Bush's retaliatory "luxury goods" tax is about to make Roquefort cheese 300 percent more expensive -- a.k.a. entirely unaffordable.
The Bush administration's import duty on "luxury foods" -- a measure passed as bleachers were going up on the D.C. Mall for Barack Obama's inauguration -- kicks in next Monday, March 23. The measure calls for importers to pay up to 300 percent duty on a long list of comestibles bought from European producers, as this Washington Post piece notes.
The move is a response to the European Union declining to import U.S. beef because it's so jacked up with growth hormones -- which have been linked most recently to infertility, in a long line of maladies -- it would never pass inspection anywhere in the E.U. We're not sure what this measure was officially called by the former POTUS' trade representatives, but we're going to refer to it as the "I'm Rubber, You're Glue" Tax. Take that, stupid Europe!
So what does this mean for you, the American eater? Get ready to pay a lot more for everything from Irish oatmeal to French truffles and foie gras. Cheese heads will feel the sting most: Importers must pay a 300 percent duty on Roquefort, which -- as Murray's Cheese in New York notes -- will jump to about $30 a pound. Which means most retailers will stop buying it, pure and simple. (At least until Obama gets around to doing something about it.) On the plus side, we bet sales of American-made goods based on these foreign luxury foods will go up. So there's that.
Meantime, you have a week to buy as many delicious (and hormone-free) imported eats as you can! Once your Roquefort stockpile runs out, we recommend an earthy Wisconsin gorgonzola.