Open minds, closed doors

The author of the the Opinion page article "A Look at Lineup on NAFTA," Aug. 20, writes "Free trade is favored not only by businesses, but as well by media elites, academics, and the professional stratum generally. In these circles, protectionism seems cranky and antiquated."

The latter statement is incorrect - these are among the most protectionist classes in America with respect to their own jobs. Academics who have tenure, professionals who have licensing requirements, and the elitists of the media are all very much protected in their jobs from wage competition by the unemployed and underemployed masses of the third world.

What these elitists want is free trade to drive down the costs of those goods and services for which they are consumers, but not those for which they are the producers.

Perhaps the author would like to lead a campaign to end tenure so that educators from around the world could compete for academic jobs in the United States by taking reduced salaries and benefits and accepting increased work loads.

That would help cut the costs of education to those of us who are consumers of these services. It also would demonstrate the academics' solidarity with the working classes with which many of them formerly identified. John H. Tanton, Petoskey, Mich.

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