The Honeymoon Is Over
Much of the appeal of the Obama campaign for those who supported it revolved around the contention that if the erstwhile Senator from Illinois were elected President, we would instantly see a significant improvement in relations between America and the rest of the world. Those who believed this obviously did not take into account the possibility that the protectionism of the Obama Administration might tick | Read More »
Recipe For A Depression
While we are still struggling to get out of the most severe recession in nearly a quarter of a century, the Obama Administration is determined to make matters worse: The prospect of a trade war between the US and Europe is looming after “Buy American” provisions were added to President Barack Obama’s $820 billion (£573 billion) stimulus package. The EU trade commissioner vowed to fight | Read More »
Is More Regulation the Answer?
Regulation. We’re told that it would have saved us from this and that event associated with the current economic downturn. Well, probably not. First off, remember that we have had regulation during this period. Clinton upped regulatory oversight of businesses; so did Bush. Next, the mere fact that there are regulations doesn’t make them effective. Take Bernard Madoff. What Madoff engaged in was a swindle | Read More »
Heckuva Job, Obama Administration
The President who promised us that he would re-engage the world and put to the side the supposed unilateralism and arrogance of the Bush Administration has raised hackles across the world with the news that the Obama Administration is pushing for “Buy American” provisions in the new stimulus act. Now, the Administration appears to be backtracking on this utterly protectionist proposal. And a good thing | Read More »
Two Words Of The Day For The “Reality-Based Community”
Or two names. Anyway, without further ado: Smoot. Hawley. Explanation. Be very, very, very afraid. Malevolent agents bent on destroying the economy could not do a better job than these protectionists could.
“A Complete Collapse In Foreign Demand”
Read this about the nosedive in trade activity since the onset of the financial crisis last fall and feel the sickening lurch in your stomach. And hey, if that’s not enough, consider that things are likely to get a whole lot worse on the global trade front before there is even a sand castle’s chance in an earthquake that they will get better. At least | Read More »
On The Trade Front: Heckuva Job, Obama Administration
Let’s review the bidding: An ill-considered statement from the Treasury Secretary tax delinquent nominee concerning Chinese currency re-evaluation may very well start off a trade war between the United States and China. If that’s not enough, there has been little to no movement whatsoever on the part of Team Obama–stretching from the campaign to the present day–to indicate that there will be any serious effort | Read More »
Trade Diplomacy: Foundering
So reports Daniel Ikenson. I disagree with the contention that Congress’s activities “whiff Rumsfeldian” because Donald Rumsfeld was a heck of a lot more adroit than the House Ways and Means Committee will ever be under current leadership in dealing with the international community on the issue of trade policy. In any event, as Ikenson references, this is the kind of arrogant foreign policy-making that | Read More »
Can We Start Worrying About The Incoming Administration’s Trade Policies?
Yes We Can! Consider Mr Obama’s support for the multilateral trading system. It must be admitted that the Doha round is on hold and Mr Obama could not move it forward even if he so desired. A principal problem is that its completion turns critically on the US making further reductions in its distorting agricultural subsidies. But the issue has become even more difficult with | Read More »
Via Dan Drezner, we learn that protectionism has returned to the steel industry. This should surprise no one; remember that in the Bush Administration’s first term, the steel industry sought–and got–tariffs placed on imported steel that it swore would only be necessary for a short while until the industry was able to recover from tough times. The industry asked the Administration to forget that it | Read More »
Stimulus We Can Believe In
James Bacchus reminds Democrats that if they really want to stimulate the economy, they should pay attention to promoting trade liberalization. This advice will fall on deaf ears, it would seem. Democrats aren’t exactly high on free trade, for reasons that have been discussed at length and have to do with a combination of the political attractions of economic populism and nationalism and some plain, | Read More »
Barack Obama’s Janus Policy On Trade
If there is any doubt whatsoever that trade policy is going to be the ugly stepchild of the incoming Administration and that Barack Obama will play both sides on the issue, such doubt is resolved by the fact that the President-elect chose to counterbalance the selection of a pro-free trade United States Trade Representative in Ron Kirk with an antediluvian protectionist in Hilda Solis for | Read More »
Now, If You REALLY Wanted To Stimulate The Economy . . .
You would be in favor of free trade. You would push for free trade proposals that would augment consumer choice and encourage spending because consumers would (rightfully) believe that their wants and desires for various goods are being catered to. You would encourage competition through free trade, competition that makes for better businesses, cheaper goods, happier consumers and a better quality of life in general. | Read More »
No Doha For You!
As if the cause of free trade has not absorbed enough in terms of insults and injury, yet another attack on it was launched by the World Trade Organization–this one, through inaction: The World Trade Organisation has dropped plans to convene ministers to push for an outline deal in the troubled global trade talks – a further blow to world leaders’ promises to combat protectionism.Pascal | Read More »
Tag Teaming Against Free Trade
The incoming Obama Administration looks set to take a hammer to trade liberalization. In doing so, it promises to make a bad economic situation much, much worse. The hammer blows come in the form of the appointment of Jared Bernstein as the Vice President-elect’s economic adviser and Xavier Becerra’s expected appointment as United States Trade Representative. Bernstein is an opponent of free trade and while | Read More »