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A MARKET-BASED GLOBAL STEEL POLICY

By Charles H. Blum
Excess capacity, the constant villain in the sorry 50-year history of steel trade wars, is in truth a meaningless concept.

“Excess” compared to what? Historical demand? Current demand? Future demand? A certain amount of “excess” capacity, particularly in rolling capacity for particular products, is desirable, even necessary, for a smoothly functioning economy. Demand […]

By |October 9th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

50 Years of Failure: Lessons from US Steel Trade Policy

by Charles H. Blum
For more than a fifth of its 228-year national history, the US has struggled to devise an effective, lasting solution to the problems posed by steel imports. Nine successive American administrations faced pressure from the steel industry to curb rising foreign competition. All but Clinton responded in some way to limit imports. […]

By |October 4th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

POWER TO THE PEOPLE

In the 1960s, “Power to the people” was a slogan of political rebellion. In the 21st Century, it could become a rallying cry for economic and social development.

Globalization has come up short in his regard. The benefits flow mainly to the privileged, well-connected few: multinational corporations, big retailers, banks and others with economic heft and […]

By |May 24th, 2017|Blog|0 Comments

Taxes and Trade

Phil Gramm and Michael Solon shed some useful light on America’s trade problems in their December 2 Wall Street Journal op-ed. For one thing, they write: “The largest source of unfairness in world trade today is currency manipulation, which distorts exchange rates and trade patterns, cheating producers and consumers.” Bravo!

They also write: “After the U.S. entered the North American […]

By |December 2nd, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Incredible, Shrinking American Middle Class

Eduardo Porter’s analysis in the October 30 New York Times explains a lot about what ails America – and what fuels the sense of frustration, anxiety and anger in America these days. Under the headline “Richer But Not Better Off,” he makes a number of crucially important points:

Despite recent gains, American prosperity is not widely […]

By |October 31st, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

RENEWABLE BIPARTISANSHIP?

Thanks to a recent study by SolarPulse, a Denver-based energy company, I’ve begun to reexamine some of my assumptions about the politics of solar energy. For a long time, I’ve accepted the “conventional wisdom” that Republicans in general are skeptical about global warming and cool to solar energy while Democrats in general hold the opposite […]

By |October 19th, 2016|Blog|1 Comment

A Choice for Trade Deficit Skeptics

Poor Wilbur Ross – an odd phrase for a billionaire private equity, isn’t it? His letter to the Wall Street Journal last week provoked a torrent of mostly misguided criticism printed under the banner “Wilbur Ross Is Wrong on the Trade Deficit”.

Among the criticisms:

Imports generate “more domestic economic activity” in the form of logistical and […]

By |August 21st, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt

In the 1950s, Tennessee Ernie Ford sang: “You load 16 tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt.” His lament regarding “number 9 coal” and the “company store” lives on in thousands of karaoke machines across the Pacific but seems far from modern American realities. Indeed, The Hill published a […]

By |August 14th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

Growing the American Economy

The New York Times published an interesting analysis today by Neil Irwin, its senior economics correspondent.   In trying to sort out “what’s right and what’s wrong” in the US economy, he focuses helpfully on the impact of inventory contractions on the second quarter GDP numbers.   Essentially, liquidation of previously unsold goods cut the quarterly growth […]

By |August 2nd, 2016|Blog|0 Comments

For the Sake of Free Trade

Among others, the New York Times is reporting a dramatic political shift on “free trade”.   As a 40-year practitioner in trade policy, I welcome this development and at the same time fear it.

I welcome it because the “free trade” brand is bankrupt.   It has served largely to promote offshoring by combining tariff elimination (the result […]

By |July 30th, 2016|Blog|0 Comments