Election 2016

Donald Trump Says NAFTA "Destroyed" America. Yeah, No.

Both Republicans and Democrats are now openly hostile to free trade. That ain't good, folks.

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Reason

Among the many odd turns in the presidential election season is the unanimity among the remaining candidates that anything that smacks of free trade—or perhaps more accurately, freer trade—has done more damage to the United States than just about anything since the Civil War. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders has always pushed a hard-core, unapologetic protectionist line, whether he's talking about making cars or bobbleheads of the Founding Fathers. Hillary Clinton (whose husband we'll get to in a sec) dithered for a bit on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade deal started under George W. Bush that she unfailingly promoted as Barack Obama's Secretary of State, before saying she was against.

The Republicans still running—Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich—scorn the TPP without seeming to know much about it, or their recent past. It took Rand Paul in an early debate to point out to the Donald that China was not part of the deal. Indeed, the whole point of the deal is to get around a dozen countries to work together to limit Chinese economic power. Oh well. Cruz was in favor of it for a while, just like he was in favor of Trade Promotion Authority, a negotiating tool that every president has used for every major trade deal over the past several decades. Kasich, the governor of a Rust Belt state that consistently ranks with Michigan in terms of job loss and sluggishness, has actually called for "fair trade," a euphemism for protectionism.

And so it shouldn't have been much of a surprise when Donald Trump called out the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) as the cause of all today's economic miseries. Here you go:

I call her Crooked Hillary. She's crooked. She'll be a horrible president. She knows nothing about job creation. Her husband signed NAFTA, which destroyed this country economically, I will tell you. You look at New York state, you look all over New England, you look at Pennsylvania, NAFTA was a disaster, her husband signed it. And it was a disaster for this country.

That trade deal, inked in the early 1990s, eased trade and other relations among the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Like TPP, it started under one president (Bush) and was concluded under another one from an opposing party (Bill Clinton). Those of us of a certain age will even remember an incredible debate when Al Gore—last seen in these pages fretting over dirty Prince lyrics and Satanism in popular culture during a 1985 Senate hearing—destroyed insurgent presidential candidate H. Ross Perot in a debate on free trade. On CNN's Larry King Live, of all places:

So, was the effect of NAFTA on the American economy? Correlation doesn't mean causation, yadda yadda yadda, but when NAFTA was passed unemployment was 6.7 percent; in 2008, before the recession kicked into high gear, it was under 5 percent. As Steve Chapman noted further in 2008, in the decade and a half after we loosened our borders with Mexico and Canada, the U.S. created a net total of 25 million jobs. And while it's true that manufacturing jobs—which had already been declining in the U.S. for decades—continued to slide, "average blue-collar worker's wages and benefits, adjusted for inflation, have risen by 11 percent under NAFTA."

Writing in the context of the 2008 campaign between Hillary Clinton and Obama, Chapman asked "Why are these people so ashamed of NAFTA?" It's still a question, except it's not just Democrats who bothered by NAFTA these days. Everyone running for president has a problem with Mexican goods or people, it seems. And what's even weirder is that Trump—again, who didn't even realize that TPP was an attempt to hem in China, not capitulate to it—seems to think that NAFTA makes companies more likely to move to China or something. This was also a talking point of Clinton back in 2008.

The death of the free-trade Democrat—since Bill Clinton and Al Gore, the species has effectively gone extinct—is bad. The death of free-trade Republicans, as evinced by the various anti-trade, anti-China, anti-Mexico, anti-immigrant sentiments voiced by Trump, Cruz, and Kasich may just well signal not just the closing of American borders but American minds to the benefits of trade and globalization.

As Ronald Bailey documented for Reason last year, "globalization is good for you." The general and ongoing reduction in trade barriers and loosening of migration restrictions since the end of World War II not only resulted in a 30-fold increase in the amount of goods and services trafficked around the globe, it has led to longer lives, fewer wars, less child labor, emancipation of women, higher incomes, less poverty, and faster economic growth. On that last point:

A 2008 World Bank study, "Trade Liberalization and Growth: New Evidence," by the Stanford University economists Romain Wacziarg and Karen Horn Welch, found that trade openness and liberalization significantly boost a country's rate of economic growth.

The authors noted that in 1960, just 22 percent of countries representing 21 percent of the global population had open trade policies. This rose to 73 percent of countries representing 46 percent of world population by the year 2000. The study compared growth rates of countries before and after trade liberalization, finding that "over the 1950–98 period, countries that liberalized their trade regimes experienced average annual growth rates that were about 1.5 percentage points higher than before liberalization" and that "investment rates by rose 1.5–2.0 percentage points."

Protectionism doesn't just lend itself to ugliness (recall Trump's characterization of Mexicans as rapists, drug dealers, and worse). It creates a poorer world. And now that the leading candidates of both parties are channeling the inner Smoot-Hawleys, we've got a lot work in front of us on this score.

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192 responses to “Donald Trump Says NAFTA "Destroyed" America. Yeah, No.

    1. When Jesus was in Egypt’s land
      Let my factory go…

  1. I can’t believe that we have to defend comparative advantage in 2016. That alone ought to serve as a disproof of any beneficent god.

    Confession time: A small dark parts of me wants to see this buffoon as President.

    1. Guess which candidate at this point is the MOST likely to support free trade? Hmmm?

      So which candidate should a libertarian who cares about free markets support?

      Wait, I actually said “libertarian who cares about free markets”? Why the fuck so I have to even say that?

      1. Guess which candidate at this point is the MOST likely to support free trade? Hmmm?

        The answer is none of them, right?

      2. Is the answer Gary Johnson?

        1. It’s Austin Peterson, and the ladies are constantly macking on him because of it. Go ahead, ask him, he’ll tell you.

        2. Ok, let’s say which candidate who has a shot at winning?

          And the answer is (ugh) Hillary Clinton.
          So a big fuck you to every single libertarian who couldn’t understand why people were shitting their pants over Trump. Fuck you very much.

        3. Ok, let’s say which candidate who has a shot at winning?

          And the answer is (ugh) Hillary Clinton.
          So a big fuck you to every single libertarian who couldn’t understand why people were shitting their pants over Trump. Fuck you very much.

          1. I can’t believe anyone who’s seen Idiocracy wouldn’t understand the fear of Trump.

    2. Hey, I know I’d rather be sweating with a shovel in my hand than managing my accounts on a computer! Not you? /s/
      Do these people know what factory work was?

      1. The past was always better, the future will always be worse.

      2. Precisely. It’s just like how very few people who romanticize the small farmer have ever chainsawed a steer carcass in half.

        1. Rousseau ranks right up there with Marx in peddling pernicious myths.

          1. I don’t see how Marx is possible without Rousseau, but then again my philosophy knowledge sucks at best.

            1. Rousseau was one of Pol Pot’s “inspirations.”

              1. Coincidentally, I am reading a book about Pol Pot at the moment and have just gotten to the point where he begins learning about Rousseau and the French Revolution. It is fascinating.

                1. Amazon link?

            2. Rousseau was the godfather of Marx and Engels as far as I am concerned. Social Contract and all that jazz.

          2. Marx was in favor of free trade because it destroys societies:

            But, in general, the protective system of our day is conservative, while the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution. It is in this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, that I vote in favor of free trade.

            http://www.marxists.org/archiv…..ct/quotes/

            1. Marx was in favor of free trade because it destroys societies:

              It also creates new, better societies, while protectionism shields the privileged few at the expense of the hapless many. Marx was an idiot.

    3. A small dark parts of me wants to see this buffoon as President

      Can’t that apply to either one at this point?

      1. Touche.

        TURMP would have the advantage of having little-to-no respect from the media and from anyone who can read without moving their lips. That alone would make him more fun than Hilary, even if she didn’t have a gift for sucking the fun out of any room she’s in.

        1. Yeah, i’d rather see Trump than Hillary, unless SMOD is on the ballot too.

          1. I know Hillary is a horrible, corrupt person who will do her best to further destroy the economy and further involve the country unwinnable wars.

            I assume Trump is the same, but Hillary is a known quantity.

            1. Any hope I had for Trump to not aspire to achieve an incredible level of suck was mitigated by his inclusion of Giuliani, Chris Christie, and those types into his world.

            2. Trump will make us think that crony capitalism never really existed until he took office.

              He may leave office the first trillionaire.

        2. Some similarly small dark part of me (oh, let’s admit it = its ALL I AM) projected itself into a “Hillary is President” future and found it surprisingly unchanged from the present.

          The main difference as i see it is she might actually be better at “growing the libertarian brand” as there would be some clear Evil Force to rail against. Also, something tells me that she might go down in a ball of flames before her term is up.

          I lack the imagination to foresee how the Trump-future would pan out.

          1. I tend to think the same thing about Hillary, with the addition that she is so corrupt and venal that she’s likely to be more concerned with enriching herself than in getting a whole lot done.

            1. She will also appoint SCOTUS justices who will gladly overturn the first amendment and second amendment.

              1. This is the only reason I can find to care… But then I find myself believing that Trump might select equally horrid SCOTUS noms.

    4. “I can’t believe that we have to defend comparative advantage in 2016”

      Dude, we have to argue against legitimate Marxists in 2016. There is no hope. We are doomed.

      1. There are people in this world who have satellite dishes on the aide of their homes and believe the Earth is flat.

  2. And this is why I abhor and loathe all so-called “libertarians” who supported or tolerated the Trump phenomenon. Those traitorous cunts have aided and abetted the destruction of the political consensus in favor of free trade, and central plank of the modern free market economy.

    1. And this is why I abhor and loathe all so-called “libertarians” who supported or tolerated the Trump phenomenon.

      They can call themselves whatever they like, but the truth will–and has–out.

      1. So, what? It’s too late. The only good thing that might come out of this is that the Democrats might re-brand themselves as the pro-free-trade party and then left-libertarians will be slightly less screwed. This is in my imaginary fantasy, of course, because why wouldn’t the D’s just go full retard on trade now that there is literally no opposition?

    2. There is a reason I’m mean to them.

      And there’s a reason they get so huffy when you call them stupid, incidentally.

      1. “And there’s a reason they get so huffy when you call them stupid, incidentally.”

        There’s also a reason they’re obsessed with the words ‘cuckold’ and ‘beta.’ The whole thing is projection. Tons of them are not educated, not capable of competing in a knowledge economy, and realize that in the modern economy *they are the failures.* They then base their entire political ideology on calling everyone else betas and cucks because…they’re the betas and cucks of modern society and are projecting their failures onto everyone else.

        1. His supporters deserve to be savaged. There’s no treating with these people: there’s no engaging them on substance, they’re cultists in thrall to a con artist. Don’t try to pander to them, don’t try to explain anything, if they can’t understand the delegate process, they’ll never understand the value of trade. Write them off. Let them stew in the statistical disenfranchisement of permanent minority status.

        2. It’s not a coincidence that Bernie and Trump’s core message is “it’s not your fault”. Losers are big nowadays.

          1. I blame The Biggest Loser for making losers out to be heroes. EAT THE DAMN DONUT AND DIE HAPPY, FATTY

            1. Fat people aren’t happy. Their apparent jolliness is a byproduct of continual fat-fuck strokes paralyzing their facial muscles. The more you know ™.

              1. Still, donuts are pretty tasty.

                1. Donuts make me happy…

          2. I was a loser before it was cool.

      2. Calling a Trump supporter ‘stupid’ is like pushing over someone with muscular dystrophy: you’re calling attention to their shortcomings in a public and humiliating way.

        1. Say, that sounds like fun. *shoves Hugh down a staircase*

    3. Tolerating or not the trump phenomenon seems to me irrelevant. “the political consensus in favor of free trade” has not been and never was driven by the force of libertarian ideas but by the logic of what and how various political factions could take from the goodies of an expanding pie. There has always been a free-rider problem among political factions regarding who would invest in selling freer markets and who could gain. After various decades of FTAs, there do not appear to be obvious, large gains to be had – at least in the short run, which is the only run to politicians – that might yield a sufficiently large take to be shared among political market makers. The recent deterioration of the so-called political consensus is part of a cycle and the present low ebb in keenness for open markets in general has come after about a decade of growing indifference of the political classes for selling it. The TPP might still go through, but owing more to inertia than to enthusiasm.

      1. After various decades of FTAs, there do not appear to be obvious, large gains to be had

        I disagree. But I think the gains have been distributed while the costs have been more localized, making it easier to build coalitions against free trade than coalitions that are for it.

        1. It’s a universal problem with democracy. It is always easier to build political coalitions that benefit the few at the expense of the many.

          1. Like social security and medicare? Free shit requires the majority to steal from the minority. I understand your point about trade but it’s really a case of diffuse benefits vs. proximal pain.

  3. We didn’t already know Trump was a fucko when he decided tariffs were a good idea right along side Sanders? This strikes me as non-news. Trump is the literal definition of a Republican In Name Only. The only thing he’s proof of is that Democrats are so popular they even win in Republican primaries.

    1. One of Reagan’s signature accomplishments from a libertarian standpoint was the 1986 Tax Act, which cut rates, allowed brackets to increase with inflation, and eliminated loopholes that had accumulated over decades to favor cronies. According to The Donald, this accomplishment was a “catastrophe”.

      http://twitchy.com/gregp-3534/…..democrats/

    2. No, he appeals to the conservative base avcording to nick. Oh and he’s destroying the party at the same time. Reconciliation of dry water is left as an exercise for the reader.

  4. Want to meet a girl? Welcome to http://goo.gl/mxiosK
    the Best adult Dating site!

    1. Is she a free-trade girl? Asking for a friend.

      1. Free-trade girl == working girl? Also asking for a friend.

  5. NAFTA PWN’D by TRMP.

  6. It’s not clear to me whether Hillary and Trump really believe trade is bad or they are merely playing to the idiocy of the crowd. They can spout all of the blustery protectionist garbage they want on the campaign trail, but once they are in the Oval Office and no longer accountable for what they say or do, I doubt they will muster the political will to divest from trade agreements. I mean, I’m sure Trump will call up the President of China and tell him that the US is pulling out of NAFTA before one of his aides explains that a) the US President doesn’t have the authority to do that and b) China’s not a member of NAFTA.

    1. How do you play it otherwise with a public that thinks all that quality, cheap shit made in China laying around their house is a bad deal? Those gooks are making stuff we want! Build a wall!

      1. Clearly not enough people remember the crap cars coming out of Detroit in the 1970s, after which the only way forward was to let in Japanese imports. And boy, did cars suddenly get better. Lesson: rely on entrenched unionized Americans to make stuff for you, and suffer your inevitable fate – crap sandwiches all around.

        1. I know Hillary is a union shill, but as a developer I would like to think Donald knows a thing or two about the unpleasantness of dealing with thieving unions.

        2. They didn’t suddenly get better. The Big Three improving their line-up in the face of lethal competition from overseas is something they had to be dragged towards kicking and screaming.

          1. Ahem, I was referring to the pool of cars generally available to the American people getting better — in other words, they got better because now you could buy reliable Japanese cars. I agree that it took a very long time for the Big Three to catch up — and they still really haven’t, though they’ve much improved.

    2. “It’s not clear to me whether Hillary and Trump really believe trade is bad or they are merely playing to the idiocy of the crowd.”

      Trump has been obsessed with the Yellow Peril since the early 80s when he was losing his shit over Japan. He actually is this retarded.

      1. Yes, let’s not forget this isn’t the first time he ran for President. And he was just as bad on trade the first time around. Why would anyone think he is faking it?

    3. First of all NAFTA IS NOT FREE TRADE.

      I is a trade agreement. My personal business took a hard hit because mY Mexican customers no longer needed me and could come in and buy what they needed duty free to resell but I couldn’t ship the product, duty free, into Mexico and sell direct to the Mexicans.

      Also Trump doesn’t believe in starting a trade war. Trump doesn’t believe in 90% of what is coming out of his mouth. Trump is playing a role. Trump says what he thinks his audience wants to hear. He has taken his reality show experience onto the campaign trail and equates polls with ratings.

      He is rihht this minute giving a foreign policy speech and is directly contradicting his previously stated positions in debates about a foreign policy position.

  7. Ending free trade, combined with a fifteen-dollar minimum wage, will eradicate poverty in this country.

    You heard it here first.

    1. but it makes so much sense.

    2. “You heard it here first.”

      Ha! Fat chance! You don’t live in San Francisco.
      Oh, and you forgot that not only is free trade horrible, but the US has been strangling the Cuban economy forever by not trading with them, mister smarty pants!

  8. Yeah. No.

    Why the fuck did this have to become a thing. There are so many better ways to convey smug douchebaggery.

    1. Give ’em, a brake. Gotta raise their millennial street cred somehow.

    2. There are so many better ways to convey smug douchebaggery.

      LOL. Sure there are, smart guy. Why don’t you strap on your big boy shoes and share with us all of the better ways to convey smug douchebaggery? You probably can’t though, can you? Noooooooo, not you. Get over yourself, loser.

      1. Hey, fuck you, pal!

        1. He’s not your pal, buddy.

          1. He’s not your buddy, friend.

    3. Yeah. No.

      It’s a far more dignified response than Trump deserves.

      1. Yeah. No.

    4. Yeah, No. it means “Yes, I understand you. No, I don’t agree.”
      It’s not that complicated.

      1. Gee thanks. I had no idea.

        PS – even your comment was a better conveyance of smug douchebaggery.

  9. Free trade between two entities without full employment across the board merely serves to export unemployment to the location with the higher costs of production – see New York, Texas, California dynamic for a real-life example. As a knock on effect, the people in the area that lost out blame the trade. As a knock-on effect of this, it makes it easier to cultivate fear and resentment. This has manifested in the free stuff brigade and the absurd policies like the $15 minimum wage, which only exacerbates the issue, but are short-termist, feel-good policies that buy votes and set up the electorate to fail and fall for the same agitation next time around.

    People are not as mobile as the arguments lobbed around the commentariat assume. Otherwise New York would have emptied out more completely by now. there’s a threshold of what it will take to cause a given person set of persons to risk the uncertainty. This threshold varies depending on individual consiterations. (ie the person who complains endlessly and can leave but says because of ‘family’).

    That said, Free Trade + a regulatory state is just as disastrous as open borders + welfare state. The free trade is no more blameless than the open border, but should never be argued in isolation.

    My last question to spur thought – where were those jobs actually created within this country?

    1. Isn’t free trade plus a regulatory state anything but free? I’m not saying you’re wrong, frankly that all seems pretty correct, but I hesitate to agree with that one portion without at least asking the question.

    2. Steel tariffs don’t increase prosperity, no matter how many local jobs they save.

      1. Incorrect. Tariffs do increase local prosperity.

        The only argument against tariffs is that they don’t increase overall prosperity, as in they aren’t good for the world as a whole. When you’re talking about competitive countries its not a zero sum game. Tariffs are the tools to balance to your side’s favor.

        1. Making your citizens pay more for goods does not increase their prosperity.

        2. You really need to read up on comparative advantage.

        3. Tariffs do increase local prosperity stagnation.

          If the steel mill closed because it couldn’t compete, then the problem is not the competition.

        4. You’re just picking winners among sellers and buyers. Socialist.

        5. My brother has a fetish for localism. I tried explaining to him that, yes, the producers from whom he buys are better off for his charity, but he’s beggaring himself to the extent that he enjoys less product, or even an inferior product, than he otherwise would. Tangible material wealth is being destroyed in that exchange to subsidize inefficient producers. Of course, consumption is not wholly about materialism: there’s a psychic premium (I guess) to buying from neighbors, although why neighbors are more deserving of his dollars than strangers is a question left unanswered. But that doesn’t make it economically beneficial.

          1. why neighbors are more deserving of his dollars than strangers is a question left unanswered

            Because people are social animals? You might as well ask why people support their local sports team instead of some random team on a different continent.

            1. I can understand wanting to support people you actually know. But what I don’t really understand is why buying from someone in the same country, or even in the same town, is superior to buying from a foreigner. In both cases you don’t actually know the person from whom you’re buying.

              1. Even if you don’t know them personally, most people more easily identify with them. Like Rhywun said, we are social animals, and we tend to support those we perceive as belonging to our social group.

                1. But individuals in every culture around the world share similar traits with which we can all identify, such as trying to make an honest living. Why can’t Americans identify with poor Chinese trying to better their lots in life?

                  1. Why can’t Americans identify with poor Chinese trying to better their lots in life?

                    Because they look different, speak different, eat different, pray different…

                    Not to mention the fact that they are a distant abstraction for most people, whereas the farmer down the road is someone you can see at the market.

                    I don’t find the “buy local” argument personally compelling, but then I’m a libertarian. On average, we tend to be less concerned with group loyalty than a lot of people. Even if I don’t totally buy into it, I understand where others are coming from.

                    1. In understand these points, but I just think they are so shallow. I mean, how is buying steel from some American I will never meet, see, or hear any different from buying the same product from a non-American I will never meet, see, or hear? OK, the first is an American. But so the fuck what? Maybe he’s a wife beater. Maybe he enthusiastically votes to raise my taxes or dictate with whom I can or cannot do business. So why would I be pleased to allow him to extract economic rent from me?

                      One doesn’t need to be a libertarian to see that “Buy American” rationales of “solidarity” or “patriotism” are just incredibly silly.

                    2. I think it sounds silly until I find myself high-fiving or hugging some guy at a sports bar who is wearing some of the same colors that I am. Then I realize that I buy into shallow, superficial tribalism, too.

                      I recommend reading Haidt’s The Righteous Mind. I wasn’t convinced by all of it, but he does a good job of illustrating different attitudes about this and other moral traits.

                    3. Thanks for the recommendation.

                2. Members of the same fraternal order (in at least some fraternal orders) favor each other in biz, formally or informally.

              2. For one buying from a local producer increases the chances of that money circulating locally.

                My Economy 101 told a story. Yours may have told a similar one.

                In the Wild West days a gambler bought a stagecoach ticket to another town with one night stopover with meal included. After dinner the gambler asked the hotel clerk to put his only $20 gold piece in the safe overnight. The clerk did so and began to think about his bill at the dinner. He used the coin to pay that bill. The dinner owner then used it to pay his bill at the general store, the store owner paid the blacksmith with it and the the blacksmith paid his hotel bill and the clerk put the coin in the safe.

                Next day the gambler and the coin left town but everyone left behind was debt free.

                If the gambler had taken the coin straight to the foreign town they would all still be in debt.

                1. That story has fuck-all to do with local trade and everything to do with the fact that the townspeople don’t seem to have any liquid assets, or any ability to get together and trade debts. At the end of the story, they are no richer than they were before: they have no more assets and no more liquidity than they ever did, so I have no idea what they’re going to do the next time they need dinner or supplies or iron goods or a night’s hotel stay.

                  The story could just as well continue, “…but when the gambler took the coin to the next town, they recognized it as a worthless forgery.” Hmm, but then that means the townspeople’s problem was solved with something worthless…which means that value wasn’t the problem in the first place.

                  1. which means that value wasn’t the problem in the first place

                    I was trying to think of a way of describing what is wrong with this story. That’s a perfect summary.

              3. ^^^ This. I don’t know someone from Nebraska any better than someone from Namibia. So why favor one over the other? And plenty of people root for another team besides the home team. There’s no more morality to who you buy from than what team you root for.

        6. “Incorrect. Tariffs do increase local prosperity.”

          Maybe if you’re a one company steeltown. It depends how local you’re willing to get. Tariffs certainly aren’t good for the overwhelming majority of Americans, so on the national level they’re a catastrophically bad idea.

          You understand comparative advantage even worse than you understand dictatorships.

          1. You need higher wages to afford the higher-priced American products.

            1. And as soon as the dollar is worth $0.15, everyone will be happy…

              Wages will go up and prices will go up and nothing bad will come of it.

          2. You are basing your understanding of tariffs on a strict value calculation of the cost of a material/product. That’s fine and dandy if the world was on a gold standard.

            On a fiat system, where individual countries can artificially skew the cost of doing business internally and manipulate the exchange rate, tariffs become a critical balancing tool.

            In the 2000s, China implemented very high tariffs for import of certain goods. This was done to drive western companies to build in-country manufacturing to avoid the tariffs and supply to the rapidiy growing Chinese market. This brought large amounts of investment into China, raising wages and accelerating the middle class growth. It was a huge boon for the Chinese people. It was also a huge detriment for American workers as they saw no uptick in manufacturing from the economic boom in China even though they were making product that was of higher quality and roughly equivalent cost. The tariff inhibited import of these goods.
            Was this good for the world as a whole….no, of course not.
            Was this good for the Chinese people. yes, absolutely….at the expense of US workers.

            Tariffs are used for every good under the sun by almost every major country in the world.
            Do you really think that they are all ignorant of “basic economics”?

        7. “Tariffs do increase local prosperity.”

          Incorrect. A local area that has to spend $40 to get Product A when it could have gotten Product A at the cost of $20 is worse off.

          1. No he is right.

            Tariffs increase local prosperity. In the same way theft does. The guy who does the stealing becomes more prosperous. The guy who forces somebody to buy from him instead of the other guy who does it better/faster/cheaper also becomes more prosperous.

            1. Yes, the only way they increase “local” prosperity, is if somehow people outside the locality are forced to purchase your more-inefficient products – thus making people in the rest of the world worse off in order to make people inside the locality better off.

              But this is technically impossible absent the US going to war to enslave China and force them to purchase US-made cars.

              In other words, you have to define “local” in such a way that only producers of products but not the consumers are inside the locality.

            2. Wasn’t that what Cat Ballou was about?

            3. yeh, pretty much.

              Tariffs are the tools countries use to screw over their neighbors.

    3. The problem with your analysis is that “Higher Cost of production” isn’t a constant across an economy.

      Is it cheaper to build a car in China vs Building it in the US? Perhaps.
      Is it cheaper to get dinner in the China vs in US? Not so much…you’d have to buy a ticket to China, or have it shipped.
      Is it cheaper to write software in China vs India? The jury is still out on this. Yeah, an engineer in Beijing costs half the price, but when you factor in the productivity and the effectiveness of someone operating in your headquarters in SV, the calculation is not so clear cut.

      The problem is not that you are exporting unemployment. The problem is that the information age has made jobs more mobile than people.

      Libertarians need to look at this more than just jobs moving overseas. The “problem” is that Free Markets love disruption. Whether your job is moving to Kentucky because of its lack of Pro-Union laws, or your job is going to China or your entire chip company is downsizing because of a shift in manufacturing techniques, economic progress will ever be disruptive. If Libertarians can craft a message that accepts disruption as a whole- to show people that “progress!” does not mean idling in the same career for 40 years- then they will win. Until then, the demagogues have it.

    4. “where were those jobs actually created within this country?”
      Rio Rancho, NM

  10. For the love of all that is holy, please stop running that picture. Some of us are trying to eat breakfast here!

    1. Which one? All three of them are hideous.

    2. It’s Reason’s X-Files tribute

      http://magic.flaminio.com/magi…..ukeman.jpg

    3. That’s the great sucking sound Ross warned us about.

    4. Personally I prefer the one that is just a close-up of his mouth. It’s easier to convince myself that its just a sci-fi illustration that way.

  11. Elsewhere on this site, the death of the GOP is celebrated. Well, now the only viable party even nominally in favor of free trade is gone. “Brother, you asked for it.”

    But… the future will be libertarian! What a glorious day, my brothers! Right?? What could go wrong?

    Like with the governments of Czarist Russia, Capitalist Cuba, or Baathite Iraq, it’s better to decide what you are going to replace something with before you destroy it.

    Enjoy your Hillary.

    1. Well, now the only viable party even nominally in favor of free trade is gone.

      You mean the party that is in the process of nominating the orange populist jackass? And the libertarians are the ones that destroyed this glorious free trade GOP?

      OK. Cool story, brah.

      1. No, the libertarians didn’t destroy the GOP. But when no one counters the rise of the millions of populist jackasses who voted for the orange buffoon, and populist anti-trade and protectionist idiocy carries the day, then “evil has triumphed in large part because good men did nothing.”

        1. I voted LP over and over. That is doing something.

          1. I even registered GOP for the first time in my life in 2007 in order to vote for Ron Paul in the primaries. What more do you want from me?

        2. Well, all I remember is that every time Reason runs an article about Trump being a populist dipshit, a mass wailing of butthurt begins. And the death of a GOP that would allow Trump to rise is something that should be celebrated.

          The good men did all they could, it seems. They were outvoted and shouted down but the venal, the corrupt and the moronic. If you are for getting rid of a system that allows that, I’m behind you 100%.

        3. Well, Draco, evil will ALWAYS triumph, because good is dumb.

        4. One tries. I’m virtually the only one who scoffs at the progressive crap being dished out by the leaders and speakers at the Men’s Club at church. A dozen guys will come up to me afterward to say “thanks for keeping it real” but few have the nerve to stand up and be counted. Luckily I don’t particularly care about being invited to “the best cocktail parties” so I speak my mind.

          1. Your church has cocktail parties? Damn, maybe i should start going to church again.

        5. Well, now the only viable party even nominally in favor of free trade is gone.

          The LP is gone? Because the LP has been just as effective as the GOP at keeping government small and taxes low and liberty at a maximum – you know, all those things the GOP pays lip service to come election time and shits all over the rest of the time. The thing is, the LP has managed to accomplish with almost no money and no political power as much as the GOP has managed to accomplish with tons of money and control of a majority of the government. So what good is the GOP? They’re worse than useless.

  12. Both Republicans and Democrats are now openly hostile to free trade. That ain’t good, folks.

    ah, so you noticed? I was honestly expecting something suggesting it was the Seventh Sign of the libertarian moment*

    (*apologies to Winston)

    1. “(*apologies to Winston)”

      How ’bout the rest of us?

      1. Were you planning to make “libertarian moment”-jokes as well? I apologize to everyone who missed out on the opportunity.

  13. I bought brand new white Ferrari by working ONline work. five month ago i hear from my friend that she is working some online job and making more then $65/hr i can’tt beleive. But when i start this job i have to believed her Now i am also making 85$/hr if you want to try. Check Here…….LO5

    ===== http://www.E-cash10.com

  14. If Trump has a “base” out there, a significant part of it are disenchanted Democrats who used to have better paying [than Walmart: I understand they are now the biggest single employer in the US] industrial jobs who voted according to what their Union told them. In Indiana there are entire towns that used to employ thousands of GM [used to be the biggest single employer in the US] workers, and who now employ none. He is speaking to them, and telling them exactly what they want to hear. The world did not simply become more competitive and their jobs were lost to creative destruction; no, they’ve been screwed by the greedy “man” who sold them out with trade deals that enriched a very few, and they are mad as hell about it.

    As Wallace [and Grommet] would say, “let’s stop prevaricating about the proverbial bush” and face facts: our choices in November will be Trump and a person with an unused vagina [God, I hope so!] who has a personality to match. There will be a third party libertarian [feel the Johnson or some such] but not sure I want to cast [waste] a protest vote as I have done before.

    It’s like one of those childhood conundrums: “Would you rather slide down a razor blade into a bucket of turpentine, or eat your way through a mountain of boogers?” That is what this election is like.

    1. Trump has a strong base of folks on both sides who have gotten screwed over by the parties.

      centrist Republicans who have seen every candidate they elected in the last 20 years, abandon their platform and promises and screw over their constituents.
      centrist Dems who have seen every candidate they elected in the last 20 years, abandon their platform and promises and screw over their constituents.

      Trump 2016…..”the only candidate who has

      1. As for as that goes, I could never vote for someone with the personality of an unused vagina. God help us.

      2. “centrist Republicans who have seen every candidate they elected in the last 20 years, abandon their platform and promises and screw over their constituents.”

        So, being retarded, they decided to vote for someone who doesn’t even pretend to support their values! Brilliant!

      3. Trump 2016…..”the only candidate who has

        This is the best slogan i’ve seen all year. Tres dadaist!

  15. But but but but…. I WANTED TO WORK IN A STEELMILL!!!!!

    1. That they did; for an income of around $90,000 a year [what the average GM worker made a few decades back, in today’s dollars]; whereas GM used to be the single biggest employer, Walmart is now, at about $8 and hour [excepting NY and CA and good luck with that]; yes, people need to change with the times, but for the average industrial worker this happened like Pizzaro to the Incas. And they ain’t too happy about the new normal, and are voting for Trump [instead of a labor union endorsed Democrat] in droves.

      Snark as much as you want about economics, progress, the stupid hoi polloi and creative destruction but come November you can vote for a megalomaniac billionaire or a progressive cunt. Your pick, enjoy.

      1. but come November you can vote for a megalomaniac billionaire or a progressive cunt. Your pick, enjoy.

        We have a lot more choices than that. Including not voting, or writing in “none of the above”.

        1. Some choice. Guess I had best get myself ready for some serious booger eating.

          1. If it makes no difference in the outcome who you vote for (and it doesn’t), why vote at all? The only reason I can think of is that it gives you some psychic sense of satisfaction in knowing that even if you couldn’t stop the zombies from getting through the door you at least didn’t hold it open for them. You tried, you did what you could, you lit a candle while you cursed the darkness. It’s something.

      2. Are you making the argument that we should bring the steelmills BACK?!?! Fuck it, if China wants it, let them have it. We still make cars in this country, and GOOD car companies are always looking to expand their factories HERE IN AMERICA. Yes, some industries have been displaced, but if it were up to the economic ignoramuses, we would still be subsidizing buggy whip makers…
        Deny THAT, hero of the fucking workingman…

      3. Not our fault that the GM workers were grossly overpaid. Are millions of Americans supposed to keep paying hefty prices for crappy cars so that GM workers make $90K a year? Of course when you’re overpaid you’re going to be mad because you can’t make that much money doing anything else. But they ran that game for what it was worth and they are lucky to have made what they did.

  16. artist draws anti-war mural that included a gun shooting flowers. one person complained it was emotionally triggering and “threatens black students at Pitzer College.”

    http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/27181/

    “My Black Mental and Emotional Health Matters. I shouldn’t be reminded every time I leave my dorm room of how easy my life can be taken away, or how many Black lives have been taken away because of police brutality. This is emotionally triggering for very obvious reasons,” student senator Gregory Ochiagha had said in a mass email to students recently.

    congrats, jackass. you are unemployable.

    the artist capitulated and painted over the piece.

    “I spoke with Gregory earlier and we agreed on a modification that preserves the integrity of the original piece while avoiding any potentially triggering content?it’s a change I was absolutely happy to make…”

    tweet of the new art. “This modification completely destroys the integrity of the original piece. Seriously, what the hell is this now?” LOL

  17. I’ll just leave this here from the Millinials thread

    Is the guy buying widgets from Walmart a party to the trade between the widget maker and Walmart? Strictly speaking, no. Does he benefit from the lower price of that widget? Yes. Is there a net benefit if he used to be the one that was making widgets before widget manufacturing moved to a country with lower labor costs? Maybe in a material sense, if he found a suitable replacement job, but it’s not a given that he’d be able to do so. There may still be a psychological cost to losing a job and perhaps not being able to find a replacement that is as satisfying, even if it can replace the lost income. Are these costs large enough to offset the benefits that everyone else gets from buying cheaper widgets and allocating their labor to more productive areas? Probably not. So trade tends to be a net benefit in the aggregate, and can be a net benefit at the individual level, but can also have a net cost at the individual level.

    1. and that net cost motivates the individual to… what?

      1. …to drink.

        …to use credit

        …to fall into the trap of ‘debt slave’

        Protectionism may be bad overall. But a government that is supposed to be “for the people” should at least in some way be “for the people”

        1. “Protectionism may be bad overall. But a government that is supposed to be “for the people” should at least in some way be “for the people””

          So it should be “for the people” by instituting bad policies? Kinda like min-wage; feelz good but hurts so much?

      2. It might motivate them to move and find more productive work. It might motivate them to carry on with the status quo while wishing for better days. Or it might motivate them to go on the dole and bitch about foreigners that took their job and the fat cats on Wall Street who got rich off of it, until they get a chance to vote for people like Trump.

        Maybe it *could* motivate them to push back against the burden of the regulatory state and the cronyism that makes it so hard to adapt to a changing landscape, but someone has to deliver that message in the first place.

        Trump isn’t the answer, but he is a sign that ignoring the problem isn’t going to make it go away.

      3. Lobby for a $15 minimum wage.

        Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If your labor isn’t worth $15 an hour, you better get cracking on improving the value of your labor. If we can deport those thieving Mexicans who come here to steal our low-value jobs, can’t we just deport the low-value jobs and the low-value Americans? If you’re only worth 10 bucks an hour, get your dumb ass to Mexico where the $10 an hour jobs are. There’s the carrot and the stick – make yourself useful or GTFO. The only jobs here are ones that pay $15 an hour or more, the only people who get jobs are the ones worth $15 an hour or more. Everybody else, go someplace else you pathetic losers.

        Well, okay, maybe we can’t deport the low-value jobs and the low-value Americans – but can’t we at least ship them all to places like Texas and North Dakota and Alabama and get them the hell out of the nice cities like San Francisco and New York and Washington DC where us nice folks with nice jobs don’t have to look at them or think about them? We can? We have? Well, I guess we’re done here then.

    2. Well said, I would not argue with any of your observations. But reality tells me that the “net cost on an individual level” is for more than theoretical; the “American Dream” was once the assumed right to take a job at plant and make a better than living wage; your spouse could stay home, raise the kids in a house with a white picket fence, and everyone would enjoy the fruits of your labors from the corner grocery to the hospital across town. That was then.

      Of course nothing lasts forever, nor should we expect it to. If you don’t see the writing on the wall and [pro]act accordingly, you will be left behind with little to nothing. That of course is not how people usually behave; all they know is that their golden goose is dead, it’s not likely to come back, and wonder who the hell is going to do anything for them now?

      Obsessions with cultural wars, nuanced racism, transgender bathrooms, and whatever is issue du jour does not address these concerns; For reasons right or wrong, I truly believe this is leading to some political destruction, and not necessarily for good; but like you imply change is inevitable, and often painful. This is how dictators are made, be they progressive, reactionary, or radical.

      1. No…this is not how dictators are made. First, bloody revolution or coup. Then benevolent leader of revolution/coup tries to hold things together until assassinated. Then dictator.

        Right now we are driving down the road to the first step. Hillary or Sanders as POTUS would push the accelerator to the floor. Trump as POTUS I don’t think would…..actually suspect Trump as POTUS would encourage the designated drivers to step up and take the wheel and get us off the road.

        1. “No…this is not how dictators are made. First, bloody revolution or coup. Then benevolent leader of revolution/coup tries to hold things together until assassinated. Then dictator.”

          All those dictators who got in power by winning elections would probably disagree.

          Your timeline of how dictatorships start actually doesn’t apply to the overwhelming majority of dictators. Cuba had a coup but never had a benevolent leader. Hitler won elections. So did Mussolini.

          1. Personally I am taking nothing for granted any more. Including the Bill of Rights and any freedom or liberty I now enjoy.

            As pretty much everyone in Italy and Germany did, not so long ago.

          2. meh….it was a bit of flippant hyperbole in response to other hyperbole.

            Get over yourself.

        2. Reading your other posts, you seem to have a tendency to make sweeping claims about things you know nothing about.

          1. I’m going to venture a guess that those are “sweeping claims’ [whatever that is] with which you do not agree?

            1. No, it’s things he’s wrong about.

              Like his claims that tariffs are good for the country, which he provides no evidence for whatsoever. Or his assertion that dictatorships start like this:

              “No…this is not how dictators are made. First, bloody revolution or coup. Then benevolent leader of revolution/coup tries to hold things together until assassinated. Then dictator.”

              ^ This is just incredibly wrong. He says it like this is absolute fact, even though not one piece of this is true.

              Like I said – he makes wild claims about subjects he doesn’t understand and assumes the rest of us are as ignorant as he is.

              1. “No…this is not how dictators are made. First, bloody revolution or coup. Then benevolent leader of revolution/coup tries to hold things together until assassinated. Then dictator.”

                ^ This is just incredibly wrong. He says it like this is absolute fact, even though not one piece of this is true.

                Yep. That quote is demonstrably untrue. Look, for a recent example, at Hugo Chavez.

              2. Thank you for the clarification; I agree dictators and tyrants can just as likely arise form consensus as force, perhaps even more so. The biggest threat to our particular experiment is the apparent willingness of so many to make it so. But then if enough of anybody is desperate and hungry enough, they will go for whomever sellls them hope.

                1. Yes. It’s another reason why the Founders established the Constitution, which acts as a check on fickle and irrational majorities by making it difficult to amend it and by separating governmental powers.

                  1. Until the majority gets fed up and starts ignoring it. Just remember that your rights are inate and can’t be taken from you, even by the armed mob screaming outside your door. Honest.

                    1. Of course. The Constitution isn’t the end all, be all of our rights. But it is, relative to other legal documents that have been put into practice, one of the best laws limiting government,* even though it has fallen far short of our ideals.

                      *and who knows: maybe the U.S. became so prosperous and relatively free for reasons despite the Constitution, but I doubt it.

      2. the “American Dream” was once the assumed right to take a job at plant and make a better than living wage; your spouse could stay home, raise the kids in a house with a white picket fence, and everyone would enjoy the fruits of your labors from the corner grocery to the hospital across town.

        The American Dream was a middle-class existence back before microwave ovens and cell phones and cable TV and 2-bath houses with 2-car garages and a lot of other things we just take for granted are part of a normal average lifestyle.

        1. Not sure I get your point here; did the middle class end prior to microwaves, two car garages, and cable TV, or is it just called “a normal average lifestyle” now?

          1. His point is that even the so called poor today have a better std of living than the middle class of 60 years ago. Ppl are just greedy and want even more, so they have to resort to *gasp* becoming even more productive.

    3. Re: LynchPin1477,

      Is the guy buying widgets from Walmart a party to the trade between the widget maker and Walmart? Strictly speaking, no.

      Yes, he is a party. Walmart would not sell widgets from overseas if Walmart didn’t have customers willing to buy them. Walmart is merely providing the economies of scale necessary for the widget manufacturer to trade with individuals in the US. The role of the entrepreneur is to help reduce the dislocations between demand and supply, as these dislocations generate an opportunity for profit. But the entrepreneur does not benefit from the goods themselves. Ergo, the two parties who are trading are the widget manufacturer and the customers. The entrepreneur is merely the vehicle.

      There may still be a psychological cost to losing a job

      For mental meltdowns there are therapists. The fact that someone was hurt in his ‘Wittle Fweelings’ is not justification for economic policies.

      1. Yes, he is a party

        Extend the chain of transactions far enough and you can include lots of people as parties to the trade. We are focusing on the individual transactions here. Not that it changes the underlying point.

        The fact that someone was hurt in his ‘Wittle Fweelings’ is not justification for economic policies

        Not to you and me. But try telling that to the people who don’t care if their economic policies are founded upon a strong theoretical or moral foundation (or who simply have a different moral foundation), or who care less about results than they do about satisfying the temporary urge to do something.

        1. As for “wittle feelings” one can get as moralistic and superior as you want, the reality is “wittle feelings” on a large enough scale have political ramifications; while some of us superior souls can see the forest for the trees, and think we know what policy makes the most sense and should be enacted, ignoring the angry electorate [those ignorant peasants] is truly myopic.

          But then they don’t call this site “hit and run” for nothing, do they?

  18. Funny thing is that I think NAFTA screwed over Canada most of all, eh.

    Their manufacturing sector is shrinking because the US is so close and has economy of scale in almost every industry. If it wasn’t for their vast natural resources, Canada would not be in a good place at all, eh.

    1. Counterpoint: Montreal girls.

    2. Canada has also been sued and lost under Chapter 11 investor-state-dispute settlements far more than the U.S. In fact, AFAIK, the U.S. has never lost a NAFTA dispute, and I have a hard time believing that’s because the Canada is allegedly much more protectionist than the U.S.

  19. This is cute

    Paris attack suspect’s lawyers call him a ‘little jerk’ who’s ready to talk

    Salah Abdeslam, the Paris massacre suspect who went on the run in Europe for months, is a “little jerk” who’s “falling apart” and ready to cooperate, his lawyers said as he was officially transferred from Belgium to France Wednesday.

    “He has the intelligence of an empty ashtray,” Abdeslam’s Belgian lawyer Sven Mary told the French newspaper Liberation. He dismissed his client’s influence on terrorists, calling Abdeslam “more a follower than a leader.”

    Apparently the lawyers felt like he should have been more of a proper “ideological terrorist” denouncing the immorality of the west and insisting Democracy is unfit to judge him. Instead he’s a caricature of some lazy French punk kid who acts like got caught vandalizing and insists he should get “treatment” instead of punishment. “I blame society!”

    1. That whole story is so very French, and I mean that in a good way.

    2. “He has the intelligence of an empty ashtray,” Abdeslam’s Belgian lawyer Sven Mary told the French newspaper Liberation.

      “And he has ze bad points too, mon ami!”

  20. last seen in these pages fretting over dirty Prince lyrics and Satanism in popular culture during a 1985 Senate hearing?destroyed insurgent presidential candidate H. Ross Perot in a debate on free trade.

    Which is full of irony because if there was a candidate whose supporters hated free trade, it was Al Gore’s.

  21. Employers are doing a poor job of conveying how much of their workforce depends on free trade. I’ve worked for several companies that survived/did well because they could import raw materials cheaply and export finished goods at competitive prices. I said to one owner, “tell the workers before the next election how many jobs exist on the shop floor here because of free trade.” Answer: “I don’t want to get all political with the employees.”

  22. Free trade is so terrible. All those southerners working in factories for Toyota and IKEA should gleefully trade away their jobs for the good of the volk.

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  24. I voted for Perot twice, despite his NAFTA nonsense, because he was the only candidate in my lifetime who has been serious about balancing the budget and had a chance to win.

  25. The problem here is you’re conflating “the good of America” and “the good of Americans”. It’s good for the nation and for the government if the serfs understand they exist only to glorify the state. It’s glorious to have a thriving automotive sector even if it means we have to pay more for less by buying American – sacrifices must be made for the greater good. It’s a fine and noble thing to subsume your individuality for the benefit of the collective. Take pride in knowing your suffering is for the greater good, that you are contributing your fair share to creating something larger than yourself, something meaningful and monumental, something that will last a thousand years after you are dead and gone and long forgotten. Let’s make America great again, no matter how many individual Americans we have to fuck over to make it so.

    1. It’s okay if everyone else is poorer, as long as some dipshits make a lot of money shoveling coal in a steel mill. Is that it?

      1. That’s exactly what it is.

  26. When in doubt, take pictures!

    http://www.Complete-Privacy.tk

  27. Trump is just another Establishment bullcrap artist…

    there are decades of unconstitutional trade deals cut by US politicians………

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