Free trade:

Trade has been getting an unfair beating from Democrats. Party leaders backpedaled from their agreement with the White House to approve free trade pacts with Peru and Panama and are opposing the agreement with South Korea. They also refused to extend so-called fast track authority, which guarantees a simple up or down vote on trade deals. And Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama — playing to the campaign crowds — are backing legislation that would punish China for manipulating its currency and, not incidentally, could trigger an ugly trade war. Yet for all their concern about globalisation’s impact on American workers, Democrats are going after the wrong targets. Throttling trade would end up hurting a lot more people than it helped

Economists at the Peter G Peterson Institute for International Economics estimate that growth in trade since World War II added about $1 trillion a year in 2003 dollars — to America’s national income. If the world’s remaining barriers to trade and investment were to fall, they say, it would add $500 billion more. Research suggests that trade inspires less protectionist feelings in countries with bigger governments and bigger social safety nets. Promoting trade and helping America’s workers are two ideas that Democrats should get behind. — The New York Times