs because China has not played by the same rules, in part by holding down artificially the value of their currency,” Mr. Romney said.

Now, Romney could argue that the situation has changed — as it has since 2010, when I was arguing for the threat of countervailing duties. Back then China was in fact engaged in harmful currency manipulation; these days it’s bleeding reserves in the face of YUGE capital outflows (a trillion dollars last year!) that is, it’s intervening to prop the yuan up, not hold it down. But that’s not the case Romney is making.

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/06/republicans-and-trade-wars/

Guardian OpEd: From Trump to Merkel: how the world is divided between fear and openness

The Republican candidate and German chancellor are polar opposites in the key struggle of our age

Two major concepts define the political struggle in the west today. One can be termed “globalism”, which is currently most prominently represented by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel. The other is “territorialism”, a view that the very likely Republican candidate for the US elections in November, Donald Trump, represents. At the core of the debate is the meaning of borders: should they be porous or tightly controlled? Are they mainly an obstacle to the free and productive flow of ideas, people, goods and information and should therefore be largely dismantled? Or are massive borders welcome and indispensable as a protection against all kinds of real or perceived threats such as competition and terrorism?

For globalists such as Merkel, interconnectedness is a good thing because it is what drives progress towards more prosperity and freedom everywhere. For territorialists such as Trump, interconnectedness is mainly a threat. What is good and healthy is attributed to the natives and what is dangerous comes from outside: unfair Chinese competition, dangerous Mexican immigrants and Middle Eastern terrorists.

Globalists want to manage the cross-border streams and minimise the disruptive character of borders to maximise the gains from connected markets and societies. Of course those streams have to be managed and this is why governance cannot any more be limited to the national territory. Governments need to co-operate and set up regional and global institutions; they need to set rules and make sure that these rules are upheld. Globalists argue among themselves about how to police the wider spaces but not about the principle.

Territorialists, by contrast, don’t believe in international and transnational institutions –
they believe in national strength and power. Donald Trump wants to invest in the US military so that it’s “so big and strong and so great” that “nobody’s going to mess with us”. The world outside the borders is anarchical and dangerous and the way to deal with threats is to fight them by using force. “Bomb the shit out of Isis,” Trump said. Europe has its own share of territorialists, who share many of Trump’s views. Marine Le Pen in France, leader of the Front National, stands a good chance of winning the first round of next year’s French presidential elections. Then there’s Viktor Orban, prime minister of Hungary, who rose to international prominence by making the case for “illiberal democracy” ... they attribute everything positive to the natives and everything negative to those beyond the borders.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/06/donald-trump-angela-merkel-territorial-global-ulrich-speck

While the OpEd posits the 'globalism' vs 'territorialism' as a left (Merkel) vs right (Trump) issue. There is certainly some of that in the attitudes of Trump's base (and those of Le Pen, Orban and others) but there is antipathy to "international and transnational institutions" on the left as well as the right.

And there is a middle ground between the 'openness' of Merkel and the 'fear-mongering' of Trump.

AlterNet: The difference between right-wing populists and conservatives

The Toxic Factors that Give Rise to Right-Wing Populists Like Trump, Berlusconi and Hitler

There's a difference between right-wing populists and conservatives


This brings me to the difference between rightwing populists and conservatives.

Far right populists share with today's Republicans a fanatic ultra-nationalism, a scapegoating of foreigners, and a distaste for identity politics.

But there are several big differences. Conservatives are intimate allies of Wall Street while populists play on the resentment of Wall Street.


Populists tend not to be religious fundamentalists, while rightwing Republicans pander to the religious right. And the Republican right loathes government, while populists are willing to use it. If you think Obama expanded executive power, just wait for President Trump.

http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/toxic-factors-give-rise-right-wing-populists-trump-berlusconi-and-hitler

"In the strict father family, father knows best. He knows right from wrong and has the ultimate

authority to make sure his children and his spouse do what he says, which is taken to be what is right. Many conservative spouses accept this worldview, uphold the father’s authority, and are strict in those realms of family life that they are in charge of. When his children disobey, it is his moral duty to punish them painfully enough so that, to avoid punishment, they will obey him (do what is right) and not just do what feels good."

The strict father logic extends further. The basic idea is that authority is justified by morality (the strict father version), and that, in a well-ordered world, there should be (and traditionally has been) a moral hierarchy in which those who have traditionally dominated should dominate. The hierarchy is: God above Man, Man above Nature, The Disciplined (Strong) above the Undisciplined (Weak), The Rich above the Poor, Employers above Employees, Adults above Children, Western culture above other cultures, Our Country above other countries. The hierarchy extends to: Men above women, Whites above Non-whites, Christians above non-Christians, Straights above Gays.

Pragmatic conservatives, on the other hand, may not have a religious orientation at all. Instead, they may care primarily about their own personal authority, not the authority of the church or Christ, or God. They want to be strict fathers in their own domains, with authority primarily over their own lives. Thus, a young, unmarried conservative — male or female —may want to have sex without worrying about marriage. They may need access to contraception, advice about sexually transmitted diseases, information about cervical cancer, and so on. And if a girl or woman becomes pregnant and there is no possibility or desire for marriage, abortion may be necessary. Trump is a pragmatic conservative, par excellence. And he knows that there are a lot of Republican voters who are like him in their pragmatism.

There are at least tens of millions of conservatives in America who share strict father morality and its moral hierarchy. Many of them are poor or middle class and many are white men who see themselves as superior to immigrants, non-whites, women, non-Christians, gays — and people who rely on public assistance. In other words, they are what liberals would call “bigots.” For many years, such bigotry has not been publicly acceptable, especially as more immigrants have arrived, as the country has become less white, as more women have become educated and moved into the workplace, and as gays have become more visible and gay marriage acceptable. As liberal anti-bigotry organizations have loudly pointed out and made a public issue of the un-American nature of such bigotry, those conservatives have felt more and more oppressed by what they call “political correctness” — public pressure against their views and against what they see as “free speech.” This has become exaggerated since 911, when anti-Muslim feelings became strong. The election of President Barack Hussein Obama created outrage among those conservatives, and they refused to see him as a legitimate American (as in the birther movement), much less as a legitimate authority, especially as his liberal views contradicted almost everything else they believe as conservatives.

Donald Trump expresses out loud everything they feel — with force, aggression, anger, and no shame. All they have to do is support and vote for Trump and they don’t even have to express their ‘politically incorrect’ views, since he does it for them and his victories make those views respectable. He is their champion. He gives them a sense of self-respect, authority, and the possibility of power. Whenever you hear the words “political correctness” remember this.

Great article about authoritarianism and its role in the conservative worldview.

It seems the study proves the arbitration panels under the WTO and others favors the wealthy.

The solutions would seem to be to go back to the pre-FDR days when every country unilaterally resolved trade disputes in its own favor or restructuring the the dispute resolution process to include labor, human rights and environmental standards and the arbitration panels so that they enforce these standards fairly.

Trump and many, many others prefer the 'every-country-for-itself', stick it to the Mexicans, the Muslims, the Chinese, etc., protect "us" from "them". I am not sure that FDR and Truman would be in that back-to-the-future camp. FDR because he introduced the concept of international arbitration in trade disputes and Truman because he negotiated the agreement that did that. (Only to see it killed by a republican congress that saw it as a threat to 'national sovereignty'.

Do we go 'back-to-the-future' of Coolidge/Hoover's unilateralism on trade, raise tariffs on our own and dare other countries to do anything about it? (That did not work well for CC and HH but, history meaning nothing to republicans, tariffs - like 'trickle-down economics - will surely work this time.)

Do we just leave the WTO, NAFTA, et al in charge and complain about them? Or do we negotiate new agreements (not TPP) that include enforceable (if not using trade courts then enforced how?) labor, human rights and environmental standards? Or are we as liberals just doomed and we have no answers?

That is quite likely. It may well be that Democrats generally support engagement with the world -

building bridges as it were - while republicans are more often suspicious of such engagement - building walls to keep the world away.

I suppose one could make the same observation about inadequate knowledge with polls conducted on the Paris climate agreement, the Iran nuclear agreement and a host of other complicated agreements. If I were polled on the Paris agreement my response would probably be based on my attitude towards international cooperation to deal with climate change rather than on the specific chapters of the agreement. My guess if that is what happens when the public is polled regarding the TPP.

I have never seen any poll which showed the republican base was not more opposed to any international agreement - trade, climate, arms exports, disability rights and on and on - than were Democrats. Perhaps this is a legacy of FDR and his array of international organizations created after WWII. Perhaps it more fundamental than that and lies in how liberals view the world compared to the conservative worldview.

The poll I posted does not 'prove' anything other than that the statement I was responding to - "... the majority of Americans (Dems/Repubs) are against the TPP" - is unproven without more evidence.

"It's so fun to watch that it's easy to lose sight of how terrifying it really is."

Trump is the most dangerous major candidate for president in memory. He pairs terrible ideas with an alarming temperament; he's a racist, a sexist, and a demagogue, but he's also a narcissist, a bully, and a dilettante. He lies so constantly and so fluently that it's hard to know if he even realizes he's lying. He delights in schoolyard taunts and luxuriates in backlash.

He rose to prominence in the Republican Party as a leader of the birther movement. He climbed to the top of the polls in this election by calling Mexicans rapists and killers. He defended a poor debate performance by accusing Megyn Kelly of being on her period. He responded to rival Ted Cruz's surge by calling for a travel ban on Muslims. When two of his supporters attacked a homeless man and said they did it because "Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported," he brushed off complaints that he's inspiring violence by saying his supporters are "very passionate."

Behind Trump's success is an unerring instinct for harnessing anger, resentment, and fear. His view of the economy is entirely zero-sum — for Americans to win, others must lose. "We're going to make America great again," he said in his New Hampshire victory speech, "but we're going to do it the old-fashioned way. We're going to beat China, Japan, beat Mexico at trade. We're going to beat all of these countries that are taking so much of our money away from us on a daily basis. It's not going to happen anymore."

Trump answers America's rage with more rage. As the journalist Molly Ball observed, "All the other candidates say 'Americans are angry, and I understand.' Trump says, 'I’M angry.'" Trump doesn't offer solutions so much as he offers villains. His message isn't so much that he'll help you as he'll hurt them.

It's a great article. Thanks for posting it, KamaAina.

Americans are smarter than Europeans. We KNOW those are impossible. They

have not figured that out yet.

Neither have Europeans figured out that high/progressive taxes impoverish a society; lots of trade dooms the middle class and unions; strong safety nets cause people to be unwilling to work, preferring to sit home on 'welfare'; and being able to travel, live and work in neighboring countries means your own country is not really a country at all and there's a race to the bottom.

That's my 'American exceptionalism' justification anyway for why Europeans just don't comprehend things that we American know to be true.
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