The Economist: “Yeah, about that Obama endorsement…”

I don’t fault magazines for endorsing Barack Obama last year, especially considering my party didn’t really provide much of an opposition (and I actually like John McCain), but I still enjoy watching them show buyers remorse. Today it’s “The Economist,” the left-leaning European financial magazine that endorsed Obama last year, but found themselves a few months ago asking, “Maybe Hillary Clinton had a point aboot this guy?”

There complaint concerns the President putting a 35% tariff on Chinese tire imports. No, I never knew about this either. Apparently after 5:00 PM on a Friday, when no one was paying attention, Dear Leader decided to place a tariff, in the middle of an Economic crisis, on tires imported from China, who we rely on to buy all of our debt, that the President keeps increasing. Got all that?

Here’s the Economist in their shock and awe…

YOU can be fairly sure that when a government slips an announcement out at nine o’clock on a Friday night, it is not proud of what it is doing. That is one of the only things that makes sense about Barack Obama’s decision to break a commitment he, along with other G20 leaders, reaffirmed last April: to avoid protectionist measures at a time of great economic peril. In every other way the president’s decision to slap a 35% tariff on imported Chinese tyres looks like a colossal blunder, confirming his critics’ worst fears about the president’s inability to stand up to his party’s special interests and stick to the centre ground he promised to occupy in office…

Last year the fear was that Mr Obama would give in to enormous protectionist pressure from Congress. By introducing the levy, Mr Obama has pandered to a single union, one that does not even represent a majority of American tyre-industry workers, and he has done so against the interests of everyone else. America’s tyre-makers, who have more or less given up making low-end tyres at home in favour of importing them (often from joint-ventures in guess where) declined to support the application for import “relief”. Consumers will have to pay more. The motor and garage trades will be harmed. And no one can seriously imagine that any American tyre-making job will be saved; firms will simply import cheap tyres from other low-cost places like India and Brazil…

Nor is the potential fallout from Mr Obama’s wrongheaded decision limited to trade. Evidence of a weak president being pushed leftward might cause investors to worry whether he will prove similarly feeble when it comes to reining in the vast deficits he is now racking up; and that might spook the buyers of bonds that finance all those deficits. Looming large among these, of course, are the Chinese. Deteriorating trade relations between the world’s number one debtor and its number one creditor are enough to keep any banker awake at night.

And aboot the endorsement last year…

This newspaper endorsed Mr Obama at last year’s election in part because he had surrounded himself with enough intelligent centrists. We also said that the eventual success of his presidency would be based on two things: resuscitating the world economy; and bringing the new emerging powers into the Western order. He has now hurt both objectives.


I actually felt the same way aboot his intelligent centrists. Then I saw Larry Summers, Tim Geither, and Peter orzag go on interview shows and not look like they actually beleived the words coming out of their mouths.


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