February 5, 2017 | By: Lawrence Summers,
Trade agreements have been central to American politics for some years. The idea that renegotiating trade agreements will “make America great again” by substantially increasing job creation and economic growth swept Donald Trump into office.
More broadly, the idea that past trade agreements have damaged the American middle class and that the prospective Trans-Pacific Partnership would do further damage is now widely accepted in both major US political parties.
As Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once observed, participants in political debate are entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts. The reality is that the impact of trade and globalisation on wages is debatable and could be substantial. But the idea that the US trade agreements of the past generation have impoverished to any significant extent is absurd.
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