- - Monday, March 17, 2014

Over the weekend an anniversary was marked with little fanfare — the second anniversary of the implementation of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement passed with the usual fanfare, supported by the usual suspects. Barack Obama hailed the agreement’s implementation on March 15, 2012. In the middle of his re-election campaign, he cheerfully promised the agreement would increase American exports to South Korea by $10 billion and would create 70,000 U.S. jobs.

One of Barack Obama’s signature efforts for his second term is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal among the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam and Japan.

Most people would expect Obama, in the middle of a fight over the fate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to be trumpeting the successes of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

There is a reason for Obama’s silence.

In the first two years of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement, U.S. exports to Korea fell by $3.1 billion. Meanwhile, imports from Korea increased by $8.7 billion. Studies show that, instead of increasing employment in America, approximately 60,000 jobs have been lost thanks to the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

The U.S. has entered into a number of these so-called free trade agreements, starting with the NAFTA agreement in the early ‘90s. The results are predictable. Every time, America’s trade deficit goes up and American employment goes down.

What is the difference between conservatives and liberals?

Liberals are married to their ideology, and no matter how many times it fails, they hold the eternal hope that somehow the result will be different after they have done the same thing over and over again.

Conservatives are practical and do not hesitate to re-examine their views when evidence is presented that those views might be wrong. A great example of this is the interventionist policies of the George W. Bush administration.

Ten-plus years ago, most conservatives supported those interventionist and nation-buildingpolicies. Now, most conservatives oppose them. Barack Obama has tried to intervene in several conflicts around the world, only to find opposition from his own party and from conservatives who would have supported such action in years past.

Free trade agreements are another of those issues on which conservatives are changing.

Conservatives believe in free trade. Unfortunately, these free trade agreements have little to do with free trade. Trade concerns only two issues: Taxes and Tariffs.

Yet these free trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, mostly deal with other issues, not taxes and tariffs. In NAFTA, special conditions were created that gave foreign competitors benefits that U.S. companies do not have.

Unfortunately, free trade can be a dog whistle for some Republicans. As soon as they hear the words “free trade,” they run toward the agreement, no matter how bad it is.

While many Democrats in Congress have started opposing these free trade agreements, many in the Republican establishment continue to embrace them. No matter how many times these agreements have failed and backfired, the free trade wing of the Republican Party reflexively runs toward them.

Perhaps it is proof some Republicans don’t suffer from insanity. They seem to enjoy it.

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