The front page of today’s (March 28) Wall Street Journal reports (subscription required) a change of heart on the part of Princeton economist and former Federal Reserve Board Vice Chairman Alan S. Blinder that free trade is good. It seems he has in mind the millions of American jobs now threatened by the unprecedented ease with which information can be shipped out and back in.
He still doesn’t advocate tariffs or quotas, which is a good thing in view of the fact that what is crossing borders, if anything, is data, in both directions. He does advocate government intervention (with money taken from us) to “help” the economy adjust to the changes he sees in store so, like many supposed free-traders, it seems this one remains a statist.
Well, if trade is the problem, I feel certain that his policies will be successful in reducing it. The account is scary and depressing.