I’m not sure that chutzpah is a term applicable to government agencies, but, if it is, this is chutzpah. The International Trade Commission announced that it is investigating how

Cuban non-tariff measures, Cuban institutional and infrastructural factors, and other Cuban barriers … inhibit or affect the ability of U.S. and non-U.S. firms to conduct business in and with Cuba.

Say what? The U.S. has imposed an almost total embargo on all trade with Cuba for more than 50 years and now the U.S. is worried about the impact that Cuban non-tariff trade barriers have had on U.S. trade with the island? This is not much different from foxes complaining about chicken wire after they’ve already slipped through it and eaten all the chickens.

Not surprisingly, partisan politics is behind this insanity. The ITC investigation was originally opened at the behest of Democratic Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, who asked that the ITC investigate the impact that the U.S. embargo on Cuba had on U.S. trade with Cuba. When Republican Orrin Hatch took over the Senate Finance Committee, he was not having any of that and asked the ITC to also look at Cuba’s restrictions on U.S. trade.

Your tax dollars at work.