Thursday, October 08, 2015

A Feature, Not a Bug

A few weeks ago, a poll asked people what were the first words that they thought of when they heard the names of the various presidential candidates.  For Hillary Clinton, "liar" and "untrustworthy" ranked high.  Many commentators saw this result as a problem for her.

I bring this up now because Clinton just came out against the TPP trade deal, even though the Obama administration strongly favors it and Clinton previously favored it.  I don't know of any poll of economists on TPP, but an overwhelming majority of the profession agrees that "Past major trade deals have benefited most Americans."  I would guess that TPP would also poll well among economists.  FYI, here is CEA chair Jason Furman singing the praises of TPP, and here is an open letter from a sizeable group of past CEA chairs.

So, will those economists who like Clinton start to turn against her?  I doubt it.  My guess is that most of them don't believe what she is now saying.  They expect that once she moves back into the White House, she will return to the moderate view of trade deals that her husband championed.  In other words, they are counting on her being untrustworthy.  If they had reason to doubt her mendacity, then they would start to worry.