Omnibusiness: Protection and Mexican Trucks

By March 6, 2009Labor Unions, Trade

From an editorial in today’s Washington Post, “Truck Stop,” about provisions in the omnibus appropriations bill to kill a cross-border trucking program, i.e., the ability of safety-inspected Mexican trucks to carry goods beyond a narrow strip of border territory:

The Mexican trucks compiled a safety record comparable to that of American rigs. Mexican participation was limited, however, because of the political uncertainty. And safety was always a smokescreen for the Teamsters’ real concern — economic turf — anyway. Now the Democratic majority on the Hill has slipped into the omnibus bill a provision killing the program. The provision seems certain to survive, given that the president supported such a measure when he was a senator; his transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, backed it as a member of the House.

When the U.S. economy needs all the help it can get, this legislation perpetuates inefficiency and invites Mexican retaliation against U.S. exports. To a world looking for signs that Democratic rule in Washington would not mean revived protectionism, this can only be a disappointment.

See our earlier post, “Protectionism, Bit by Bit, Mile by Mile


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