Trump Bubble Bursts

It was bound to happen.

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No!

The bubble burst. My fantasy died.

I wasn't a big Donald Trump backer—on TV I have called him a bully, a narcissist, etc.—but his first days were thrilling!

Finally, a president who meant it when he said he'd cut red tape that kills growth, a man who mocks political correctness and sneers at leftist reporters. Finally, an executive choosing good people: Andy Puzder, Scott Pruitt, Betsy DeVos, Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo…

These are not the political hacks I've come to expect from D.C.—not the smug bureaucracy-lovers Hillary Clinton would have inflicted on us. These are people who understand the limits of government command and control, people eager to lift the web of opportunity-smothering rules.

Trump revived the Keystone Pipeline, froze federal hiring. Wow.

But then he broke my heart.

His immigrant ban is bad. I won't write about it until I know more. But even before that, he said he'd impose a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports, and he trashed trade by insisting that "we want the (Keystone) pipe to be manufactured here!"

I know—he said stuff like that when campaigning, but I didn't think he meant it. His own businesses use overseas suppliers if they are cheaper or better. He must know that tariffs punish Americans, that a trade war helped create the Depression.

"Protecting" jobs with bans and tariffs is counterproductive.

You Trump fans will sneer at that, but please, hear me out.

Yes, some steelworkers' jobs are saved by buy-American edicts, but more jobs will be lost. It's hard to recognize this because of a conflict economist Frederic Bastiat called "the seen vs. the unseen."

We see the jobs at a steel plant. If it closes, our cameras record the moment. We interview the workers on their last day. Our hearts break at their disappointment. Many won't find other jobs, or jobs that pay as well. We want to "do something" to help.

What we don't as easily see, though, are the many jobs created if companies are free to use steel that's a little cheaper. We don't see the jobs created by the dynamism that results when people are free to buy and sell all over the world. Alternatively, we don't easily see the jobs that never get created because tariffs or "buy American" rules make ingredients more expensive.

The media never show those jobs, but they are very real nevertheless. History makes it clear: Where trade is free, prosperity follows. When it is restricted, stagnation follows.

Open societies are better than the alternative. In 1400, China led the world. They invented gunpowder, the compass, the clock, real paper and printing.

Then they walled themselves off. They burned the trading ships. The emperor wanted to "protect" the Chinese from outsiders.

The result was stagnation. By last century (before free market reforms), China was one of the poorest nations on earth.

In his inaugural speech, President Trump promised to take power from Washington and give it "back to you, the people." America "must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs."?

At Cafe Hayek, economist Don Boudreaux writes, "Overlook the absurd suggestion that foreigners who peacefully offer to sell to us attractive products at low prices are akin to invading armies … Trump's incessant promise to raise trade barriers is a promise to reduce each American's freedom to spend his or her money as he or she chooses … a pledge to give to politicians and bureaucrats in the capital city more authority."

Still, I want to give Trump the benefit of the doubt.

But historian Robert Higgs asks: "Why do some libertarians cut Trump so much slack? … (s)omeone who enjoys thumbing his nose at the political establishment (poses) his own brand of threat to your life, liberty, and property. Trump talks about many things. … But … there is one topic that he never mentions, and that is freedom."

It's true. I never hear Trump say the word.

I wish he knew what it really means.

COPYRIGHT 2017 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS INC.

NEXT: Trump's Irrational Immigration Crackdown

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  1. The emperor wanted to “protect” the Chinese from outsiders.

    The result was stagnation. By last century (before free market reforms), China was one of the poorest nations on earth

    Hey, but they solved their Muslim problem, right? I think we can all agree that communism, market strangleholds, totalitarian state and abject poverty aren’t nearly the existential threat that Islam presents. Let’s do anything and everything to get government to stop Muslims, and worry about everything else when we get the time and attention.
    Muslims That’s the big thing – the only thing. Muslims.

    Tell me abut your fears, Stossel. Tell me how afraid you are, and what we need to do to make you feel better.

  2. Yes, the fate of western democracy itself is surely hanging in the balance of +/- 20,000 Muslim refugees entering the United States in the next fiscal year. If China had spent their resources fetching caravans of Arabs instead of building a wall we’d probably be having this conversation in Mandarin right now.

    1. If you read the article, he is making an economic argument, not merely immigration. And yes, one of the most important components of western democracy is relative freedom of goods and services to cross national borders. In as much as immigration is an economic concern (and it is), immigration bans impose costs on people who otherwise would benefit from cheaper labor. And, as Stossel points out, Trump isn’t stopping at immigration. He is doing his damnedest to ensure that people pay more for the products they buy through tariffs and trade restrictions.

      1. ‘immigration bans impose costs on people who otherwise would benefit from cheaper labor’
        Germany is an absolute boom town.

        1. Compared to Greece, Hell Yeah!!!!

          Germany still suffers from excess Government Almighty… Not from excess immigrants.

          1. -1 Christmas Market.

  3. he said stuff like that when campaigning, but I didn’t think he meant it.

    Famous Last Words

  4. Similarly, the fate of western democracy itself is surely hanging in the balance due to the pants shitting of the relatively minor ban on a few Muslims from just a few countries.

    1. So far Trump has proven himself surprisingly literal in his campaign promises. Do you really think he’s going to stop at the half-assed “not quite Muslim ban”? He promised restrictions of trade and legal immigration as well. You think he didn’t mean it?

  5. The middle east is the only source of immigration. It is known.

    1. It is known.

  6. Wow, a bunch of you really think this article was about immigration. Sad!

  7. The issue is and always has been our own national commitment to the first principles that make America unique. When half or more of our native population sees no value in negative rights and real individual liberty, then we’ve already lost the battle. Whether or not we bring in outsiders who don’t understand or value these concepts really makes no difference.

    1. Outside of western European immigration to our country 125-plus years ago, I don’t see a whole lot of folks steeped in the culture of individual liberty coming here. Do we need to add more?

      1. Instead of focusing on the “outsiders”, maybe we should work on reforming our own government and culture. I’m more worried about the political indoctrination children receive in school, because that determines our future more so than a few Muslims or Mexicans.

        1. Retaking the education industry is an obvious strategy, but conservatives and libertarians don’t have the initiative, history of activism or organizational capabilities to conduct the same decades-long march through the institutions that the left did over the last 50-60 years. That would involve doing things that they’re instinctively averse to, which is put themselves in confrontational positions to control these institutions, ones that they believe should be largely neutered or non-existent anyway.

          The reason the left wins so many cultural battles is because they traditionally live their lives in a manner that is politicized to a degree most conservatives and libertarians find baffling. The only thing the right has going for them is their habitual tendency to go and vote. That’s why protests around the world didn’t stop Bush from invading Iraq or being reelected, and why Scott Walker survived both a recall and a reelection bid despite the massive chimpout that Democrats pulled after he took office.

      2. My Italian ancestors were in no way “steeped in the culture of individual liberty”. They were provincial peasants steeped in a communal village culture that believed the Catholic Church should make moral decisions and the individual should follow the rules. Most German and Irish Catholic immigrants came from similar anti-individualist backgrounds. Not to mention the crushing conformity of the Jewish Shetl or the narrow-mindedness of parochial Scandinavians. If America can forge a John Stossel from collectivist Catholic German ore, why can’t there be a libertarian American Ahmed Alawi in two generations?

        1. +1 This.

          It would not take most of us more than three generations to find such an ancestor. And yet, here we are, with our own minds and thoughts.

          THAT is the American Experience.

          1. Couldn’t agree more!

            I think the new culture influences incoming immigrants (and their progeny) far more than the “old country” culture they bring with them influences their new home.

        2. Hmmm. So the renaissance & enlightenment never happened in Italy, Germany or Scandinavia…but it TOTALLY happened in the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula.

          Okay.

    2. Indoctrinated socialists who fear guns and loathe children vs head-chopping, infidel-raping primitives whose fecundity rate is the highest in the entire world and they’ve got a holy mission to create a global caliphate…and you say there’s no difference?

      I disagree.

  8. Good old Stossel. This is probably the most fair, balanced, and yet sane libertarian critique of Trump’s first two weeks I’ve seen here. I don’t necessarily agree with every single point, but it’s entirely reasonable and honest, and has none of the overwrought apocalyptic hysteria most of the material here does nowadays.

    This is how a real libertarian does criticism, all you con artists working out of DuPont Circle.

    1. Good old Prawn Fossil. This is probably the most fair, balanced, and yet sane libertarian critique of Slump’s first two weeks I’ve seen here. I don’t necessarily agree with every single point, but it’s entirely reasonable and honest, and has none of the overwrought apocalyptic hysteria most of the material here does nowadays.

      This is how a real libertarian does criticism, all you con artists working out of ScrewHaunt Jerkcle.

    2. And yet, I find his apparent lack of skepticism to be concerning – problematic even.

      We should ALL be shocked – shocked I tell you – that a politician did something that a libertarian disagrees with. It really breaks my heart when that happens.

    3. The “broke my heart” thing is a bit melodramatic. Trump did exactly as he promised. Whether you agree or not, it can’t be a big heart-breaking surprise.

  9. My work here is done. 🙂

  10. I would only add that while many libertarians may dislike the ban (or whatever), there is no violation of rights involved here for people living outside the U.S. and not citizens.

    Contractual rights with the government, like equality before the law, simply don’t apply.

  11. You can’t judge an investment in isolation. It needs to be compared to its alternative. The appropriate question will always be what Trump gives us relative to what we would have had from Hillary.

    From single payer to Supreme Court justices who would have been selected on the basis that they were anti-free speech and anti-gun ownership, Trump doesn’t need to do much to outshine Hillary. Meanwhile, he’s undermining the individual mandate and regulation. Before long, we may be looking at the repeal of both ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank.

    Trump is wrong on free trade and immigration; Bush and Obama were wrong on TARP, Iraq, mass surveillance, and a host of other issues, too. Trump isn’t a libertarian. If he agrees with us on any issue, it’s mostly a coincidence, but he was a better libertarian choice than Hillary and he’s probably the most libertarian president we’ve had in, at least, 16 years.

    1. This! I wonder how much pants shitting there would have been over Hillary. Not a lot I suspect.

      1. Maybe slightly more than there was under their beloved Obama, but not much.

    2. Yeah, basically this. At least we got some good with the bad. Hillary would have just been all bad.

    3. Is Trump going to be any better than Bush or Obama on mass surveillance or Iraq? I haven’t seen any evidence that that is the case.

      1. I haven’t seen any indication that he’s going to be worse on mass surveillance.

        I saw him make a point of differentiating himself from Hillary on Iraq. Trump said that Iraq was a big mistake.

        The Democrats countered that Trump supported it, too, but if he changed his mind when Hillary didn’t, that doesn’t count against him vis-a-vis Hillary either.

        1. I haven’t seen any indication that he’s going to be worse on mass surveillance.

          Even if Trump is ‘only’ as bad on mass surveillance as Bush or Obama, that still would make him a reprehensible authoritarian who is completely unqualified for the job, just like the others.

    4. Is Trump going to be any better than Bush or Obama on mass surveillance or Iraq? I haven’t seen any evidence that that is the case.

    5. You could judge both in isolation and come to the conclusion that both are abhorrent.

      1. I disagree.

        In the real world, Hillary is the MARR.

        “As an example, suppose a manager knows that investing in a conservative project, such as a bond investment or another project with no risk, yields a known rate of return. When analyzing a new project, the manager may use the conservative project’s rate of return as the MARR. The manager will only implement the new project if its anticipated return exceeds the MARR by at least the risk premium of the new project.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Minimum_acceptable_rate_of_return

        You might think that losing money is always bad, but it’s not. Sometimes losing as little money as possible is the best possible option. The alternative to Trump was not Rand Paul. The alternative investment was Hillary Clinton.

        1. “You might think that losing money is always bad, but it’s not. Sometimes losing as little money as possible is the best possible option. The alternative to Trump was not Rand Paul. The alternative investment was Hillary Clinton.”

          Good thing I bought lottery tickets instead. Johnson may not have paid off, but at least I got to daydream a little about the possibility, rather than just being thankful I’m not getting robbed as badly by Thing 1 as I would’ve by Thing 2.

    6. Excellent post Ken.

      Frankly, I think the establishment (both the GOP RINOs and the Democrats) are setting up Trump for failure with the border adjustment tax, so he’ll be replaced in 2020. You and Stossel are right, “Trump is wrong on free trade.”

      Consider the results of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. Rather than growing the economy, the economy tanked and GDP fell by almost half within 3 short years before the act was repealed, and Republicans Smoot and Hawley both lost their seats in Congress. Stossel isn’t so direct but says “He must know that tariffs punish Americans, that a trade war helped create the Depression.”

      The establishment politicians don’t care if the economy tanks, they’re already rich and powerful.

  12. Well-written and great historical context on China. Thanks for calling DJT out on his apparent lack of having a “freedom” compass despite some otherwise positive directives . You have added a great voice to @Reason!

    1. Tulpa?
      Freedom is one of those porridge words what isn’t terribly useful.
      Freedom from gun violence or freedom to own a gun.
      Those each look like freedom to different political viewpoints.
      Someone promising more ‘Freedom’ isn’t actually promising anything.
      It’s all in the details.

      1. “Freedom from sin” means I get to chose which church or temple or mosque you attend!!!!

        “Freedom from medical malpractice” means you can NOT scratch your butt-hole without a license! There’s a LOT of delicate tissues down there, ya know!

  13. Open societies are better than the alternative. In 1400, China led the world. They invented gunpowder, the compass, the clock, real paper and printing.

    Then they walled themselves off. They burned the trading ships. The emperor wanted to “protect” the Chinese from outsiders.

    Good point. Because complete and total isolation is what’s coming, right? Trump vowed to put an end to all trade and all immigration, didn’t he?

    1. Yup! The voices in their heads tell them just that. Trump will be suppressing the merchant class and burning all the ships any day now.

    2. “””””Trump vowed to put an end to all trade and all immigration, didn’t he?””””

      And then once he does that he’s going after the homosexuals, guys wearing dresses, and cat ladies

      1. I’m hoping he goes after man-buns. Those things are just so…

    3. LOL. If only the Chinese had let the Mongolians flood into China, then they’d really be leading the world today.

  14. ” I won’t write about it until I know more. But …..”

    He does anyway.

    Talk is talk, moreso with a negotiator like Trump. He can’t act alone on trade, so let’s wait until something is concrete.

    1. ” I won’t write about it until I know more. But …..”

      He does anyway.

      No he doesn’t. That quote referred to the immigration ban. The rest of the article laments the hidden cost of a “buy American” trade policy.

      1. Which we also know nothing concrete about!

  15. But then he broke my heart.

    His immigrant ban is bad. I won’t write about it until I know more. But even before that, he said he’d impose a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports, and he trashed trade by insisting that “we want the (Keystone) pipe to be manufactured here!”

    I don’t know. I am going to continue to cling to my high hopes. The immigration “ban” is a non issue as it is temporary for a review of policy. It effected what, 300 people who had their entry into the US delayed for a few hours? And may effect others for a few months. Hardly the end of the world given the current state of affairs in the listed countries. The idiotic protests disrupted the travel of far more people.

    I am pretty sure it was not the President who inflicted Smoot-Hawley on the US. It was congress, and the president signed it. I’m holding out that no cringe worthy tariffs are going to come out of congress. At least we can count on big Republican opposition, and a 100% freak out opposition by the Dems for anything Trump wants.

    As to pipe, I have no idea what pipe costs, and it may well be the pipe that is used in the high tech pipelines of today is in fact already manufactured in the United States. I am too lazy to research it at the moment.

    I shall continue to cling to my hope bubble a bit longer thanks.

    1. We estimate 821,000 tons of high strength line pipe will be used on the project in Canada and the U.S. TransCanada has estimated it will use 660,000 tons of steel for the U.S. portion of the Keystone XL pipeline. The following are the line pipe mills who are manufacturing the pipe:

      Welspun – Little Rock, Arkansas, USA 332,800 tons 50%
      Evraz ? Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada 156,266 tons 24%
      ILVA ? Italy 103,147 tons 16%
      Welspun – India 69,457 tons 10%

    2. “I’m holding out that no cringe worthy tariffs are going to come out of congress.”

      You haven’t followed the news on the border adjustment tax. The establishment is setting up Trump for economic failure, and know voters will blame Trump for the economic results and the tariffs (note they’re calling them a border adjustment tax, not tariffs). And they don’t care if the economy tanks, because their personal economy and bank accounts are fine. And they want Trump gone in 2020.

  16. Cosmos live in pants shitting fear that a terrorist somewhere will be denied entry to the United States.

    1. What you did there, it is seen.

      1. Am I now on one of those super libertarian secret lists?

        1. We all are, also the deep ones watch us ( and fear us).

  17. I know?he said stuff like that when campaigning, but I didn’t think he meant it.

    This seems to be a common thread lately.

    1. Let’s be fair – we’ve come to *expect* candidates to violate their promises once they’re elected. Because usually that’s what they do.

  18. Then they walled themselves off. They burned the trading ships. The emperor wanted to “protect” the Chinese from outsiders.

    I don’t think even Trump is talking about completely shutting down access to the US. A few chaotic nations with a fair bit of terrorist infiltration (and Iran), “refugees” currently on the losing side of a civil war where both sides are bastards and enemies of the US, plus unskilled illegal immigrant labor is not all there is to immigration.

    1. We already have a lot of people saying “I took Trump seriously, not literally” on dismay.

      You planning to join them? Trump talked a lot on the campaign trail about legal immigration, including high skilled work visas. And about how we should be expiring more then we import, tariffs all over the place, and so on.

      Fail to take him literally at own risk.

  19. Poor John… I remember when I was a teenager thinking that some politician from THE other party was going to undo all that bad shit Nixon and… and… Waitaminnit! Johnson WAS that other party, They were both the SAME! Only when the Libertarian party finally crossed my radar, thanks to Michael Grossberg, did I finally understand there was an alternative to the coercive fanatical mysticism of the DemoGOP and the frumious Leftandright. Our spoiler votes maneuver the looters into repealing bad laws, and now I am on the winning side of EVERY election.

  20. As is usually the case, the only way to get an office holder you truly approve of is to be the office holder yourself, and maybe not even then.

  21. Surely you’re playing the “devil’s advocate” here John. There never really was a “bubble” to burst!

  22. It was clear from the moment he opened his mouth at the inauguration that he was behaving like a dictator who would bend the government to his will. It was disgusting. To spit on that moment of peaceful transition of power and the office was shameful. PC is bullshit and the media has become useless, but there are inclusive ways to accomplish the changes necessary. People would have cheered if he has tried to unite people and made a strong case for his changes with everyone included. Instead we have a raving dictator and the very antithesis of a libertarian.

    1. Trump is a crude New Yorker. Shocked I am!

    2. Attilla the Hihn?

    3. Trump’s inaugural is so divisive:
      “It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.

      And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.”

    4. YOU FORGOT TO USE THE TERMS ‘DARK’ AND ‘DIVISIVE’

      NO SHEKELS HAVE BEEN POSTED TO YOUR ACCOUNT.

  23. These are things Trump did

    Finally, a president who meant it when he said he’d cut red tape that kills growth, a man who mocks political correctness and sneers at leftist reporters. Finally, an executive choosing good people: Andy Puzder, Scott Pruitt, Betsy DeVos, Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo…

    …Trump revived the Keystone Pipeline, froze federal hiring. Wow.

    This is something you don’t know enough to comment on–

    His immigrant ban is bad. I won’t write about it until I know more.

    and yet you say it’s ‘bad’.

    These are things he’s said.

    But even before that, he said he’d impose a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports, and he trashed trade by insisting that “we want the (Keystone) pipe to be manufactured here!”

    Things he’s actually done, which you like.

    Things you’re –by your own admission– commenting on in ignorance.

    And things that have only been talked about.

    Where is your dismay coming from?

    So far, you’ve liked every action you know anything about.

  24. “The result was stagnation. ”

    I think that’s the feeling that Michigan and Penn voters had when they voted for Trump. The Bush/Obama years were stagnation + Free Trade. Had Americans thought Free Trade was so important, they could have voted for the only unequivocal supporter, the Libertarian candidate. Instead they overwhelmingly voted for candidates like Clinton or Trump who spoke out against Free Trade.

  25. His immigrant ban is bad.

    It’s not a “ban”, it’s a temporary halt in visa processing. 90 day processing delays for visas, as well as getting turned around at the airport, are hardly unusual occurrences; other presidents have also screwed this up. The EO was careless and stupid, but shit happens.

    In 1400, China led the world. They invented gunpowder, the compass, the clock, real paper and printing. Then they walled themselves off. They burned the trading ships. The emperor wanted to “protect” the Chinese from outsiders.

    While Trump’s rhetoric has at times be a bit isolationist, stopping illegal immigration, halting immigration from a few hostile countries, making NATO members pay for their own defense, and repealing protectionist trade agreements, none of those are isolationist policies.

  26. I am not a Trump lover, but not a hater either. But I have a hard time believing staunch libertarians like Stossel when they make ceteris paribus arguments about free trade. Yes, ACTUAL free trade would be ideal, but many of our trading partners like China and Mexico put up their own trade barriers. The US should either appeal to the WTO or put up equivalent barriers until they drop theirs. Until then, we don’t have free trade no matter how many times Stossel pretends we do. And, the threat of a trade war is empty. China and Mexico are heavily dependent on the US and will likely back down.

  27. Yes, the fate of western democracy itself is surely hanging in the balance of +/- 20,000 Muslim refugees entering the United States in the next fiscal year. If China had spent their resources fetching caravans of Arabs instead of building a wall we’d probably be having this conversation in Mandarin right now.

    1. Hey, why don’t we do what Canada does: if you want to help someone immigrate, you assume legal liability should they become a public charge or commit a crime. How many refugees would you like to assume liability for?

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    =========================== http://www.4dayjobs.com

  29. My last month paycheck was for 11000 dollars… All i did was simple online work from comfort at home for 3-4 hours/day that I got from this agency I discovered over the internet and they paid me for it 95 bucks every hour… This is what I do

    =========================== http://www.4dayjobs.com

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  31. I looked at the check for $8628 , I didnt believe that…my… father in law was like actualie taking home money in there spare time on there computar. . there sisters roommate haz done this for under 17 months and just cleard the morgage on there apartment and got a gorgeous Chevrolet Corvette . go to website

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    ========================= http://www.cash-review.com

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