Alex Massie

Obama’s Trade Credentials

Text settings

The stimulus bill working its way through the Congressional sausage-grinder contains "Buy American" provisions that are, unsurprisingly, resisted by American companies that like selling things overseas. Not unreasonably they fear this sort of (questionably legal?) manoevre may lead to other countries retaliating in kind. So, this is going to be a wee test for the new President and his advisors who, as Megan McArdle reminds us, spent the campaign winking and suggesting that, come on guys, you know this rhetoric is just for the campaign, right?

Mind you, Megan also puts the rumpus into some perspective:

By the standards of Smoot-Hawley, this is paltry stuff.  And by the standards of setting yourself on fire, sawing off your own leg with a nail file isn't so bad.

PS: I also recommend checking out the new "business channel" that Megan is editing at the Atlantic. Lots of good stuff there.

UPDATE: Via Matt Frost on Twitter, comes this observation: "Stimulus Bill demands US-made steel only (p12 sec1110) in all projects. Sadly, bill still uses foreign-sounding terms like "in lieu of." Also this: "Sec1106 of stimulus bill limits administrative set-asides to 0.5% Most frequent phrase in bill: "...section 1106 of this Act shall not apply to this." Fancy that!

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articleInternational