David Brooks had a recent New York Times column making the case for Hillary Clinton for president. It included this argument, which was a new one to me:
Clinton was at her best in the Senate. ... Her accomplishments — post-9/11 funding for New York, saving Army bases in upstate New York — were concrete.
There may be good reasons to support Hillary Clinton for president, but this strikes me as a really weak argument. First of all, there were plenty of other people — Michael Bloomberg, Senator Schumer, Governor Pataki, George W. Bush, and Nita Lowey come to mind, and there may be others, too — who played just as important a role, probably more important, in winning post 9/11 funding for New York. If winning post 9/11 funding were an achievement that makes it worth voting for someone for president, why Clinton rather than Schumer, Pataki, or Bloomberg? Plenty of that funding went to basically corporate welfare for projects and companies that weren't particularly adversely affected by September 11, anyway.
As for "saving Army bases in upstate New York," the whole idea of the base realignment and closure commission process is that the army's base locations should be determined by the army's needs, not by the political clout or horse-trading ability of the senators of the state where the base happens to be. That'd be better for the army, and for the country. Unfortunately, despite (or because of) the efforts of Schumer, Hillary Clinton, and Pataki, the upstate New York economy is so crummy that they really don't want to lose the army bases.
Meanwhile, our friends at the New York Sun, in endorsing Donald Trump, while insisting that "The New York Sun opposes protectionism in all its forms," nonetheless write, "It's hard, though, to celebrate the principles of NAFTA when unemployment has been brought down to 5% primarily by lowering the job participation rate." This supposed difficulty is one that we here at FutureOfCapitalism, with all respect to our friends at the Sun, have no problem surmounting. We're happy to celebrate free trade when the labor force participation rate is high, or when it is low. That's what makes principles principles, after all — that they don't get abandoned, or get thrown overboard, or become somehow embarrassing in the face of a fluctuation of three percentage points in one direction or another of the labor force participation rate. (The data going back to 1948 is available here). In fact, it may be free trade that makes it possible for so many Americans to get by without working. They can afford to live on a spouse's income, or on a pension or Social Security benefits or savings, precisely by buying Mexican avocados and Canadian maple syrup and suits and oil and lumber. If these Americans were stuck paying high tariffs on imports, or paying for more expensive American-made goods, they'd probably have to return to the workforce rather than live lives of leisure. What's more, it's the export opportunities created by free trade that provide what openings do exist for those who may wish to return to work, and that have also created the prosperity that has made the lives of leisure possible.
None of this is to criticize Mr. Brooks in urging a vote for Mrs. Clinton or the Sun for urging a vote for Mr. Trump. For our part, though, we've reached the conclusion that we're going to leave it to readers to make their own judgments.