Iowa, a trade winner, shows anti-trade sentiment

The Wall Street Journal, in a front-page article today, points to the anti-trade, anti-globalization sentiment in Iowa, even though the state “is a big winner from global trade.” The article notes that workers’ uncertainties are being fueled by the fierce primary battles leading up to Iowa’s caucuses, as leading presidential candidates rev up their anti-trade rhetoric. As the WSJ reports:

[O]ver the last couple of years, workers and voters in this blue-collar manufacturing outpost — and throughout Iowa — have grown decidedly downbeat about globalization. Trade has become such a hot subject that Democratic presidential candidates seeking support in Iowa’s influential Jan. 3 caucuses are turning into trade skeptics, and the issue is splitting traditionally free-trade Republicans.

And Iowa is not alone in its anti-trade attitudes:

As the 2008 presidential election approaches, anti-trade sentiment is percolating across America. It is particularly strong in places like Ohio, where foreign competition has decimated jobs. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll conducted earlier this month found that 60% of voters nationwide agreed with the statement that “foreign trade has been bad for the U.S. economy.”

Those sentiments don’t bode well for votes on pending trade agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea, or, indeed, for future economic growth. As Robert Reich was quoted in the article: “It’s pandering to a misconception in the public. The truth is that trade is good for the U.S., but that some people are burdened by it far more than others.”