George Will: Some Legislators Rightly Aim to Claw Back Trade Power from the President

By Will, George | Deseret News (Salt Lake City), December 13, 2018 | Go to article overview

George Will: Some Legislators Rightly Aim to Claw Back Trade Power from the President


Will, George, Deseret News (Salt Lake City)


"You're the top! You're an Arrow collar.

You're the top! You're a Coolidge dollar.

You're the nimble tread of the feet of Fred Astaire,

You're Mussolini,

You're Mrs. Sweeny,

You're Camembert."

— A version of "You're the Top," Cole Porter (1934)

WASHINGTON — In the early 1930s, when Benito Mussolini was one of the world's most admired political figures, Franklin Roosevelt proclaimed in his first inaugural address that there might have to be a "temporary departure" from "the normal balance of executive and legislative authority" so that he could wield in domestic policy "broad executive power" as great as would be given to him were America "invaded by a foreign foe." Such was the allure of unfettered executive power, the Studebaker automobile company of South Bend, Indiana, marketed a model called the Dictator.

The Constitution vests in Congress the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations." For decades, however, Congress has granted vast trade discretion to presidents, for reasons of sloth (setting policy is work), prudence (taking responsibility is risky) and ideology (executive discretion is modern; the separation of powers is an anachronistic impediment to energetic government). Today, however, there is growing legislative resistance to some broad powers that presidents possess because legislators improvidently — and, arguably, unconstitutionally — delegated them to presidents, particularly regarding international trade. Those powers include the presidential imposition of taxes, which tariffs are, paid by Americans.

Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Doug Jones, D-Ala., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, have introduced legislation that would, they say — sacrificing candor to political delicacy — "better align" Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 with its "original intent," which was to enable presidential responses "to genuine threats to national security." The senators would require the Defense Department to justify the "national security" basis for tariffs. Imagine the generals and admirals today trying to explain the threat posed by imported automobiles and auto parts, or by steel and aluminum imported from nations (six of the top 10 sources of imported steel) that have mutual-defense agreements with America.

In 1903, Winston Churchill, then 28, warned (this is from Andrew Roberts' magnificent new biography) that by embracing protectionism the Conservative Party would "cause the lobbies to be crowded with the touts of protected industries." The Trump administration's protectionism has turned the Commerce Department — it is now an impediment to the activity that its name denotes — into a bazaar for such touts. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

George Will: Some Legislators Rightly Aim to Claw Back Trade Power from the President
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.