Thursday, November 06, 2008


Mary Katherine Ham, blogging for The Weekly Standard, tries to persuade us that Sarah Palin couldn't possibly have been as ignorant about NAFTA as she's alleged to be. What Ham says is utterly unpersuasive:

...Before she became governor, Palin's husband Todd's commercial fishing business on Bristol Bay accounted a decent percentage of the family's income. The couple reported about $46,000 from the business last year....

Surely while the two were working in the commercial salmon fishing industry in post-NAFTA Alaska, they would not have missed the effect farmed-salmon imports from Canada had on the industry, causing the number of fisherman, the size of the harvest, and the value of permits to go down significantly in Alaska.

...They would also have had to miss the fact that in 2002, the federal government decided to make commercial salmon fisherman on Alaska's Bristol Bay eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance under the North American Free Trade Agreement due to the impact Canada's farmed-salmon had on the industry....

OK, fine -- they probably grasped that Canada is part of NAFTA. How does it follow they inevitably know the rest of NAFTA's makeup -- zero additional countries? one? a dozen?

Mexico's fishing industry doesn't compete with Alaska in salmon, and Alaska apparently doesn't export any fish to Mexico, or at least it didn't as of five years ago. So the Palins wouldn't need to know Mexico was in NAFTA for Todd's business.

And how focused has Palin been on trade? She mentioned Russian trade missions in her Katie Couric interview, but has never actually met a Russian trade mission as governor.

So the NAFTA story may not be true -- but nothing Ham says proves it's false.

No comments: