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A Good Rant

While working my way through various stories this morning, I came on this piece written by Steve Hamm of Business Week. It's on his blog.

Steve has also written a book I highly recommend, Bangalore Tiger (McGraw-Hill, 2006). Anyway, I couldn't agree with Steve more on Lou Dobbs and his ilk. Here's what he wrote:

It's true. I admit it. I harbor ill will towards Lou Dobbs, the bloviating CNN anchor. Every time I see him promoting himself as the hero of the American middle class, I practically choke. While he may have some sincere concern for Americans who suffer the negative effects of globalization, he operates by exploiting hate and fear. In my book, that makes him dangerous--not just to the Latin Americans and Indians and other foreigners that he demonizes, but to the middle class Americans whom he claims to care about.

This came up today because I made a speech about the rise of the Asian economies at a state university in New Jersey this morning, and one of the faculty members asked me if I think we're in for a wave of protectionism. I worry that we are. Dobbs' scheme for building walls on our borders to keep out people from Mexico and the rest of Latin America are just plain crazy. And the fact that nobody seems to be calling them crazy is even crazier.

Here we are locked in two wars in the Middle East, and the Bush administration seems intent on starting another one, and Dobbs and his allies decide that the big threat to our society is brown people sneaking into our country to mow our lawns and take care of our children.

My big concern is that a number of politicians, Republican and Democrat, will decide that the Dobbsian platform is one they should run on. And, if they win, we'll `have all sorts of new knee-jerk protectionist policies designed to pander to a fearful middle class rather than promoting a rational and well-balanced globalization policy.

Besides, it seems to me the American middle class is pretty well off. It's the working class and poor who have plenty to complain about. We'd all be better off if the Congress would forget about the phony crisis of immigration and concentrate on doing things that improve the health, education, and job opportunities for America's less fortunate masses. That would be a worthy cause for Dobbs to get behind, too.

Amen to that.

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

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