Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Dukakis Redux

If you haven't seen the NASA photos that have the Kerry folks steamed but would like to, you can see them here. I can understand why the Dems are so upset about the release of these pictures. They make Kerry look like a gopher.

Ten Economic Truths

One of the hammers that the Democrats have used, and will continue to use, to beat the Bush administration over the head is the matter of job flight beyond our borders. As Senator Kerry has alleged, "Benedict Arnold CEOs" are outsourcing work to third world countries and depriving Americans of job opportunities. Bush's general commitment to free trade and globalization, the Democrats have argued, is resulting in tens of thousands of people being added to the unemployment rolls as their employers export their jobs offshore. The conventional wisdom among many is that job outsourcing is enormously harmful to the American worker and economy and Bush should be punished for it at the polls.

The conventional wisdom, however, is quite mistaken according to Brink Lindsey in a Reason article entitled Ten Truths About Trade. The article is clear, concise and very helpful in answering the main arguments raised by the left against free trade. An excerpt:

Is globalization sending the best American jobs overseas? If you get your news from CNN's Lou Dobbs, the answer is "of course" and the only real issue is how many trade restrictions should be applied to stem the bleeding. But the recent scare about "offshoring" is just the latest twist on an inaccurate, decades-old complaint that global trade is stealing jobs and causing a "race to the bottom" in which corporations relentlessly scour the world for the lowest wages and most squalid working conditions. China and India have replaced 1980s Japan and 1990s Mexico as the most feared foreign threats to U.S. employment, and the old fallacy of job scarcity has once again reared its distracting head.

The truth is cheerier. Trade is only one element in a much bigger picture of incessant turnover in the American labor market. Furthermore, the overall trend is toward more and better jobs for American workers. While job losses are real and sometimes very painful, it is important -- indeed, for the formulation of sound public policy, it is vital - to distinguish between the painful aspects of progress and outright decline.

Lindsey then goes on to discuss ten reasons why free trade is beneficial to the country and, in the long run, to our workers.

Thanks to Dan Drezner for the tip. Drezner himself has a much lengthier, more scholarly piece on the same topic in Foreign Affairs for those who are interested in a deeper economic analysis of the effect of outsourcing on American workers.

Goldberg, P.S.

Jonah's latest. It's masterful. An excerpt:

[T]his is not a party weighed down by the ballast of facts. Indeed, you have to carry a light pack when racing against the clock. For more than a year, Democrats have been fueled by a violent, irrational hatred of George W. Bush. These feelings were almost never based upon facts, so much as on an almost glandular paranoia.

Librarians set fire to their records, lest Attorney General John Ashcroft's Gestapo find out who borrowed The Catcher in the Rye. They insisted that Bush was some sort of criminal mastermind and buffoon who could orchestrate a war for oil while not being smart enough to work as a spellchecker at an M&M factory. Countless anti-Bush canards contradicted each other, but consistency was a luxury the Democrats could not afford.

The problem for them is that not even the now decidedly anti-Bush press can conceal the fact that virtually none of these allegations were true. The Senate Intelligence Committee report, the British Butler Report and the 9/11 Commission report undermine every key allegation of the anti-Bush flat-earthers. The 9/11 Commission, which was being hailed as an oracular council of truth and light when it made Bush look bad, has essentially said the Patriot Act does not go far enough (and Ashcroft, by the way, never even poked his nose in a library); that Bush never lied and that several of Bush's more famous accusers did - including those who, knowing otherwise, insisted that Bush's "16 words" about Saddam Hussein's pursuit of uranium were lies.

He does a fine job in this piece of deconstructing the hypocrisies of both Clinton and Carter. It makes one eager for his critique of Teresa Heinz Kerry's speech last night which seemed like it was being delivered on valium.

It may seem picky, but I thought it just a little bit odd that the Democrats appealed last night to their African American base by touting two speakers who lay claim to the coveted identity but who are African-American in only the most technical sense. Obama Barak had a Kenyan father whom he never really knew, but he shares almost nothing else in common with the heritage of American blacks. Teresa Kerry immigrated from Mozambique, but very few blacks would regard this white multi-millionaire heiress as a racial "sister." It's a small point, but one can imagine the hooting that would ensue if the African-Americans featured at the Republican convention included a white South African and a man whose maternal ancestors were white and whose paternal ancestors were never enslaved, nor ever experienced Jim Crow or the civil rights movement.

I guess that for people who consider Bill Clinton to be the first black president, almost anybody counts as an African-American, except Clarence Thomas, Condaleeza Rice, Rod Paige, Colin Powell, and J.C. Watts.

Masquerade Ball at the Fleet Center

USA Today fired Ann Coulter for being too, well, too much like herself. They replaced her with Jonah Goldberg who also has the distinction of having fired AC a couple of years ago from National Review for saying something like we should kill all the terrorists and convert the rest of the Muslim world to Christianity, or something like that. Anyway, Jonah's column on the Democrat Convention is here.

He makes the point that the fractious Democrats have constructed a Potemkin Village to fool the rest of the country into thinking that they're really all lovey-dovey with each other and with John Kerry when, in fact, the glue that's holding this convention together is not John Kerry, but a deep and irrational contempt for George Bush. The Democrat Party has for the last four years, been a roiling, seething cauldron of hate, but they know that even though venting their animus makes them feel good, they can't let the American voters see this. So the convention Democrats remind the viewer of Dennis the Menace all dressed up, sitting in church looking angelic, when in fact he's bursting inside to get out and roll in the mud.

Goldberg writes:

It was only when Howard Dean's head exploded like one of those dudes in Scanners that they suddenly switched to Kerry because he was the most "electable," according to all of the exit polls. In other words, Democrats voted for Kerry not because they liked him, but because they thought other people would.

This is the logic of hate. It lets convention delegates who by every measure are far to the left of the mainstream of the Democratic Party, let alone the American public, cheer a candidate who has spent the past few months holding something of a fire sale on Democratic principles. According to a New York Times survey of delegates, 9 out of 10 say they think Iraq was a mistake and 5 out of 6 say the war on terrorism and national security aren't that important; yet Kerry is surrounding himself with soldiers to the point where it wouldn't be shocking if delegates were required to wear camo fatigues. Even Ted Kennedy would be hard-pressed to play a drinking game in which players had to swig every time the words "Vietnam" or "war hero" come up in Democratic speeches.

Goldberg is always good. Read the whole piece.