What makes a protectionist? Willingness to waste money, or true faith in the power of trade barriers?
Australia's foolish protectionism, when accompanied by base political calculation, makes for a policy mess.
While Canberra obsessed over strawberries and bullies, the Reserve Bank was flagging its concerns about the economy. This year, the list of negatives has narrowed.
Labor is waving through legislation that goes against its own policy, and is simultaneously worried about rising trade barriers but also wants to raise our own. Go figure.
Four years ago an Australian company demanded, and got, protectionism for its Victorian operations. It was a waste.
The Productivity Commission and its chairman Peter Harris have gone hunting for political sacred cows again, slamming protectionism, national security spending and handouts to business.
While the government gives itself a pat on the back for stopping Trump's tariffs hitting big Aussie companies, one small WA company has been overlooked, and is going to be smashed by US protectionism.
When our large trade deficit with the United States is held up as the reason we dodged Trump's tariffs, it's time to revisit some old claims about trade with the US.