By Martin M Eagleton
The Republican Party has been known as the bulwark of free trade and laissez faire economics, claiming opposition to a leftist Democratic Party that some ardent Republicans claim its members are official Communists. This is changing.
Until recently, the free trade claim of the GOP has been true. Reaganomics, the famous trade and economic policies of Republican President Ronald Reagan in the 80s, encouraged deregulation and the flow of imported consumer goods into the US. The result was a massive trade imbalance against the US, and as a result Washington became the largest debtor nation in the world.
Ideological adherence to free market mechanisms has been so prevalent in the modern Republican Party that in a 1988 question and answer session, Ronald Reagan, the icon of the modern GOP, said “trade deficits and inflows of foreign capital are not necessarily a sign of an economy’s weakness.” He argued that such deficits…