While many members of Congress claim to support free trade, Cato’s congressional trade votes database tells a different story. Rather than simply noting support or opposition to trade liberalization, Cato’s Free Trade, Free Markets methodology distinguishes between trade barriers and trade subsidies. As a result, the database allows researchers to evaluate members of Congress more precisely. In particular, voting patterns during the 112th Congress shed light on the relative importance of ideology, regionalism, and partisanship in setting trade policy. Many members who consistently support lowering barriers also consistently support expanding subsidies. So who are the real free traders in Congress? And what do the voting records of the 112th Congress tell us about the prospects for trade policy in the current term?
Featuring Dan Ikenson, Director, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute; Simon Lester, Policy Analyst, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute; Daniel Pearson, Senior Fellow, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute; and Bill Watson, Policy Analyst, Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute.
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In this issue of the Cato Journal, economists Geoffrey Black, D. Allen Dalton, Samia Islam, and Aaron Batteen offer one prominent example of allowing the market to work. Also in this issue, economists Jason E. Taylor and Jerry L. Taylor reexamine the relationship between marginal tax rates and U.S. growth, and Robert Krol looks at bias in CBO and OMB economic forecasts.
March 13, 2014
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