In a Washington Post column, Fareed Zakaria gave us yet another of the sermon about how Republicans supported "free trade" before Trump. This is of course not true.
Republicans have done little or nothing to remove the barriers that protect doctors and other highly paid professionals from foreign competition. As a result, our doctors are paid roughly twice as much on average as their counterparts in other wealthy countries, costing us roughly $90 billion a year in higher medical expenses. This swamps the cost of the steel and aluminum tariffs that have gotten "free traders" so upset.
The trade deals have also been quite explicit about increasing protectionism in the form of longer and stronger patent and copyright protections. These protections (as in protectionism) quite explicitly redistribute money from the rest of us to folks like Bill Gates. They are incredibly costly in the sense that they are equivalent to extremely large tariffs, often raising the price of the affected product by a factors of ten or a hundred, the equivalent of tariffs of 1000 or 10,000 percent.
And, there is a huge amount of money involved. In the case of prescription drugs alone, patent and related protections cost us more than $370 billion a year, nearly 2.0 percent of GDP. Real free traders don't support this protectionism.
It is, of course, convenient for those pushing this agenda of upward redistribution to pretend that it is all just free trade and the free market, but this is nonsense. Unfortunately, you won't see this point made in the Washington Post. You can read about it in my (free) book, Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer.