The headline to the lead story in today's Wall Street Journal is correct, the masses are turning against free trade.
WSJ correctly reports:
Mr. Trump, who regularly argues that the U.S. has been fleeced in trade negotiations with Mexico, China and Japan, has capitalized and expanded on that anti-free-trade sentiment, said Patrick Buchanan, a populist Republican who used the trade issue to power his challenge to President George H.W. Bush in 1992.
Free trade has become what Mr. Buchanan calls “a voting issue”—meaning one that attracts voters who care intensely about that particular measure—akin to gun rights and abortion. “I don’t think you can negotiate a free-trade deal and have it go through,” Mr. Buchanan said.
Unfortunately, the WSJ article, itself, spends considerable time promoting the idea that the Trans Pacific Partnership and the North American Free Trade Agreement are free trade deals. Nothing could be further from the truth. Each agreement is thousands of pages long. That is not free trade, it is crony trade.
A true free trade agreement could be written on a single piece of paper and read:
We will allow free trade between our nations.Anything beyond that is special interest cronyism. When you get to thousand of pages, it is all about cronyism.
What a mess. The masses do not understand the benefits of free trade. "Free trade" advocates are mostly promoting crony trade.