Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders' War on Chinese Bobbleheads!

Why "Made in America" isn't always the best slogan to get behind.


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) officially launched his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday, vowing to kick-start a revolution that will change America "economically, politically, socially and environmentally." Back in 2011 Reason TV highlighted Sanders' misguided understanding of economics and why "Made in America" isn't always the best slogan to get behind. Original text is below. 

In the midst of a massive fiscal crisis, a take-no-prisoners budget battle, a historically long recession, and two (make that three) wars, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) knows what really matters.

He's pushing the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. to only sell bobble-heads, T-shirts, snow-globes, and other souvenirs that are made in America. After getting a letter from and taking a meeting with the self-described Green Mountain State socialist, the folks at the Smithsonian have agreed to increase the amount of domestically produced junk for sale in their gift shops. They're even constructing a new gift shop solely to products manufactured in America that will be called the Price of Freedom.

During a recent trip to the National Mall, found that such nativist grandstanding plays well with the man in the street, but CATO policy analyst Sallie James says protectionism doesn't come cheap. In fact, top-down attempts to keep Americans in low-level manufacturing jobs is a great way to ruin the economy, whether we're talking about Founding Father thimbles or higher-end electronics.

Produced by Joshua Swain, with help from Meredith Bragg, and hosted by Michael Moynihan.

Approximately 3 minutes.

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  1. “They’re even constructing a new gift shop solely to products manufactured in America that will be called the Price of Freedom.”

    Is that a passive-aggressive way of hinting that American-made goods are more expensive?

    1. I thought it meant that everything in that shop would go for “a buck oh-five”.

      1. A buck two-fiddy.

        1. VG,

          At any inflated price, many-maybe most- non-thinkers will agree that protectionism is a good idea. I know from experience that I either bore to death or anger some when I discuss this, but I get some understanding and agreement. Even then, though, only very rarely do I get the impression that the person feels as I do that the free enterprise argument is such a good, clear, clean, reasonable alternative to the gut level approved protectionist position. This site is well named-all of us have a hard fight, with ourselves, to stay reasonable while we try to reason with the often unthinking.

      2. Freedom isn’t free. No, there’s a hefty fuckin’ fee.

      3. No, that’s freedom. Freedom costs a buck oh-five. Trinkets are way more.

    2. I think that falls under the category of super-liminal

  2. Am I the only one in love with Sallie James?

    The real point is, when this policy is implemented, for every job gained making snow-domes and George Washington thimbles, one job is lost at making something that would be sold to the Chinese in return for the dollars that they would have earned making snow-domes and George Washington thimbles.

    No, I was right the first time. The real real point is, I’m in love with Sallie James.

    1. Sallie James is taking jobs away from American think-tank commenters.

    2. I second the love for Sallie James.

    3. Hey, I was in love with her First !!!!!111!!

    4. pretty+economist=smokin’ hot

      1. The accent doesn’t hurt.

    5. Oh, come on. She looks like the love child of Geddy Lee and a Grey alien.

      1. Just like the Force, never underestimate the appeal of a woman who understands economics.

        1. If she’s a gamer on top of that I’d bet Reasonoids would go past lust into worship.


      2. This is nonsense and you should feel bad.

        1. Well, okay. She does have nice eyes.

          1. She is attractive in every way. Do I detect a hint of…jealousy?

            1. Pish-posh, I say!

          2. She’s pretty cute for a girl who isn’t a crazy mouth-breathing femnazi. But, I don’t know, there’s just something about those woman who would be flinging feces in a mental asylum a few decades ago. They have a special kind of glow. Maybe it’s the meds

      3. you say that like it’s a bad thing

    6. This is why there are no so few ….

  3. If you’re not a socialist by age 20, you have no heart.

    If you’re still a socialist at 70, you have no brain.

    1. (attributed to Clemenceau)

    2. If you were ever a socialist for more than a few days, you are a moron.

  4. I want a Chinese bobblehead

    1. I thought those were called “happy endings”.

      1. Exactly!

      2. youre thinking of a Chinese gobblehead

    2. I want a Sallie James bobblehead.

  5. If Bernie were a decent Senator, he’d have all that stuff manufactured in Vermont.

    1. I call for a new Ben and Jerry’s flavor:

      Dumb Bernie Plum Journey – or something like that

  6. Bernie Sanders, now here’s a guy who’s supposedly going to run from president and who said something to the effect of ‘no one needs 23 different pairs of shoes’, thereby losing the vote of 50% of the population known as women. What a dumb shit and he’s not even started to campaign yet.

    1. Kevin Williamson had a great point regarding how stupid Sanders’ argument was. All the countries where you can buy 6000 kinds of shoes and 4000 kinds of deodorant are the same countries with the least amount of starvation and poverty. The countries where you have no choices in the kinds of shoes you want are the ones where children are starving and people live in thatch huts.

      Sanders is a fucking idiot.

      1. Sanders is a fucking idiot.

        That can not be said loudly or often enough.

        1. SANDERS IS A FUCKING IDIOT. (Is that better?)

          1. Bernie fell out of the stupid tree and hit every branch on the way down.

    2. Doesn’t he lose the gay vote with that comment too?

      1. If he were running, Hastert might pick up some gay votes.

        1. it probably goes without saying, but gays arent child molestors, and you a shitbag for insinuating they are.

          1. I made no insinuation. Having sex with a person of the same gender makes you gay (or bisexual). You are a shitbag for taking a SJW stance that gays cannot be child molesters.

          2. It goes without saying that high schoolers are not children, for the clinical definition of pedophilia.

  7. “….vowing to kick-start a revolution that will change America “economically, politically, socially and environmentally.”

    Socialists vows to turn America into a garbage-strewn wasteland whose inhabitants practice child cannibalism and are ruled over by an autocrat with an iron fist.

    Well, I don’t know about y’all, but I am sold.

    1. +1 toddler gumbo.

    2. Don’t worry, Suthen; Bernie’s got a five-year plan.

      1. At 4.5 years, you’ll get one left shoe, and it won’t fit.

        1. In Bernie Sanders’ world, it takes eight years of being on a list to get a car.
          So one day a citizen subject goes to the dealership to sign up for the eight year waiting list. The salesperson says, “Your car will be ready on May 30, 2023. Would you like to pick it up in the morning or afternoon?”
          The customer replies, “Morning. The plumber is coming in the afternoon.”

          1. i Laughed.

  8. Why is Bernie Sanders a racist who thinks Chinese workers making $2 a day should be forced to starve to death by having their jobs taken away?

    1. Progressives and socialists do not care about poor people, that’s why. They care about “fairness.” They’re children.

    2. He’s like a socialist, but only regarding people of one nationality. Like a… social nationalist? Or something like that.

      1. You know who else was a national socialist?

  9. I’m in love with Sallie James. Found her not only physically beautiful, but the amazing linguistic ability she possesses mixed with the fact she is the elusive Libertarian Female led me to compose a marriage proposal.

    Wouldn’t that be amazing, a marriage is spawned from the comments section where only death, trolling, pain, Bo and death normally arise.

    1. someone subpoena this guy!

  10. I’m fifthing this love for Sallie James. Her looks, clarity on the topic, and gentle-but-unmistakable snark is an awesome combination.

  11. I once heard someone complain that those tiny American flags you wave around on the Fourth of July aren’t made in America.

    It never quite occurred to him that no one would buy tiny American flags if they cost $6.00 apiece.

    1. “It never quite occurred to him that no one would buy tiny American flags if they cost $6.00 apiece.”

      Well they are $6 bucks, but that’s for a pack of 25.

      Seriously, I work in American manufacturing. The US is pretty competitive on a global scale. Clearly, the US concentrates on the capital intensive industries, but it’s not like everything made in the US is automatically more expensive.

  12. I can’t trust a word that comes out of her mouth. Everyone knows Australian is full of criminals, so I clearly can’t choose the wine in front of me.

    (Kidding. Sixthing)

    1. Inhale this, but do not touch.

    2. But they have great chocolate, especially for a place where everyone is fighting drop bears and spiders the size of your face on a daily basis.

  13. Of course a Socialist is for this kind of window-dressing crap. There was a time when Socialism could be taken for a serious political philosophy, but after the twentieth century – which taught us that rather then embracing Socialism we should play on the freeway, because it would hurt less – empty gestures is all Socialism has left.

    1. There has never been a time when Socialism was ever a serious political philosophy.

      Sure, there was a time when people *took it* seriously – and they still do. But it is and always has been a ‘dorm-room stoner’ political philosophy.

  14. Another thing people aren’t mentioning is that if we produced this shit in America we wouldn’t do so in as labor intensive a way as they do in China because of how expensive American labor is. We’d probably use a lot more machinery and a lot less labor for this kind of production.

    That means that globally you’d actually end up with far fewer jobs because you’re transferring production from a place where production is labor intensive to a place where it’s capital intensive.

    If this shit were produced here, it wouldn’t require much labor at all, so there’d hardly be any job “creation” anyway.

    1. We need to keep hammering home that jobs are a *cost*, not a benefit.

      1. Why? No one, and I mean no one that you’re trying to persuade will ever get that.

        Some things you need to conceded defeat on and let it go, because it really isn’t that important.

        1. Because is *hugely* important. Understanding that labor is a supply input like any other is fairly critical to understanding that the value provided by any employer is not the jobs or taxes it brings in but the *services or goods* it provides.

          Its important to understanding what capital *is for* and why McDonald’s will decide to automate its restaurants if they’re forced into a $15 minimum wage.

          It necessary to understand why building HSR is a bad idea and why digging out the track pathways with spoons does not make it a better one.

          1. this is a singularly terrible time to be raising minimum wage. those checkout machines at shaws aren’t an accident

    2. Everyone who wants to force “Made in America” products on businesses should be forced to buy only such. Then we’ll stop hearing this bullshit.

    3. I was thinking about this. The volume from a few government gift shops will not be very high vs. the Chinese factory who makes busts of national leaders for the entire globe.

      So, it will be even more expensive because you’ll be trying to create souvenirs with very low volume, and with high labor costs.

      And as they go up in price, consumers will buy less.

  15. . . . solely to [sell] products manufactured in America that will be called the Price of Freedom.

    The price of freedom comes at a 50% mark-up compared to our competitors.

    1. It isn’t the price of ‘freedom’. It’s the price of ”government regulations and other state imposed market distortions’.

      1. No, its the marginal cost of labor and the premium added to it through welfare programs.

        1. Welfare us also a market distortion.

          1. But its not a state *imposed* one.

      2. The third world labor jobs don’t have to subsidize Obamacare.

  16. The Smithsonian guys only said they would make an effort to have more goods made in the USA. Geez, Bernie, we tried but people preferred to pay $10.95 for a hat instead of $19.95.

    1. *dons thick northeastern accent*

      But paying twice as much for a product creates millions of American jobs!

      1. AND puts more money into the economy! Geeze, how do these wingnuts not understand this!?!?!?!?!?!?!
        /sarc (necessary since I’m not well known here)

        1. Good idea, since there are those who post here who bleeve that.

  17. Sallie James, can you be my soulmate? Why did you have to leave the Cato Institute?

  18. Nobody needs 23 (or more) flavors of Ben and Jerry’s. As a matter of fact, nobody needs more than one manufacturer of ice cream while childrenz are starving so maybe Vermont should force B&J to cease operating.

  19. Bring back AMERICAN buggy whips!!!

  20. It’s staggering that a man who understands nothing about how business works successfully wants to be president.

    1. Jerry Brown is like this, too.

    2. It almost seems to be a prerequisite

  21. My best friend’s mother-in-law makes $85 hour on the internet . She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her pay was $16453 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    Visit this website ?????

  22. Postrel will be upset.

  23. Wow, he even looks like a kook

  24. More Sallie James videos. She’s hot.

  25. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ??????

  26. Bernie is such an economic idiot, I sort of hope that he does get the Democat nomination to run for President. What a hoot. Buy local is in fact a Communist plot to ruin the industrial base of a country. I don’t think I’m making this up.

  27. what i don’t understand is why people think jobs are the goal. it wouldnt get any more “local” than everyone growing their own food and sewing their own clothes, but for some reason i don’t think that’s really ideal

  28. what does “more jobs” actually mean? more work. im personally a pretty big fan of laundry machines and dishwashers. what i think we need to do is figure out how we’re gonna deal with most of the world not needing to work, which i don’t think there’s any way to construe as a negative without stupid puritan moralizing. if a machine can do your job more efficiently, you still doing it is really just wasting resources. at some point it really will be cheaper to just give people money.

  29. The only problem with the draining out of any kind of jobs from the US is enviro-fascists refuse to allow the growth of productive jobs to counterbalance the effect of globalization. The US has to be good at SOMETHING, and produce natives who are good at SOMETHING to be able to trade within some reasonable balance with the rest of the world, keeping up our end of making everyone richer. Outputting thin-skinned shriekers out of our education systems, and forbidding the advancement of industrialization has us marked for a second world country within a half generation. Those dreaded millennials are already feeling the results of 40-50 years of watermelon socialism. An economy based on cheeseburgers, fantasy football, cheap clinics, and pills is not going to compete on the world stage.

  30. What the fuck is it with these socialist retards’ hostility to trade?


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