MN GOP Chair Ron Carey after Thursday morning's debate
After the General Mills debate, I chatted with several audience members:
One DFL activist said that while she was happy with Ashwin Madia's performance, she regretted he didn't voice opposition to free trade agreements. She said that NAFTA has been a disaster for workers in both the USA and Mexico. 'How could that be?' I asked. 'I mean, if you tweak the trade rules between two countries, how can it end up hurting workers in both countries?' She started a speech which indicated that it was economic growth which she opposed.
'Look at China,' I suggested. [In 1985 average income in China was $293; in 2006 the average income is $2,025.] 'The economic growth in China in recent decades represents a massive improvement in the average Chinese person's standard of living, doesn't it?'
I mentioned that in the 1970s, the Chinese had only two colors in their wardrobes--blue and gray. [Urban legend, perhaps, but the essential point is accurate.] The activist responded that those two colors were likely organic. She was sure that life for the average Chinese person was better before the economic boom.
Nonsense. Very nice person; horrendously misinformed on economics.
After speaking with the friendly left-wing lady, I thought, 'Say what you will about Republicans, at least they understand basic economics.' But just then I started chatting with an actual Republican--who inadvertantly reminded me that economic illiteracy can be found there too:
I said hello to Ron Carey and his aide-de-camp, asking for their assessment of Erik Paulsen's contribution to the debate, etc. Carey repeated his charge that Madia for Congress had accepted a contribution from a corporate PAC--and only returned the contribution in response to bad publicity. (Opposing unilateral disarmament, I thought it a silly pledge to begin with, though perhaps it helped Madia in his endorsement battle. The Madia pledge remains regrettable.) But the Carey aide went on to say that Madia's refusal to accept corporate PAC money constituted an infringement on the political participation of employees at companies such as General Mills. "General Mills' PAC contributions represent the political participation of the company's employees," she said.
My, oh my!