The Old Empires Strike Back
Woo-hoo! Something topical worth writing about! And the topic du jour: steel tariffs!
Wait, I know what you’re thinking: who fucking cares about steel tariffs? Well, if you’re desperate for some hope from the blatant stupidity and insanity that’s been stemming from the current White House administration, you’ll fucking care. Here’s why.
Less than two years ago, our semi-retarded cowboy-in-chief enacted steel tariffs to boost the fledgling U.S. steel economy. Supposed to be in effect for 3 years, W. pulled them, 15 months early. This is awesome, and it has nothing to do with steel or economics.
If you haven’t noticed, this WH has made itself a reputation for not budging. They say and do stupid things, and then – whether they realize they’ve screwed they pooch or not – they still stand by it anyway. From Kyoto to W. insulting the most volatile nation in the world, to every sand-filled country, the WH has staunchly stood their ground. But yesterday, that changed. The story from the WH is the tariffs were pulled because they already did their job, and we don’t need them anymore. Uh-huh.
The tariffs lost as many jobs as they created. Many in the steel industry thought the WH acted too late for the tariffs to help, anyway. And the tariffs pissed off and alienated many free trade nations.
Okay, so that’s never cured the WH’s blindness before. Here’s what did it, though.
The international community finally learned how to play the game. They didn’t disapprovingly shake their fingers and heads. They didn’t officially declare that they don’t think the U.S. is being nice. They finally fucking realized that actions are more effective. The WTO and E.U. threatened reverse tariffs on U.S. exports. Not just any U.S. exports, either. They locked their sites on U.S. industries like citrus and automobiles, located respectively in Florida and Michigan – states that Bush must win to get reelected. They hit him where it hurts, in the ballot box. It only took 227 years, but they finally figured it out. Ain’t democracy grand?
Best part is, it wouldn’t have to be a bluff. Do you think France gives a shit if the citrus industry is pissed off at them? No, and citrus knows it, too. The only hand they could bite would be W’s, and he knew it.
Here’s the icing on the cake. Many steel analysts thought the tariffs were bad or ineffective. The steelworkers have already said they’re backing a Democrat in the 04 elections. No votes won there. Now the tariff’s supporters are pissed because he’s backing out. According to today’s Slate, “the head of the United Steelworkers of America… said Bush had committed a ‘sorry betrayal’ of steelworkers and would regret the move come Election Day.” So he’s lost votes on both sides. Excuse me, while I take a moment to dance like the Church Lady from SNL.
So there it is. Dubya loses votes. The WH gets caught screwing up, they’re forced to admit they screwed up, and then they screwed themselves again, trying to fix the screw-up. And the rest of the world gets the brains and the balls to go after the bastard’s Achilles’ heel. Mark it on your calendar: a good day in the Dubya administration.