Companies on the dole also have incentive to please their benefactors in Washington -- a place that has the power to offer more handouts or to stifle competition. Like much of modern liberalism these days, a socially responsible outcome is far more important than a profitable one. Business is for social good, not for profit-mongering. We have no clue what's good for us, anyway. These companies, though, have less incentive to keep prices low or to innovate or to meet consumer demand.
Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman once explained in his book "Pop Internationalism" that if he could stress one thing to students, it would be that "international trade is not about competition, it is about mutually beneficial exchange." Wasserman Schultz is bright, so she must know all about the counterproductive history of protectionism. Then again, when she says "Buy American," maybe she just means "Buy Union" -- buy union because taxpayers subsidize GM and it pays workers and they subsidize unions that subsidize the right candidates. A mutually beneficial exchange.
Or maybe -- like most Americans, however inclined they are to embrace populist rhetoric regarding trade during tough times -- Wasserman Schultz acts rationally when spending her own money. Now if only that rationality could seep into her political life, we'd be a lot better off.
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