Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem.



October 2010

China Calls Out Obama's Subsidy Hypocrisy

Written by , Posted in Energy and the Environment, Labor Unions

When Barack Obama promises green subsidies, it’s an energy plan that will create “green jobs” (it isn’t and it won’t, but that’s another story). When China does it, it’s time for an investigation!

China’s top energy official said the U.S. was playing electoral politics with an announcement that it will investigate a union complaint that the Chinese government gives unfair subsidies to its alternative energy industry.

“Does America want to get fair trade or a genuine dialogue, or get transparent information?” National Energy Administration Director Zhang Guobao asked at a Beijing press conference last night. “I think not — it seems America’s main reason is to get votes.”

The U.S. acted on a complaint from the United Steelworkers union that China’s aid to its clean-energy producers violates global trade rules. Accepting the petition may lead the U.S. to file a protest at the World Trade Organization. The complaint, called a Section 301 filing, is the first filed and accepted by President Barack Obama’s administration after his predecessor, George W. Bush, turned down trade complaints against China.

Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress are under increasing pressure ahead of the Nov. 2 congressional elections to take measures to reduce China’s trade surplus. The trade gap widened to a record $28 billion in August, bolstering claims that a weak Chinese currency is hurting American jobs. Last week Montana Democrat Max Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said a bill targeting China’s yuan may pass the Senate later this year and be sent to Obama for his signature.

And here we go with the trade deficit nonsense again. The “trade gap” is just a fancy way of saying that we get more stuff from China than we have to give them in return. I run a similar deficit with BestBuy, and it’s certainly not a bad thing for me.

But the real point here is the absurdity of an administration that promotes subsidies and protectionism to shield unions from competition – which incidentally raises prices for consumers and reduces overall prosperity – even considering complaining to the WTO when other countries do the same. Obama’s consistent disgust at practicing free trade gives him zero moral authority on the matter.