GLOBALISTS FEAR TARIFF TALK
Free traders working to delete ‘America-first’ provisions from latest spending package
GLOBALISTS ARE IN A TIZZY over provisions in the massive $1 trillion stimulus package, which promote raw materials and manufactured goods that have been made in America. While White House free traders have been mum about the language, it’s anyone’s guess whether meddling from internationalists will force legislators to strip the bill of the America-first measures.
In letters to legislators and top White House officials on Feb. 2, European
Commission Ambassador to Washington John Bruton whined about “buy American” provisions in the not-yet-approved bill.
They would require public works projects to favor U.S. steel, iron and manufactured goods over imports. The letters claimed that U.S. officials and other countries pledged not to “resort” to the dreaded “P” word—protectionism—at a meeting of world leaders in November.
The provisions are in the trillion dollar stimulus bill, which has already been approved by the House. A slightly different version is currently being debated in the Senate. The Senate version says that no funds from the stimulus may be used for a project “unless all of the iron, steel and manufactured goods used in the projects are produced in the United States.”
The House version has similar language but does not mention manufactured goods. Putting their support for multinational corporations ahead of American manufacturers and workers, Republican leaders in Congress sided with their paymasters and blasted the provisions in the legislation.
“I don’t think we ought to use a measure that is supposed to be timely, temporary and targeted to set off trade wars,” said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky).
President Barack Obama also questioned the bill, telling a television network: “I think it would be a mistake . . . at a time when worldwide trade is declining for us to start sending a message that somehow we’re just looking after ourselves and not concerned with world trade.”
Globalists are worried about the new trend in Washington and the world, where—horror of horrors— elected officials actually put the well-being of their own citizens ahead of globalist bankers and executives at multinational corporations.
Writes David A. Andelman, the editor of World Policy Journal, a global news organization: “The ‘Buy America’ rule attached to the $819 billion stimulus plan now working its way through the Senate is only a short step from new tariff barriers.”
Andelman once again went back to that tired, old free-trading fairy tale that the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which put tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods, was to blame for prolonging the Great Depression.
People cannot learn from past mistakes if they do not get access to historical facts, so it is worth recounting the true history of Smoot-Hawley. The Smoot-Hawley Act was signed into law on June 17, 1930, almost a year after the depression had started. Four years later, legislation was passed that essentially repealed it.
During that short time, the decline in exports, which has been blamed on Smoot-Hawley, accounted for only a half percent of the 50 percent decline in gross domestic product over that same timeframe. Private bankers—most notably the Federal Reserve and Wall Street investment firms—were far more to blame for the financial crisis than measures instituted to help American industry.
In addition, Smoot-Hawley generated tax revenue for the government at a time when it desperately needed it, and that money did not have to come from American workers who were already squeezed by rising unemployment and prices.
As this paper goes to press, the Senate has yet to vote on the stimulus bill. AFP editors will be watching this bill closely to ensure that the America-first provisions make it to the president’s desk for his signature.
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(Issue # 7, February 16, 2009)