CEI Today: Trade war - China, Virginia's bad transportation plan, and regulation strangling the economy


Obama Administration Errors Set The Stage For The First Green Trade War


Trade wars benefit nobody, but we may need to brace for one soon. This month, China is set to decide on whether to place a tariff on U.S. chemical imports—specifically polysilicon—used in the solar cell manufacturing process. Chinese polysilicon producers accuse the U.S. of dumping said chemicals onto the Chinese market. If the Chinese do impose a tariff, American polysilicon producers will lose access to a significant market while the cost of solar panels will rise significantly everywhere—making everyone a loser. Yet this bad outcome is likely because the Obama administration has already fired shots in what could become the world’s first “green” trade war. > Read the full commentary on Forbes.com

> Interview the authors

> Follow Iain Murray on Twitter


Richmond Times Dispatch: McDonnell’s transportation plan veers off-course

Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation plan has earned critics on both the left and right. On the left, many are upset the governor’s plan would transfer general revenue funds to transportation — funds that otherwise would go for government services liberals support. On the right, Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, has blasted McDonnell’s support for a sales tax increase and a new Internet sales tax. But neither of these critiques addresses the McDonnell plan’s core problem — one which the plan ignores.

A better-balanced approach to transportation funding would center on preserving and strengthening the user-pays approach with modern technology and practices. All-electronic tolling should be greatly expanded, as it doesn’t face its technological ancestors’ collection cost disadvantage relative to fuel taxes. > Read the full commentary on Timesdispatch.com

> Interview Marc Scribner



Daily Caller: Overregulation, not phantom spending cuts, caused economy to shrink in fourth quarter

Last Tuesday, The Conference Board — a private group that measures consumer confidence —announced that consumer confidence had plummeted in January. One day later, the Department of Commerce reported that the U.S. economy had actually contracted by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. Then on Friday, the Labor Department announced that the unemployment rate had ticked back up to 7.9 percent.

The establishment media and liberal politicians, including President Barack Obama, either downplayed the news or blamed phantom “spending cuts.” Hardly anyone brought up the dramatic increase in regulation over the last few years and the fear that President Obama’s re-election opens the door to a massive onslaught of red tape.


> Interview John Berlau


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