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Of the many dangerous trends in the 2016 election, the revolt against free trade that has captured both parties could do the most long-term damage. That's because protectionism would undermine future growth of the U.S. economy and subvert America's role as global leader.Globalization has undeniably hurt some American workers and cost some manufacturing jobs. But there's strong evidence that trade has benefited the U.S. economy and created whole new industries in which America is dominant. In a new paper published by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, Robert Z. Lawrence and Tyler Moran estimate that between 2017 and 2026, when TPP would have its major impact, the costs to displaced workers would be 6 percent of the benefits to the economy – or an 18-to-1 benefit-to-cost ratio.Even economists who think free trade has harmed U.S. manufacturing see benefits in the TPP. The number of U.S. executives who plan to add production capacity at home has increased by about 250 percent since 2012, according to BCG.
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