September 7, 2007
President Bush has signed the new legislation on CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States), the agency responsible for reviewing foreign acquisitions of United States companies. The new legislation goes in the wrong direction on all fronts: It gives Congress more say (it should have less); It widens the categories of companies that must be reviewed (the categories should be narrowed) and it has very general, open-ended categories ("critical infrastructure" and "critical technologies"), capable of political manipulation (the standards should be crisper and less susceptible to debate). The legislation will encourage local Congresspeople to protect local firms from foreign acquisitions to keep local citizens happy. What a mess. Why did Bush sign it?
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