Playing Politics with Protectionism

As part of his recent “to-do list” presented to Congress, President Obama suggested that one useful form of economic stimulus would be to “stop rewarding companies who ship jobs overseas, and use that money to cover moving expenses for companies that are moving jobs back here to America.” It’s hard to disagree that this proposal sounds like good politics, but it’s also very bad policy.

As he is wont to do, the president is offering a piece of legislation that he and his party have proposed multiple times before. Democrats in the House and Senate have attempted to introduce numerous bills, such as the Offshoring Prevention Act of 2011, that would strip companies of tax deductions for operations performed overseas and offer tax credits to companies that hire American workers to replace overseas employees.

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