On Sunday, following passage of his “cap and trade” legislation by the House of Representatives on Friday, President Obama denounced a provision in the bill intended to prevent U.S. manufacturers from being put at a competitive disadvantage.
President Barack Obama on Sunday called a House-passed climate change bill “an extraordinary first step,” but spoke out against a provision that would impose trade penalties on countries that fail to cut greenhouse gas emissions.”At a time when the economy worldwide is still deep in recession and we’ve seen a significant drop in global trade, I think we have to be very careful about sending any protectionist signals,” Obama said in an Oval Office interview reported by The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.
“I think there may be other ways of doing it than with a tariff approach,” Obama said.
Oh, really, Mr. President? And what would that be? Since the signing of the Global Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1947, what measures other than tariffs have proven effective in restoring a balance of trade? Complaining about unfair trade practices? Complaining about currency valuations? Cajoling others to buy more American-made products? Scolding corporations for outsourcing? What has all of this talk done for us? Since our last trade surplus in 1975, they’ve gotten us a cumulative $9.2 trillion trade deficit, have bankrupted the country, saddled our children with a debt they’ll never be able to repay and have turned the wealthiest nation on earth, once its preeminent industrial power, into a skid row bum, literally begging the Chinese to keep loaning us money.
I supported and voted for President Obama, largely because of his promises to fix our broken trade policies – amending NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) for example. No one wants him to succeed more than I. But, since his election, he has done nothing but disavow the protectionist measures that offer the only hope of restoring a balance of trade and financial stability. His faith in his ability to be a good statesman and talk his way out of a trade deficit is naive. And his complete lack of response to tariffs imposed by Mexico and blatant dumping by Japan and others goes beyond timidity, bordering on cowardice.
His insistence upon letting other nations have their way with the U.S. market without putting up even the slightest defense is highly disappointing. Even in the face of global economic collapse, brought on by global trade imbalances, he is unwilling to act. Obama won a lot of votes with his promises to fix this trade situation and he’s letting all of us down.