Obama as we feared

February 19, 2009

Two weeks ago the IPA was attacked in the Victorian Parliament for being in favour of free trade! As the IPA’s Tim Wilson pointed out in the Business Age last week, sadly we are seeing a sudden resurgence in protectionism.

None of my friends believed me when I told them that McCain would be a better president than Obama. Sure, McCain had some issues (he wanted the government to buy everybody’s mortgage!) but at least he is a free trader. Obama isn’t. In the US stimulus package President Obama signed yesterday, there’s a requirement to ‘Buy American’. I looked up the 407 pages of the actual legislation and read it for myself.

Sec. 1605. USE OF AMERICAN IRON, STEEL, AND MANUFACTURED GOODS. (a) None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for a project for the construction, alteration, maintenance, or repair of a public building or public work unless all of the iron, steel, and manufactured goods used in the project are produced in the United States.

To get an exemption requires special departmental approval!

It’s no surprise that the US Chamber of Commerce are furious. If only Australian business was as quick to defend free markets.

At least the Americans have a sense of humour about it all. I liked this short audio clip from the satirical newspaper The Onion: “Roiling Mass of Snakes To Receive $160 Billion In Government Stimulus“.

And finally. As bizarre as it might sound the IPA can recommend a segment from the ABC Lateline program. It was an interview on Monday night with Professor John Taylor of Stanford University on why tax cuts are better than cash handouts.

For a sneak preview of what’s in the next IPA Review you can read Chris Berg’s take on our Prime Minister’s philosophical forays: “Keeping up with Kevin: Kevin Rudd’s testosterone technocracy“.

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