It’s official: Bush Drops Steel Tariffs

Bush’s statement about why he dropped the steel tariffs was, shall we say, disingenuous. From his remarks today:

I took action to give the industry a chance to adjust to the surge in foreign imports and to give relief to the workers and communities that depend on steel for their jobs and livelihoods. These safeguard measures have now achieved their purpose, and as a result of changed economic circumstances it is time to lift them.

As Brad DeLong has so clearly pointed out recently, the change in the Bush administration rhetoric regarding the tariffs over the past 2 months (when they said that the tariffs had NOT yet achieved their purpose) has been nothing short of breathtaking. The real reason that the administration decided to drop the tariffs, of course, was the threat by the EU, Japan, China, and others to put tariffs on US goods. In the last couple of hours the EU has politely announced that they will drop their plans to impose tariffs on the US. The others will follow shortly, I’m sure.

Unsurprisingly, it seems that the Bush administration responds better to threats than to dialogue or economic reason.