Wednesday, August 1, 2007

More Protectionism

. Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"This year's [really poorly conceived trade bills] are calibrated to attract broader [congressional] support by softening the threat and involving international bodies. In years past, the leading currency bill threatened across-the-board 27.5 percent tariffs on all Chinese goods. The new bills would permit sanctions, but only after significant consultation between the two countries.

"It's a much more conciliatory batch of bills than their predecessors," said Gary C. Hufbauer, a trade expert at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. "It's not slamming the hammer. It's kind of turning the screw." (But who is getting screwed here, Dr. Hufbauer?)

Some analysts expect that this fall, as the election season heats up, one of these bills will gain approval, possibly by the two-thirds majority required to override a presidential veto." (Super-majority support for protectionism is always good news.)

Maybe this reaction by 1,028 economists to the current round of congressional stupidity is OTT, but on the other hand, maybe not (Hat Tip to Greg Mankiw).

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