Saturday, October 23, 2004


Bush stands up for socks, bras and nighties

In 2002, George Bush slapped tariffs on steel to bolster Republican chances in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Yesterday he repeated the tactic by imposing an import quota on socks made in China. According to the Motley Fool,

whereas we imported fewer than 12 million pairs of socks from China in 2001, just two years later, in 2003, we imported around 264 million pairs -- that's nearly one pair of socks per pair of feet in America. American sock makers are claiming that the Chinese sock makers are able to price their socks especially low because of subsidies they enjoy and they're therefore making it hard for Americans to compete.

This follows upon a decision last November to impose quotas on "brassieres, nightgowns and knit fabrics." The Fool notes, "Economist Alex Tabarrok of George Mason University scratched his head about this as he typed, 'there is no domestic bra industry to protect.'"

Bush is trying to hold on in the South. The Fool says,

So who actually makes socks in America? Lots of people in Appalachia and the Southeast, among other places.

Since we know that Bush doesn't believe in taking such an action, it's a good indicator of how desperate he's feeling. The quota is to last only for a year. The Chinese should understand.

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