Stampeding Toward Protectionism

The Democrats see import curbs as the path to political gain

As Senator William Cohen views it, Congress wants "to practice the Golden Rule." By striving to cut imports from countries thought to discriminate against U.S. products, says the Maine Republican, "we intend to do unto others what they do unto us." To President Reagan, however, the anti-import rumblings are sounds not of piety but of recklessness, the beginning of "a mindless stampede toward . . . economic disaster," as he put it at his news conference last week.

A stampede of some kind, anyway. Lawmakers have introduced more than 200 bills that would restrict imports in one way or another, and...

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