Stephen Spruiell has some fun with the fact that negotiations over the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement have failed because Democrats, who usually tell us that free trade agreements must be stopped because they undermine labor and environmental regulations, are now claiming that South Korea's environmental standards are too stringent. "If the administration's message is incoherent, it's because the administration is not negotiating from a set of principles, but from an industry wish list," he writes. His conclusion:
The auto industry has already gotten enough help from this administration. How about some help for the rest of us now, in the form of a free-trade deal that would increase U.S. GDP by an estimated $10 billion to $12 billion per year? Obama talks a lot about all the bad things he inherited from his predecessor. But the U.S.-Korea deal was just fine the way he found it. If he can get Korea to loosen its emissions restrictions, then all to the good, say we free-marketeers. Maybe his next triumph could be to loosen them here.
If not, then he should drop his hypocritical objections to the deal and sign it. It would be nice to have a little economic stimulus that our kids won't have to pay back, with interest, someday.
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