Friday, July 26, 2002


Right after I say that the Democratic Party should be fighting tooth and nail against the creeping Royalism of the Bush administration, they offer to build his throne.

An extremely abbreviated history of "fast track" trade negotiation: The ability for the POTUS to negotiate trade agreements without Congress changing it started during the Nixon administration. "Fast track" then lapsed in 1994, and the newly elected Gingrich Congress didn't want to give that authority to Clinton. This was actually the right decision, as the Constitution specifically authorizes Congress to make trade agreements (Article I, section 8, paragraph 3). (on edit: Fritz Hollings pointed this tiny detail out in Senate debate on this.) The Founding Fathers believed that such an enormous responsibility should not be in the hands of one person. But like many things lately, Congress willingly handed over this power to the Executives.

But let's ignore that 'fast track' is unconstitutional as hell. Let's go back over that history. Fast track under Nixon through Carter - decade of stagflation. Fast track during the Reagan years - improved market at a price of huge debt. Fast track disappears under Clinton - extremely long bull market, debt actually is reduced. And this was with GATT and NAFTA screwing up the works.

[raises hand] Hello! Correlation! Maybe giving the President trade authority is also a crummy idea on the merits, along with giving the President more royal powers than is prescribed.

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