elite mossbacks discover free trade is killing the middle class

Estimated reading time is 2 minutes.

WHAT THE HELL’S A MOSSBACK? The headline on today’s Campaign for America’s Future website reads “Elites Discover So-Called Free Trade Is Killing Economy, Middle Class” by Dave Johnson. This is disturbing if serious: the editors at The New York Times have NOT “discovered” anything!

These editors—mostly white, mostly older, mostly unprogressive (synonyms include but are not limited to hidebound, reactionary, and my favorite, mossbacked) mostly male—have decided for some inexplicable reason to stop lying and tell their readers a semblance of the truth.

I use the word “truth” here to mean genuine facts (I’d ask the rhetorical question, “Are there any other kind?”, but I am afraid of the answers that I might receive . . .) versus conservative/neo-liberal misinformation, disinformation, and plain old lies and damn lies! (Judith Miller, where are you?)


Elite: Cartoon by John Darkow of The Columbia Daily Tribune.

Cartoon by John Darkow of The Columbia Daily Tribune.

Mr. Johnson is referencing an editorial on the Sunday Review section of NYT from April 19, 2014, titled “This Time, Get Global Trade Right.” The editorial opens with this statement:

“Many Americans have watched their neighbors lose good-paying jobs as their employers sent their livelihoods to China. Over the last 20 years, the United States has lost nearly five million manufacturing jobs. In that same time, however, the prices that Americans pay for basic goods like T-shirts and televisions have fallen. The cost of clothing is down 8.2% since 1993, as ‘made in China’ and ‘made in Bangladesh’ labels have crowded out ‘made in USA’ on the shelves of the local mall.

There is a national ambivalence about our trade of goods and services with the rest of the world, which has more than doubled in the last two decades. Americans want the benefits of trade, but they’re increasingly anxious about the downside, which includes closed factories and lower wages. The country needs to pursue new trade agreements, but this time we need to get the agreements right.

This page has long argued that removing barriers to trade benefits the economy and consumers, and some of those gains can be used to help the minority of people who lose their jobs because of increased imports. But those gains have not been as widespread as we hoped, and they have not been adequate to assist those who were harmed.”

There is no need to read the NYT piece, as Mr. Johnson quotes it extensively in his article. But, interested readers should give it a read nonetheless, as seeing the high muckety-mucks and decision-makers at the paper that brags that it delivers “All the news that’s fit to print” (HA!) and whom the righties delight in pillorying as a mouthpiece for lefties (HA HA HA!!!) acknowledge—even if only a wee bit—the error of their ways is a rare and noteworthy occasion.



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