For years, protectionists in this country have tried to argue that "oh, I am really for free trade, but to be fair we must impose environmental and labor standards on our trading partners." Well, now Europe is proposing doing exactly the same to us:
The European Commission is considering proposing a
carbon dioxide tariff on imports from states failing to tackle
greenhouse gas emissions, while also considering a toughening-up of the
EU's own emission trading system....
The plan reflects pressure by French president Nicolas Sarkozy who
argued in October that Europe should "examine the option of taxing
products imported from countries that do not respect the Kyoto
Protocol," referring to the 1997 international agreement on fighting
Mr Sarkozy urged Brussels to discuss the implications of "unfair
competition" by firms outside the EU, which do not have to abide by
strict European standards on CO2 emissions.
This letter from Don Boudreaux seems relevant:
Hillary Clinton needs a
language lesson. She favors only trade that is found by government to
"benefit our workers and our economy" and that promotes "rising
standards of living across the world" ("Full Transcript: Hillary Clinton Interview," December 3; my emphasis). She then asserts that "There is nothing
protectionist about this."
exists whenever, wherever, and whyever government artificially raises
its citizens' costs of buying imports. Protectionism has forever
rested on the false notion that government officials know best how
consumers should spend their money. And it attempts today to hide its
ugly face behind the smiling mask of allegedly noble intentions, such
as those mouthed by Sen. Clinton.
The title of his post is "The Moment Somone Must Explain that He or She Isn't a Protectionist, You Can Bank on that Person Being a Protectionist."