One of the myths pedaled by opponents of free trade is that it kills American jobs. In truth, free trade creates new economic opportunities and jobs—while government policies restricting the free flow of goods and services across borders kill jobs in industries dependent on trade.
Oftentimes, the industries that claim they need government protections to save jobs really need relief from taxes and regulations that make it difficult for them to compete in the global marketplace. And sometimes those industries (and their lobbyists) are not really suffering at all.
Case in point is the Big Three U.S. Airlines recent opposition to Open Skies agreements. Open Skies reduced government barriers on foreign travel to the U.S., benefiting business travelers and tourists alike (you can read my past blog post about it here). However, the Big Three U.S. airlines have been campaigning against Open Skies agreements, claiming they hurt American jobs.
If that were true, one would expect to see job losses among domestic industries. But companies are hiring more and more people every day. For example, Delta recently announced it will be creating 8,000 new jobs.
This suggests that Open Skies agreements aren’t hurting U.S. jobs at all, and that U.S. airlines will, in fact, benefit from the increased opportunities created by free trade. Job growth like this would be eliminated if the U.S. Government pursues policies like withdrawing from Open Skies agreements.