Thursday, September 18, 2003

Just the beginning

Steel Tariffs Appear to Have Backfired on Bush
Move to Aid Mills, Gain Votes in 2 States Is Called Political and Economic Mistake

Friday, September 19, 2003; Page A01

In a decision largely driven by his political advisers, President Bush set aside his free-trade principles last year and imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel to help out struggling mills in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, two states crucial for his reelection.

Eighteen months later, key administration officials have concluded that Bush's order has turned into a debacle. Some economists say the tariffs may have cost more jobs than they saved, by driving up costs for automakers and other steel users. Politically, the strategy failed to produce union endorsements and appears to have hurt Bush with workers in Michigan and Tennessee -- also states at the heart of his 2004 strategy.

"They tried to play politics, and it looked like it was working for awhile," said Bruce Bartlett, a conservative economist with ties to the administration. "But now it's fallen apart."...

Bush? Making decisions based on politics and not principle? Nah. There's more to the article, but I wanted to end on "it's fallen apart."

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