About Time

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Reuters sez:

Under pressure from many of his top advisers to lift tariffs on steel imports, President Bush may be moving in that direction to avert a trade war with Europe, Republican sources and analysts said Tuesday.

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  1. Better late than never. Hardly anything about this President has frosted me worse than his claiming Reagan’s legacy while abandoning Reagan’s principles, on the trade issue more than any other. Millions of credulous Republicans in 2000 fell for his campaign spin that John McCain was a Republican in name only because McCain wasn’t frightened of reporters, and millions still believe it. The fact that McCain would never have gone in for the naked protectionism of Bush’s steel policy doesn’t register with these people at all.

  2. The fact that McCain would never have gone in for the naked protectionism of Bush’s steel policy doesn’t register with these people at all.

    Oh, I don’t know. McCain has always struck me as an opportunistic authoritarian who never saw an exercise of government power that he would object to in principle, so I think it is very dangerous to predict that he would have never signed off on protectionism.

    I mean, McCain is pushing Kyoto Lite right now, so he obviously doesn’t give a crap about damaging the American economy in pursuit of votes.

  3. Zathras wrote:

    Hardly anything about this President has frosted me worse than his claiming Reagan’s legacy while abandoning Reagan’s principles, on the trade issue more than any other.

    Which of Reagan?s principles on the trade issue did Bush violate? The fact that the steel tariffs aren?t as high as the ones Reagan pushed for on Japanese motorcycle imports to protect Harley Davidson? Or the fact that Reagan?s tariffs lasted for five years and it looks like Bush?s will expire sooner than that?

    Millions of credulous Republicans in 2000 fell for his campaign spin that John McCain was a Republican in name only because McCain wasn’t frightened of reporters, and millions still believe it. The fact that McCain would never have gone in for the naked protectionism of Bush’s steel policy doesn’t register with these people at all.

    Sure it registers that McCain was better than Bush when it came to steel tariffs which wasn?t that big of an issue in 2000. What also registered was that McCain was a big supporter of the looting of the tobacco industry with these ridiculous lawsuits, wanted even more infringements on freedom of political speech in the name of ?campaign finance reform? (Bush was wrong to sign this into law but McCain is worse for being such a staunch advocate of it), bought into the ?gun show loophole? myth to push for increased federal gun control, and is pushing for CO2 legislation with Lieberman.

  4. I don’t think the issue is how conservative McCain is or is not. The issue is whether he’s any worse than Bush. I’d say no worse, but probably not much better.

    No, wait, I take that back. If McCain were President the Congressional Republicans would be opposing the President’s policies 😉

  5. I wonder if this was part of the master plan. Bush can say, “Well, I tried!” to the steel industry. OTOH, it’s never popular to retreat…

  6. Hell just froze over… I agreed with a post by R.C. =:0

  7. You Reason staffers are hopefully running as fast as you can so I hate to post this.
    You are not cutting-edge.
    Shrub had already realized his steel policy one, didn’t deliver zee votes, and two, was hurting the economy.
    I suspect Rove was waiting for this very word from the EU to empower his “doing the right thing.”
    Grumble. Grumble. But when will you begin a thread about turf wars in humanity-smuggling at our Mexican border?
    When will you begin a thread about how marijuana relieves symptoms of MS?
    Why didn’t you link this steel topic to Shrub’s buddy, Hosni, imposing bizarro steel tariffs, namely trying to keep pulchritudinous “foreign” bellies from undulating in Egypt?
    Get with it!

  8. Another case of political pandering run smack into the forearm of reality. Unfortunately, a large group of interested voters believed high tariffs would save their jobs from global market conditions. Tariffs don’t, and the jobs are gone, and now we face the unintended but predictable consequences. This scheme came from political school that believes a couple of percentage points in presidential job approval polls is more important than setting good economic policy for the country. Sadly, I doubt the administration and the congressional GOP has a learned a good lesson from this experience. Free prescription drugs, anyone?

  9. Ugh. Make it stop, please make it stop.

  10. Throughout the E.U., with one voice we shout: “Fuck Karl Rove!”

  11. BTW, are you seeing the news reports about Blair trying to keep Chirac from having a referendum on the new E.U. constitution (if it ever gets out of committee that is!)? Apparently he thinks that if France has a referendum on the new constitution, it will force Blair to do so as well if Labour were to decide to adopt the new constitution, etc. Chirac must be laughing right now. 🙂

  12. Vraiment, Helene, je voirai un kangaroo.

    Allright, Jacques, no more stopping at the pub on the way home.

    🙂

  13. Josh,

    Oh yes; the Chirac government’s stalling on CAP reform (or even abandoning the CAP altogether) really pisses me off. Now with countries like Poland entering the E.U.(who are heavily dependent on agricultural exports to the rest of Europe, and this will only increase), CAP reform will even more difficult, and perhaps even impossible for another generation until the new E.U. countries can deal with the issue politically.

  14. CAP = Common Agricultural Policy

    Its the E.U.’s farm subsidy, etc. system; every E.U. country pays into the “pot” and then the money is paid out from the “pot” to various individual countries for support of various farming sectors. France gets a large share of the pot. Anyway, its much complicated than this, but this is the basic nature of the CAP. You will not get WTO reform regarding farm subsidies, until the CAP is reformed/abolished; the same for the US and its farm subsidies as well I suppose.

  15. Hello? Bush didn’t put in steel tariffs for votes or for effectiveness. He did it to take away an issue for Democrats. It did that. It worked at what it was intended for; he did it because really it didn’t matter much one way or the other.

  16. Um, you all are aware that the WTO ruled the tarriffs were illegal on Monday, right? The day before Shrub allegedly came to his senses?

    Change of heart my ass.

  17. They were self-evidently illegal from the start.
    Anyways the funniest part of this to my mind is that the EU is threatening to target their retaliatory tariffs on goods important to swing states. Canny!

    http://www.economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=2206255

  18. Aw well, grow your own.

  19. Hell just froze over… I agreed with a post by R.C.

    Just lay back and enjoy it, Jack. I’m sure it will be over soon.

  20. Douglas Fletcher,

    The problem is that we do grow our own; France produces far more agricultural products than it would without the subsidies. Of course so does the USA, Japan, etc.

  21. Real soon, from what I’ve heard…

  22. Well, it’s about freakin’ time!

  23. For a French partisan, Merovingian, you sure take a dim view of protectionism.

  24. For Bush, a Janus-Like View of Trade

    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/12/business/12trade.html

    …the administration decided to impose the steel tariffs and accept new American farm subsidies as the necessary price to pay for the authority to negotiate free trade agreements with little interference from Congress.

    Sebastian Mallaby, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said Mr. Bush and his trade representative, Robert B. Zoellick, had committed the classic mistake of free traders who thought they could “buy the allegiance of protectionists, whether they are big farmers or the steel industry, to make some advance in their long-term trade policy and not become captives of the protectionists.”

    “It was na?ve of them to think there wouldn’t be a price for all of this,” Mr. Mallaby said. “Now, they’ve disillusioned people in their own free trade camp.”

  25. Josh,

    I’m an advocate of free trade. Shouldn’t this make free trade advocates in the U.S. happy?

    And why should I not love France, also? 🙂 I do not ask you not to love the US, even though Bush a “souteneur.” 🙂

  26. Merovingian — It was unfair of me to call your free-trade advocacy hypocrisy… I assume you make the same calls for reforms of French anti-trade policies?

  27. This is a funny story – wild Kangaroos in Paris:

    http://www.thecouriermail.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,7845137%255E954,00.html

    BTW, we also have large cats in France too; jaquars, etc. They were set free by their owners when the cats became less trendy. I think the U.K. also has the same issue.

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