Jeff Bell on Free Trade
A: Reagan believed a strong and stable dollar is the keystone of an integrated world economy. The dollar's universal acceptance since the 1940s as the world's final money has in fact been the single biggest force for globalization. This legacy is now under pervasive assault. The generation-long capitalist boom is over. Global trade talks have little if any traction, while bilateral agreements negotiated with such allies as Colombia and South Korea languish in Congress, unacted on year after year. It would be hard to find a major trading partner that hasn't expressed public dissatisfaction with US monetary policy, particularly in regard to our management of the dollar. If he were alive and politically active today, where would Reagan be? My own guess is that Ronald Reagan, never one to demonize a policy debate, would identify the problem as systemic and would be barnstorming for yet another big change in the way the world works.
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