In recent years the U.S. government has become more protectionist (protecting its domestic firms from foreign competition). Last year it even provided billions of dollars to subsidize chip production and other designated products in the U.S., an example of industrial policy (state directed development). The CHIPS Act passed last year will shell out over $200 billion over the next five years to subsidize domestic chip production.
To add insult to injury, the so called “Inflation Reduction Act” may violate World Trade Organization rules: “We have concerns about a number of discriminatory elements in this Inflation Reduction Act which puts requirement for local content, for local production,” Dombrovskis, who also is a European Commission vice president, told Bloomberg in Prague.” EU Is Assessing If US Inflation Act in Breach of WTO Rules – Bloomberg Did we really think that we could cheat and Europe and the rest of the world would just roll over and play dead.
President Biden has proclaimed that these expensive policies are needed to create jobs in American. This is bazar given that we are currently suffering from a labor shortage. Manufacturing output in the U.S. is at an all-time high. U.S. employment in manufacturing has gradually declined in recent decades because our workers have become more productive. But that is surely a good thing, resulting in an increase in our standard of living. President Biden has taken steps to lower our standard of living in order to create American job. Take a deep breath. If we don’t significantly increase legal immigration, you can count on the continuation of long waits on the phone to talk to a real service person.
Where does the “Buy American” impulse come from? It seems that some people see American nationalism as keeping everything at home whatever the cost, while I see it as enjoying the fruits of our largely free society to work and innovate and flourish as we each see fit for the benefit of all.
Several years ago, Ito and I celebrated the 4th of July at the American Embassy in Roma at the invitation of our friend David Zimov, at that time Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Rome. It was really a fun event overflowing with hot dogs and hamburgers. While listening to the Marine Band and waving the little American flags we were all given, I noticed that the flag had been Made in China (clearly tagged). I am guessing that the American nationalists I referred to above were appalled. I, on the other hand, was grateful that my tax dollars were being spent as carefully and wisely as possible—on this occasion at least. https://wcoats.blog/2023/01/22/trade-once-again/