The protectionist drift of the Democratic Party has free-market proponents across the pond worried. The Times of London writes:
Mr Obama claims, for instance, that “entire cities…have been devastated” by Nafta, the North American Free Trade Agreement signed in 1993, which he blames for destroying a million American jobs, when in fact total employment has risen by 27 million since 1993, when the trade deficit with Mexico, his favourite scapegoat, accounts for a hardly significant 1.7 per cent of the US economy — and when, overall, job losses attributable to trade rather than to higher productivity amount to only about 2 to 3 per cent of American layoffs.
Economic nationalism is perilously contagious. Politicians need to confront popular anxieties about free trade by doing a far better job of explaining how much we gain from the global expansion of wealth and markets that it stimulates – and how much we stand to lose from protectionism. It is precisely because Peter Mandelson increasingly performs this task, that Nicolas Sarkozy would happily throw his head to the poor of Africa. Brains are a typically French delicacy.