The Feedback

Last week, we asked whether free-trade agreements, on balance, create or kill jobs for Americans. We received a lot of thoughtful responses, with many readers expressing skepticism over the merits of trade as it’s currently practiced.

As reader Bill Korstad put it: 

On balance, trade does create more jobs – worldwide. However, when our imports exceed are exports, more of those jobs are created abroad. With large trade imbalances we can even lose jobs, [as is] the case today. This problem is masked for a long time by massive increases in debt, more employment in the public sector and ever accelerating government transfer payments.

Some readers, like Maverick18, made clear that they see a stacked deck:


Fair trade with Canada works because the U.S. and Canada have similar standards. Fair trade with many ‘developing’ countries is anything but fair when producers depend on low costs based on subsistence wages, no benefits and no social costs, particularly environmental.

Reader Greg Zerovnik, meanwhile, expressed a more delicate balance:

Unbridled liberalization leads to things like the 1997-8 Asian crisis. Unbridled restraints lead to the Great Depression. But relying on past performances to predict the future is much more foolhardy now than it ever was.”

Finally, on a different post, reader Daniel Pacheco took us to task for asking who was to blame for the woes of the U.S. Postal

Service. That, he suggested, was the wrong question:

Playing the blame frame game does not work. Look for the solution-frame question. What can Congress or USPS do to become a success?

If you have any answers, please make sure to cc: the feds.