Charles E. Schumer, the senior Democratic senator from New York, and Paul Craig Roberts, a senior research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, believe that U.S. trade policy is due for a reexamination. Manufacturing job losses to foreign countries with low labor costs are now being compounded by the loss of jobs that the United States once thought were secure—in health care, computer software, and traditional "back offices" that handle personnel and payroll.
Policymakers must review current policy, Schumer and Roberts say, because the nature of the new global economy has changed the core assumption of free trade. In their view, it entails not just the movement of goods, but also the movement of production capability between nations. As a result, American workers face competition at almost every level.
Schumer and Roberts will appear at Brookings on Wednesday to present their ideas. Trade expert Lael Brainard, a former economic adviser in the Clinton administration and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Thomas J. Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will analyze their proposals and discuss the state of free trade today.