Let’s all buy America.

They call it gall.  If they did not invent it, the Americans certainly improved on it.  It combines the wiliness of the Yankee trader with the open faced theft of the Midwesterner and the ‘Gee-shucks’ cornpone of the southerner and the brashness of the Californians.  U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson has got it in spades.  He actually said that the ‘Buy America’ conditions of President Obama’s $447 billion economic proposal currently before Congress are good for Canadians.

In his briefing when he became ambassador, they should have told Mr. Jacobson that Canadians have a basic understanding of the trickle-down theory of economics.  To that, it should be added that Canadians really do not like being pissed on.

Canadians have this idea that when you make a deal with somebody, you try to live up to your side of the bargain.  Consider a deal such as ‘Free Trade.’  It does not mean free trade when it is convenient.  It does not mean, you can change the conditions whenever you feel like it.  People expect you to keep your word.

Like it or not, free trade ties economies together.  The economies of the participants sink or swim in the same pool.  They can grow and flourish together.  They can go down the drain together.  The idea is that they are bigger together and can withstand more set backs and can share the successes.  Free trade can be a very successful arrangement.  It has also proved a very unsuccessful arrangement when one or more partners in such agreements unilaterally screw around with the deal.

Canadians are being told that President Obama cannot get his economic rescue package past the ignorant Republicans in Congress if he does not have a ‘Buy America’ clause included in the package.  Here we always thought that Republicans understood free trade and helped promote it.  If they cannot pass this bill and still keep their commitments to free trade, screw ‘em.

Mind you, since Prime Minister Harper let U.S. Steel buy Stelco so that they could shut down our steel production, we are having a hard time seeing how a clause about only using American steel in projects sponsored by this package can matter.


Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

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