September 23, 2009
-- by Dave Johnson
The New York Times business section has this today, With a Receptive White House, Labor Begins to Line Up Battles. Oddly this "news" story incorrectly casts enforcement of trade agreements as opposing "free trade." From the story,
While labor’s opposition to free trade is nothing new, having an ear in the White House is. The Obama administration, though it says it supports free trade, has so far seemed more aligned with labor’s trade agenda than has any administration in decades.Here's the thing. This is not about opposition to free trade. This is about enforcement of existing agreements. This is nothing more than a request to the proper enforcement authorities to investigate if agreements are being violated, and to take the agreed-upon steps to remedy that if they are. But in recent years it because the expectation that the White House made decisions that were not based on rule of law, but rather on ... something else. From the article,
What has alarmed America’s trading partners is the steelworkers’ victory when the president imposed a 35 percent tariff on Chinese tires under special trade rules that allow punitive measures without a finding of illegal trade practices.
... The president’s move has stirred worries that other unions and industries will rush to seek similar relief.
In four safeguard cases, President George W. Bush declined to impose penalties even though the United States International Trade Commission, a bipartisan panel, had found that Chinese imports hurt particular industries.THAT should have been the shocking news, not the current news that agreements are going to have to be lived up to! A President of the United States sided with other countries, against American companies and workers, even after the trade enforcement bodies found clear violations of the agreements!
It seems that after eight years of general lawlessness we're at a point where it is expected that those with power can do anything they want regardless of agreements or laws. So now "the Village" (blogger term for comfortable "inside-the-beltway" Washington DC insiders) is shocked and offended when the rabble -- the rest of us -- actually wants the authorities to enforce the rules instead of deferring to power -- even when, as in this case, that power is being used against America. For example, when Attorney General Holder was looking into investigating whether laws against torture were broken, "the Village' was all atwitter and scandalized over the audacity of President Obama letting such a thing happen -- as if it was in any way appropriate for a President to make a political decision to keep the Justice Department from an investigation.
Under the previous administration it was expected that such decisions would be decided politically, based on who was donating the most to The Party or its supporting infrastructure of think tanks, etc., on any given day. Now we are seeing a return to rule of law. It's the same thing with this request to see if trade agreements are being honored.
The Village owes the concept of rule of law an apology.
Posted by Dave Johnson at September 23, 2009 11:02 AM
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