Is America on the road to protectionism?

Particularly during periods of economic slowdown, many nations witness a reemergence of protectionist attitudes, and the United States does not escape this tendency. One need only consider the fact that the US Senate failed to move on critical trade pacts for three years as a consequence of domestic politics. Some, however, have expressed concern that politcs is infusing policy and directing the US down a protectionist path.

Writing in the Weekly Standard, Irwin Stelzer points to President Obama’s recent State of the Union speech, in which he “used his State of the Union speech to announce plans to increase the tax burden on companies that are ‘moving jobs and profits overseas,’ and ‘start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America’ by lowering their taxes.”

Not wanting to irritate Reagan Democrats, Republican presidential candidates have also sounded the China siren call, he adds. While China’s trade and curency policies certainly merit examination and criticism, the solutions to today’s financial slowdown are far more complex than simply shuttering the trading gates.

Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson offers a cogent analysis of why the current global slowdown is not like recessions of the past and why climbing out of the basement may be more difficult.

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