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The historical arc of international trade bends towards more of it. That’s why current efforts to skew trade further in favor of the U.S. by restricting access to the market will almost assuredly fail.

That also seems to be the lesson for the UK, as even many leavers want to remain part of the EU trade union, which among other benefits allows goods to be exchanged among members without paying duties.  The UK government must soon level with its citizens and let them know that they can’t select what they want from the EU as if they’re invited to a free buffet.

By insisting on renegotiating existing fee trade agreements to force terms more favorable to the U.S., and also slapping punitive tariffs on imports from certain trading partners, Trump hopes to erase decades of trade deficits and restore jobs lost when U.S. companies outsourced manufacturing to China and other countries. These efforts are not likely to work as promised and may end up making things much worse.

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Why don’t Democratic members of Congress support free trade agreements?  The reason most often given is that historically Democrats have been the party of the working person.  And since the conventional wisdom holds that trade destroys jobs in the U.S., Democrats have to oppose it.

Related to this explanation is that labor unions are de facto extensions of the party and if they oppose trade then the party’s elected representatives must follow their lead on this issue.  Since unions donate money to candidates they support, to favor trade means saying goodbye to these contributions and the votes they represent.

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"This is the final call for the flight to Havana. You should be in your seats with safety belts fastened."

Most Americans never thought they'd hear a message like this on an airplane in their lifetimes, but at one-point last year, dozens of such flights departed airports from across the nation. For example, Alaska Airlines won a route between the U.S. west coast and the Cuban capital.

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A Hope in the Hollers

Trade and trade agreements are blamed by many people for a decline in good paying jobs, wage stagnation, and other ills.  There’s a widespread belief that globalization and its corporate and multinational organization enablers have handed right-wing nativist groups a club with which to bash free market liberalism, a philosophy that has prevailed since the end of the World War II.

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The Downside of Brexit for Ireland 

Looking across the pond to Ireland, Americans unfamiliar with the still evolving consequences of Brexit might be inclined to see it as a net positive for the Emerald Isle. After all, it didn't Brexit, but neighbors to the north most certainly did. 

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Last fall, college students participated in the annual ritual of moving into campus housing.  It’s different now than it was in the 1970's and 80's when some of you readers were heading off to college.

One big difference is the number of students going abroad for at least a year of their university education.  Yes, there were such students back in the day, but their numbers paled compared to the traffic generated across the oceans this month.  Passing through Boston’s Logan airport on a busy moving-in weekend provided visual confirmation of this phenomena.  Young people from everywhere were disembarking flights, wearing their college sweatshirts:  Boston University, MIT, Harvard and many others were represented. Some of the kids carried their teddy bears.

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Business dislikes uncertainty, and there’s plenty of it now in the Gulf of Arabia region.  In case you missed it, a coalition of Gulf states led by Saudi Arabia are making life difficult for Qatar because of its alleged support of terrorist groups.  Qatar has hotly denied the charges, accusing coalition members of ganging up and attempting a takeover of the tiny sheikdom, which currently hosts 10,000 U.S. troops who are fighting the terrorists Qatar is accused of harboring and funding.