gets right to the point:
Facing the threat of a trade war, President Bush on Thursday lifted 20-month-old tariffs on foreign steel, a move that will hurt steelmakers in states critical in next year's election.
We all know that Bush is doing this to avoid a trade war that will hurt a greater number of states than the three states who will be hit hardest by the lifting of the tariffs. We all know that he's caving to EU pressure. So what reason does he give for today's decision?
"These safeguard measures have now achieved their purpose, and as a result of changed economic circumstances, it is time to lift them," Bush said in a statement.
Uh-huh. But fear not! The administration is putting a "monitoring program" in place to guard against a sudden influx of foreign steel. But...there's one small problem:
Brink Lindsey, a trade expert at the Cato Institute, a Washington think tank, said the administration's package amounted to little more than a fig leaf for the domestic industry.
"The existence or nonexistence of an import monitoring system is not going to make that much difference," he said. "And the pledge on more international talks is lip service as well. The talks haven't gone very far and they are not likely to go very far."
So the monitoring system will ensure that we know about a sudden influx, but as far as actually responding to it? Time will tell, I suppose.
If the lazy minds in the Bush Administration thought about anything other than calculating how to best win re-election, they might be able to craft a solution to the problem that provides at least some cover for the steel industry, while not upsetting the WTO and the EU.
Part of me wonders if the EU isn't going to stick the knife in as far as possible in order to make their own contribution to the effort to defeat Bush next year.
In the meantime, I'm going to sick back and enjoy watching Bush try and tapdance out of the sticky situation he's gotten himself into because of his own arrogance.