Wednesday, August 26, 2009


In the comments from time to time is frankly skeptical chiding about my naive belief that government can be improved and decisions made to aid our economy or people.  Then stuff like this happens.

First, the conservative WSJ sounds the alarm on protectionism over the emerging sugar import battle.
The costs have been a sticky issue for years. According to a 2006 study by the U.S. International Trade Administration, each sugar job saved by propping up domestic producers costs three jobs in manufacturing, with many companies relocating to countries such as Canada and Mexico where the price of sugar can be one-half to two-thirds the rate in the U.S. So instead of importing sugar, the U.S. brings in more sugary finished products, with imports rising to $18.7 billion in 2004 from $6.7 billion in 1990.
The Administration's reluctance to take on the sugar lobby comes in the context of what is beginning to look like a slow roll by the President on free-trade principles. In September, the Administration must also decide whether to allow tariffs or quotas on imported car tires from China. Standing for free trade would require the administration to stand up to some powerful unions. So far, no evidence of that.
In a recent Pittsburgh speech, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk spoke primarily about trade enforcement issues, but the Administration has quietly encouraged protectionist policies. According to U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President John Murphy, the "Buy American" requirements of the stimulus package are stalling projects in some states and municipalities struggling to comply.
Challenging the status quo may be tough for President Obama, but a commitment to embrace standards of free trade early in his Presidency would be a boon to U.S. trade leadership. Big Sugar has long been the recipient of one of Washington's most destructive policies, and the continued price manipulation has no place in a recession. President Obama should increase the quotas and end American sugar's sweet deal. [More]

And sadly, I cannot help but recall, the previous administration hardly was stalwart in defense of free trade on this very issue.

Then the very conservative Cato calls out the stunning political duplicity of Republicans on the Medicare problem.
Yet Republican National Committee chairman, Michael Steele, takes to the Washington Post today to defend Medicare against any cuts, while at the same time criticizing the Democrats as “left-wing ideologues:”
  • “Under the Democrats’ plan, senior citizens will pay a steeper price and will have their treatment options reduced or rationed.”
  • “Republicans want reform that should first, do no harm, especially to our seniors.”
  • “We also believe that any health-care reform should be fully paid for, but not funded on the backs of our nation’s senior citizens.”
  • “First, we need to protect Medicare and not cut it in the name of ‘health-insurance reform.’”
  • “Reversing course and joining Republicans in support of health care for our nation’s senior citizens is a good place to start.”
Steele uses the mushy statist phrasing “our seniors” repeatedly, as if the government owns this group of people, and that they should have no responsibility for their own lives.
Fiscal conservatives, who have come out in droves to tea party protests and health care meetings this year, are angry at both parties for the government’s massive spending and debt binge in recent years. Mr. Steele has now informed these folks loud and clear that the Republican Party is not interested in restraining government; it is not interested in cutting the program that creates the single biggest threat to taxpayers in coming years. For apparently crass political reasons, Steele defends “our seniors,” but at the expense of massive tax hikes on “our children” if entitlement programs are not cut. [More]

OK - that leaves ummm, who in Washington to put faith in?

Or in other words, all those export figures in the S&D tables for meats especially, but for grain too, will have to be effected with little help from forward thinking political leaders.

And any issue where we can stampede oldsters with media confusion will sacrifice the future of younger folks who still don't get how important it is to vote.


Ol James said...

WSJ..conservative?? Ya got me on that one. You lost me for a second with the Health Care. But Voting brought it all together, Thanks.

Dennis said...

Don't give up hope, John. The more insane the world seems, the more incentive there is for bright, common sense folks from both parties (or dare I say - no particular party at all) to come together to set things right.

I really enjoy the blog and visit nearly every day. On a side note - I missed a few episodes of USFR this summer, what happened to Scott?

John Phipps said...


Thanks for reading.

Scott is no longer with the show. Not a good time in media right now.

I miss him too.