Monday, July 14, 2014

The WTO stands up for the U.S. consumer! But, alas, not on purpose... And talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

The World Trade Organization (WTO) rules in favor of the U.S. consumer by finding
that the United States had violated global trade rules by imposing import duties on a range of Chinese steel products and solar panels that Washington asserted had government subsidies.

Washington---spurred on by special interests seeking to make their international competitors' wares (steel products and solar panels) more expensive for the U.S. consumer---is receiving some pushback from the WTO.

Unfortunately, it's not about the fact that import duties are precisely what I just described---politicians protecting their supporters at the consumer's expense---it's about the validity of Washington's allegations regarding the Chinese government's buying down of prices.

As a U.S. consumer I say thank you China. That's very generous of you!

If, however, I were a Chinese citizen, I'd be screaming bloody murder. Like I do when the U.S. government subsidizes U.S. businesses (plays favorites and screws with the market process)---as it does (by the $tens of  billions annually)---with yours and my tax dollars.

From the executive summary of Cato's July 2012 paper Corporate Welfare in the Federal Budget:
Policymakers claim that business subsidies are needed to fix alleged market failures or to help American companies better compete in the global economy. However, corporate welfare often subsidizes failing and mismanaged businesses and induces firms to spend more time on lobbying rather than on making better products. Instead of correcting market failures, federal subsidies misallocate resources and introduce government failures into the marketplace.

While corporate welfare may be popular with policymakers who want to aid home-state businesses, it undermines the broader economy and transfers wealth from average taxpaying households to favored firms. Corporate welfare also creates strong ties between politicians and business leaders, and these ties are often the source of corruption scandals in Washington. Americans are sick and tired of “crony capitalism,” and the way to solve the problem is to eliminate business subsidy programs.

Corporate welfare doesn’t aid economic growth and it is an affront to America’s constitutional principles of limited government and equality under the law.

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