Like all of us do from time to time, I was reading about the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. I know, I know: You’re all bored of me talking about the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. It’s pretty much what every liberal blog, and especially every one that deals with Washington State politics, is just obsessed with. I hear you, so just this one time, and then I’ll have to go find some other thing to write about.
Anyway, I was reading about the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 and I was surprised to learn how pro-trade the Democrats were, and the Republicans weren’t, at least according to a few paragraphs in Once in a Great City, and then some Internet research.
Part of that is a strange bravado that Kennedy had with things when he said “A vital expanding economy in the free world is a strong counter to the threat of the world Communist movement. This act is, therefore, an important new weapon to advance the cause of freedom.” So sure, Democrats being cold warriors. OK. We kinda did that.
But I think part of it was an assumption that it’s pushing our values. At the time, the head of the UAW supported it. It was still an open question what post-war Europe would look like, and I think trading with us, with our then strong unions and democratic values would pass that on.
So, maybe for those of us who aren’t big on NAFTA and the WTO for labor and environmental reasons, there are lessons. Maybe we need to have those sort of protections in the trade deals. I don’t know exactly what that looks like, but if earlier liberals thought of trade as a way to improve things, we probably could too. I don’t know if that makes more sense than just rejecting them, and I don’t know what labor or environmental protections you could get 2/3 of the Senate to pass for the foreseeable future.
Anyway, how will I drag the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 into the next post is anyone’s guess.