Foreign Policy

Trump's Wrong on Trade With Germany and a Liability to the Anti-NATO Argument

Both Trump and his mainstream critics are wrong about NATO.

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Michael Kappeler/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom

I've got a few leftover thoughts about Donald Trump's trip to Europe. (Here's what I said about the Middle East portion.) As usual, I oppose both Trump and his mainstream critics. It's possible for both sides to be wrong in a dispute.

First, trade. Trump famously said to Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Union, "The Germans are bad, very bad. Look at the millions of cars that they're selling in the USA. Horrible. We're gonna stop that."

I'm hoping that Trump is a demagogue who really knows better, because I can't believe that anyone could be so ignorant or unintelligent as to think that selling cars to Americans is evidence of badness. I never dreamed that someone who offered me high-quality products was trying to harm me. (He also says Chinese exporters "rape" us.) It's not just basic economics he'd have to be ignorant of; he'd also have to be clueless that German automakers have built cars in the United States for quite a while (the VW Passat, BMW X Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class), most of them for export, at least in BMW's case.

But even if they weren't building them here, who cares? It's been 241 years since Adam Smith showed that the wealth of nations (i.e., collections of individuals) equals access to products that make life better. "The division of labor"—one of the short list of things that make common people wealthy—"is limited by the extent of the market," Smith wrote. Global trade extends the market as far as possible—until intergalactic trade becomes feasible. It's been only slightly less time since David Ricardo spelled out the principle of comparative advantage, which further elaborated on the source of the gains from trade. (Spoiler alert: we prosper because of our differences, so we shouldn't want the government to "level the playing field.")

The Wharton School surely covered those matters. Was Trump too busy giving freshmen swirlies to attend class? (Evidence for Trump's demagogy rather than ignorance is that his hotel rooms are appointed almost entirely with imported products.)

Trump tweeted on his return from overseas, "We have a MASSIVE trade deficit with Germany…. Very bad for U.S. This will change." But also found in Smith's The Wealth of Nations is this: "Nothing … can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade." Trump apparently does not know that the United States has run so-called deficits in good times and so-called surpluses in bad times, such as during the Great Depression.

Come on, someone with a brain as good as Trump says his is must realize that any "deficit" in the merchandise account is a mirror image of a "surplus" in the capital account. By construction, all such accounts taken together must balance.

When foreigners receive dollars for their exports to America, they have three options for how to use the money: buy American exports, invest here, or trade them to someone else who then faces the same options. They can't spend them at home, just as you can't spend euros at Kroger. Why does Trump want foreigners to buy American products rather than invest here? Investment improves our lives by creating new and better products. If we don't like that foreigners by Treasury bonds, i.e., lend money to the government, there's an easy and obvious solution: the government can stop borrowing.

On top of everything else, Trump either does not understand or does not care that a 35 percent tariff on German cars would be a tax on Americans—and not just buyers of German cars.

One more thing on trade. It's bad enough that Trump spouts such rubbish. But when his National Economic Council director, Gary Cohn, claims that Belgium's trade policies are better than Germany's, we have to wonder what the hell is going on. Under the European Union, both countries' have the same trade policies. Does he not know what Brexit was about?

Now NATO. Trump has learned nothing over the past year. He admits that when, during his campaign, he declared NATO obsolete, he knew nothing about it. He still knows nothing. I'm not saying NATO is a good thing. It's not. I'm saying rather that Trump's cluelessness is no help whatever in making the case against NATO and all such alliances. He's a liability to the anti-NATO argument.

Trump, in keeping with his absurd aggrieved-America shtick, would have us believe that western Europe free-rides off the American taxpayers. The taxpayers are indeed victimized, but the victimizer is Amerca's ruling elite and its bipartisan imperial foreign policy. NATO was never about protecting western Europe. Rather, it had—and still has—two other purposes: first, to give a multilateral mantle to essentially unilateral U.S. imperial actions; and second, to prevent other countries from forging their own peaceful bilateral relations with, previously, the Soviet Union and now Russia. America's ruling elite, driven by geopolitical and economic ambition, would not—and does not now—tolerate what it calls "nonalignment." You are either with us or against us. Otherwise, where would that leave "American leadership"? What would become of the "indispensable nation" and "American exceptionalism"? A bogeyman was/is necessary to justify American world leadership, and Russia fills the bill as the old Soviet Union once did. (ISIS runs a pale second.)

Thus western Europe has been a tool of American machinations, not an ungrateful beneficiary of American self-sacrificial defense. Does anyone seriously believe that the crushing and increasing burden of the national-security apparatus would lighten if European taxpayers were forced to spend more on their militaries?

Fat chance.

This piece was originally published by The Libertarian Institute.

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  1. Sheldon’s back! And talking about Trump!

    Bwahahaha!

    1. Yeah, and he hit a homerun. Great article, as usual.

        1. You misspelled “CLUCK.”

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      1. He sure showed those imperialist, capitalist, running dogs of America!

        1. Never mind the trade deficit, there seems to be a deficit in reading comprehension here.

      2. Yeah, and he hit a homerun.

        Have had my issues with SR int he past, but have to agree. Good article.

  2. “A bogeyman was/is necessary to justify American world leadership, and Russia fills the bill as the old Soviet Union once did. (ISIS runs a pale second.)”
    While I agree that NATO can be used for the imperial-ish reasons you mention, it also served to defend against a very real threat during the Cold War- the USSR.

    Russia is aggressive and has seized the Crimea and threatened smaller countries within its sphere of influence, as the USSR did.

    The USA does not act they ways imperialist nations like Britain did. The USA pushes nations to trade with us at a disadvantage. We don’t occupy nations like Imperial Nations did but it is costly to the USA and is not as good as free trade. On the other hand, global trade depends on stability and open trade routes, which historically were tough to maintain without military power.

    ISIS is a stone age group who wants everyone else to revert back to those times using military force. No thanks.

    1. Seized Crimea? The Russians living there voted to join Russia.

      1. Suppose the citizens of Hidalgo County, Texas vote to join Mexico.

        1. Suppose they do. So what?

          1. And suppose they did so after the Mexican military stormed into the town, and “supervised” the election.

            Then through cut out groups Mexico funded a civil war in southern Texas.

            1. Well played.. We can also use the Irish in Boston voting to join Ireland!

      2. I guess Brighton Beach will become part of Russia then, because the Russians living there voted to join Russia.

        Funny thing about the comments that you made. It clearly identifies you as a Russian. Only Russians say that sort of thing.

        1. I believe in a little something called self-determination. Guys like you only believe in it when you can invoke states rights to justify some oppression of a minority.

      3. Voted to join? Like how Putin has an 80% approval rating in Russia?

        Yeah, I’m sure those things are completely accurate. Just like the 2004 WA State governor’s election. All totally legit.

      4. They seized it militarily and then had a vote.

        1. And Russia tried to do the same thing to eastern Ukraine but that failed.

      5. “The Russians living there voted to join Russia” . . . when under military occupation by the Russian Army, in an election run by the Russian government, with so-called monitoring and exit polling only done by people already on the Russian side. With a reported result of 97.47% for joining Russia.

        And you expect us to take that vote seriously.

        1. Oh, look at all the Fox News brain-washed Russian hating yokels. Of course the predominantly Russian Crimea voted to join Russia. Crimea should never have been made part of Ukraine in the first place.

          1. Actually, my original comment impugning Putin’s popularity was based on a number of things, including an interview with Gary Kasparov, who in addition to being a world chess champion, is also a political dissident and anti-Putin activist in Russia.

          2. Hiding behind the word “predominately” is cute. The Russian-run census of the Crimean population in 2014 reported the place as 65.3% ethnically Russian. How, exactly, did those Russians fill out the 80.73% of all registered voters that supposedly voted for union with Russia that same year?

            Russia didn’t hold an election in Crimea. They didn’t even fake a plausible election in Crimea. They held a theatrical display of polling and then delivered a lie for world consumption. And you swallowed it.

            1. You say voting is determined by ethnicity. not citizenship?

              1. Everybody legally registered to vote on the day of the plebiscite were Ukranian by citizenship, by definition. The term “predominately Russian” applied to legal voters in Crimea could only mean Ukranian citizens at the time who claimed Russian ethnicity, which was 60% in the 2000 Ukranian census and 65% in the 2014 Russian census. And the whole point is that even if you assume that 100% of ethnically-Russian Crimeans registered to vote went out and voted for union with Russia, that doesn’t remotely explain the reported election results. The Russian government made up the numbers there, just like they do when it comes to votes in Chechnya.

                1. …. after seizing control in February 2014, by Russian troops in disguise?

          3. Wow! You really are a Russian, aren’t you?

            At least you admit that Crimea was part of the Ukraine.

            Funny how you think people on here watch Fox news.

            Summer is coming to Russia, tvarische.

  3. “Now NATO. Trump has learned nothing over the past year. He admits that when, during his campaign, he declared NATO obsolete, he knew nothing about it. He still knows nothing. I’m not saying NATO is a good thing. It’s not. I’m saying rather that Trump’s cluelessness is no help whatever in making the case against NATO and all such alliances. He’s a liability to the anti-NATO argument.”

    So he’s right, but he doesn’t know why he’s right and therefore Richman is pissed.

    1. Which is better tan being well ‘informed’ and wrong. ( examples McCain,Graham,Warren,ect )

      1. Yes, it is.
        Sorta like ‘winning ugly’ in football; still a win.

    2. It’s the way he says it! He doesn’t assuage and talk garble gabble like Obama did. So he’s bad.

    3. He’s a liability to the argument. As was clearly outlined in the article, if you could dislodge Trump’s cock from your windpipe long enough to read it.

  4. NATO’s ‘mission’ ended when the USSR fell.. Let Europe solve own problems.. Same for Japan and South Korea. .A completely free trade agreement between tU.S and EU would be a better idea.

  5. But Europe is free riding on US taxpayers when it comes to NATO and the UN.

    1. And I’m tired of supporting 4-week vacations for the wait-staff at some Parisian bistro. Let ’em join the Army if they want to see the world.
      Or at least, Russia’s western border.

      1. Great point. End all foreign aid and military subsidies.

        1. Yeah, we need to save it for domestic subsidies instead.

          1. No, we don’t. But given the choice, one could (but should not) argue that domestic subsidies are better than foreign subsidies.

            1. I’m kind of favoring organ harvesting all the hippies.

              1. After all, brain death was called a long time ago

  6. So the SF Chron’s front page “Trump is a big poopy-head” article today is headlined ‘Green Energy: Too Big to Fail’ or something similar. As if Trump just mandated brown-coal furnaces for every home in the US.
    Anyhow, as evidence, the article cites data from an outfit new to me: “Advanced Energy Economy”.
    It’s a green-wash club; big name sponsors, big time spin, and here’s the money-page:
    http://info.aee.net/aen-2017-market-report
    Mouse over the ‘Advanced Fuel Production’; you’ll get “ethanol”.
    ‘Building efficiency’? Insulation!
    ‘Energy Production’ features such advanced sources as “Hydropower”
    The Chron’s getting desperate.

    1. Looks like the Germans are happy to heat with lignite briquettes, why not us?

      http://www.brikett-rekord.com/

  7. Trump may be a liability to “the argument” but he’s a YUGE asset to an anti-NATO policy.

  8. Sheldon Richman is a twat.

    1. Probably has one too.

  9. The usefulness of a military alliance is determined by the threat it is assembled to address. So the question becomes what is NATO currently designed to defend against?
    The Communist Soviet Union? No longer exists.
    Russia? ISIS? Can NATO be against both Russia and against ISIS? If so, how?
    Russia is a member of the NATO ‘Partnership for Peace’ (what??!!)
    France has been in and out of NATO based on personalities and perceived imbalances of political power.
    What a mess. How about everybody spends whatever it wants on military power, and when the balloon goes up, the survivors get together and divvy up the parts of the world that do not glow at night?

  10. ISIS now calling for “all out war”, presumably against the entire west and all other infidels.

    Good idea. Bring it on, you filthy camel jockeys.

    1. 1) Maybe if we stopped invading them?

      2) Maybe if we stopped pledging our military might to keeping Israel as the sole nuclear power in the area?
      THINK (if you can). If nobody else is allowed nukes, then why does Israel need any … except for aggression??
      OOPS!

      you filthy camel jockeys.

      3) Go back to #1, Keep repeating until you see the VERY bright light..

      Bellowing blowhards did not prevent the first 9/11. And you can’t prevent … anything else.

      1. 1) We’re provoking them? Is that what You’re trying to say? Seriously?

        2) Given the existential desire for so many of Israel’s neighbors to exterminate them (Even stated in Hamas’ charter) I can understand the argument for a strong deterrent. But opinions vary.

        3) Again, seriously? ISIS’s stated goals don’t seem to be predicated on western aggression or the lack thereof. It’s convert to THEIR brand of Islam or die. For everyone. Do you really see that differently?

        1. We’re provoking them? Is that what You’re trying to say? Seriously?

          I said “attacking.” You deny that? Seriously?

          THINK (if you can). If nobody else is allowed nukes, then why does Israel need any … except for aggression??

          Given the existential desire for so many of Israel’s neighbors to exterminate them (Even stated in Hamas’ charter) I can understand the argument for a strong deterrent. But opinions vary.

          Evasion.
          You do not understand aggression? Seriously?

          … On Arab land that was seized after WWII, on a guilt trip by the west for permitting the Holocaust … land the Jews first obtained by mass genocide, ruled for fewer than 300 years over 2000 years ago! … and then lost INTERNALLY (their civil war led to two nations, and it was Jews who refused to defend their fellow Jews from invasion — so they have only themselves to blame).

          3) Again, seriously? ISIS’s stated goals don’t seem to be predicated on western aggression or the lack thereof. It’s convert to THEIR brand of Islam or die.

          If you believe the American media. And if you deny terror attacks against non-Muslims. I’m a Mormon. I want to forcibly convert other Christian denominations to mine … so I slaughter Buddhists? SERIOUSLY?

          Do you really see that differently?

          You now have two elementary examples to ignore! /sarc

          1. To clarify, are you saying that ISIS has not engaged in burning people alive, decapitations, brutal torture, etc. against Keile for reasons including blasphemy, homosexuality, unwillingness to convert, etc? Do you also not believe they are behind the various terror attacks for which they take credit, like the one last week in Manchester? Or is that what you mean by not believing American media?

            1. To clarify, are you saying that ISIS has not engaged in burning people alive, decapitations, brutal torture, etc.

              You asked that in public?

              Do you also not believe they are behind the various terror attacks for which they take credit, like the one last week in Manchester?

              What I SAID was it’s kinda stooopid to say the Manchester attack was intended to convert Muslims to a different sect. Since ,.., you know .. they didn’t attack Muslims!!

              Or is that what you mean by not believing American media?

              Okay, you CAN’T read!! Try again. I’ll dumb it down as much as I can for ya

              It’s convert to THEIR brand of Islam or die.

              If you believe the American media.

              So you DO believe the Manchester attack was to convert MUSLIMS? REALLY?
              You REALLY cannot fathom this SIMPLE example?

              And if you deny terror attacks against non-Muslims. I’m a Mormon. I want to forcibly convert other Christian denominations to mine … so I slaughter Buddhists? SERIOUSLY?

              Anything else?

              1. I just wanted you to clarify your points. I wasn’t certain precisely what you meant.

                You don’t have to be nasty about it.

                1. I just wanted you to clarify your points

                  You tried to bait me with blatant bulklshit. And got called out for it. Now you try to blame the victim.

                  You don’t have to be nasty about it.

                  So sorry that I triggered your Safe Zone. I admit not yet being fully sensitive to snowflakes.

                  1. I admit not yet being fully sensitive to snowflakes.

                    “That’s why I whine about bullies and bold my responses, because I can’t handle disagreement just like my SJW xirthren!!”–Bitchfit Mikey

                    1. “That’s why I whine about bullies and bold my responses, because I can’t handle disagreement just like my SJW xirthren!!”–Bitchfit Mikey

                      I only bold blatant bullshit and aggression. Cyber-bullying is not disagreement, Sparky.
                      And it’s hysterical fat somebody who BRAGS about aggression — baiting and inciting — to deny your own bragging. Even General Custer was a better tactician.

      2. “Islam is a revolutionary faith that comes to destroy any government made by man. ? Islam doesn’t care about the land or who owns the land. The goal of Islam is to rule the entire world and submit all of mankind to the faith of Islam. Any nation or power that gets in the way of that goal, Islam will fight and destroy. In order to fulfill that goal, Islam can use every power available every way it can be used to bring worldwide revolution. This is Jihad.”
        -Sayeed Abdul A’la Maududi, founder of Jamaat-e-Islami

        “When the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”
        -The Holy Koran

        You’re an ignoramus who has absolutely no clue of what it is we’re up against.

        1. no he knows…he isnt stupid. He is just being dishonest for whatever reason i can’t comprehend.

          1. SomeGuy
            no he knows…he isnt stupid. He is just being dishonest for whatever reason I can’t comprehend.

            There must be a LOT you cannot comprehend. Which is why you’ve been TOTALLY humiliated here:
            https://reason.com/archives/201…..nt_6863948

        2. Posted in defense of aggression by a brainwashed, ignorant thug,

          You’re an ignoramus who has absolutely no clue of what it is we’re up against.

          (smirk) Ready?

          Worshiping Other Gods, Holy Bible, Deuteronomy 13
          (Edited for space, My emphasis)>

          If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” ?. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. 9 You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people. 10 Stone them to death?

          (if) Troublemakers have arisen among you ? saying, “Let us go and worship other gods then ? you must certainly put to the sword to all who live in that town. You must destroy it completely both its people and its livestock

          Like He commanded for the Canaanites!
          KILL YOUR OWN BROTHER, WIFE OR CHILD. When will you start?
          And when will you stone to death every woman who was not a virgin on their wedding day?
          Or are you one of the Holy Self-Righteous who places your own will above the Will of Almighty God?

          The Old Testament is the first of THREE Muslim Gospels, followed by the New Testament, then the Quran. Muslims study it. They know what you’re too ignorant to know. Shame on you.

          Any questions?

          1. Sure, but here’s the difference stupid: there’s hardly a Jew anywhere on the face of the earth who actually believes that shit. When was the last time a Jewish guy ran around cutting the throats of people sitting at a bar? I’ll give you all day long.

            By contrast, in poll after poll about half of all the world’s Muslims openly proclaim their belief that every word of the Koran is the immutable word of God himself.

            1. (Posted AGAIN in defense of MORE aggression by a brainwashed, ignorant thug .. now with even crazier bullshit)

              Domestic Dissident, called out for bullshit and aggression claims .,.. wait for it,
              (laughing hysterically) Jews reject the Torah and Christians reject the Old Testament.

              For background, this is how he had his aggression jammed up his ass — which is why he goes totally off the rails here(smirk)
              https://reason.com/archives/201…..nt_6863948

              By contrast, in poll after poll about half of all the world’s Muslims openly proclaim their belief that every word of the Koran is the immutable word of God himself.

              ONLY HALF? (snort))

              DESPERATE Dissident also claims fewer than half of Christians and Jews believe their Bible is the word of God,

              TECHNICALLY, he’s full of shit on that too! Pew Research surveys

              Because homophobes crazy. And haters hate

    2. ISIS now calling for “all out war”

      Good luck with that. Mad Dog Mathis says the new rules of engagement are “Annihilation Tactics”.

      1. Mad Dog Mathis says the new rules of engagement are “Annihilation Tactics”.

        Like Viet Nam? (lol)

        We’ve become the Red Coats. THEY too thought they were invincible against a rag-tag bunch of armed guerillas.
        You know what happened in Nam. right?

        1. I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. Thats not a good example. The British had no experience or inclination towards guerrila tactics or assymetrical warfare at that point in history. We did, which is part of why we managed fact, with more practical rules of engagement, which we have not had in a few decades, we should tear them up pretty fast.

          Also, this is not anything like Vietnam for a multitude of reasons I don’t care to get into. In fact I suggest that it makes the most sense to evaluate the situation based on itself, and not get bogged down in any historical compris

          1. I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. Thats not a good example. The British had no experience or inclination towards guerrila tactics or assymetrical warfare at that point in history.

            They built that HUGE empire without a military?

            We did, which is part of why we managed fact, with more practical rules of engagement, which we have not had in a few decades, we should tear them up pretty fast.

            Like VietNam?

            Also, this is not anything like Vietnam for a multitude of reasons I don’t care to get into.

            You said “respectfully.” Obviously not,

            In fact I suggest that it makes the most sense to evaluate the situation based on itself, and not get bogged down in any historical compris

            Reality be damned!!

            1. Hey, I’m trying to have a civil discussion here. You’re the one who frequently complains people here treat you poorly. So Im going out of my way to not be antagonistic. Just because I don’t agree with some of your points doesn’t make me an asshole.

              You might have an easier time if you just dialed it back a little, and I say that constructively.

              1. Just because I don’t agree with some of your points doesn’t make me an asshole.

                Ditto, snowflake.

                And since I never called you an asshole, shame on you.

                1. And since I never called you an asshole, shame on you

                  Pedantic dipshit is pedantic. (whine about mean words and bold your response, puppet!)

                  1. (Boldface to again highlight repeated aggression … by a cyber-bully and proven liar.

                    And since I never called you an asshole, shame on you

                    Pedantic dipshit is pedantic.

                    Tranalation: “That fucking Hihn proved me a liar again. SO HE’S PEDANTIC!”

                    (whine about mean words and bold your response, puppet!)

                    Translation: When Hihn jams it up my ass, he’s …. WHINING.

                    (sneer)

              2. Just understand that you are communicating with a cantankerous old fart and that should put things into perspective.

                1. (sneer)When I jammed it up his ass.
                  Did your parents teach you to ridicule people’s age? Is that why they’re ashamed of you?

              3. You can’t have a rational discussion with it.

                Its tulpa.

                1. To cyber-bullies, childish name-calling is “rational discussion”
                  (snort)

  11. There’s an argument that NATO was never designed to protect Western Europe from the USSR, but merely a bluff like America’s nuclear umbrella designed to make Western Europeans think they were being protected and keep them from developing their own nukes. Looking at what Europe had done to themselves with conventional weapons in WWI and II, you really want a dozen bickering shithead countries that have been warring with each other for a thousand years getting their hands on nukes for the next time they start threatening WWIII?

    I mean, there’s no way in hell with the size of the Soviet Army staged on the border* that if they decided to roll into Paris anybody would be able to stop them, the war would be over in a matter of hours. Of course, we got pissy with de Gaulle when he insisted the French would have their own force de frappe because he was giving away the bluff – de Gaulle knew if the Soviets rolled toward Paris the US had no way of getting troops there fast enough to stop them and the idea that the US was going to either nuke Paris to dislodge them or nuke Moscow and see half the US nuked in retaliation over Paris was bullshit and he wasn’t buying it.

    1. *Of course, we know now that all those troops in Eastern Europe were neither an offensive threat as we claimed nor a defensive force against us as the Soviets claimed, they were simply an occupation force making sure the Poles and the Czechs and the Hungarians and all the rest of them didn’t start getting all squirmy over the idea that being conquered by the Nazis really wasn’t any worse than being liberated by the Rooskies and might actually have been better.

      1. This. As soon as any Russian troops moved forward to attack NATO their supply lines through Poland, Hungary or Czechoslovakia would have been compromised. Warsaw Pact forces looked imposing on paper, but their ability to actually carry out an assault on the west was another matter.

    2. Hey, do you mind not obliterating the ‘Europeans are sophisticated’ narrative? We still have a lot to learn from them…apparently….so they say….I think.

    3. France had nukes in ’60. The Fulda Gap which the Soviets would have had to attack through is were they would have been used.

      1. Yes, but de Gaulle withdrew from NATO in 1966 to get them under French control.

    4. There’s an argument that NATO was never designed to protect Western Europe from the USSR, but merely a bluff like America’s nuclear umbrella designed to make Western Europeans think they were being protected

      People in countries like Germany understood that they were buffer states and would be annihilated if war actually broke out.

      Nevertheless, being a buffer state with limited democracy and limited free markets was still preferable to being incorporated into the Soviet Union.

    5. Yeah, and the Cold War was a myth invented by neocons.

      1. Sarcasm?

  12. The insane things Trump says are a negotiating tactic. Doesn’t everyone know that by now?

    1. Bullies and assholes never negotiate.
      He is indeed a psychopath.

      1. I’ve known assholes that negotiate. In fact one of the wealthiest members of my community (net worth of several hundred million dollars) is a massive asshole. By his own admission. So will a bully, if one can demonstrate adequate capacity to resist or counter the bully.

        1. So … you have no clue what a bully is???

          1. I understand bullies just fine. I’ve had to deal with p,entry of them.

            1. Why would a bully negotiate, when they can simply go find another victim? For free!

            2. Why would a bully negotiate, when they can simply go find another victim? For free!

            3. Why would a bully negotiate, when they can simply go find another victim? For free!

  13. Good article. The US should unilaterally end all tariffs and subsidies for all industries and products not related to national security. We should also withdrawl from NATO. That does not mean we don’t cooperate with other nations nor does it mean we can never entire into future alliances to achieve limited specific goals when mutually beneficial. It just means we’re not obligated to go to war over someone else’s problem. We can, but we’re not obligated.

    1. I will add that I am not opposed to forward bases if deemed necessary to national security, and if part of the cost of those forward bases is providing security to the host country, I am not necessarily opposed to that depending on the situation.

  14. Come on, someone with a brain as good as Trump says his is must realize that any “deficit” in the merchandise account is a mirror image of a “surplus” in the capital account.

    You’re absolutely right. But that “surplus in the capital account” benefits doesn’t benefit people equally.

    For example, when you have Chinese investors driving up the prices of US urban real estate, American city dwellers can’t just move to China. When the German government fixes the price of German healthcare for blue collar workers, US blue collar workers can’t just move to Germany

    Free trade works well between nations with free markets. But in trade between free markets and regulated markets, the regulators can export problems and externalities into the free markets through careful regulation.

    Progressive poster boys like Germany and the Nordic countries play that game quite well: they export blue collar unemployment to the US; pollution to China; and inequality to Monaco, Switzerland, and the US. They pay a financial price for that, but socially and politically, they still benefit overall.

  15. According to Hastings Ismay, the first Secretary General of NATO, the purpose of NATO was:

    The purpose of NATO is “To keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.”

  16. NATO was never about protecting western Europe.

    Indeed, it wasn’t. It was about protecting the US from a group of dangerous regimes and war mongers: Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Japan, China, etc.

    It was a political choice (and a good one) to pretend that they were on equal footing with the US after WWII; but these nations have grown up now, and we don’t need to treat them or their fragile egos with kid gloves anymore.

  17. Quoting Adam Smith is useless, since he never assumed a government that intentionally punishes manufacturing in its tax code.

    At the end of WWII — despite Gillespie’s bullshit — we suffered 5 recessions in only 16 years, 1945-1961. We came out of the war with the only industrial base still standing. ALL our trade competitors, forced to rebuild, switched to pro-investment tax policies We stayed with New Deal policies. (Gillespie repeatedly claims we had a YUGE economic boom … at 91% tax rates!)

    Actually, we collapsed to “among the lowest” in economic growth” (JFK’s 1961 SOTU) … until Kennedy repealed those 91% rates. As later copied by Reagan, he included a targeted incentive for manufacturing investment.
    The 1986 Tax Reform is now celebrated as a Reagan triumph. But dumbfuck Republicans got their asses handed to them by Dems, even worse than Medicare Prescriptions. They INCREASED TAXES on new investment (repealed JFK’s 7% credit) and extended depreciation back to 16 years ? from Reagan’s 8 ? with all our trade competitors at FIVE years. Manufacturing went back to the postwar taxes, where it had all collapsed. Liberals claimed they were ? what else ? “closing corporate loopholes.”

    Here again, anti-gubmint libertarians spout free-market slogans in abject ignorance, while actually being accomplices to progressive tax policies. (NOT defending Trump; ridiculing Richman)

    Thank GOD it’s a libertarian moment!

    1. I suggest Mr. Hihn look at the current depreciation schedules again.

      1. I suggest that creech is full of shit.

        1. Stay classy Mr. Hihn.

          From “Money Magazine’s” website:

          Property Class

          The IRS has divided every imaginable type of business property ? from race horses to tugboats ? into nine classes. Each class is named for its useful lifetime. Here are the nine classes and examples of the types of property they cover:

          3-year property ? race horses, rent-to-own property
          5-year property ? automobiles, computers
          7-year property ? office furniture, agricultural machinery
          10-year property ? boats, fruit trees
          15-year property ? restaurants, gas stations
          20-year property ? farm buildings, municipal sewers
          25-year property ? water treatment facilities
          Residential rental property ? rental apartments or homes
          Nonresidential real property ? office buildings or stores

          1. Creech again makes fool of self publicly!

            creech
            From “Money Magazine’s” website:

            (smirk) Wait for it …

            1) That’s the depreciation for OWNING a car … NOT THE EQUIPMENT TO MANUFACTURE ONE! OMG

            2) And for OWNING a boat, restaurant, gas station, farm building … and everything else you listed!. (pees pants laughing)

            And …. why is manufacturing equipment NOWHERE on your list??? OOOOOPS

            I suggest that creech is full of shit.

            Now proven!

            Again, this is how dumbfuck Republicans had their asses handed to them by Democrats. Yet again.
            https://reason.com/archives/201…..nt_6863868

            Relevance is to current foreign trade issues, where the libertarian establishment again uses anti-gubmint slogans to hide its ignorance of the tax code and its history. Unlike pro-liberty libs.

            1. Thanks for setting me straight, Mr.Hihn. Looks like I’ve been applying MACRS wrong for my career. And I think you should write to ThomsonReuters Tax & Accounting as they’ve been steering their clients wrong by claiming Sec. 168(a) of the Internal Revenue Code allows for MACRS of Seven (7) years for the following (and by no means complete) types of equipment: 30.2 Mfg Finished Plastic Products; 32.1 Mfg. Glass Products; 33.2 Mfg. Primary Nonferrous Metals; 33.4 Mfg. Primary Steel Mill products; 34.0 Mfg. Fabricated Steel Products, etc, etc. Funny, too, that the IRS has audited my company several times and never questioned our use of MACRS for tax purposes.

              1. Creech – Your comment contains neither gratuitous insults nor all cap exclamations. We all know that those two are the keys to persuasion.

                1. In his defense, let’s just say that at one time, Mike was both lucid and willing to accept that views other than his could be acceptable.
                  Not so much anymore and to be honest, he probably ought to step back from the keyboard; he’s not doing his rep any favors.

                2. Creech – Your comment contains neither gratuitous insults nor all cap exclamations. We all know that those two are the keys to persuasion.

                  Actually, that’s ridicule.

                  I now ridicule you for failing to notice —or lying about — his original claim, which was the WRONG data …. from the Money Magazine website. NOT the stuff he babbles about after being called out for a massive fuckup.

                  (They travel in a pack, like wild dogs.)

              2. Thanks for setting me straight, Mr.Hihn.

                Thanks for confirming that you’re full of shit.

                Looks like I’ve been applying MACRS wrong for my career. And I think you should write to ThomsonReuters Tax & Accounting as they’ve been steering their clients wrong by claiming Sec. 168(a) of the Internal Revenue Code allows for MACRS of Seven (7) How does your PATHETIC babbling relate to the “proof” you posted? …. FROM MONEY MAGAZINE’S WEBSITE???

                Here again, is your massive fuckup. In detail.
                https://reason.com/archives/201…..nt_6863959

                Now, what kind of psycho lies through his teeth … about the immediately preceding comment … which proves you a liar?
                With an apparent ego problem?

  18. When foreigners receive dollars for their exports to America, they have three options for how to use the money: buy American exports, invest here, or trade them to someone else who then faces the same options.

    They can buy the country. Natural resources. Land. Intellectual property.

    The Chinese are doing that around the world.

  19. They can buy the country. Natural resources. Land. Intellectual property.
    The Chinese are doing that around the world.

    Which, of course, increases the amount of investment capital in those other countries. If an offshore investor “imports” $100 million in capital to buy a US building, that $100 million becomes available to the seller, for investment elsewhere.

    Kinda strange that our President doesn’t understand his own (family) business.

    1. Which, of course, increases the amount of investment capital in those other countries

      The difference is that when we buy a German car or a Chinese cell phone, we get just a car or a cell phone. When the Germans or Chinese buy land, shares, natural resources, they get not just what they paid for, they also get political power and a permanent presence.

      We’re making the same mistake as the previous generation of Americans: selling our land for trinkets and consumer goods.

      1. Do you have anything relevant?

        Or just explain your hysteria about how China gets “political power” from buying a building?
        Do you really not know that the building pays property taxes, which the foreign investor is not allowed to vote on? Also not allowed to vote on ANY taxes, at any level.

        The problem is a tax code that seriously punishes manufacturing in America. PLUS, foreign employers pay little or nothing for health care, PLUS our corporate tax rate. Please explain all this to President Trump, since you’re such a shill for his nonsense.

        1. Maybe if you understood the benefits of buying land and stock over consumption, your retirement wouldn’t be as bleak as it apparently is.

          Based on first-hand experience, I can assure you that the Germans, the Chinese, and their governments generally understand this.

          1. bulshitter Mark babbled

            When the Germans or Chinese buy land, shares, natural resources, they get not just what they paid for, they also get political power and a permanent presence.

            I called out the bullshitter

            Or just explain your hysteria about how China gets “political power” from buying a building?

            Cowardly bullshitter runs away from the challenge.

            Maybe if you understood the benefits of buying land and stock over consumption

            HOW DOES ONE GAIN POLITICAL POWER FROM BUYING A BUILDING IN A COUNTRY WHERE ONE CANNOT VOTE???

            Based on first-hand experience, I can assure you that the Germans, the Chinese, and their governments generally understand this

            HOW DOES ONE GAIN POLITICAL POWER FROM BUYING A BUILDING IN A COUNTRY WHERE ONE CANNOT VOTE???

            Bullshitter has been called out again.
            Like Trump, he’ll keep lying forever.
            It’s not nice to ridicule the mentally handicapped, so I’ll stop now.

            1. I can vote and it’s not like I have any political power. I can accurately predict the outcome of any election by taking the inverse of my ballot. The non-politicians with political power are the people who the politicians actually listen to. Cronies and such. I would imagine a non-voter who owns a building would be a lot closer to a politician’s ear than someone like me. Not that it guarantees anything. Just saying…

              1. Relevance? To anything?

            2. HOW DOES ONE GAIN POLITICAL POWER FROM BUYING [LAND, COMPANIES, BUILDINGS, CAPITAL INVESTMENTS] IN A COUNTRY WHERE ONE CANNOT VOTE???

              Capital investments have the potential of producing a return, and hence their owners have the power to decide whether to realize that return or not, and that translates into whether workers get jobs and governments get tax revenues. You can let your investment (land, buildings, factories, etc.) sit idle or put it to some use, and the uses you can put it can be politically desirable or not. Chinese can buy US companies, ship their assets and IP overseas, and close the US company, and they do. Foreigners can buy media companies and spread propaganda. Do you think Rupert Murdoch’s political power came from his single vote or his media ownership? And if a country chooses to spend and invest enough money, they can destabilize their governments and cause chaos; just ask the CIA, they have done it often enough.

              Free trade and free markets achieve good outcomes for both parties only if participants behave economically rationally, and that’s explicitly not true for many US consumers and for countries like China or Germany. Those countries are founded on principles that place political objectives above economic liberty or the economic interests of their citizens.

              You’re no Glaucon, but keep asking questions anyway.

              1. watch cyber-bully’s TOTAL meltdown!

                HOW DOES ONE GAIN POLITICAL POWER FROM BUYING [LAND, COMPANIES, BUILDINGS, CAPITAL INVESTMENTS] IN A COUNTRY WHERE ONE CANNOT VOTE???

                Capital investments have the potential of producing a return, and hence their owners have the power to decide whether to realize that return or not, and that translates into whether workers get jobs and governments get tax revenues.

                THAT’S NOT POLITICAL POWER!

                You can let your investment (land, buildings, factories, etc.) sit idle or put it to some use, and the uses you can put it can be politically desirable or not.

                NOW HOW IS IT POLITICAL POWER TO …. USE A PROPERTY YOU BOUGHT …. INSTEAD OF INVESTING MILLIONS AND IGNORING IT?

                Chinese can buy US companies, ship their assets and IP overseas, and close the US company, and they do. Foreigners can buy media companies and spread propaganda.

                HOW IS THAT POLITICAL POWER?

                Do you think Rupert Murdoch’s political power came from his single vote or his media ownership?

                IN A COUNTRY WHERE ONE CANNOT VOTE. (smirk)

                ** RUPERT * MURDOCH * IS * A**US CITIZEN * YOU * DROOLING * *MISFUCK

                ALL caps and he STILL fucks it up!!!! Will adding boldface be enough???) (lsnortl)

                I’m TRYING to not ridicule the handicapped … but he can’t stop attacking me … totally out of control. Like Trump

  20. I for one think the US should withdraw from NATO. The US taxpayers have been paying 70% of the bill for defending Europe against a made-up enemy. It is the US and Europe that are ringing Russia with military not the other way around.

  21. Is Trump a liability when it comes to privatizing ATC too?

  22. RE: Trump’s Wrong on Trade With Germany and a Liability to the Anti-NATO Argument

    “First, trade. Trump famously said to Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Union, “The Germans are bad, very bad. Look at the millions of cars that they’re selling in the USA. Horrible. We’re gonna stop that.”
    As usual, Trump the Grump is wrong on this one. If I had the money to purchase a European (or any other car from any other country), then I should have the freedom to do so. No choice, no freedom.
    Secondly, why are we in NATO again? I though the Soviet Union collapsed decades ago. I guess I’m wrong.
    Let the Europeans go bankrupt defending their chickenshit countries, and let their kids go to war, fight and die. Americans have spilled enough blood policing the world the past century.

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