In the 1960s, “Power to the people” was a slogan of political rebellion. In the 21st Century, it could become a rallying cry for economic and social development.

Globalization has come up short in his regard. The benefits flow mainly to the privileged, well-connected few: multinational corporations, big retailers, banks and others with economic heft and […]

By |May 24th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Taxes and Trade

Phil Gramm and Michael Solon shed some useful light on America’s trade problems in their December 2 Wall Street Journal op-ed. For one thing, they write: “The largest source of unfairness in world trade today is currency manipulation, which distorts exchange rates and trade patterns, cheating producers and consumers.” Bravo!

They also write: “After the U.S. entered the North American […]

By |December 2nd, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Incredible, Shrinking American Middle Class

Eduardo Porter’s analysis in the October 30 New York Times explains a lot about what ails America – and what fuels the sense of frustration, anxiety and anger in America these days. Under the headline “Richer But Not Better Off,” he makes a number of crucially important points:

Despite recent gains, American prosperity is not widely […]

By |October 31st, 2016|Blog|0 Comments


Thanks to a recent study by SolarPulse, a Denver-based energy company, I’ve begun to reexamine some of my assumptions about the politics of solar energy. For a long time, I’ve accepted the “conventional wisdom” that Republicans in general are skeptical about global warming and cool to solar energy while Democrats in general hold the opposite […]

By |October 19th, 2016|Blog|1 Comment

A Choice for Trade Deficit Skeptics

Poor Wilbur Ross – an odd phrase for a billionaire private equity, isn’t it? His letter to the Wall Street Journal last week provoked a torrent of mostly misguided criticism printed under the banner “Wilbur Ross Is Wrong on the Trade Deficit”.

Among the criticisms:

Imports generate “more domestic economic activity” in the form of logistical and […]

By |August 21st, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt

In the 1950s, Tennessee Ernie Ford sang: “You load 16 tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.” His lament regarding “number 9 coal” and the “company store” lives on in thousands of karaoke machines across the Pacific but seems far from modern American realities. Indeed, The Hill published a […]

By |August 14th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Growing the American Economy

The New York Times published an interesting analysis today by Neil Irwin, its senior economics correspondent.   In trying to sort out “what’s right and what’s wrong” in the US economy, he focuses helpfully on the impact of inventory contractions on the second quarter GDP numbers.   Essentially, liquidation of previously unsold goods cut the quarterly growth […]

By |August 2nd, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

For the Sake of Free Trade

Among others, the New York Times is reporting a dramatic political shift on “free trade”.   As a 40-year practitioner in trade policy, I welcome this development and at the same time fear it.

I welcome it because the “free trade” brand is bankrupt.   It has served largely to promote offshoring by combining tariff elimination (the result […]

By |July 30th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments


Under the headline “The Business Elite Is Feeling Betrayed”, The New York Times July 15 print edition reported that the Business Roundtable and other lobbying powerhouses are distressed by the impending nominations of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In particular, the Roundtable laments the candidates’ shared skepticism about “free trade.”   This complaint begs three questions:

–Is […]

By |July 17th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments


As an addendum to my previous post, I came across this morning a helpful quote from Henry George’s “Protectionism or Free Trade” printed 130 years ago:

“Trade is not invasion.  It does not involve aggression on one side and resistance on the other, but mutual consent and gratification.  There cannot be a trade unless the parties […]

By |June 12th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments