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In the course of the second presidential debate, Mitt Romney was asked to differentiate himself from the justifiably despised George W. Bush. The Republican presidential contender, who has surrounded himself with neoconservative heavy hitters – and has called Dick Cheney a “person of wisdom and judgment” – listed a number of inconsequential distinctions.

Left off was a distinction that reflects favorably on Bush. Like Mr. Obama, George W. Bush did not “label China a currency manipulator,” something Romney has promised to do on his first day in office. This dubious distinction, if anything, belongs to “the Clinton administration,” also the only administration to ever so do.

Labeling China a currency manipulator, to quote Mr. Romney, “would allow me as president to be able to put in place, if necessary, tariffs where I believe that they are taking unfair advantage of our manufacturers.”

The same executive-branch omnipotence allowed Barack Obama to go all-out on matters menstrual. Judging by the questions culled by moderator Candy Crowley, America’s female lobby wants a sugar daddy in the White House. Such sentiments, with their attendant wish lists, are easily gratified, given the plenary powers of the presidency.

Yes, feelings are Barack Obama’s forte; facts not so much. The president, poor man, is up a stream without a paddle. Obama is working with all he’s got. It’s hard to blame him for his inability to explain the inexplicable.

And it is this. On the topic of the imagined perils of the “Yellow Peril,” here’s what escaped Obama, who was as eager to impress voters with his me-too Sinophobia:

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The president’s Commerce Department has just slapped “tariffs ranging from about 34 to nearly 47 percent on most solar panels imported from” China.

The meddlers in Commerce had “determined that Chinese companies were benefiting from unfair government subsidies and were selling their products in the United States below the cost of production, a practice known as dumping.”

So now Uncle Sam is calibrating the “costs of production” around the world! Cui bono, pray tell? Or, translated: for whose benefit?

Clearly, the low “costs of production” outside the U.S. irk special interests stateside. The U.S. president – Democratic or Republican – enjoys a monopoly on the use of force over an enormous territory. Being the ultimate decider, he is at once willing and able to pick every pocket in this vast land of ours, be it for the ladies or for labor (the politically influential kind).

If you’re in the market for “cheap rooftop solar panels,” you might have to reconsider, because prices are about to go through the roof.

Similarly, if you’re in “the burgeoning business of installing cheap rooftop solar panels,” as hundreds of industries are – expect your enterprise to shrink or go under. All to keep local, politically efficient industries in the lap of luxury.

Indeed, tariffs, quotas, anti-dumping penalties, or any other trade barrier compel American consumers to subsidize less efficient local industries, making them the poorer for it.

Trade barriers are thus not in the overall interest of the American consumer, as they violate his freedom of contract and association.

Typically, anti-dumping penalties are imposed by the West on poorer nations to stop them from selling their wares bellow our market prices.

These protectionist policies are detrimental to less-developed and Third World countries, which gain advantage through the use of one of the few resources they have in abundance, their labor.

Ultimately, dumping is good for all cash-strapped consumers. Both the president and the incumbent flout freedom and flirt with fascism when they threaten to come between Americans and their cheap, Chinese consumer goods.

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