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More Paper Principles

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My latest column [2] in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review explores some of the illogic of the Bush administration’s recent imposition of punitive tariffs on paper imports from China.  Here’s my opening:

The Bush administration recently raised Americans’ taxes.

If you missed this item in the news, it’s because this tax hike isn’t
described forthrightly by government nor is it reported forthrightly by
the media. The tax hike I’m talking about is the higher tariff on paper
products imported from China.

"Tariff" is simply another word for "excise tax" — here, a levy
imposed by government on each unit of some class of products bought
domestically.

Descriptions of higher tariffs, though, almost always focus on
foreigners — such as a headline in this very paper on March 31: "U.S.
to slap trade tariff on China." But a more accurate headline would have
read "U.S. to slap higher taxes on Americans buying paper from China."

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