Donald Trump

Trump's Impulsive Trade War Is Lousy Economics and Worrisome Politics

President's hasty new "trade war" will damage the American economy while continuing his process of removing tariff-reduction from two-party politics.

|

Huh. So it turns out when you elect an impulsive, anger-prone mercantilist who campaigned and won the presidency on a platform to stop "letting" America's international trading partners get away with "murder," he might impulsively launch a trade war without so much as properly consulting his own staff.

NBC News (among several other outlets) is reporting that the president's plan was hatched on the fly, in part due to his anger about non-related scandals plaguing the White House:

Trump's policy maneuver…was announced without any internal review by government lawyers or his own staff, according to a review of an internal White House document.

According to two officials, Trump's decision to launch a potential trade war was born out of anger at other simmering issues and the result of a broken internal process that has failed to deliver him consensus views that represent the best advice of his team.

On Wednesday evening, the president became "unglued," in the words of one official familiar with the president's state of mind.

Congratulations, GOP! ||| Pool/ABACA/Newscom
Pool/ABACA/Newscom

Trump's proposed 10 percent aluminum tariff, as Eric Boehm laid out this morning, would inflict material damage on the robust domestic beverage industry, among several other sectors, as well as on each and every American who buys a product containing aluminum. (This Virginia Postrel piece from last November does a good job explaining how much.) The 25 percent tariff on steel, too, would be a self-inflicted economic injury. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 420 points yesterday (1.7 percent) partly in response to the announcement, and finished today down an additional 71 after volatile trading. This Yahoo Finance headline sums things up well: "Economists pan Trump trade policy as 'terrible,' risks ending economic expansion."

It is not new for a modern U.S. president to impose protectionist tariffs. Barack Obama did it with Chinese tires, costing American consumers an estimated $1.1 billion in return for preserving 1,200 jobs in the domestic tire industry. And as Steve Chapman has noted in these pages, "When George W. Bush imposed duties on foreign steel, experts concluded, he destroyed some 200,000 jobs in other sectors—exceeding the total employment of the American steel industry."

Trump's moves, coming on the heels of his recent tariffs on Chinese solar panels and imported washing machines, threaten to be far more ruinous, "the most significant set of U.S. import restrictions in nearly half a century," Edward Alden concluded over at the Council on Foreign Relations. That's in part due to the centrality of protectionism to both Trump's presidential campaign and his lifelong economic worldview. He really, truly believes that "trade wars are good, and easy to win," and that his commitment to this belief is part of why he won the presidency. That's a potent combination.

So is Republican malleability on what used to be a bedrock conservative principle. As Ilya Somin has noted over at The Volokh Conspiracy, Trump has dramatically shifted Republican public opinion on trade. And some high-up GOP types have been all too happy to change their spots: Never forget that then-Republican Party Chair Reince Priebus drew applause from the stage of the Republican National Convention for crowing that "Donald Trump wants to bring jobs back from overseas and hold companies who want to send them abroad accountable." With Democrats already tacking hard toward a Bernie Sanders-like approach on economic policy, tariff-reduction may be following deficit-reduction out the exit door of two-party politics.

The president has considerable latitude on trade policy, particularly when dressed up unconvincingly as "national security." If Trump really wants his trade war, Trump will get his trade war, even if every member of Congress was to spontaneously agree with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) that "No trade war has ever worked." This was always a central objection to candidate Trump, one that many people who have long supported free trade found less persuasive than their antipathy toward his competitors.

Is there any possible silver lining to this lousy news? Probably not, but MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle (whose show I guest on frequently) has reported from sources that Trump may change his mind if the stock market continues to tank. So it's possible that the president's impulsiveness may yet save us from the president's impulsiveness. That is what passes for economic policy hope in a Washington run by the Republican Party.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

144 responses to “Trump's Impulsive Trade War Is Lousy Economics and Worrisome Politics

  1. NBC News (among several other outlets) is reporting that the president’s plan was hatched on the fly, in part due to his anger about non-related scandals plaguing the White House…

    So an even more expensive diversion than lobbing cruise missiles at Iraq?

    1. my buddy’s step-sister makes $81 /hr on the computer . She has been unemployed for ten months but last month her pay check was $18138 just working on the computer for a few hours. take a look at the site here

      LOOK HERE MORE
      http://www.richdeck.com

    2. And since when has NBC been honest in their reporting

    3. Start earning $90/hourly for working online from your home for few hours each day… Get regular payment on a weekly basis… All you need is a computer, internet connection and a litte free time…

      Read more here…….. http://www.startonlinejob.com

  2. Barack Obama did it with Chinese tires, costing American consumers an estimated $1.1 billion in return for preserving 1,200 jobs in the domestic tire industry. And as Steve Chapman has noted in these pages, “When George W. Bush imposed duties on foreign steel, experts concluded, he destroyed some 200,000 jobs in other sectors?exceeding the total employment of the American steel industry.”

    Well, it’s either this or ARRA 2.0, shelling out a million or so tax dollars per job created/saved. Because unless you can think of a better way for the federal government to cook up new employment omelettes out of thin air and without breaking a few eggs, these are your choices!

    1. My Uncle Zachary recently got a new black Hyundai Tucson SUV only from working part time off a home pc. try this web-site

      LOOK HERE MORE
      http://www.richdeck.com

  3. ‘won the presidency on a platform to stop “letting” America’s international trading partners get away with “murder,” he might impulsively launch a trade war without so much as properly consulting his own staff.’

    TDS causes mental retardation.

    You don’t get to call Trump’s trade policy both the platform he ran on and impulsive action.

    1. Says who? Authoritarian right-wingers masquerading as libertarians because they don’t have the stones to appear in public without a silly costume?

      This announcement appears to be an impetuous, petty lurch rather than a reasoned, measured decision. That makes the move impulsive. That this impulsive act can be squared with one of the hundreds of silly, off-the-cuff, reckless statements a candidate made while serenading hangars packed with yahoos during the campaign does not make it part of anything properly described as a platform.

      1. The move was not impulsive. This is the platform he ran on
        You leftists are just sore losers, and your misguided attacks on Trump only show your ignorance

      2. Batman agrees with me?
        What the hell are you talking about? Costumes?

        “It appears to be impetuous… that makes the move impulsive”

        Yeah. How it *appears* to a guy who believes he sees everyone he disagrees with running around in a costume certainly must be the was it *is*.

        Seek help. Paranoid hallucinations are a sign of terminal TDS.

  4. Just did to take Putin away from the spotlight.

  5. I know the grocery store tried getting cute with me one time so I said fuck ’em, I ain’t buying groceries no more. That’ll learn ’em.

  6. “trade wars are good, and easy to win”

  7. If Trump really wants his trade war, Trump will get his trade war, even if every member of Congress was to spontaneously agree with Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) that “No trade war has ever worked.”

    Yes, if every member of congress were to oppose these tariffs, there is absolutely nothing that they can do.

    Jesus Christ, and libertarians think they’re the smart ones.

    1. this trade war started as early as 2014, was ramped up 500% in 2016.

  8. I guess Trump has never seen Ben Stein’s speech in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. Then he would know the dangers of the Hawley Smooth Tariff Act of 1930.

  9. “whose show I guest on frequently”

    Upon whose show I frequently guest? Aren’t journalists supposed to be English majors?

    1. Back in the day.

  10. The 18th century called, it wants its economic policies back.

    1. Tariffs have been used throughout US history. And this “trade war” was started years ago when the glut of steel from Chinese dumping made Obama raise tariffs by 500% in 2014 and 2016 But now that Trump’s doing it we’re all doomed right? LOL

      1. So, a publication that promotes free markets should ignore more trade barriers as a good thing?

        1. No, but putting events in an accurate comtext is important. Like the major media outlets and their bullshit stories about Trump cleaning out Obama appointees being irregular and unprecedented. When it was actually the normal course of events when the opposite party takes over.

          1. I don’t disagree, but it looks like Sugar has gone the other way. The last steel tariffs we imposed were in 2002. And China exports an almost insignificant amount of steel to the US. Canada is our largest importer of steel. Perhaps this is a NAFTA deal strategy or something, but it definitely looks like it has little to do with China or national security.

      2. People are welcome to wallow in right-wing authoritarianism and uneducated backwardness, but why anyone would choose to do so at an ostensibly libertarian forum is strange.

        Carry on, clingers.

        1. i would rather cleanse our country of your kind.

  11. This idea of Trump’s bothers me to no end. It reveals a complete disconnect from basic economic principles.Trade is what promotes peace and freedom around the world. It also provides competition. It will NOT bring lost jobs back. This is backwards thinking. I remember someone asked me if I thought trade with Cuba to be a good thing. I replied, “Absolutely, yes. It will do for Cuba what it has done for the people of China. Trade is the currency of Democracy. The people of Cuba have been under a dictator’s thumb for 50 years. This will put money and some independence in their pockets.” When you Tariff anything The Law of Unintended Consequences will also apply. George H Bush tried to tax luxury items like yachts years ago. People bought fewer yachts, obviously. It blew up in his face and the U.S. lost money. The less government has their hands on trade the freer and more pure and innovative it can be. It pushes prices down and puts more money back into everyone’s pockets. Let the playing field be equal and stop government from picking the winners and losers.

    1. it’s not Trump’s idea, slapping increasing tariffs on China’s steel and metals dumping has been the policy of the Commerce Dept for years…at least as early as 2014

      1. if you want to see what the media said about tariffs on China in 2014 and 2016, they all cheered it on….now that Trump turns up the tariff knob a bit more, it’s “we’re doomed” ….well we all know how the media votes don’t we. http://www.latimes.com/busines…..story.html

        1. Media professionals tend to be properly educated and reason-based. They tend to reside in modern, successful communities rather than backward, shambling communities. They tend to be tolerant rather than insular and bigoted.

          It is surprising that these attributes would influence their votes?

          1. “Media professionals tend to be properly educated and reason-based. They tend to reside in modern, successful communities rather than backward, shambling communities. They tend to be tolerant rather than insular and bigoted.”

            Check the NYT on Venezuela, you ignorant lefty asshole.

          2. Arty, you are a subversive traitor. You are also a weak minded moron, like the rest of progressivekind. You should learn to obey someone more intelligent than your progtarded overlords. Which is pretty much everyone.

        2. I don’t think those were ever imposed.

    2. Whats really irritating is the unquantifiable amount of human energy it wastes. The amount of work that can get done by some number of people is also pretty unquantifiable, but 100% finite, so the more we use at cross purposes the less we have to do what people naturally want to do, i.e. improve their lives. Instead we have some people spending their time and energy, and some of everyone elses making life harder and more expensive for people with tastes that happen to be unpopular. If redistribution worked those man hours or whatever could, i dunno, build quite a few schools or hospitals or anything that isnt for the purpose of making it harder for other people to get what they want. I doubt it would by itself save three trillion dollars or whatever but its an insane way to spend money we arent anywhere close to having. Im no psychologist but going into debt trying to make sure people only do exactly what you want doesnt really sound like something a non-psyscopath would do.

    3. This idea of Trump’s bothers me to no end.

      Because you’re a blind partisan who only gets upset about things when they are done by people you dislike?

      Trade is what promotes peace and freedom around the world.

      It can do that. It can also promote conflict and political unrest.

      It reveals a complete disconnect from basic economic principles

      Tariffs aren’t about economics, they are about politics.

  12. Huh. So when a country elects as President a man who produced a book on the Art of the [Business] Deal, some members of the commentariat are surprised when he makes moves like a businessman working a business deal to his and the country’s advantage. Even after he spends over 18 months saying that his platform is putting America’s economic interests first.

    Don’t forget, either, that we are now in a post-industrial economy. These trade deals do not touch today’s sources of wealth and power– financial and information services. And which country is pre-eminent in both fields? Any counterattack on industrial trade deals can be met with countermoves where the real clout is.

    1. “America” doesn’t have economic interests- people do. And not everybody in America has the same interests.

      1. America is a group of people with economic interests…your statement is stupid

        1. Take President Cheetoh’s dick out of your ass.

    2. “It’s a totally impulsive move!”

      TDS in action

    3. It’s not a move that puts America’s interest first. It’s dumb and has no economic merit.

      He’s not behaving like a business man making good deals either. It’s just pure political pandering.

      Still, it’s what I signed up for when I voted for him, so I am not surprised. Hopefully he will get enough other things right for this to not be disastrous. Voting means eating the smaller of the shit sandwiches you are given.

    4. “…he makes moves like a businessman working a business deal to his and the country’s advantage….”

      Which this doesn’t.

  13. Excellent point. If our trading partners retaliate we’ll just retaliate more and in other markets. No way that wouldn’t work.

  14. Anyone that thinks this is some knee-jerk Trump impulsive trade war is not very well informed about the US’s continued tariff policies towards China. China has been subsidizing their metals and dumping the surplus on US markets and driving US producers to close their plants. Huge tariff hikes against China were started long ago and have been significantly raised in 2014 and 2016 under Obama. Trump has merely turned up the knob a tiny bit more. This “trade war” has been going on for years and years. http://www.latimes.com/busines…..story.html

    1. How dare you get facts all over the TDS Narrative?!

    2. None of that makes it a good move.

      1. None of that makes it a good move.

        The arguments against tariffs work when you have two free market nations trading with each other. They don’t necessarily work between highly regulated and subsidized economies like China, Europe, and the US.

        All these nations use trade, regulatory, and government spending policies to help their domestic industries and hurt foreign competition. Those policies don’t make sense when you analyze them from a free market perspective, but they can be rational and necessary when you analyze them taking into account that the economies involved are not free market economies.

        (Whether these particular tariffs make sense is a separate question.)

        1. Nope. Free trade works just as well whether the partners have economic/regulatory parity or not.

          Your argument simply amounts to a form of industrial policy. There isn’t a logical stopping point to simply ceasing trade altogether.

          Quite aside from the economic impact, why do you think you get to decide how US companies source steel or anything else ? Or what products US consumers buy ? I mean, honestly, who the hell do you think you are to wield that kind of power ?

          1. Quite aside from the economic impact, why do you think you get to decide how US companies source steel or anything else ? Or what products US consumers buy ? I mean, honestly, who the hell do you think you are to wield that kind of power ?

            I don’t get to wield that kind of power, the US government does, in response to voting. Our elected representatives not only get to decide where US companies source steel or what products I am permitted to buy, they also take half the money I earn, tell me where I can and cannot build, and where and whether I can travel or not. Welcome to life in a progressive welfare state.

            1. You are dodging the point with semantics. By “we” I mean you, me, the governemt, anyone. Just because people voted for it doesn’t make it right. You go on to list a bunch of bad things the gov’t does…and you now want to add one more bad thing to the pile ? WTF ? Thats no defense of your argument.

              1. You go on to list a bunch of bad things the gov’t does…and you now want to add one more bad thing to the pile ? WTF ? Thats no defense of your argument.

                No, what I’m saying is that we live in a country were I am being aggressed against through the political system, and it is perfectly legitimate for me to defend myself in the same way. So, since other people enrich themselves at my expense through the political process, it is perfectly legitimate to try to get as much of that money back through the same political process. Therefore, if I thought steel tariffs were in my interest, I have every right to use the same political system that deprives me of my liberties to do the same to others.

                1. Well, I’ll give you props for honesty. You’ve articulated the true motivation for tarriffs/trade barriers, and it isn’t any concern for economic progress.

                  I can’t understand why you don’t see this escalating tit-for-tat government involvement in our economic lives as bad. This doesn’t end well over the long haul.

                  1. I can’t understand why you don’t see this escalating tit-for-tat government involvement in our economic lives as bad.

                    I strongly favor a reduction of government involvement in our economic lives. Your error is in misrepresenting a particular choice on tariffs on two products as if they represented an increase of government involvement in our economic lives.

                    You’ve articulated the true motivation for tarriffs/trade barriers, and it isn’t any concern for economic progress.

                    As I keep explaining to you: tariffs are a political choice, not an economic choice. Note that both the choice to impose tariffs and the choice not to impose tariffs are political choices.

                    1. …and I keep telling you, these arguments are nonsensical. Merely repeating them doesn’t make them right.

                      Tarriffs clearly are government involvement in our lives…driving what we can buy, prices, and perversely, who will keep or lose their jobs (often, it seems, benefiting few at the expense of many). They are imposed on economic actors against their will by the government.

                      I mean, dude, REALLY ?

                    2. …and I keep telling you, these arguments are nonsensical. Merely repeating them doesn’t make them right.

                      Of course you “keep telling me”: you just repeat yourself over and over again without making a reasoned argument or responding to my points.

                      And in the end, your views are simply the self-serving, self-righteous views of leftists, dressed up in libertarian language; so is your inability to engage in debate.

          2. Free trade works just as well whether the partners have economic/regulatory parity or not.

            We didn’t have free trade before these tariffs, so it isn’t a free trade issue. But a more basic problem with your reasoning is that what you call “working well” translates into “increases overall global economic output”, which is not a criterion that matters much to individual voters in the US.

            Tariffs on manufactured goods can function like a flat tax on consumption, coupled with a welfare-to-work program for low skill workers. That may not be economically efficient compared to a totally free market with totally free trade (the libertarian ideal and something I would prefer), but it is likely more economically efficient compared to the progressive tax system coupled with the government welfare system we currently have. And it is certainly vastly preferable to both blue collar workers and to high income earners compared to the current system, which is perhaps why those two groups have actually supported Trump and his tariffs in the last election.

            1. Not sure how much I agree. If these tariffs result in higher costs to build and in turn less building, those blue collar workers involved in the construction business might not find it preferable.

              It seems to be another one of those things that sound good at the bar after a some whiskey, but doesn’t work out so well in practice.

              1. If these tariffs result in higher costs to build and in turn less building, those blue collar workers involved in the construction business might not find it preferable.

                I suspect these particular tariffs won’t be having much effect either way. What I objected to is the knee-jerk reaction from libertarians that the imposition of tariffs is (1) always economically harmful, (2) always harmful to the US, and (3) harmful to the goal of making the US more libertarian. All three of those propositions are wrong, because tariffs can be harmful or beneficial to each of those objectives depending on circumstances.

                1. But they are harmful. They not only introduce inefficiencies and barriers into the market, but they might invite retaliation. Measured tariffs? Yeah, they might accomplish something. But nothing on the scale under which US businesses operate.

                  Tariffs either raise money or protect domestic industry. This one is meant to protect the steel industry. Although it’s my understanding the US steel industry is doing fine and producing as much as it ever has. And there’s only a couple hundred thousand jobs in that industry. In an economy with millions quitting and starting jobs every month….that’s nothing. The retaliation and effects on other industries could be very damaging.

                  But you’re right, no one knows what will happen. However, the reward, if any, will most likely be minuscule compared to the size of our economy. The downside could be very painful to US businesses that are several magnitudes larger than the steel industry.

                  I just don’t see why you wouldn’t have a negative knee jerk reaction.

            2. Just because we didn’t have free trade before doesn’t justify making the situation worse. Like Trump’s moves on deregulation, they weren’t perfect, but I will always heartily applaud moves in the right direction. Should we add “more” regulation, because we have “some” ?

              By “working well” I mean for everyone, including US citizens. We’ve all benefited massively from trade, but like the “creative destruction” aspect of capitalism itself, often the benefits are dispersed and the costs concentrated. Hence the opportunity for demagoguery, which is what this is.

              To your last paragraph, you express a certain omniscience about economic outcomes that you simply don’t have. You simply have no idea if any of thats true…yet you want to stick your nose deeply into everyone’s economic decision making. Indeed, it doesn’t matter if its true, any more than if you don’t think I should own an AR-15 or have free speech. It shouldn’t be your choice. Its mine.

              You clearly aren’t for “totally free trade”. What you appear to be for is its retarded cousin, “Fair Trade”, everyone’s go-to excuse for trade restrictions.

              Lastly, I am a Trump voter myself…I can assure you I voted for him IN SPITE of this issue, not because of it, as he was the only realistic choice. In the end, however, how mobs of people vote does NOT indicate the rightness of wisdom of a decision, just its political realities.

              1. Just because we didn’t have free trade before doesn’t justify making the situation worse.

                You’re assuming that liberty is additive; that is, that adding any regulation or restriction takes us further away from libertarianism, and removing any regulation or restrictions brings us closer. to libertarianism. That assumption is fundamentally wrong.

                To your last paragraph, you express a certain omniscience about economic outcomes that you simply don’t have.

                Not at all. I was very careful to state this as tariffs on manufactured goods can function like a flat tax, not that these particular tariffs do. I am neutral on whether these particular tariffs are beneficial or harmful. You tried to make an “omniscient”, categorical claim; that’s what I objected to.

                how mobs of people vote does NOT indicate the rightness of wisdom of a decision, just its political realities

                No, but Trump made a decent argument for these tariffs and many voters agreed. I have tried to explain to you what their reasoning is. I tend to think that they are wrong with respect to steel tariffs, but that other tariffs might be beneficial. In any case, they have reasoning behind their choices. So far, all you have done is engaged in ad hominems and vigorous assertion.

                1. If you are arguing that meddling and distorting economic decisions with tarriffs and trade barriers increases freedom, please elaborate. I don’t see how…and I don’t see how if THATS ok, that we don’t go ahead and subject any and all economic decisions to this same mysteriously calibrated standard. People’s lives are disrupted by market activity all the time, quite apart from trade. It seems like this would require a certain, er, omniscience to administer. In any case, somebody always thinks they are smart enough to do it. They are wrong a lot.

                  On the omniscience comment, well, I said “certain omniscience”, and what I was getting at is a casualness about reducing my economic freedom for some very vague economic benefits you seem pretty confident will occur. If you aren’t that confident, that I’m happy to label it just a guess. If its just a guess, though, I don’t understand why you are so anxious to take my freedoms.

                  On the Trump stuff, oh, I get people’s reasoning. In their own minds it all makes sense. I thought we were discussing whether it does make sense or not.

                  I looked over my comments for the ad hominums you claim. At worst, I think I’ve been a smart ass, and don’t see that I’ve attacked you as a person, merely your ideas. But, hey, if I’ve offended, consider this an extended hand of friendship…meant quite sincerely. All this blabbering is just for fun anyway.

                  1. for some very vague economic benefits you seem pretty confident will occur

                    There is nothing “vague” about it. The beneficiaries of these economic benefits are pretty clear: steel producers and their employees. There are also plenty of economic losers: manufacturers that use steel, consumer who pay higher prices, etc.

                    It seems like this would require a certain, er, omniscience to administer.

                    It would require “omniscience” if the goal was to maximize economic output. But we live in a democratic social welfare state; such a state optimizes for different outcomes. Tariffs probably reduce overall economic output, but that’s not what our political system optimizes or is intended to optimize. That’s not a statement about my preferences, it’s a statement of fact.

                  2. On the Trump stuff, oh, I get people’s reasoning. In their own minds it all makes sense. I thought we were discussing whether it does make sense or not.

                    We aren’t discussing whether these particular tariffs make sense. We both believe that these particular tariffs don’t make economic sense, though for different reasons. What we are discussing is your concern with how these tariffs “reduce your economic freedom” and whether voters have a right to do so. And they answer is: they currently do. If you want to change that, it’s not sufficient to ask Trump or voters to voluntarily refrain from exercising power they have under current law, but to take away that power.

                    1. Your entire set of arguments reads like some kind of passive aggressive head fake. One minute you are decrying libertarians for “knee jerk” reactions, and declaring these tarriffs no big deal, now you tell us these tarriffs don’t make sense…or maybe you’ll change your mind again.

                      On the voters, they certainly have the power to make these changes, and in a narrow sense the legal “right”, the same way, say, people once had a “right” to own slaves. I do not think they have the “right” in a philosophical sense, nor to set a minimum wage, prohibit drug use or prostitution etc. We are stuck with that in a lot of areas. I haven’t ever argued that they don’t have this power or narrow “right”.

                    2. One minute you are decrying libertarians for “knee jerk” reactions, and declaring these tarriffs no big deal, now you tell us these tarriffs don’t make sense…or maybe you’ll change your mind again.

                      The reason why we have been discussing so many different points is because you can’t make up your mind what position you want to take: you have argued (explicitly or implicitly) that tariffs are always economically efficient (wrong), that American voters or politicians lack political legitimacy to impose tariffs (wrong), that the purpose of government is to maximize economic output (wrong), that tariffs always represent an unjustifiable infringement on individual liberties (wrong). You keep changing your story because you recognize that your arguments don’t survive scrutiny.

                      I have been consistent in my position: these tariffs are a legitimate exercise of government power in the US, and, furthermore, there are no general statements we can make about the net effect of tariffs on the economy and individual liberties.

                      As for these particular tariffs, they don’t make “economic sense” in the sense of maximizing global economic output, but they do make political sense for the US; your problem is that you are confusing economic and political objectives.

                    3. I’ve made the same set of arguments from the get go, which you (not entirely accurately) summarize above. They are are all internally consistent, and I don’t see a single contradiction (though your wording is off, and now you’ve introduced the term “political legitimacy” which is too vague for me to address). I assume a typo and you meant “always economically inefficient”, but who knows. In other parts, you put words in my mouth, but I’ll spot you.

                      This is in contrast to your views which, well, I couldn’t hope to summarize.

                      It appears you simply disagree with my opinions, which is fine, but you haven’t shown them to be wrong, or that they don’t survive scrutiny, just that you don’t like ’em. I can damn sure make statements about tarriffs and individual liberties. Why not ? What precludes that from being a legitimate area of discussion ?

                      Lastly, my main concern is the wisdom of tarriffs from an economic and individual freedom perspective. I haven’t and don’t deny that tarriffs etc are powerful political tools, I haven’t and don’t deny that they played a role in Trump’s election. I just think don’t think its a healthy development. If you want to have THAT discussion, well let’s have it. Its not been “my problem” however.

                    4. I’ve made the same set of arguments from the get go, which you (not entirely accurately) summarize above

                      You haven’t made arguments at all, you have stated positions.

                      Lastly, my main concern is the wisdom of tarriffs from an economic and individual freedom perspective.

                      Yes, and you consistently and obstinately state supposed “facts” on the economic and libertarian effects of tariffs without any supporting argument, and “facts” that in fact are wrong in general.

                      This is in contrast to your views which, well, I couldn’t hope to summarize.

                      You can’t summarize my views on tariffs because I don’t have any views on tariffs; they can be good or bad, crony capitalist or libertarian, etc. Your error is that you believe that there are “views on tariffs” to be had in the first place, independent of economic, social, and political context.

          3. “There isn’t a logical stopping point to simply ceasing trade altogether.”

            This should ring alarm bells in you that you’re straw manning the opposition or simply don’t understand the problem.

            Most things in life are trade offs. The logical stopping point is when the costs start to exceed the benefits. Things get more complicated in iterated games with other people.

    3. But……but…….I thought it was the libertarian way to have ‘free trade’ no matter how abusive a foreihpgn government’s antics are on their end. Because ‘tariffs bad!’.

      1. Nothing says Muh Libertarianism quite like “free” trade with slave states.

        Woohoo! Let’s open up the slave state sex trade with Cuba! Libertarian Moment!

    1. Quite an amatuerish article. No economist and no serious Free Trade advocate I know of disputes that trade has winners and losers. Its no different than the creative destruction that is part and parcel of a Free Market economy. No one who thinks Free Trade is a net good disputes there are costs and dislocations.

      It all comes down to what do we do about it ? Who gets to decide what’s “fair” or not ? (See James Bovard’s book “Fair Trade Fraud” for a look at who decides. Hint: Its every bit the cesspool of corruption and crony capitalism you’d imagine in your worst dream).

      1. No economist and no serious Free Trade advocate I know of disputes that trade has winners and losers. Its no different than the creative destruction that is part and parcel of a Free Market economy. No one who thinks Free Trade is a net good disputes there are costs and dislocations.

        But we don’t live in a “Free Market economy”, we live in a progressive welfare state in which the government already controls 40% of the economy. Within that context, many choices that resemble libertarian policies actually turn into rent seeking and cronyism.

        For example, in a free market system, under free trade, prices and wages would equilibrate between two nations. But if one of those nations is a welfare state with a $15 minimum wage, then the effect is that all low cost labor will move to the other nation, while tax payers in the first nation will be on the hook for the displaced labor. That’s only a small, illustrative example. There are tons of other costs and subsidies that get shuffled around on both sides.

        Hint: Its every bit the cesspool of corruption and crony capitalism you’d imagine in your worst dream

        That describes our entire economy. Within that context, it’s ridiculous for you to obsess about whether steel importers, for the most part huge crony capitalists themselves, need to pay a little more for their steel.

        1. Well, we live in a “mostly free” economy. I assume you are exaggerating for effect.

          Let’s take your example of “rent seeking and cronyism”. A firm reacting to such incentives isn’t doing either one, as its not asking the government for any special favors nor securing itself risk-free turn at somebody’s expense. I would argue that attempting to FIX the issue with tarriffs and whatnot, however, IS the very environment that breeds rent seeking and cronyism. Who decides on the tarriffs ? How much ? For how long ? Why on red dye #3 but not red dye #8 ? Once the lobbyists are done, we do indeed have cronyism and corruption. This is why we get “fixes” that are comically out of proportion to the issue…and the whole problem amplified.

          On the displaced workers, you are focusing on the jobs “saved” by tarriffs….what about all the other (greater) number displaced by same ? The effects are hardly “paying a little more for steel”.

          1. Well, we live in a “mostly free” economy. I assume you are exaggerating for effect.

            No, we do not live in a “mostly free” economy; taxes and government spending account for nearly 40% of the economy, and the rest is heavily regulated.

            On the displaced workers, you are focusing on the jobs “saved” by tarriffs….what about all the other (greater) number displaced by same ?

            I’m not “focusing” on anything. I merely gave an illustration using a hypothetical scenario of why your belief that tariffs are always bad is wrong.

            Who decides on the tarriffs ? How much ? For how long ? Why on red dye #3 but not red dye #8 ? Once the lobbyists are done, we do indeed have cronyism and corruption.

            Governments decide this. That is the current way international trade works for thousands of goods.

            I would argue that attempting to FIX the issue with tarriffs and whatnot, however, IS the very environment that breeds rent seeking and cronyism.

            Fixing this would be good. Whining about Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs does not amount to “fixing it”, it doesn’t even amount to a starting point for “fixing it”. All it amounts to is empty posturing.

            1. Yep 40%. That means 60% isn’t. Thats “mostly” by any definition. Or you could consult the Heritage economic freedom index.

              Yep, you are “focusing” because you specifically mentioned the saved workers and did not mention those potentially displaced. Or, indeed, any of the myriad secondary effects. In examples like this, the protected jobs are easy to identify, the other effects harder to see. I guess its why people use theoreticals.

              Yes government decides it…rather than the market. If you don’t see that as problematic…well, no need to tell us how much you really prefer market solutions.

              On the last section on “fixing”, you misinterpret me. Its inherently not fixable, and subject to regulatory capture, rent seeking ,etc. We’d best eliminate them or at least not introduce more of them. Thinking the government can take these actions for our net good is what amounts to posturing. It defies hundreds of years of evidence to the contrary.

              1. Yep 40%. That means 60% isn’t. Thats “mostly” by any definition.

                Which is why I was saying , and the rest is heavily regulated.

                Or you could consult the Heritage economic freedom index.

                I have. It’s bullshit.

                Yes government decides it…rather than the market. If you don’t see that as problematic…well, no need to tell us how much you really prefer market solutions.

                I want a free market solution. What you are arguing for is special, politically motivated attacks on current trade policies, combined with special treatments for select industries.

                If you don’t see that as problematic…well, no need to tell us how much you really prefer market solutions.

                Well, no need for you to tell us either: you are the typical crony capitalist posing as an economic liberal. There is no consistency in your position, nor strategy to bring about a liberation of the US economy.

                1. I am afraid, sir, you simply don’t know what you are talking about and are spewing utter nonsense.

                  1. I’m afraid you suffer from a massive case of Dunning Kruger.

                    As I was saying: you are the typical crony capitalist posing as an economic liberal. There is no consistency in your position, nor strategy to bring about a liberation of the US economy.

      2. ” Who gets to decide what’s “fair” or not ? ”

        Who gets to decide what is “free” or not?
        Hint: Its every bit the cesspool of corruption and crony capitalism you’d imagine in your worst dream.

  15. This could be very bad. Nobody wins in a trade war. Donald Trump all by himself has equity and commodities markets tumbling. It can get worse.

    All he had to do was nothing. Instead he has undermined a growing economy. For that there is no forgiveness.

    1. “Never try to get a better deal because the other guy might throw a fit”

  16. Continues to amaze me how many Fauxbertarians come her to suck Trump’s cock.
    ByeByeDumbass and Mach22 are just two of the laughable examples.
    Take the masks off and just admit you’re Contards who want to hang around with the nerds.

  17. “trade wars are good, and easy to win”

    I actually agree with this statement… The problem is Trump is doing it all wrong, because he’s Trump.

    The truth is we should have blown open the markets in ANY country we deal with from the get go. Reciprocal tariffs, or GTFO. We’re THE market for selling into. We are irreplaceable for the moment still. In other words if we’d told China “We’ll trade with you… If you go to across the board 0% tariffs on all our goods. Otherwise, we’re going to match exactly your rates in every single category. So you get to decide how you wanna work that out, but we’d prefer 0% across the board.”

    They would cave in 30 seconds because we can easily replace China as a low wage manufacturer. They CANNOT replace us.

    This is the tactic that should have been used in the first place, and I have ZERO problem with using it now. Mainly because it will never have to actually happen. We just have to force China to blink first, which should be pretty easy since we still have the upper hand for the moment. We can import cheap shit from India, they can’t sell their goods to anyone else in the volumes they can to us. We win.

    Allowing ourselves to get bent over in almost every trade deal for decades was 110% BS meant to benefit huge corporations. I’m all for big business, but our politicians shouldn’t sell out the people for their interests either.

    1. So, you’re going to pluck one statement out of the entire article, ignore the parts that provide evidence your starting assertions are wrong, make even bolder new assertions, and fail to refute or even discuss any evidence that contradicts those assertions.

      Perfect post.

      1. And you didn’t respond to my post which is actually completely correct.

        I didn’t comment on the whole fucking article because I didn’t have time to, or care to comment on every nuance.

        The truth is China would cave in a second if we REALLY threatened to tariff match the rates they have on our goods. They’d HAVE TO, or their entire economy would instantaneously explode. Ours wouldn’t, because we import half our shit from India, Vietnam, Europe, etc. We’re less reliant on them than they are on us. Which is why they would cave, and we’d end up with 0 percent across the board both directions.

        Politicians didn’t do this in the first place because they’re pieces of shit. That should be the starting requirement for any 1st world country negotiating trade agreements with low wage nations, or any nations really. You give us 0% and we’ll do the same for you, if not we’ll match your rates.

        It’s exactly what libertarians SHOULD WANT, no trade barriers. That it’s a “strong” tactic in pursuit of a good thing should not matter. The only reason this seems SOOOOOOOO crazy nowadays is because western politicians have been such sold out fucks for so long that proposing a sane and reasonable thing sounds nuts. These countries WOULD cave, because they need to export to us, and we don’t need any particular one of them. Period.

        1. God, you’re right. No one has ever thought of that before.

          1. God, you’re right. No one has ever thought of that before.

            Plenty of people have thought of it before. But people like you who think that liberty is something they can achieve one policy at a time keep corrupting it. You want to know why progressive statists call themselves “liberals” in the US and believe themselves to be liberal? It’s because they suffer from the same delusions as you do.

            1. I suggest lightening up…and developing some ability to detect sarcasm. It appears some reading is in order too.

              1. I recognized your sarcasm and responded to it.

                I meant exactly what I said: fools like you are why “libertarians” keep losing.

          2. Hahaha! So funny saying that what every country tries to do has never been done!

            The thing is that the world is different now than in the past, and the USA is not just any old country.

            There is more international trade than ever before. 200 years ago NO country was totally dependent on another country for providing the basic necessities of life. Everybody mostly produced their own stuff, and traded for things they couldn’t produce at all, or had a massive disadvantage at. China is completely dependent on exporting to the USA and Europe. This makes them more vulnerable than they would have been in the past.

            The USA is the single most important market on earth. Using the threat of matched tariff rates wouldn’t work for Austria, because it is completely unimportant. They’d be told to fuck off. It probably wouldn’t even work for the UK. But the USA is enough to literally break their entire country, possibly even toppling their communist regime with the fallout.

            In negotiations if you don’t get as much as you possibly can in your favor, you’re a fucking sell out, or just a failure. Our politicians never tried to get the best deal for us that they could. I’d say it’s because they’re sell outs, but it is possible that they’re just incompetent. What is bad about using strong tactics to achieve true free trade? I see nothing but good coming from that for both parties in the long run.

            1. Vek,
              First, these trade arguments are as old as dirt. You might be thinking things are different now, but this is a discussion thats gone on for hundreds of years. The same tired arguments for protectionism and tarriffs get spiffed up with new lipstick, but its all been said and done before.

              Second, people always say they “just want free trade”, but rest assured even in the absence of trade barriers of any kind, arguments will arise that we need tarriffs for this or that because something “isn’t fair”. Its never going to be fair enough, and therefore “just want free trade” migrates to “a level playing field” to no end.

              Still, I’ll take you at your word that true free trade is what you want.

              That brings us to:
              Third, you’ve put yourself in an all but godlike position of presuming to know the “right” economic answer. You don’t, and nobody does. You don’t have any idea what other counties would really do, or the broad consequences of us telling them to fuck off. You also insert yourself into the economic decision making of others, something I presume you would object to in most other matters. For crissakes, brother, are you some kind of goddamn commie ?

              Lastly, maybe you don’t think this way, but I sense you do…trade surpluses are not equivalent to “winning” and deficits not equivalent to “losing”. These are the result of millions making independent decisions in their self interest. Therefore, whatever it is, its “right” and smarter than any of us can be.

              1. 1. Yes, people have always discussed trade, because it has always been important. Trade is actually MORE than economics in many cases, because it is also politics and military issues at the end of the day. Libertarians don’t like to admit this of course, but it is true. “Mere” trade like cutting off oil to Hitler or Metals to Japan were political moves leading up to WWII and our entry. To deny trade is more than $$$ is childish.

                2.Of course people will complain. But I’d like to see actual free trade exist fist, see where shit lands. Then I think we’d be doing plenty fine and it would be easy to shut up the whiners. With things so slanted against us it gives people who are truly against trade a lot easier target to assail.

                3. Of course I don’t know everything… BUT quick question: Do you think the USA would sell more products into China if they had 0% tariffs on all our goods than we do now with sky high tariffs on them? Answer is obviously yes. That would be good for US individuals who benefit from these sales, the government here, and the country as a whole. So why shouldn’t we push to get that for ourselves? We have the leverage for now. In 10 or 20 years that might not be the case.

              2. 4. People who say deficits don’t matter are wrong for several reasons. Absent other distortions we COULD NOT sustain these massive deficits. That’s why in the past countries HAD to balance their trade. They traded actual gold/silver, and if they had a big deficit they had to literally ship that out of their country, leaving them with no currency to use. This happened to Britain more than once, they were literally almost out of cash. Our BS fiat system allows us to cheat and inflate our currency away, but we’re still giving up valuable assets for immediate trade purposes.

                Trading NYC skyscrapers (or America businesses) for tennis shoes is okay to do once in awhile, but if you do it on a large scale forever sooner or later your assets will all be owned by foreigners, the natives will no longer enjoy the profits of such assets which will be going straight to said foreigners, and you essentially become a renter of property you once owned.

                The argument that deficits are good because people get what they want are valid in a way… But they’re also short sighted and dumb. Being an INVESTOR, in other words consuming less than you produce and investing the difference, is what makes a person wealthy, OR a country. We’re the guy who ran up every credit card in his wallet, and is still begging for more. China is the guy who studiously saves 20% of his income and invests it. Which one ends up better off financially in the long haul?

                Not the spender/debtor.

                1. Vek,
                  I don’t deny there is a political dimension to trade…just that I think its been warped by a misunderstanding the trade. I don’t know what point you are possibly making regarding ceasing trade when at war. Where have I indicated we ought to trade with a country we are in a shooting war with ?

                  As to the rest, you’ve proved my suspicions to be accurate. Like many, you are for “free trade” only as long as the US has trade surpluses. This means you aren’t really for free trade, and you might as well dispense with the falsehood that its your end goal. Moreover, how exactly is this all supposed to work ? Only the US runs surpluses ? Some countries not others ? A plan were all trade exactly balances out among countries ? Who decides ? How do they decide ? This is a rabbit hole of micromanagement, cronyism, and corruption. And a fool’s errand.

                  1. On the trade balance, they are not the same as, say, a budget deficit/debt, or a firm losing money, which indeed cannot go on forever. Trade balances offer NO INDICATION WHATSOEVER of the overall economic impact, they merely track the amount of stuff that crossed a border. Individual firms engage in these transactions for their economic benefit, yet the trade balance only tells us one part (and a small part) of transaction. What we don’t see is the profits/goods/jobs that result from the transaction, most of which is not included in a trade balance. Its like saying a company is going bankrupt by just looking at their COGS line rather than their whole P&L. They are running a trade deficit on widgits !

                    The transactions are by individual enterprises not our government, and so our trading partners are free to judge their creditworthiness and not sell to them. The whole currency debate is a side issue too vast to discuss here, but it fundamentally is that…a side issue. It certainly shouldn’t drive tarriffs and barriers.

                    1. I will probably not check back after this post, but to clarify: I don’t believe we, or anybody else, needs to have a massive surplus forever. However there are limits to what is financially healthy.

                      If we have to, as a country, sell off 1 trillion in assets a year to foreigners, and all the future profits that go with those assets, eventually the native population will end up being poorer for it. It’s like the argument that no person ever makes a bad financial decision. That’s a lie. Most poor people make horrible choices. Is it better for the government to manage their lives? No, it’s not. Communism doesn’t work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t admit that poor people are idiots with their money most of the time.

                      This is the same thing. Running a LARGE trade deficit for a LONG time is economically bad for the country. We could not do it to the degree we have without a fiat currency, existing trade barriers, minimum wages, the welfare state etc. It’s all interrelated basically. I think if we had true free trade, instead of one way trade, our deficit would be more manageable.

                    2. Your problem is you think like a peon consumer. This is how most people think. I own businesses, so I think like an owner/investor. This is the difference in the mindset between the way we’re doing things, versus China or South Korea or Japan.

                      You MUST have your trinket NOW because you WANT it. Who cares about the future, I want my toy NOW!!! Like a child.

                      A smart adult saves, and invests for the future, so he can buy 10 trinkets later on instead of one now. We’re destroying our future by over consumption in the present. It might be FUN, but it’s not PRUDENT long term.

                      We’re not totally fucked yet, but when China owns another 10 or 20 TRILLION in US based assets in another decade or two, and the 1-2 TRILLION a year in profits those generate, instead of Americans… We WILL NOT be a richer or more prosperous country for that. Hence some reasonable balance between present and future consumption is desirable.

                      There’s nothing wrong with foreign investment, but things have to be within reason. Third world countries bitch about the USA/Europe owning everything of value in their borders for a reason… Because in some cases we actually do. They’re basically peasant serfs for our interests in their own lands. I don’t wan the USA to end up being peasant serfs for China. That’s a BAD idea long haul.

                    3. Please oh please tell me what business you own…if these posts are any indication, I can make a bundle short selling. *crosses fingers they are publicly traded*

                      You don’t appear to have read, let alone attempted to comprehend anything I’ve said. Your responses are simply a jumble of gibberish with no fundamental logic, leavened with an assumption of infallibility.

                      The classic mark of someone losing an argument is when they change the topic. You haven’t even refuted the meaninglessness of trade deficits and now you’ve jumped to a whole new topic, foreign investment.

                    4. Oi! It’s not a public company, so no gain for you there!

                      I did read what you wrote, and selectively responded. The reason deficits matter LONG TERM, if they’re especially large, is because the foreigners that end up with your money need to do something with it. They clearly aren’t buying our goods in sufficient quantity, so that leaves purchasing assets denominated in our currency, or trading the currency to somebody else who wants to buy our stuff.

                      Deficit MUST equal buying our goods or our assets. If our deficit was 100 billion a year even, it would be a pretty non issue. But if we get back to 800 billion dollar a year deficits, that’s more serious. It’s not a short term issue! And we don’t need to run a surplus per se. But we are effectively selling off our net worth to pay for current consumption. If somebody was drawing money out of their home equity every month to buy food/clothes, that’s a sign they’re not fiscally responsible. We’re doing that on a massive scale. The fact that we ENJOY the food/clothes we buy doesn’t matter in the end when you run out of equity to sell.

                    5. I’m not saying there is a “perfect number” or any such nonsense. Just that the closer to balanced you are the better. And, GASP, if we actually did run a surplus, that is a good thing too. That means you’re producing more than you consume. Do you know how individuals, or nations, become wealthier? By producing more than they consume, and investing the difference to build their net worth still further in the future. In other words the US and our citizens buying up foreign assets, instead of us selling ours to them. That would make US citizens richer long term. That’s how investing works you know!

                      This is financial planning 101 stuff here. You don’t spend more than you make in income. We don’t technically do that of course, we still make a smidge more than we spend as a nation, but the deficit is a bit like having credit card debt that sucks 20% of your monthly pay check out of your wallet every month right off the top.

                      Again, the fact that you enjoy what you buy with that money still doesn’t mean it is a fiscally prudent decision. Willing buyer willing seller can still leave the buyer stretching themselves to thin to buy shit a wiser person would not be buying.

                    6. Ha ! Knew you’d look.

                      Countries don’t trade. Individuals and firms trade. You set out a nightmare vision where foreign companies want to sell stuff to American companies, and American companies wanting to pay for it by…selling assets ? Even it that was a thing, that would be the right of the American business owners to sell, not your decision to make.

                      You are indeed inferring some kind of ideal trade balance, again, because you view it as a money outflow without counting the value it adds IN the United States that isn’t traded back out. Trade deficits simply are irrelevant, and are in any case self-limiting by what American companies can afford to buy (and profit from). Further, you appear to conflate national government debt (bad) with trade deficits, but the government debt is a separate thing than the individual firms buying from China.

                    7. Likewise, this fear of foreign investment is irrational. If they buy our assets, Americans get the money…to go on and do other (probably more lucrative) stuff. If foreign companies build plants here, thats awesome too. It really odd how you are ok with American companies buying foreign assets (I guess to make “serfs” out of their workers) and not the other way around, yet at the same time bemoan lost American jobs and industrial capacity.

                      Underlying all this is that you seem to think you know the right answer for all the players. I am sorry to say this is the conceit of central planners everywhere. Its not like they have a good track record. I’d say you are far afield of anything resembling “free” trade as even a faint goal.

                    8. Ugh. I’m not trying to argue this from a moral rights perspective. That argument is unassailable, as are all libertarian arguments. The thing is where the rubber meets the road, the practical outcomes from some morally correct policies can sometimes be undesirable long term to most people.

                      Businesses buy products from abroad because they think they can make more money. This is good. Consumers buy things because they value them, and something cheaper is of course nice. I’m not debating any of that.

                      The question is: Is it fiscally prudent to sell your financial assets, to buy low-durability consumption goods?

                      Is it wise to pull equity out of your home or 401K to purchase a depreciating jet ski that’s hella dope? Maybe if you do it once in awhile. But if you finance the jet ski, a boat, a hot rod, a new wardrobe every year or two, vacations at double the rate you would have otherwise, etc… Sooner or later you run out of equity (assets) because of overspending.

                      The USA as a communal entity is essentially doing this. We as a society are over consuming and under saving. This is bad financial planning on our part. That people enjoy spending beyond their means is irrelevant to whether or not it is fiscally prudent. OF COURSE overspending is awesome! But it’s going to leave you broke sooner or later.

                    9. “If they buy our assets, Americans get the money…to go on and do other (probably more lucrative) stuff.”

                      This is NOT happening, which is the problem. We’re not selling off underperforming assets so we can invest in high growth tech stuff or whatever. We’re selling off sky scrapers and shares in blue chip stocks to purchase… Tennis shoes that will be worn out in 9 months. The scenario above is what is happening.

                      I’m not saying all foreign investing in the US is bad, just like buying a jet ski with home equity isn’t the end of the world. But if you do it TOO MUCH it can have negative consequences, such as reduced future wealth. The idea that people voluntarily buy things they enjoy is not questioned. Whether they’re being financially responsible is. Our culture overall is being financially irresponsible, and short sighted. Period.

                      A guy who makes 75K a year might be able to buy a 75K car… But the cost of overspending is he will not be able to save/invest for retirement like a responsible person should. He should have bought a 30K car, or even a 10K used car if he wants to really have a cush retirement. We’re overspending as a nation. That’s all I’m saying. Look at our savings rate versus most other countries in the world, it’s dismal.

                    10. I don’t have “perfect figures” I’m shooting for. I’m just saying that a large deficit, over a long period of time, is bad news for the future financial health of the country, and it’s citizens which themselves are in fact the ones being financially irresponsible. I’m not trying to dictate exactly what every person should do or anything, just sayin’ most people should be buying fewer cheap trinkets, and investing more for their future. The aggregate national data is a reflection of bad individual behaviors at the end of the day.

                      Ever read about how few people have saved enough for retirement? It’s because we overspend.

                      You’re clearly too lost in moralistic dogma to even try to understand my point. I think true bi-directional free trade would mostly solve our trade deficit issue. But ultimately I’m not even trying to come up with a solution, just point out a real world consequence of our current problem. If everybody is cool with being broke, having no savings, and having a Chinese landlord in their old age we can totally just keep going as is… If not perhaps people should change their actions.

                    11. Vek, I truly do get you points, and I’m glad we agree on the morality of free trade, but I am actually trying to point out the very practical, real world aspects of this. Indeed, I believe it is you who are stuck in “moralistic dogma” by insisting that everyone conform to your view of what should be traded, how much can be traded, and who can do the trading. I mean, seriously, re-read your post ! Its all but a sermon !

                      You’ll get no argument from me that people often behave like morons with their money, however we aren’t making “communal” transactions in any sense thats relevant to trade. You really don’t have any idea of what those people who’ve sold off assets are doing with the money, or indeed how the benefits/costs ripple through the economy. Indeed its all but unknowable. So, setting morality aside, as a PRACTICAL matter you have no basis for having any influence over their decision making.

                      You’ve hedged by putting quotation marks around “perfect figures”, but that does not defuse the point. You don’t even remotely approximately know what things should be any more than Soviet planners and Hugo Chavez did.

                    12. Again, I’m not saying I have a fantastic solution… And definitely not one that isn’t at least somewhat authoritarian, but that’s the nature of dealing with communal interests, which we DO HAVE in a de facto sense, no matter what people like to claim.

                      I’m simply pointing out that there are consequences to bad financial decisions like people and corporations are currently making. In the past when specie money was used governments had to adjust trade so their nation literally didn’t run out of money. We trick ourselves into thinking we’re not doing the same thing by printing currency out of thin air.

                      Can you not agree that living beyond your means is a bad idea? That it’s better to be a creditor than a debtor? Well there ya go, there’s your answer. It’s a bad move, even if there is no non authoritarian solution.

                      It is the collective actions of many individuals making this mistake, but because we are tied together in a collective, our nation state, these decisions will in fact effect all of us in the future when the time comes to pay the piper. That’s reality. It’s almost like a tragedy of the commons thing, where nobody individually is better off by behaving “better,” but collectively you end up screwing the pooch.

                    13. I’ve given up on the idea of NEVER being authoritarian, because in the real world there are simply issues where you have to be. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional. Anarchy doesn’t work, and anything other than anarchy requires force. The trick is to be as light handed as possible, and only get involved when you must. In this instance I would try to just open up other markets to our goods by throwing our weight around politically before I’d actually try to use tariffs. I think we’d be okay if just that happened.

                      As far as what the Chinese are doing with the money: buying real estate, public stocks, and other assets. These are known facts. They are going to end up owning many trillions in assets. If you care to visualize that, imagine China owning the entire value of saaay several boring/cheap midwest states in their entirety. That’s where it’ll be before long in terms of $$$.

                      Now the perfect libertarian solution would be to educate people and convince them to be a touch more patriotic with their spending. I am. I go way out of my way to buy American first, then European, Japanese etc goods that are made to higher standards and with better labor practices. But again the tragedy of the commons type scenario that this is, it would seem to be a hard battle to win that way. The allure of short term cheap stuff is too much for most people. So maybe we’re just fucked. Or maybe we’ll end up with an authoritarian solution that’s crappy, but kinda gets the job done. Who knows?

                    14. Again, you are conflating trade deficits with being a debtor, though they are not related. I guess the big thing is you see this as some kind of win/lose thing, where you set out what “winning” looks like

                      Besides not not being a win/lose, I am afraid you further compound it by ideas that would damage America not help it.

                      I’m old enough to remember these very same arguments being made about Japan. In fact, I could take your posts, verbatim, and simply replace “China” with “Japan”, and they would be recognizable to anyone from the 80’s.

                      And what happened ? The Japanese, who followed policies more or less as you describe, have had stagnation for several decades now. Its worse than that, though. With super high import barriers, and a protected distribution network (among many protected industries), everything is very expensive. So expensive and stifling, it appears people have simply given up on the future, to a degree. They now face a demographic catastrophe, and as bad as our government finances are, theirs are much worse. The US, thank god, did not follow in this madness.

                      China has many of the same issues as Japan, as well as a few more…and they seem to be making many of the same mistakes. So, even if I took your win/lose premise at face value, I very much doubt the future will turn out anything like you are guessing, and your proposed policies would only hurt us.

                    15. Ugh. You’re being autistic dude. You’re spending all your time looking at the trees, and not seeing the forest. You make the same mistake many libertarians, and communists, make in thinking that the moral way (whatever your morality is) is ALWAYS the best way practically speaking as well. It’s not. Several hundred billion dollars a year is a HUGE drag on the economy dude. It brings some benefits, but also down sides. You’re ONLY looking at the upsides, and pretending the negatives don’t exist. But they do exist. I accept both, but conclude in a perfect world we’d be better off if it were smaller. There are ways to deal with this, but they are not moral to a strict libertarian.

                      If we were to slash the income tax by say 50%, and slap a 10% broad based tariff on all incoming goods, from all countries to offset that income… Nobody would have less money in their pockets at all, yet this would create probably millions more manufacturing and raw resource jobs. Yet it would be immoral? Why? Income taxes are immoral too, so what’s the difference? What’s the practical downside? Other countries may slap tariffs on us? Well they ALREADY have punitive tariffs on us anyway! It would basically be them throwing a fit like children because we’re not willing to share our toy with them, when they refuse to share their toy with us. They would all back down instantly if we threatened to really raise tariffs on anyone who retaliated.

                    16. It’s called having leverage. You get what you want by demanding what you want, and having to power to force others to do it. We have it, most others don’t.

                      I know all about Japan in the 80s. The scale of the problem was at an entirely different level then. We didn’t have an annual deficit that was above 5% of GDP then. It’s lower right this second, but seemingly trending back up again long term, but at its peak before the recession it was over 5% of the entire GDP of the country. Different time, different scale, different situation.

                      We also hadn’t been running a constant deficit for decades on end then, we have now, hence have far more foreign ownership of US based assets than then. The USA used to own more foreign assets than foreigners owned of ours, that has now flipped big time. We sold out parts of our country to buy tennis shoes. So now instead of bringing in money from our investments overseas to make US citizens wealthier, they are milking our domestic economy to make them wealthier. Who owns what makes a difference to the wealth of a civilization. This is basic stuff here. Our civilization has been fiscally imprudent for a few decades, and we’re now poorer than we would have been otherwise. Period. Being a renter instead of an owner is never a great idea.

                    17. And Japan’s economy didn’t go to shit because they have tariffs, it went to shit because their entire population decided to stop reproducing in a single generation. Their per capita everything is as solid as it’s ever been for the most part, and the drag on the economy is because they have ponzi scheme social programs just like us. If they’d actually bred like normal their economy would have been growing just fine.

                      Face it, tariffs are NOT the end of the world. They’re just a tax that tweaks incentive a bit, just like any other tax. Nations have done awesome with high tariffs, and shitty with low/no tariffs. They matter, but they’re not more important than any other tax.

                      China may well fall flat on their face because of rising wages or other issues. But if we just switch to importing from other cheaper countries the economic issue of foreign ownership will remain, although spread out across a dozen weaker countries it is less worrisome than a single competitor who desires global hegemony. Just because a deficit of 1% of GDP doesn’t matter, it doesn’t mean that ANY size deficit doesn’t matter at all.

                    18. And seriously I am done discussing this with you. You’re completely locked into your “no libertarian position can ever have a negative effect” box. The truth is lots of them do. Everything has pros and cons. With libertarian leaning laws they tend to have more pros than cons, which is why I support them. But there are a handful of areas where I do not blindly obey because the real world consequences seem to be too undesirable. Unskilled immigration is another. When somebody can explain to me why importing people who vote far to the left of native born, are net tax drains on natives, economically minimally productive, and culturally conflicting with the natives is a GOOD thing I may change my mind. Until then freedom of movement is less important than maintaining quality of life and freedom.

    2. “Otherwise, we’re going to match exactly your rates in every single category. ”

      Bad strategy. Naturally they will pick high tariffs where they want more protection, and low tariffs where they want more access. Tit for Tat doesn’t mean letting them make all the choices.

      I’d put Trump’s understanding of international trade negotiations over the last two Presidents easily.

      I agree that the US has the strong hand in trade negotiations, and Trump’s policy is to create bilateral agreements, maximizing our power relative to our negotiating partner, over multi national trade deals that limit our relative power.

      1. Very true. So perhaps our highest rate will match your highest rate on any category, and it will be across the board on ALL categories. Whatever the case we’ve not used any of the leverage we have had available for us. This has been to our detriment. If somebody in the past made a horrible policy decision that is correctable, you should try to correct it.

        I think he should round up a huge team of people and literally come up with a boilerplate bi-later agreement and just start shooting them out to every nation on earth. 0% across the board in and out as the carrot, or what I proposed above as the stick. If we just locked down a dozen or two bi-lateral agreements it could do a heck of a lot for the economy potentially. Anybody who didn’t sign on would be at a big disadvantage, so I imagine many would sign on.

        As mentioned this wouldn’t work for almost any other country on earth, but the US market is just too huge to be shut out of.

  18. 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. Clik This Link….

    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.homework5.com

  19. Echospinner|3.3.18 @ 7:21PM|#
    “This could be very bad. Nobody wins in a trade war. Donald Trump all by himself has equity and commodities markets tumbling. It can get worse.
    All he had to do was nothing. Instead he has undermined a growing economy. For that there is no forgiveness.”

    I do credit Trump with that rise to a 26K Dow as a result of reigning in the growth of regulation and lowering taxes. If he had continued with what he was doing, I think he’d be due credit for a 30K Dow by the end of the year.
    Now, I think he’s on his way to earning a 20K Dow or lower, and he owns that as much as he owns the 26K Dow.
    I never figured he was anything like a libertarian, but by accident or otherwise, he’s done better than most POTUS in living memory. Instead of improving on that, he has a great chance of shooting himself in the foot, and he seems intent on doing so.

    1. #AmericaFirst is not measured by aggregate Stock Market value alone.

      1. Is it measured by destroying a lot of jobs to protect a politically favored few ?

    2. ^This.

  20. 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. Clik This Link….

    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.homework5.com

  21. You have provided amazing detail in this blog. I liked your unique thinking. I admired your efforts. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with me. Please keep me more update from your blog. I am very interested in your unique stories
    gaple online
    qqpoker online

  22. Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking.
    infofreebet
    qq dominoqiu

  23. i am happy and i want to share that My PREVIOUS month’s on-line financial gain is $6500. i am currently ready to fulfill my dreams simply and reside home with my family additionally. I work just for two hours on a daily basis. everybody will use this home profit system by this link.

    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.homework5.com

  24. I am looking for sites with useful information and well crafted article. Your write-ups about motivation are excellent with deep information and perception. Also the discussion with readers is vital. We will await the new blogpost. Many thanks.
    Ceme Online
    Bandar Ceme

  25. You have provided amazing detail in this blog. I liked your unique thinking. I admired your efforts. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with me. Please keep me more update from your blog. I am very interested in your unique stories
    Ceme
    Qqpokerceme

  26. Just how does anyone know if the trade war is impulsive and not planned to get specific objectives. The recent European deal actually is encouraging. I am for free trade, not semi free trade with small advantages for American Farmers and Asian metals.

  27. Really impressive post. I read it whole and going to share it with my social circules. I enjoyed your article Thanks.
    Judi Kartu
    Samgong Online

  28. I am trying to find blogs and websites with useful information and well written article. Your articles about motivation are great with deep insight. Also the interaction with readers is very important. We will wait for the new blogpost. Thank you.
    Kartu Domino
    Gaple

  29. You have provided amazing detail in this blog. I liked your unique thinking. I admired your efforts. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with me. Please keep me more update from your blog. I am very interested in your unique stories
    Situs Poker
    Bandar Judi

  30. You have provided amazing detail in this blog. I liked your unique thinking. I admired your efforts. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with me. Please keep me more update from your blog. I am very interested in your unique stories
    mesin print
    Mesin Digital Printing

  31. He is willing to have a fiscal deficit, but they are not afraid because people will continue to invest there (US), they have unlimited demand for securities. That’s what he uses as strength, as the number one country in the world.
    Situs Judi Bola

  32. Articles that are very good and easy to understand by anyone, I have a few questions for you, how can you have a blog that loads so fast? can you tell me? IDN Poker

  33. Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger,
    and I was wanting to know your situation; we have developed some nice procedures
    and we are looking to swap solutions with other folks, please shoot me an email if interested.

  34. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your site.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much
    more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a
    developer to create your theme? Great work! Bandar Judi Online

  35. I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog.
    I really hope to see the same high-grade content from you later on as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my very own blog now Cara Bermain Judi Online

  36. Hi thanks for ur blog, its great please visit back my site at http://www.babapokerqq.com/

  37. Hi thanks for ur blog, its great please visit back my site at http://www.babapokerqq.com/

  38. very nice article. dont forget to see my article too 🙂

    DominoQQ Online

    Judi Bandar66 Sakong

  39. “We are under no pressure to make a deal with China, they are under pressure to make a deal with us,” he tweeted. “Our markets are surging, theirs are collapsing. We will soon be taking in Billions in Tariffs & making products at home. If we meet, we meet?” http://148.72.239.4/prediksi-parlay.php

  40. A person necessarily assist to make critically posts I’d state. This is the very first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I surprised with the analysis you made to create this actual publish amazing. Wonderful process!

    http://gizmoalert.com/2019/03/…..er-online/

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.