The Protectionist Slippery Slope

There has always been a slippery slope to trade protectionism -- if it makes us all richer to draw a line around the United States and prevent more goods from crossing that line one way vs. the other, shouldn't it make us even richer to draw that line even smaller?  What about around a state?  If the US is better self-sufficient, shouldn't the same thing apply to Missouri? Or St. Louis?  Or University City?  Or the Delmar Loop?  Or just the house on corner of Waterman and Kingsland?

We see this idea in full flower here, from Michigan's Governor Granholm (via my Princeton classmate Henry Payne):

At its conference here last week, the Midwest Governor's Association (MGA) -- chaired by green queen Jennifer Granholm of Michigan -- said it wants to claim the future by transforming the Rust Belt into the Green Belt. But in calling for energy independence from other U.S. states and embracing a 30 percent renewable energy standard by 2030 (up from 2 percent today), the MGA's prescription is a giant leap backwards.Governor Granholm and Gov. James Doyle of Wisconsin seem to be tormented by the fact that the Midwest industrial engine imports much of its energy needs from coal states in the east and west. "Doyle has estimated that $226 billion leaves the region each year in energy costs that could be saved with alternative-energy installations and support jobs here," reported the Detroit Free Press.

My personal view is that Granholm actually hates Michigan.  How else to explain why she keeps doing things like raising the minimum wage and keeping taxes high to fund goofy energy schemes in a state with the highest unemployment in the country.

  • Wise-old-bird

    Instead of burdening already overtaxed Michigan with overpriced eco power, why not build a coal plant or two or three in Michigan, and then export that power to neighboring states?

    It would get them a visit from Jim Hanson, which his usual protestations. I remember Jim came to Waterloo Iowa, to try to block a new coal plant there.

  • Ian Random

    Dennis Prager was going off about the liberal mindset the other day, that they come-up with a vision and use government to impose it. Sounds like this fits it perfectly. I guarantee you that tax abatements will be involved to the green businesses, not lowering government imposition to all businesses.

  • Jon

    She also ignores the huge natural gas reserves in Lake Huron and Superior (that oh by the way, Canada is tapping into) and her state relies heavily on oil sands coming down the pipeline from Alberta. I see her often at National Governors Association meetings and she is quite the mess. In completely over her head but so adamant about her stupid policies.

  • nom de guerre

    you can also expand your "granholm must secretly hate michigan" notion to our revered Dear Leader in washington's true feelings about the USA, as well. "how else to explain why....?" still, it WOULD be cool to see him win the heisman.

  • DrTorch

    That's an interesting proposition, but I think she hates more than Michigan.

    I'm a native Ohioan, _I_ hate Michigan, I'm familiar with that emotion.

    But Granholm's policies mean more Michiganians moving to Ohio...ergo she must hate Ohio too.

  • Craig

    I remember when people used to say, "Oh, she's so wonderful. It's too bad she's Canadian, and can't run for President."

  • Scott B

    It is amazing to move from Texas to Michigan and watch the strangling of the economy here by policies from Lansing.

  • MJ

    Doyle is really playing up the protectionist angle with his claims about reducing "imported" energy use. Apparently, he doesn't understand (or perhaps doesn't believe) that the energy those states are sending Wisconsin has any value, and that part of what keeps the little manufacturing left in his state is relatively cheap energy. This seems to feed into the perception that energy producers in other states are "preying" upon Wisconsinites.

    This line of argument is more effective when the place that energy supplies originate from can be mentally linked to some country with a nasty, authoritarian regime, like Iran or Venezuela. People have a tougher time making that link when the energy exporter your state (or country, as the case may be) is trying to decouple itself from is a place like Wyoming, West Virginia, or Canada.

  • Allen

    And for any Reeps out there claiming that they're better than the Democrats, not that Pawlenty signed on to this and has pushed for other equally boneheaded initiatives (ethanol being another one).

  • tomw

    Excuse me, but haven't these a*holes heard of interstate commerce? Without it, we'd all be so penurious it would be pathetic.
    The histrionics of these 'leaders' is laughable. Their knowledge of economics is sub atomic.

    Fools.

    tom