Not Another Trade Pact

The economy faces a persistent budget crisis.

Pushback from Wall Street has gutted most of the banking reforms, unemployment is stuck around 8 percent, corporate profits have been soaring while there is no wage growth -- and the newest White House proposal is... a free trade zone with Europe.

This idea of a Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Area was tossed in, reportedly at the last moment, to President Obama's State of the Union, and is being promoted in the government's latest report on trade.

You don't know whether to laugh or cry. This is a classic case of changing the subject to a cause that will not address any of the economy's deeper ills and could well worsen them.

It recalls the very old joke about the drunk looking for his keys under a lamp post. He mentions to a cop that he lost the keys somewhere else, but "this is where the light is."

Bipartisanship is not doing so well this season, but the one thing that Republicans and Wall Street oriented Democrats can agree on is more free trade deals.

The fact is that there is already massive trade between the U.S. and Europe -- about $650 billion last year, an increase of two-thirds just since the turn of the 21st century. Tariffs are already at very low levels.

The remaining issues dividing the U.S. and the EU are ones where no agreements are in sight.

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