Taking the good with the bad
Posted by aogThursday, 09 January 2003 at 18:57 TrackBack Ping URL
Orin Judd is rightly taking the libertarian wing of the blogosphere to task for letting the free trade agreement with Chile pass relatively unnoticed. This is not just another trade agreement, but a big step forward for any one who supports free trade (which should be anyone who values personal liberty). Much as it pains me, we must give Bill Clinton a lot of credit here because of NAFTA. After all of the gloom and doom before that treaty, it's a very minor issue in the American body politic. The success (or more accurately that lack of anything bad) from the treaty makes the next one much easier to get through Congress. Chile is a key target in the spread of free trade with the US because it's geographically remote and the South American nation most in line with free markets.

Certainly the steel tarrifs were bad and I am not as sanguine as Mr. Judd about them. But it's only fair to laud President Bush for moving taking a big step forward with this treaty. The efforts of his administration to bring extend NAFTA from Mexico down through all of Central America is truly wonderful news as well. If this effort is successful, then I'll let the steel tarrifs go as just a bump in the road. Perhaps President Bush did it as an object lesson, because the bad effects made a lot of news and there was little backlash when multiple large holes were punched in the tarriffs in the following months. Is Bush saving this up for when protectionist in the Senate starts whining about the Chile FTA? That could be interesting.