Saturday, March 31, 2007

Anti-Business Democrats

Business is the engine that drives the United States and the world. It goes beyond saying that the creation of wealth . . . (1) funds the tax base; (2) grows the economy; (3) creates jobs; (4) provides the US with the highest standard of living in the word; (5) allows for creation and deployment of a military in our self defese; (6) allows for the government to hand out the goodies . . . and on and on and on. And the opposite is equally true. One reduces the creation of wealth by (1) taxation; (2) regulations that require businesses to expend wealth, time and effort to comply; (3) limiting trade; . . . and on and on an on.

Thus I am always amazed when I see the left wingers of the United States decrying the inate evil of corporations, global trade and capitalism. It is insanity to a high degree and makes for incredibly cynical politic theatre. The compliment to that is protectionism and modifying trade laws to benefit special interests. It is not like it is still in question whether such actions are, as a rule, generally ill advised. Adam Smith penned his famous economic treatise, The Wealth of Nations, in 1776. His vision has proven incrdibly accurate, and indeed, those who have not heeded his words either have moribund economies or have seen their economic model fall by the wayside of history. I think we need to send a copy of this work to the Democrats in Congress if this WSJ article is correct:

. . . [T[his week House Democrats issued their new policy statement on trade that reads like a protectionist wish list. Among its lowlights: rewriting the Peru deal to require, among other things, that the Andean nation "adopt and enforce laws on logging Mahogany"; immediate action against "China and Japan currency manipulation"; adding global warming commitments to future trade agreements; and creating a new U.S. "Trade Enforcer" to file more trade cases in the World Trade Organization.

Democrats are even raising their demands for labor standards as part of trade deals. They used to insist that U.S. trading partners agree to adopt International Labor Organization (ILO) standards in principle. The U.S. had a "safe harbor" in the deals because American labor protections are both strict and well enforced. But now Democrats are saying they want any trade deal to require that the U.S. also meet specific ILO labor standards.

That's a backdoor way of rewriting U.S. labor law without having to assemble a majority in Congress. It's also a way of guaranteeing that trade deals won't pass in Congress, because few Republicans will go along with rules that make it easier for unions to organize and trump domestic sovereignty. Trade deals in recent years have required a House coalition of most Republicans and a smaller group of pro-business Democrats.

This all bears the fingerprints of Sander Levin, the Michigan Democrat who runs the trade subcommittee on Ways and Means and is well known as the Congressman from Big Labor. The AFL-CIO opposes any free-trade deals of the kind that Bill Clinton promoted, and this "new" Democratic policy has all the earmarks of a poison pill. Mr. Levin is thought to have the backing of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and if that's true then Mr. Rangel may well be rolled in his own committee.

All of this reflects a surge left among Democrats on trade since the Clinton Presidency, and for reasons that have little to do with the economic evidence. U.S. job and wage growth has been healthy, even as more of the economy is trade dependent. A February study for the Business Roundtable found that one in five U.S. jobs now depends on exports or imports, compared with one in 10 in 1992. It also found that trade has a net positive impact on U.S. manufacturing jobs--far from the "giant sucking sound" of myth.

Read the artice here. I maintain that the '06 election was a vote against Republicans who had strayed from their small government roots, who failed to take decisive action in Iraq, and who completely lost the communications war. It was not a vote for Democrats, with their ridiculous arguments for leaving Iraq and their anti-business stance. Who could possibly vote for a party that would seek to hurt trade and enable failing labor unions to the detriment of the economy and simply to support special interests?

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