Walter E. Williams

It'd make better economic sense for Congress to pass an Aid to Dependent Steelworkers Act, whereby we'd tax ourselves so as to give each of those 1,700 steelworkers, whose jobs were saved, $100,000 year so they might take off and live in a nice beachfront condo in Florida or Bermuda. While less costly to Americans than President Bush's steel tariffs, it has no political future. The handout would make the protectionist policies apparent and hence repulsive to most Americans.

Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution says Congress has the authority "To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes." It wasn't the Framers' intent to give one group of Americans, such as those in the steel industry, the power to use Congress tax other Americans.

When Congress creates a special advantage for some Americans, it must of necessity come at the expense of other Americans. Those Americans who're harmed, such as steel-using industries, descend on Congress, asking for some kind of relief for themselves. It all reminds me of a passage from Marcus Connelly Cook's play "Green Pastures," wherein God laments to the Angel Gabriel, "Every time Ah passes a miracle, Ah has to pass fo' or five mo' to ketch up wid it."

I think Congress ought to get out of the miracle business.

Walter E. Williams

Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of George Mason University as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of 'Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination?' and 'Up from the Projects: An Autobiography.'
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