Towards A Good Samaritan World

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Nato writes:

It seems to me that protectionists are all over the political map these days. Are there really that many more protectionist Democrats than protectionist GOP any more?

Greg Mankiw is on the case:

Some of my best friends are Democrats. They often like to think that their party is good for international trade.

"Remember NAFTA?," they tell me. "Clinton was a Democrat, and he pushed the free-trade agenda forward."

Yes, but let's look at how he did it. The 1993 roll call vote in the House found 132 Republicans in favor of NAFTA, 43 against. Among House Democrats, there were 102 in favor, 156 against.

In the Senate, the same story. Among Republican senators, there were 34 in favor of NAFTA, 10 against. Among Democratic senators, 27 were in favor, 28 against.

Since NAFTA, the difference between the two parties has, if anything, grown larger. When the Central America Free Trade Agreement came up for a vote in 2005, the House produced 202 Republicans in favor, 27 against. The Democrats had only 15 in favor, 187 against.

Nato thinks that protectionism has become more bipartisan. The reverse seems to be the case: free trade has become a Republican issue. In view of last night's results, this is grim news.


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