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Smoot-Hawley = Pace-Tapia

Apparently having failed to learn any lessons from the 1930s, Sen. Tapia and Rep. Pace have decided to sponsor HB 1328, which would:

Requires state agencies that purchase steel products to give a preference to such products produced in the United States if certain conditions are met.


Each governmental body shall Require that every contract for the construction, reconstruction, alteration, repair, improvement, or maintenance of public works contain a provision that, if any steel or foundry products are to be used or supplied in the performance of the contract or subcontract, only steel or foundry products made in the United States shall be used or supplied in the performance of the contract or any of the subcontracts unless the head of the governmental body determines in writing that the cost of domestic steel or foundry products is considered to be unreasonable.

The Smoot-Hawley Tariffs are rightly blamed for, if not bringing on the Depression, acting as a severely aggravating factor in its depth. This particular bill would permit US-made "steel products" to be up to 15% more expensive than the comparable foreign product, which would rise to 25% if the government found that such a purchase would "benefit the local or state economy through improves job security and employment opportunity." This ridiculously low standard is met pretty much by definition.

Worse, the language of the bill is so broad that "steel products" could include not merely steel and alloys as raw material, but also in machinery used to execute the contract. This is going to needlessly and perpetually complicate the act of executive such simple contracts as road-building.

Canada (rightly) threw a fit over proposed Congressional protectionism earlier in the year, and the US is now fixing an unnecessary mess with Mexico over a couple of dozen Mexican trucks plying the roads. I don't know if Canadian or Mexican law permits reprisals against products from individual American states, but I'm sure that legislation could be tailored to hit Colorado directly.

For the record, Canada and Mexico are Colorado's largest trading partners, to the tune of about $3 billion of Colorado exports a year:

Wonder how well that will benefit the local or state economy's job security and employment opportunity."

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