Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Boehner's trip

John Boehner is leading a small congressional delegation to Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico to talk trade. Two things caught my attention in particular. First:

In particular, the delegation will assess the implementation of the Colombia free trade agreement and its impact on job creation in the United States, and look at steps taken by Latin American countries to foster jobs and economic growth at home.

Much of this isn't actually possible. The FTA has not even gone into effect, so there is no way to measure its impact on anything. The connection between FTAs and jobs in the U.S. is difficult to measure in any case, and is fraught with correlation vs. causation confusion (and impossible for members of Congress being ushered around countries).

Second, after visiting a heavily militarized favela:

“What’s happening here is a great example of how they can bring everyone into society as a whole, and where everyone has a chance to be treated equally,” Boehner said.

He has it exactly backwards. The reason the Rousseff government, like Lula before, has to send troops into neighborhoods is because the inhabitants still are not being treated equally. I hope "pacification" leads to equality of opportunity, but they are not synonymous. Let's see after the Olympics and World Cup are over, and it's no longer necessary to worry quite so much about what foreigners think.


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