Fortune weighs in on free trade

Fortune magazine has a revealing look at a growing uneasiness with free trade among America’s middle class. Washington Editor Nina Easton in her article, “America Sours on Free Trade,” cites a new Fortune survey that found 78 percent of those surveyed feel that free trade has made life worse for American workers.

Democrats and even some Republicans are assessing the double-edge sword of the move toward globalization — yes, it may bring us cheaper goods but at what cost to our own workers (and safety)?

Fortune’s poll, a survey of 1,000 adult Americans taken Jan. 14-16, shows that voters have identified winners and losers in the free-trade agenda. Nearly half of those polled believe that growth in international trade has made things better for consumers (though nearly as many think it has made things worse), but 55% believe American business has been harmed, and 78% think it has made things worse for American workers.

The article, however, doesn’t necessarily embrace the idea of reining in free trade. Easton blames some of the shift in America’s view of free trade on Democrats capitalizing on people’s fear of the weakening economy.