Monty Python Policy-Making

by Don Boudreaux on May 9, 2013

in Crony Capitalism, Other People's Money, Trade

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:

Let’s re-write the opening of your report with words that make the facts clearer: “Chinese solar-panel manufacturers European consumers of Chinese solar-panels will face import tariffs additional taxes of up to 67.9% on the price of solar panels at European Union borders under a plan scheme from the 27-nation bloc’s executive body, according to a copy of the plan scheme viewed by The Wall Street Journal (“EU Plans Tariffs Taxes of Up to 67.9% on Europeans Who Buy Chinese Solar Panels,” May 9).

“The tariffs taxes, which will come into effect by June 6, will range from 37.3% to 67.9%, according to the document, drafted by the European Commission. Some of the largest Chinese manufacturers Even the poorest Europeans, depending on which Chinese manufacturers they patronize, will face duties on the higher end of that range.

“The proposal is likely to spark one of the largest battles over unfair trade crony capitalism ever waged under the decades-old system of international trade rules. European manufacturers say Chinese firms are selling their products well below fair-market prices European consumers are buying Chinese products at prices well below the monopolistically high ones that European manufactures would like to fetch for their panels.  To justify their proposal to force European consumers to pay unnecessarily high prices for solar panels, European politicians – who thrive by doling out corporate welfare – prey upon the gullibility of the typical European voter by making the baseless assertion that if Europeans aren’t forced to pay higher prices for solar panels the Chinese will dominate the world market for solar panels.”

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
If ‘our’ government subsidizes green energy, that act (we are assured) is noble and wise and far-sighted.  If ‘their’ government subsidizes green energy, that act (we are warned) is unlawful and devious and dangerous.  (And we’re supposed to trust politicians to spend other people’s money – and, simultaneously, to prevent people from spending their own money – all in an effort to stimulate a ‘green’ economy.  It’s like a Monty Python skit.)
…..
(With sincere apologies to Monty Python – and to Mark Perry.)
….
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