Ugly protectionism

Yikes - Obama has slapped tariffs on Chinese tires and China is already retaliating. Greg Mankiw is justifiably disappointed. I hope Obama isn't trying to drum up support for healthcare through protectionism. Healthcare reform is not worth the negative impact a trade war would have on living standards worldwide.

Update: Condemnation in the econoblogosphere is rapid and unanimous, cutting across ideological lines. E.g. Brad DeLong: "Barack Obama Does Something Really Stupid". The WSJ's Real Time Economics rounds up others, including this gem from Ferris Bueller's Day Off:
“In 1930, the Republican controlled House of Rep, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the… Anyone? Anyone?… the Great Depression, passed the…Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act which, anyone? anyone? Raised or lowered?… Raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal gov’t. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the US sank deeper into the Great Depression.”

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