The quoted text below is from Greg Mankiw’s blog, his response to the president’s state of the union address. I’d have to say I agree with Mankiw on his second item. Yes, I am aware that he was a Bush adviser, it says it right in the quote. I’m pretty sure Mankiw didn’t do a 9/11 though; nor did he throw our economy under the bus with a sick jutsu. I will assume anyone reading this has a good idea how that happened. Yes, I am aware that he advised or currently advises Mitt Romney, on matters of the economy and possibly the heart. These revelations in no way imply that this man is ass backwards, as a person or economist. Mankiw is not some monstrous entity leading the charge against all that is right in the world, crushing the little pea heads at OWS with mean math. I consider myself to be pretty far left, with an appetite for Marxist critique. At the same time, there’s still an actual real world to operate in, with conditions that won’t change any time soon. Our country’s prevailing ideas lean heavily towards, if not a reflection of a world ideal for those with capital. With that said, there are still ways to care, understanding the current system and figuring out works best for people. Protectionism in America, is not in the least bit appealing to me or the developing world.
2. I was disappointed, and even a bit surprised, that the President adopted the xenophobic approach to outsourcing and international trade. Usually, on issues of international trade, the President plays the role of grown-up and leaves it up to Congress to gin up populist ire. That is true of both parties. Recall that President Clinton pushed NAFTA through.
When President Obama bragged that his administration had substantially increased trade cases against China compared with his predecessor, it made me proud to be one of President Bush’s advisers. (Not that the Bush administration was perfect on trade issues. It is just good to know we were better.) These trade cases include such things as anti-dumping claims, which in many cases are just the modern face of protectionism. Phill Swagel and I wrote about anti-dumping laws here.
If it’s any consolation, America isn’t the only country getting petty with protectionism. Brazil churns out anti dumping cases against China at an alarming(yet funny) rate. It might actually be its biggest export when it comes to the Brazil-Sino relationship which is still somehow blooming. The nature of anti-dumping(As described in the piece Mankiw links) has gotten to the point that I’m not even sure if the Chinese even take offense to it. All cases are met with a sagely bro nod, it knows better.
Since this is a blog, and I’m allowed an informal nature as long as I can stand my own writing, I’d like to add my own quick reaction to part of Obama’s SOTU. I recall Obama talking about “deepening” or perhaps he said “strengthening” America’s ties with Latin America. As the honorable Jay-Z once said,
“We don’t believe you, you need more people”
The US relationship with Latin America can be described as tepid at best. From Brazil claiming to be in a currency war that involves the dollar, to the death of the DREAM act, and the continued failure to properly understand the American consumer’s role in a drug war that has many in Mexico and Central America, living in fear. There are also several state level laws passed, most notably in Arizona and Alabama, that has put a strain on the US relationship down South. Obama has to do better in 2012, there’s no excuse for so little progress.