My wife and I and our two young boys recently made a hotel in Miami our home base for a week while our kids were out of school for Spring Break. When my five-year-old got up in a particularly cross mood one morning, a five-minute time out in the bathroom did the trick—he emerged happy as a clam.
I'm a big believer in time-outs in parenting, but for the life of me I can't figure out what Hillary Clinton means when she suggests that she will declare a time-out on NAFTA—which I assume means that she plans to send the American economy to its room until it cools off. Problem is, Hillary, the economy has already cooled off, and a move toward protectionism is the surest way to make guarantee the gears seize up completely.
One of the most dangerous developments this year on the political scene is the predictable but potentially destructive turn against free trade by the two remaining Democratic candidates. Despite all the grief Obama has gotten for the alleged meeting in which one of his advisers told Canada that Obama wouldn't dismantle NAFTA, if he were elected—I would actually hope that such a meeting had taken place as reported. (Same idea with the recent meeting of Hillary adviser Mark Penn and representatives of Colombia.)
I hope Obama is a smart enough student of history to know that a major contributor to this country's early twentieth century depression was a decidedly protectionist turn. Protectionism is the last thing our economy needs right now.
Timeouts are for kids, not economies (By the way, ditto for do-overs).