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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Washington Logic

Washington is a funny place, with its own unique "logic." It's a "company" town, the "company" being the federal government, the "product" being public policy. As a result, an odd sort of "thinking" is encouraged there. It's not like other places. Or it wasn't before the accelerating centralization of power in recent times.

A good example of Washington logic was featured on page one of Wednesday's Washington Post. Here is the headline:
A Quiet Break for Corporations
Tariff Suspensions, Often Initiated by Companies Based Overseas,
Keep Millions of Dollars From Flowing to the Treasury Each Year
The story explained that Congress has the power to pass three-year suspensions of tariffs on specific goods. The bills do not name the companies that would benefit from suspensions, but the Post learned that most of the lobbying is done by large foreign-based multinationals with American affiliates. As it reported, "Lawmakers usually introduce the provisions at the behest of companies in their districts. Many of those companies and their executives have given federal campaign contributions totaling millions of dollars."

Thus the newspaper presents tariff suspensions as examples of special-interest lobbying and legislation.

If you sense something screwy about this story, it's only because you are not using Washington logic.
Read the rest of this week's TGIF column at the website of the Foundation for Economic Education.

Cross-posted at Liberty & Power.

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