The folks at the NYT apparently haven't been reading much about the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP) or the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), including what appears in the pages of the NYT. If they had done their homework, the paper wouldn't be telling readers:

"This is one area [trade] where the Obama administration and Republicans should be able to find common ground. Republicans are enthusiastic advocates of increased trade, and the president is eager to get the added authority to negotiate new trade deals and win approval of a trade agreement with nations on the Pacific Rim.

"The main obstacle could be Democrats, many of whom are skeptical of trade deals that officials warn could cost American jobs. But a significant segment of Democrats back trade expansion, and a deal could probably be found if congressional Republicans and the White House both press for it."

In fact, the TTIP and TPP (the two main deals currently being negotiated) will do almost nothing to increase trade and quite possibly could reduce it. As Paul Krugman (an economist and columnist for the New York Times) has pointed out, these deals do very little to reduce formal trade barriers, since these are already very low.

Both deals are primarily about imposing a business-friendly regulatory structure on the signatories to the agreements. One aspect of this regulatory structure is creating a quasi-judiciary system, investor-state dispute settlement councils, which would operate outside the existing legal structure of the countries in the agreements. The agreements, which are being negotiated in secrecy, also will have provisions on the environment, health and safety regulation, and copyright and patent protection. All of these provisions will supersede existing domestic law and regulation.

The increases in patent and copyright protection in these deals (yes, that is "protection" as in the opposite of free trade) will raise the price of prescription drugs and other items. These higher prices will reduce purchasing power and slow growth. They will likely lower, not raise, the amount of trade. This means that if Republicans are actually enthusiastic about increased trade, they probably would oppose both the TPP and TTIP.

On a different topic, in discussing Republican plans to change the Affordable Care Act, the piece told readers:

"At the same time, a bipartisan group of lawmakers has also called for returning the health law’s definition of full-time work to 40 hours from 30, arguing that the lower limit is forcing too many people out of work because of employers’ efforts to comply with the law."

It is worth noting that there is zero evidence for this assertion. The provision described here requires that firms with more than fifty employees either provide insurance for their workers or pay a fine. For a worker to be covered by this provision, they have to be employed for more than 30 hours per week. There is no evidence that firms that don't provide insurance and employ more than 50 people have reduced hiring relative to other firms.

Also, this provision has been suspended so that it actually has not taken effect yet. In the first half of 2013, when employers would have thought the provision applied, since it had not yet been suspended, they did not expand the share of the workforce working just under 30 hours to avoid having to pay the penalty. There was a very modest increase in the share of the workforce working 25-29 hours, but this was due to a reduction in the share working fewer hours.

In short, the claim that the ACA has cost jobs is just something Republican politicians say, like evolution may not be true, it is not a claim that bears a relationship to the real world. The NYT should have clarified this point for its readers.