The Oregon congressman and Utah senator were widely reviled for drafting a protectionist bill in 1930 blamed for triggering the Great Depression. Until now
Can Donald Trump hear them? Alone in the Oval Office in the wee dark hours, illuminated by the glow of his Twitter app, can the president detect whispering voices? Does he feel the sudden chill flowing from those freshly hung gold drapes? It is the shades of Smoot and Hawley.
Willis Hawley and Reed Smoot have haunted Congress since the 1930s when they were the architects of the Smoot-Hawley tariff bill, among the most decried pieces of legislation in US history and a bill blamed by some for not only for triggering the Great Depression but also contributing to the start of the second world war.
Pilloried even in their own time, their bloodied names have been brought out like Jacob Marleys ghost every time America has taken a protectionist turn on trade policy. And America has certainly taken a protectionist turn.