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Strangely muted comments on Bush’s idiotic tariffs

New blog Global Grumpy raises an interesting point about the surprising lack of reaction from the US media and muted reaction from conservative bloggers regarding the asinine steel tariffs. He also links to a somewhat pointless article on Slate on the legality of the subject, as if the problem was a legal one rather than an economic and political one. The fact left wing bloggers have little to say is hardly surprising but one can only speculate why the neo-con bloggers are not howling much louder.

Bush’s action is clearly damaging to the US economy due to the inevitable knock-on effects it will have on international trade, not to mention the increased costs passed on directly as US steel becomes more expensive. I was expecting to hear people making much stronger remarks about ‘The Bush Steel Tax on US consumers’ (for that is what it is). The headlines I was expecting were:

  • ‘Bush causes squeals of delight amongst anti-globalization advocates’
  • ‘Is Bush trying to get France to award him the Legion d’Honneur for inconsistency?’
  • ‘Bush encourages reduction in global trade’
  • ‘Bush to World: please add tariff barriers against goods exported from USA’
  • ‘Bush tells Russians: ‘Yeah I know we are proping up your economy with aid on one hand and trying to wreck your steel industry with the other… so what? If you need money go sell nukes to Iran and stop bugging us’

I hope the reason for this is not the flip side of a phenomena I saw many times during the ghastly Clinton years: even when Clinton occasionally got something right (very occasionally), so great was the detestation of several otherwise analytical commentators (and friends) that they opposed policies which if conducted identically under any US president except Clinton, they would have supported without question. I wonder if ‘wartime’ admiration for Bush has not cause a similar blindness in the other direction towards a truly inane policy.

This is not a trivial issue and could have disastrous implications for the international trade system that are far more important than an industry which employs 150,000 people out of a population of 260 million.

[Note to ‘Global Grumpy’: the two e-mail addresses I have for you both bounce]

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