The Economy — Containing Left-Wing Protectionist Ambitions

Lisa and I were remarking over lunch the other day how the economy could actually drive Obama to make trade decisions that help the long-term prospects for the US -- versus those that are motivated by left-wing protectionism. Consider this recent Bloomberg dispatch that suggests, President-elect Obama "who threatened during the presidential campaign to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement unless he could renegotiate it, may delay reworking the accord as he focuses on the U.S. economic crisis … A delay would be a victory for companies such as Caterpillar Inc., General Electric Co. and Citigroup Inc., which have tried to head off protectionism in the U.S.". In my heart, I sincerely hope that the timing of our downturn and Obama's election is more than a stroke of good luck. Specifically, I hope his protectionist, fair-trade ranting during the campaign was simply an attempt at pandering to his constituents rather than what he really believes. Who knows, but above all, by pushing off any Presidential-driven trade protectionist plans by blaming the economy, Obama will make it harder to drive any new barriers down the road should he ultimately attempt to make good on his campaign statements. Personally, I couldn't care less if Obama blames the economy for protectionist inaction. Excuses are great. It's action I'm most worried about.

- Jason Busch

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