“Evening in America”


Thanks to reader Ken for bringing the above-linked article from The American Conservative, “Evening in America,” to my attention.  It’s a great review of two books – The Betrayal of American Prosperity  by Clyde Prestowitz and How The Economy Was Lost by Paul Craig Roberts – both former members of the Reagan administration, expressing alarm about the direction of U.S. trade policy.  I encourage you to take 5 minutes to read the article.  What’s interesting to me is that such thinking is creeping into conservative thought, since free trade has long been a conservative mantra. 

The only place where I take exception to the article is the analysis of Japan’s “lost decade,” in which the article claims that Japanese GDP growth was actually better than it appears, and would be even better were it not for the lag in Japanese population growth.  In other words, the author is an advocate of using population growth to stoke GDP growth.  Not surprising.  Another conservative mantra.  (Though I’m not being fair, since liberals rely even more heavily upon this failed strategy.)  Clearly, the author has no clue about the relationship between population density and per capita consumption. 

Nevertheless, it’s encouraging to see current U.S. trade policy being viewed with growing skepticism, even among conservatives.


5 Responses to “Evening in America”

  1. Ken Hoop says:

    Well, Pat Buchanan was a free trader when working for Nixon but has advocated protectionism since his first presidential campaign. Other than that, the only protectionist with (modest) stature I can name on the GOP Right was California’s Rep. Duncan Hunter who also ran for prez.

    • Pete Murphy says:

      Ken, do I remember correctly that Mike Huckabee also campaigned on reducing the trade deficit? I seem to recall pulling for Huckabee in the primary campaign on that basis.

  2. Ken Hoop says:


    I guess you could call him a moderate free trader. I will have nothing to do with a pretend Christian preacher who calls for the expulsion of Palestinians from Israel and supports both wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) however.

  3. Robert says:

    How about the defeat of the Dream Act Pete? Maybe the future legislators of this nation will start looking out for the American People. Good news for a change!

    • Pete Murphy says:

      Good news, indeed! At least the Republicans can be counted on to keep any further erosion in the immigration situation at bay. (At least when it comes to illegal immigration.)

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