, “Turning green?”

April 30, 2008

Candidates’ views on oil and the climate

“Not much of Mrs Clinton’s plan would make a difference. Her suggestion that no more oil should now be added to America’s nearly-full Strategic Petroleum Reserve would have only a marginal impact. Hitting oil companies with windfall taxes may generate revenue, which Mrs Clinton wants to put into research for green technologies (and hopefully generating what she calls “green-collar” jobs in hard-hit rust-belt states). But higher taxes could also discourage exploration and investment, curtailing supply and driving up oil prices again. The most obvious thing that the government could do to lower oil prices would be to cut taxes, as Mr McCain and Mrs Clinton suggest. But this, of course, would encourage driving and would send more profits to the oil companies and to the exporting countries, “Who wants to trade?”

April 14, 2008

In an election year, American politicians are reluctant to talk about trade on its own merits

“Several factors are making trade a hard sell in America these days. One is a constant: the benefits of trade are spread fairly evenly around the economy; the costs, however, tend to show up more obviously on a few sectors, whose less competitive workers and producers will be disadvantaged by the deal. This gives politicians less clout when defending trade deals amid the cries of the afflicted. At the time of a credit-crunch, a mortgage crisis and general talk of recession, which has heightened economic anxieties, making the case for trade is harder still