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Under Construction
Broadway in Oakland

December 4th, 2003

Conditions Change
Yes, yes, another long ugly eight hundred mile an hour day, what else do I ever talk about here (oh, dear)? Well something else, now that I've had an hour to unwind, take some nice Tylenol tablets and pour out a measure of whiskey.

Interesting to see the steel tariff lifted by Mr. Bush. The politics seem fascinating, Europe and Asia threatening to raise tariffs on precisely those products produced by states necessary for Bush to be re-elected. The steel producing states are important, but how to balance the two and make a judgement? As an old guy coming from a Democratic party tradition (who's essentially been an independent for the last thirty years - a curse on both houses), free trade was always considered a plus. This position is less popular now that manufacturing and now computer programming and adminisrative jobs are being outsourced to Asia (and everywhere else, from what we're hearing).

I'm not sure we should be against free trade, we clearly broke our agreements when we instituted the steel tariff and a trade war brings memories of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff that helped plung us into the Great Depression. This was a major topic in the seventies when I was majoring in Economics at the University of Washington: do you run deficits to stimulate an economy during a downturn? The Republicans said not, the Democrats yes. Nobody believed you give a tax break to the very rich to stimulate an economy because they wouldn't spend the money and you didn't stifle free trade if you wanted growth. The economics of lowering tariffs still seem persuasive: free trade will lead to greater world wealth and production, but at what cost short term, mid term, any term to the US economy? I have no idea and I suspect I won't live long enough to learn, but I'm willing to bet there are surprises coming. For all of us. Opinions will change as conditions change. Here in Oakland.

The photograph was shot on Broadway in Oakland with a Nikon F3 and 50mm f 1.2 Nikon (Nikkor) lens on Kodak TMAX 400.