Friday, 5 December 2003

Democratic candidates on steel tariffs

Paul Muller at Heretical Ideas asks for feedback from Democrats on the reactions of Democratic presidential candiates to the President’s dropping the steel tariffs. Here are some quotes from the AP article:

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (news – web sites) said that despite Bush’s claims “the steel industry needs additional breathing room to get back on its feet.” Rep. Dick Gephardt (news – web sites), D-Mo., said Bush’s action demonstrated a “callous disregard for the workers and the communities whose jobs and livelihoods have been decimated by unfair competition.” Former Gen. Wesley Clark (news – web sites) said Bush needed to “listen to the 2.6 million manufacturing workers who’ve lost their jobs” while he has been in office.

I for one am extremely dissappointed in these three candidates. Well, Gephardt I expected it from, he’s Mr. Protectionist. But Dean and Clark are both smart enough to know that tariffs are not good for the American economy, and their pandering to the steel industry is just as pathetic as the President’s pandering was. (Although fortunately they can’t back up their pandering with real tariffs. Not yet anyway.)

It’s looking more and more like I’ll be sitting out the Democratic primary, assuming Lieberman drops out before the Tennessee primaries, and then voting Libertarian in the general election.

Here’s a question for the Constitutional Law experts out there. Article I, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution grants to Congress the power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises". Article II does not grant the President any such power. How is it that the President has the power to impose tariffs on steel?

I’m guessing that some law passed by Congress granted this power to the President. But why wouldn’t that be an unconstitutional delegation of power? Have the federal courts ruled on this specific issue?