A few short days after the New York Times uploaded wikileaks detailing massive government intervention on behalf of Boeing in foreign nations, the US Department of Commerce decides to levy a 70% percent duty on Chinese oil drills. The reason? China was unfairly subsidizing its steel industry, which gave it an unfair competitive advantage over US producers.
One of the more famous complainants is the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, also known as the AFL-CIO-CLC, a major union with 12.2 million members. While the AFL-CIO-CLC might have a problem with China subsidizing their steel industry they seem perfectly fine with asking their own government for money. While decrying the use of the TARP funds for Wall Street, they asked the government to redirect those funds to “small and medium” businesses many of which would include union members. They also backed the $787 billion stimulus bill, which directly subsidized American steel companies.
No one can blame the union for looking out for its own interests, but pretending to be appalled by China’s subsidies is a bit hypocritical – both for the unions and the U.S. government.