I will continue to do my best to keep politics largely absent from this blog, but I cannot help but think that one of the most important questions voters should be asking themselves is where the various candidates stand on the free trade vs. protectionism spectrum.
Of course this is not an easy subject to pin down, as speeches in
The reason I am posting about this subject, apart from the fact that I think it is a critical one, is that I have yet to see an in-depth analysis of the free trade credentials of Barack Obama pitted against those of Hillary Clinton. Until yesterday, that is. Greg Mankiw, a blogger extrodinare who teaches economics at Harvard to pay for his blogging habit, called to my attention a Financial Times article by Jagdish Bhagwati whose title, Obama’s Free Trade Credentials Top Clinton’s, give you a sense of where Bhagwati comes down on that question. Bhagwati cites five reason why Obama is a better free trade candidate and points to economic advisor Austan Goolsbee as one of the keys to that conclusion. For more on Goolsbee, I recommend a January 31 interview with Doug Krizner and a more detailed evaluation of Obama’s advisors in an April 2007 article from the Wall Street Journal: Seeking Clues to Obamanomics.