My International Economics class is 90% about trade, as most International Econ classes are. Today we're finishing up a discussion on the welfare effects of tariffs, particularly those set by large countries like the U.S.
I'm not allowed to politic in the classroom, which is fine, but I will be showing the following two campaign ads. If these were the only commercials I'd seen from the candidates then my choice would be 110% clear. First, the Obama ad I saw yesterday:
A John McCain web ad that most Americans have never seen, but includes Spanish subtitles:
I would guess that Obama's ad was made by someone who never took an economics class.They never read Travels of a T-Shirt in a Global Economy and are possibly racist against the Chinese, indicating that it's humiliating to work for a firm that is setting up in China.
McCain's speech at the convention was plain: Those jobs are never coming back. He's offered an increased unemployment insurance and temporary job program for those factory workers (though this will do little). But the overall benefits to our economy, and to other countries' economies, are enormous and outweigh the costs of a few workers temporarily unemployed. It's what the data clearly say. If we want allies in the world then we should encourage poor countries' economic development and that will come by lowering our trade barriers. (McCain and conservatives in general do a bad job of explaining this, among other things).
My students are in college because they don't want to work on a farm, or in a factory or a mill. If we eliminated trade with countries like China they would have fewer possibilities and incentives to pursue higher-skilled careers.