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'Buy American' Is Un-American

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President Donald Trump loves to encourage people to buy products "made in America." It makes for a good slogan, but it's bad and incoherent policy. And it will do little or nothing to help Americans who have been put out of work by a straggling economy or by technological change.

For starters, it's hard even to get a clean definition of what it means for a product to be made in the United States. Dozens of items that carry a "made in America" tag were largely assembled or sourced elsewhere, with only a little bit of labor added within our borders. The Jeep Patriot pushes nationalism in its very name, but the model's transmissions are made in Japan, Germany, and Mexico.

Rightly so. The U.S. often has much higher labor costs than foreign countries, which means the same thing created solely in America would have an astronomical price tag. According to one estimate, iPads would be $967 apiece, about three times what a basic one goes for now. The resulting fall in sales would mean the loss of about 67,000 manufacturing jobs.

To hype his "made in America" policy, Trump invited 50 companies to the White House for a photo op. It turns out that 21 of them received federal, state, and local subsidies worth about $600 million. If you're taxing Peter to subsidize Paul, chances are you're not creating much real economic benefit.

Virtually all economists agree that protectionism dampens economic activity and growth by increasing prices and keeping workers and resources in sunset industries that will need more and more help to stay afloat. A Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis study that looked at industry-specific protectionist policies in the 1980s found that trying to make people "buy American" led to consumer losses of over half a million dollars per job "saved."

There's no question that many Americans are having trouble finding rewarding work in a global economy that demands that people be constantly improving. But the best way to help them is to pursue policies that produce the sort of economic growth that creates new jobs, new opportunities, and new wealth for all of us: lower government spending, flatter taxes, and less regulation.

"Buy American" is a cheap slogan best left on cheap baseball caps produced overseas.

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  1. “Buy American” is a cheap slogan best left on cheap baseball caps produced overseas.
    Cheap baseball caps worn by cheap pervert of a President who takes cheap shots at the Americans he claims to represent.

    1. Yeah man, all those MAGA hats are made in Stanstanstanstanistan… Hypocrisy at its finest!!!!

  2. ‘Buy American’ Is Un-American

    Reason’s usual reality denying globalist claptrap.

    An American is better off when his neighbor has a job instead of a foreigner.

    1. Why am I better off buying a MAGA hat for $500 that is made in the USA, v/s a MAGA hat for $8 that is made in the Greater Democratic Union of Stanstanstanstanistan? Please explain… As you would, to a child!

      1. Because thats a false analogy. It doesn’t cost over 6,000% more to produce a fucking hat here in the US.

    2. “Reason’s usual reality denying globalist claptrap”

      You misspelled “241 years of libertarian consensus by Smith, Bastiat, Friedman (M.), Hayek, etc.”.

    3. Why does frequent use of the word ‘globalist’ seem like such a good predictor of stupidity?

      I’m better off buying a cheap, well-made car made by a hard working Jap than I am buying an overpriced piece of shit made by an entitled, unionized prick in Dearborn. Why don’t you fuck off back to reality infowars.

      1. ‘Back to infowars.’ Fuck autocorrect too.

      2. Why don’t you fuck off back to reality

        Freudian slip

        1. “Reality”: the magical land where Facebook was left in the dust by Myspace, cats chase dogs, and Protectionism is the hero ideology of history.

          /buybuydandavis

  3. President Donald Trump loves to encourage people to buy products “made in America.” It makes for a good slogan, but it’s bad and incoherent policy.

    its not “a policy”. Its political rhetoric.

    Virtually all economists agree that protectionism dampens economic activity

    examples of protectionist subsidies are policy, but aren’t unique to trump; its insinuated that the companies he invited were specifically granted special favors by Trump.

    how is Trump’s “buy american” rhetoric really any different than this sort of stuff? =
    http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/1…../index.htm

    Following the insourcing forum on Wednesday, Obama recognized Ford for committing to bring back about 2,000 jobs to U.S. factories by 2015 and shifting some of its production from Japan, Mexico and China to states such as Michigan, Ohio and Missouri.

    He also recognized Master Lock, the Milwaukee-based padlock manufacturer and subsidiary of Fortune Brands Home & Security (FBHS), for bringing 100 jobs back to Wisconsin, after outsourcing them to China.

    its all the same “i am the conductor of the economic orchestra”-pretense that presidents always make. They wave their hands, they say, “America Good!” and hope that technocratic micromanaging might be correlated to some minor improvement in conditions.

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