In a new interview with the New York Daily News, Bernie Sanders said something striking — he basically doesn’t think the US should be trading very much at all with countries where wages are much lower than its own.
“You have to have standards,” the senator said. “And what fair trade means to say that it is fair. It is roughly equivalent to the wages and environmental standards in the United States.”
From Sanders’s point of view, this makes sense. He has recognized, correctly, that freer trade with countries like China has hurt a subset of American workers (while benefiting others).
But there’s one big problem, according to development economists I spoke to: Limiting trade with low-wage countries as severely as Sanders wants to would hurt the very poorest people on Earth. A lot.
Free trade is one of the best tools we have for fighting extreme poverty. If Sanders wins, and is serious about implementing his trade agenda as outlined in the NYDN interview and elsewhere, he will impoverish millions of already-poor people.
Yep. Also it won’t really help the US. A few workers in inefficient industries will stay in those industries instead of retraining. And US consumers would be massively less well off and relatively poorer.