Sunday, 15 February 2004

How to lose my vote

Alex Tabarrok continues his insightful criticism of Democratic rhetoric on free trade.

Let me take this opportunity to say that the one thing likely to make me push the Libertarian button on the Shouptronic machine in November is continued protectionist demagoguery from whoever the Democrats nominate: and all of the remaining candidates are guilty of this to some degree.

(This, of course, assumes that the Libertarians manage to nominate someone who isn’t a total crackpot, which is not guaranteed.)

I’m not a single-issue voter in the usual sense. Free trade vs. protectionism is not the biggest issue facing this country. But it is a good issue for determining whether a candidate is more interested in policy or politics (or, as I suspect of Gephardt, whether he’s totally ignorant of basic economics). Our current president is clearly more interested in politics.

The presumptive nominee, John Kerry, deserves credit for voting in favor of NAFTA. I hope he has the courage to stick by what he knows is true: that tariffs and other protectionist measures do more harm to the country than good.