Cap and trade barely passes the house, and Barack Obama is wringing his hands about how the tariff against nations with weaker measures, “At a time when the economy world-wide is still deep in recession, and we’ve seen a significant drop in global trade, I think we have to be very careful about sending any protectionist signals out there.”
Barack Obama is a smart guy. He knows that there are similar tariffs in countries that have a VAT, so that you cannot evade the tax by outsourcing production, and he knows that the economic consensus is that the absence of such measures distort free trade by subsidizing foreign manufacture of goods.
He also has to know that the WTO just signed off on these tariffs as legal, so long as they are not, “a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade”.”
He expresses these “concerns” because he believes that any restriction on the flow of goods and services,* is dangerous and bad.
He is a free market mousketeer™ who believes that free trade will, inexorably spread democracy throughout the world, raise everyone’s standard of living, keep ants away from your picnic, and keep your daughter from dating the guy with the tattoos and piercings.
Do not expect meaningful labor or environmental measures as a part of his free trade deals. They won’t happen.
*Except for IP, where excessive US copyright and patent restrictions must be adopted world wide.