President Obama concluded 2011 by accomplishing the remarkable feat of making the United States look worse than Communist China when it comes to promoting global economic freedom.
President Obama’s decision to hike tariffs on sleeping bags from developing countries came just one month after Hu Jintao, president of the People’s Republic of China and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, announced the elimination of tariffs on 97 percent of items imported from least-developed countries that have diplomatic relations with China.
One U.S. sleeping bag manufacturer called President Obama’s decision an amazing Christmas gift. It certainly was a gift for this particular sleeping bag manufacturer, as well as a public relations gift for China, which continues to win accolades for its tariff cuts.
However, President Obama’s decision to hike the tariff on sleeping bags imported from poor countries was no gift for American shoppers—or for the U.S. taxpayers, who sent $33.9 billion in economic aid to foreign countries in 2009.
Instead of sending billions of dollars in aid to developing countries every year, Congress should remove trade barriers that prevent Americans from doing business with people in those countries.
When someone is shopping for a new sleeping bag, he or she should be the one to decide whether to buy one that is made in Alabama or in Bangladesh. Congress should take these decisions out of the White House by permanently removing the tariff on imported sleeping bags along with tariffs on all other imports from the world’s developing countries.