Here’s a letter that I sent to the Wall Street Journal:
You report that “The U.S. and Canada … reached a preliminary deal to settle what had become an acrimonious dispute over ‘Buy American’ provisions in the U.S. stimulus package. The deal, if approved, will give companies on both sides of the border access to government procurement contracts at the state and local levels” (“U.S., Canada Reach Deal on ‘Buy American’ ,” Feb. 5).
In other words, Washington agrees that it will spend Americans’ tax dollars wisely – that is, get the most value in return for each dollar spent – only if Ottawa does the same with Canadians’ tax dollars. If instead Ottawa had stubbornly insisted on wasting Canadian taxpayer dollars by refusing to buy lower-priced goods and services from Americans, Washington would have boasted of its commitment to continue wasting American taxpayer dollars by refusing to buy lower-priced goods and services from Canadians.
This sort of Dali-esque surrealism of government behavior is ignored by the public and the punditry only because it is all too common.
Donald J. Boudreaux