Obama: Protectionist or strategist?

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Willem Buiter and Anne Sibert say “Barack Obama’s proposal is reactionary, populist, xenophobic and just plain silly.”

Jagdish Bhagwati describes Obama as a saavy strategist:

Mr Obama has smartly seized John Kerry’s proposal to remove the incentive to invest abroad and has gone further by proposing that those who invest at home will be given a tax incentive. It is dubious that this proposal will survive challenges from existing bilateral and World Trade Organisation agreements, or can achieve much when other countries can do the same. It is exactly the sort of policy that a constituency fearful of losing jobs demands but, by meeting that demand, President Obama would be left free to abandon the anti-trade rhetoric and embrace the multilateral free trade that has served the American and the world interest so well.

But won’t publishing the machination’s workings in the Financial Times spoil the ruse?

HT: Muse

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