Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Anti's Endorsement, Xtra's Take

There was one part of Anti's endorsement which just confounds me. Here are some of the illustrated overlaps between Ciresi and Franken which are supposed to frighten Democratic voters:

"Like Al Franken he supports the use of new nuclear power plants to address our countries energy needs.
Like Al Franken he is a supporter of free trade initiatives such as NAFTA, FTAA and CAFTA."

I don't really see an energy source outside of Nuclear that is both clean and scalable in the near term to meet our energy needs without costing a tremendous amount. Certainly I anticipate that renewable technologies will become more competitive, especially if we adopt a carbon tax or cap and trade scheme, but Nuclear Energy is already here and works quite well. Ask France, England or Germany. Now the elephant in the room with Nuclear Energy is nuclear waste, where should it go. Well there is a place in the desert called Yucca Mountain which would be quite good but a strong case of the NIMBYs seems to have prevented that thus far.

And this free trade vs. fair trade nonsense always irks me. I will oppose any and all candidates that mention fair in conjunction with trade. Fair trade is when two parties are able to exchange goods with minimal interference. We are not supposed to endorse trade pacts that don't have fair trade measures because they are not good for the workers. Such is the underlying logic. However, the absence of trade would seem to harm workers even more. I would understand the fair trade phenomenon if the choices were between purchasing products from countries that used slave labor (not sweatshops, but outright slavery) and those that had free labor, but this is not the choice. And this very notion of choice is essential. Under a free trade agreement as opposed to a "fair" trade agreement Anti can still go to the grocery store and buy his shade grown, conflict free bannanas and coffee, and I can get my exploitation/war stricken produce. I reap savings, Anti has clean conscience. It's a win/win. Under a fair trade deal I am stuck with a more expensive product. That Ciresi and Franken support NAFTA or CAFTA or any other trade deal is news to me and encouraging. I wish they would go one step further and propose to unilaterally eliminate all tarriffs imposed on imports, that would be the best of all worlds.

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