In Bootleggers & Baptists: How Economic Forces and Moral Persuasion Interact to Shape Regulatory Politics, economists Bruce Yandle and Adam Smith explain how money and morality are often combined in politics to produce arbitrary regulations benefiting cronies, while constraining productive economic activities by the general public.
Featuring Tim Reif, General Counsel, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; Anne Kim, Economic Program Director, Third Way; and Dan Ikenson, Associate Director, Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute.
The bipartisan, pro-trade consensus that served U.S. interests so well for nearly six decades collapsed during the Bush administration. Today, the direction of U.S. trade policy remains unclear to most observers. Although President Obama seems to appreciate the importance of trade and speaks about the dangers of protectionism, the 111th Congress flirts with legislation that can only be described as protectionist. What caused the collapse of the pro-trade consensus? Can that consensus be restored? Is restoration of consensus a requirement of meaningful and effective trade policy? If so, how can it be accomplished?