I am appalled by the extent to which so many political leaders of Canada and the US seem to be pandering to vested interests in North America, arguing in favour of protectionism. As the late great Canadian economist Harry Johnson once said, "Trade barriers don't protect jobs; they protect inefficient business owners who can't deal with the competition."
And now The Economist has come out in favour of free trade (with a well-structured social safety net to help losers from any type of competition). An excerpt:
Protectionism, by contrast, hurts consumers and does little for workers. The worst-off benefit far more from trade than the rich. A study of 40 countries found that the richest consumers would lose 28% of their purchasing power if cross-border trade ended; but those in the bottom tenth would lose 63%. The annual cost to American consumers of switching to non-Chinese tyres after Barack Obama slapped on anti-dumping tariffs in 2009 was around $1.1 billion, according to the Peterson Institute for International Economics. That amounts to over $900,000 for each of the 1,200 jobs that were “saved”.