Thursday, August 2, 2007


More than 1,000 economists opposed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act when it was enacted in 1930 because they feared the economic impact. The economists of that era didn't have blogs, so their gripes were heard only through a petition that ran in The New York Times.

Now a new generation of economists (1,028 of them, the same as in 1930) is worried about U.S. protectionist chatter aimed at China. Today, led by The Club For Growth, they voiced their concerns in a petition that was published it in The Wall Street Journal. But the economists also have blogs and they're not afraid to use them.

Club blogger Andy Roth has been tracking their commentary all day. Click these links to see what following economists have to say about the issue: Daniel Drezner; Arnold Kling; Larry Kudlow; Don Luskin; and Greg Mankiw, a former chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisors;

The prominently placed petition, and perhaps the blogging as well, already have had an impact. At last count, Roth put the number of economists who support the petition at 146.

Max Sawicky of the Economic Policy Institute, on the other hand, has been knocking names off the list. And Brad DeLong, an economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, said "this Club For Growth petition is bad juju."

Plus the people with votes in Congress don't appear to be listening to the petitioning economists any more today than they did in 1930. CongressDaily reported this afternoon that the Senate Banking Committee voted 17-4 to give the administration more tools to pressure China to let its yuan rise in value.

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