Opinion

We all pay thanks to the Empires of Collusion

Andrew Langer President, Institute for Liberty

The hustle and bustle of life is hard enough with work, family, and finances without someone actively making it more difficult. So it’s unfortunate that new evidence suggests a small cabal of special interests is totally disregarding the public’s interest.

We have previously warned Daily Caller readers that an emerging threat to consumers comes from international “green” NGO’s, one of America’s biggest trade union bosses, and a few self-interested company executives happy to feed off the public trough and still stick consumers with higher prices.

Now the Consumers Alliance for Global Prosperity (CAGP) has released a new report, “Empires of Collusion”, and launched the website PulpWars.com. The new campaign and report offer a way of looking at major international trade problems through the prism of just one industry (pulp and paper). Among the findings in “Empires of Collusion”:

●  Globally, green non-government organizations, domestic paper-based industries and unions representing workers are colluding to promote green protectionism. Collusion by green groups, unions and industry will not protect U.S. jobs. But it will increase costs for American businesses and for consumers.

●  U.S. paper companies Appleton Coated, NewPage, and Sappi — in cahoots with the United Steelworkers Union — have colluded and sought a dumping and subsidies complaint against Chinese and Indonesian imports. The final decision of the International Trade Commission to permanently establish tariffs is set to be announced shortly.

●  To support their application for these tariffs, unions have lobbied to have trade barriers introduced that would cut competition from other producers, particularly those in China. Meanwhile, the Dogwood Alliance, Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have colluded with industry and targeted big-box-store stationary retailers Office Depot, OfficeMax, and Staples to cease sourcing paper products from Asia.

This is partially an American problem. Companies like Sappi and NewPage have received billions of dollars of dubious “black liquor” tax credits from the U.S. Treasury (read: taxpayer coffers), and they are still happy to engage in protectionist behavior that allows them to increase their profit margins by imposing higher prices on consumers.

But it is also a global problem. Free enterprise and free trade are keys to global prosperity.

It’s time for the world to know that groups like Greenpeace, WWF, and United Steelworkers and paper companies like NewPage, Appleton, and Sappi are directly and purposefully raising prices for U.S. consumers and denying economic opportunity to the developing world.

It is time we as informed consumers start fighting back against the Empires of Collusion.

Andrew Langer is president of the Institute for Liberty, which recently launched the Consumers Alliance for Global Prosperity and PulpWars.com.