Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Crocodile Tears?

. Tuesday, July 24, 2007

As congressional Democrats put the brakes on ratifying the Bush administration's free trade agreements with Peru and Panama, House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel "accuses the administration of trying to...make it look as if Democrats don't want a deal. "They can bark at the moon, but I want a treaty," says Mr. Rangel. "I would cry if I wasn't able to do this."

At issue is whether Peru and Panama must enact labor side agreements before Congress ratifies the treaties. Rangel asserts that "rank-and-file Democrats simply don't trust the White House to enforce the labor commitments once Congress approves the deals."

While one might agree or disagree with Democrats' goals and/or methods, it is hard to discount their fear that neither the White House nor governments in Peru and Panama would worry too much about the labor side agreements once Congress approves the treaty. Seems like a variant of the time consistency problem: once Congress commits, the others have little incentive to live up to their side of a bargain.

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Crocodile Tears?
 
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