Tag Archives: Stephen Harpher

Obama’s naive trade policy angers Canada, China, France, Mexico, etc.

The economic effects of massive government waste and naive protectionism
The economic effects of massive government waste and naive protectionism

(Source: Wall Street Journal)

The Wall Street Journal explains the high costs of economic ignorance.


The smell of trade war is suddenly in the air. Mr. Obama slapped a 35% tariff on Chinese tires Friday night, and China responded on the weekend by threatening to retaliate against U.S. chickens and auto parts. That followed French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s demand on Thursday that Europe impose a carbon tariff on imports from countries that don’t follow its cap-and-trade diktats. “We need to impose a carbon tax at [Europe’s] border. I will lead that battle,” he said.

Mr. Sarkozy was following U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who has endorsed a carbon tax on imports, and the U.S. House of Representatives, which passed a carbon tariff as part of its cap-and-tax bill. This in turn followed the “Buy American” provisions of the stimulus, which has incensed much of Canada; Congress’s bill to ban Mexican trucks from U.S. roads in direct violation of Nafta, prompting Mexico to retaliate against U.S. farm and kitchen goods; and the must-make-cars-in-America provisions of the auto bailouts. Meanwhile, U.S. trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea languish in Congress.

The article goes on to explain how the Smoot-Hawley tariff helped cause the Great Depression. This is exactly the path that President Teleprompter is treading. He is taking us head-first into the next Great Depression because he knows less about economic policy than my keyboard. He did legal work for ACORN, for God’s sake – have you seen who ACORN hires? I’m sure that woman can read a Teleprompter, too.

What do economists think of Obama’s economic policies?

I noticed this post on Greg Mankiw’s blog, where links to a survey of economists.

Click here to read the results of a new survey of AEA members. This updates previous survey results, summarized in Chapter 2 of my favorite textbook.

Note that 83 percent agree that “the United States should eliminate remaining tariffs and other barriers to trade.” I presume that would apply to tariffs on Chinese tires.

Greg Mankiw is a Harvard University professor of economics.

UPDATE: New Michele Bachmann video!

Wow, is she ever pretty when she’s explaining free trade! Sigh.