Free Trade

Trump's Trade War Officially Begins

China promises to retaliate.


Gerard Bottino/CrowdSpark/Newscom

Begun, the trade war has.

The Trump administration's 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods—hitting everything from industrial machinery to consumer goods such as televisions—went into effect Friday morning, prompting threats of an immediate response from the Chinese government, which also promised to haul the United States in front of the World Trade Organization.

"In order to defend the core interests of the country and the interests of the people, we are forced to retaliate," the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement shortly after the tariffs took effect.

Trump has promised another round of tariffs on $16 billion of additional Chinese goods if China follows through with its threat to retaliate. China did not specify what items would be targeted with retaliatory tariffs, but it has previously threatened to hit American agricultural products such as pork and soy beans. America is the world's largest exporter of soy beans, and China is the world's largest consumer of them.

A ship loaded with soy beans was racing the clock this week to reach China before any retaliatory tariffs could be imposed. Soy bean prices fell to nearly 10-year lows this week in anticipation of China's response.

While the administration says the trade barriers will force China to stop stealing American intellectual property, it appears more likely that non-Chinese businesses will bear the brunt of the tariffs, according to an analysis by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

"The tariffs are aimed at patent-intensive industries that rely on global supply chains, disadvantaging American producers and harming US allies operating in the region," the PIIE analysis concludes.

Source: Peterson Institute for International Economics

That's exactly the message that dozens of business owners delivered to the Commerce Department and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative prior to the administration's decision. But Trump failed to heed those warnings, promising last weekend that "everything will work out" even as the warning signs of a trade war became clearer.

Now he has his war. He will have to take responsibility for the results.

NEXT: How to Survive a Nuclear War, '70s Style

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  1. He will have to take responsibility for the results.

    I have some news for you about Trump.

    1. He’ll blame all the Pacific Rim countries that won’t join with the US in strategic trade initiatives against Chinese interests. You know, all those countries in the TPP that Trump withdrew from because he thought it was a trade deal with China. And whine endlessly about how unfair! everybody and everything is to poor old Donald Trump.

    2. The USA has already been in a trade war for decades.

      The USA has manged trade not free trade.

      1. China’s tariff average has gone from 19.76% to 3.54% from 1996 to 2016. Republicans and Democrats have done a good job at reducing trade barriers. Yes, there are non-trade barriers. But, it’s been over 20 years of steady drops, and that’s ending.

        1. For once, Chandler Bing makes a good point. Joey would be proud.

          1. That’s a very disrespectful way to talk to the commissioner.

        2. BULLSHIT about non-tariff barriers dropping. I stayed in the house of a Department of Trade person I know in Beijing and let me tell you how the conversations went? I will give you a clue, it doe not rhyme with “China is nice and reasonable.”

        3. 1) those are averages. There are still high tariffs that china has kept.

          2) chinese tariffs are not zero. Its degrees of managed trade. Plus china just raised their tariffs from 3.54% to some higher levels.

          It takes 2+ countries to trade war.

          1. I imagine that number is just an average, and not based on what we actually would realistically export to there.

            For instance if you know that there is NO WAY American toilet paper can compete with Chinese toilet paper in China, you can have 0% tariffs on that, knowing it won’t matter anyway. But then you have 25% tariffs on automobiles, average it out and it’s only 12.5%, but the 0% on TP is meaningless, and the 25% on cars hampers billions a year in exports. From all I have read, that is essentially how their tariff system is set up. Not to mention the ENDLESS non tariff barriers.

      2. So we’re now making it worse?

        Is this our new Vietnam?

        1. Vietnam was an armed conflict. These are disagreements about managed trade.

  2. It’s a shame to see these tariffs actually go into effect.

    Trump has been right about deregulation, tax reform, and I approve of his realist and pragmatic approach to foreign policy. He was right to withdraw from the Paris Accord. He’s been right not to overreact to mass shootings by coming after our gun rights (so far), and I’m optimistic that he’ll pick someone reasonably respectful of our rights to sit on the Supreme Court. Trump has been reasonably respectful of state marijuana laws.

    Trump is wrong about legal immigration and trade.

    Trade is especially near and dear to this rabid capitalist’s heart, but at least Trump isn’t openly hostile to the entirety of capitalism itself like so many are over on the left. Wouldn’t it be great if the Democrats all marched on Washington D.C. to demand an end to Trump’s awful tariffs?

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.

    Trump is wrong on two things I mentioned above. The Democrats are wrong about everything I listed above. In addition, they’re hostile to free speech, association rights, etc., etc.

    The fact that Trump still sticks in the SJWs craw as an icon of everything they hate still scores Trump some bonus points, too.

    1. From ‘negotiation strategy’ to ‘wrong.’

      1. I must have said that I oppose Trump using trade this way a hundred times in threads. I even said I opposed Trump using trade to pressure China into using its influence on North Korea.

        I said that even though I oppose it, if that’s what he’s doing, then that’s what he’d doing. Specifically in regards to trade policy, I said that it’s stupid for Trump to bet our life savings on a single hand of blackjack, but if that’s what he’s doing, I hope he wins.

        I must have said it a dozen times, and every time I said it, I also said that for the sake of the economy, the country, and American security, I hope he wins, but just because I hope he wins his hand of blackjack, that doesn’t mean I approve of what he’s doing.

        I don’t like the play that the quarterback called, but I’ll keep rooting for our team anyway–since I’m a loyal American. I certainly won’t apologize for hoping that Trump would throw a touchdown. Anybody who was hoping that Trump would fuck up the economy should be ashamed of themselves. That would be like rooting for Saddam Hussein because you opposed the Iraq War.

        1. It’s all about the Team. Got it.

          Tariffs are self-inflicted wounds and ought never to be celebrated. Why would we blockade our own harbors?

          I don’t recall anyone hoping Trump would fuck up the economy (outside of the parody accounts anyway). But I do remember plenty of people blithely dismissing the notion that the game of tariffs would do exactly that. Mostly in the name of ‘we can keep hurting ourselves longer than they can and that will be a good thing.’ [leaving aside for the moment the vacuity of the political ‘we’]

          Unilateral free trade is a win. Mutual free trade is a better win, but we can only impact our own rules. And unilateral free trade is a win nonetheless.

          1. Your team is against the USA trying to get China and the EU to lower trade restrictions. Got it.

            1. I’m not on a team. I’m not a collectivist.
              Threatening to hurt ‘our’ citizens in response to our trading partners hurting ‘their’ citizens is not a sensible or productive strategy.

              Yes, we’re best off in a world without tariffs.
              But we’re better off without tariffs than with.
              The record is pretty clear on this.

              1. Yup, my record is clear on this. Free trade is the best. The USA does not have free trade and really never has. China dn the EU do not have free trade.

                We are discussing levels of managed trade.

                China and the EU will not spontaneously lower trade restrictions without pressure.

            2. Your ignorance of basic economics is typical of all statists.

              Your lack of faith in principles is natural, given your ignorance.

              The best way to destabilize dictators is trade, trade, and more trade. Drop import tariffs unilaterally, ignore that they raise trade barriers and tariffs, and economic principles says that when they sell stuff here, tehy get greenbacks, and the only way to get rid of those, to turn them into something they can use, is to buy stuff, and their tariffs and trade barriers will reduce over time. It’s as natural and inevitable as 2 + 2.

              But you don’t have any faith in whatever principles you have, and you are ignorant of economics and resentful of self-ownership, so you rant about things you know nothing more of than slogans.

            3. Countries don’t trade, individuals do.

              It’s immoral for Trump to use US consumers as bargaining chips to score better deals for his political cronies.

              1. Indeed.

              2. If trump gets better trading deals with china and the EU, it benefits me too.

                I am willing to assume the risk. Luckily, we live in a constitutinal democratic republic that elected Trump to work our trade deals. Which he is. Hopefully the Trump plan works.

        2. Define winning.

          I define winning as reductions in US tariffs. Because they are taxing American consumers.

          1. No consumer in America has ever paid a Chinese or EU tariff.

            But, we’re about to pay the shit out of some US tariffs.

            Trump’s knowledge of economics is stuck in 17th century mercantilism.

            1. Tariffs, like all costs of business, are rolled into prices. China sets prices.

    2. People hate Trump because he’s an embarrassing racist boorish moron. Ever sit and think why you’re on the side of that?

      1. Anybody else remember when Tony was all about opposing Wal*Mart and shipping American jobs off to China?

        Tony doesn’t care about the issues anymore because he hates Trump personally. Isn’t that the definition of TDS?

        I won’t apologize for being rational.

        1. I also hate all of his policies. His making America embarrassed again is just an extra layer of horror.

          You’re missing the point. If the person whose policies you like is a racist boorish fucking ape, and the party he’s from an anti-science pro-fundie cynical bigot factory, why aren’t you examining why you like those policies?

          1. And….he’s just likely to be reelected….by a …..wide…..margin.

            1. Do you people tell yourselves this extremely unlikely “fact” because you need to feel better about yourselves?

            2. That’s the big problem I see here.

              The swing voters in rust belt, swing states (Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, western Pennsylvania) that put Trump into office aren’t about to punish him for not backing down in a trade war with China. They wanted someone who wouldn’t back down.

              People don’t just give up on conventional wars because there are American casualties either. Imagine if Bush had said that he was giving up on deposing Saddam Hussein because he didn’t realize there were going to be any American casualties. Now that would piss people off!

              So, how do we get Trump to back down?

              If and when Trump does back down, pro-free trade people better be ready to defend him for doing so. I suspect a lot of people around here will jump on his case for backing down, too. TDS is about not being able to see the issues because of their personal hatred of Trump–and that works both ways. It isn’t just that they jump on him for doing things they don’t like. They jump on him for doing things they like, too–they can’t tell the difference anymore between what they should like and shouldn’t like. It all becomes a blur in their opposition to Trump–no matter what he’s doing.

              1. Fallacy of sunk costs.
                When you’ve dug yourself a hole, stop digging.
                Republicans have been losing special elections in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin at a healthy clip. People vote their pocketbook.

                Compare it to Bush. He doubled down in Iraq, throwing more resources into an unpopular hole. That led to two straight wave elections culminating with a supermajority for Democrats.

                If 9/11 hadn’t happened, Bush would have ended up on the Carter trajectory. And Trump is looking up at that. He’s around Ford post-pardon.

              2. I’m just looking at the bottom-line numbers and there’s no reason to be confident about his reelection. Dig deeper into voting trends and it looks even worse.

                Almost as if to be a Trumpian is to be a person unburdened with facts. I used to think this would eventually be a fatal liability for Republicans. We’ll see.

            3. There just aren’t enough disaffected, no-count, stale-thinking, immoral goobers in America to give Trump anything other than another squeaker . . . and the likelihood he and his band of bigoted yahoos will pull off another triple bank shot seems remote.

              Carry on, clingers.

              So far as your betters permit, anyway.

              1. How is the anime going Rev?

          2. See Tony, most of us thought Obama was embarrassing for America.

            1. You were wrong by sheer data. He rescued us from the embarrassment that was Bush, and it turned out obviously that that was wasted effort.

              1. Boooosh and Obama were horrible.

                They both sent our national debt into a tailspin.

      2. Oh look, the “wayciss” card. You must walk around with a halo over your head.

    3. Ken, it’s good to see you stick to your principles on trade and shift your language from “wait and see” to “now this is wrong” basically. It’s refreshing to see someone own up like this in H&R.

      I would add that generally I agree with your positions stated above. Trump certainly hasn’t been all bad. Up until the trade war I’d say he’s been generally neutral in my books. I’m usually critical of him in the comments because most of the good that he’s done is pretty much preaching to the libertarian choir to support.

      I would add that he’s been much more hawkish that I would have liked to see after his campaign rhetoric. I’m still waiting for some indication that Afghanistan will ever end. Trump has also been really poor on spending. He signed that horrible omnibus even though he said he wouldn’t do it the next time. He’s also managed to increase the defense budget. The tax reform was great, but it’s proving to be a budget buster without any spending restraint.

      1. “Ken, it’s good to see you stick to your principles on trade and shift your language from “wait and see” to “now this is wrong” basically. “

        Always said it was wrong.

        You were hearing voices in your head.

        1. “It’s wrong but…” is sort of like saying, “Not to be racist but…”

          1. It appears that you came to imagine that because I wasn’t condemning these tariffs–as if they had already happened–that meant that I wasn’t condemning them. In reality, I condemned them all the way through–and hoped they worked in spite of my opposition.

            No, because I opposed Trump using trade policy to put pressure on China does not mean that I had to pretend things had already happened when they hadn’t happened yet. And because I refused to believe things that hadn’t happened yet had already happened? That doesn’t mean I didn’t oppose them.

            It was all in your head.

            Or maybe go find a link?

            P.S. Because I know congress has the enumerated power to set the rules for immigration doesn’t mean I oppose legal immigration either. I’m actually an open borders guy. See how that works? There’s this thing called “intellectual honesty”. It has a number of aspects, one of which says that just because we support something doesn’t mean we need to support every argument–no matter how flawed–in favor of that thing. For instance, just because I oppose Trump using trade policy to pressure China doesn’t mean it won’t work. Just because I hope it works doesn’t mean I support it either . . .

            Is any of this getting through?

            1. Ken, your position on tariffs was perfectly clear for those willing to read.

              You hoped they would not go into effect but also hoped Trumps plan worked.

              I have not decided on 6 or 12 months for this trade strategy to work or go back to the way it was.

    4. The fact that Trump still sticks in the SJWs craw as an icon of everything they hate still scores Trump some bonus points, too.

      This is, in a nutshell, what’s wrong with the country right now.

      We need to stop holding up poking the other side in the eye as any kind of desirable political objective.

      1. Oh, I think the SJWs need to be poked.

        They think the world shifted and everything from free speech to free association is over now, and they need to be disabused of that misconception.

        It’s necessary.

        1. They think the world shifted and everything from free speech to free association is over now, and they need to be disabused of that misconception.

          This is a strange way to put things. You speak of those things as if they are concrete things in the world. They are over if people say they are over. It’s not a misconception if they never existed in the first place. The reality is that they only ever existed for a certain segment of society.

          1. Our rights assert themselves naturally over time. It’s very much like property rights. You can abolish them and violate them, various countries have at various points in time. However, the negative consequences associated with doing that are cost prohibitive.

            Although property rights are easier to quantify, our other rights work the same way. One example is our religious rights. When you can only practice your religion if your ruler is the same religion as you, there are consistent, negative consequences associated with that–across cultures and throughout history.

            Look at the problems ISIS had to deal with associated with only allowing Sunni Muslims to practice one version of Islam in their territory. It’s very much like the problems Catholics, Protestants, and Calvinists had before the Peace of Westphalia made it so people were free to choose their own religion regardless of the religion of their emperor or prince.

          2. When the Muslims conquered Zoroastrians in present day Iran, they had to choose to declare them “people of A book” rather than people of the book. The negative consequences of violating those people’s religious rights were so obvious to the fanatical Muslim conquerors, that even they realized they couldn’t violate those religious rights without suffering the consequences.

            All our rights are like that to one degree or another. They cannot be violated without associated negative consequences. While it’s possible to violate people’s rights at a lower level and sustain yourself, the universe requires that people’s rights are respected in order for societies to thrive. Maybe we understand this easier when it comes to property rights because we have the recent example of communism, but it works that way with everything–to one degree or another.

    5. Trump has been right about deregulation,…

      A bunch of showy nonsense that will be pushed back in court challenges?

      tax reform,…

      Sorry to break to you, but a massive, debt-financed corporate tax cut does not “tax reform” make. Our tax code isn’t simpler, the tax cut isn’t resulting in significant investment or wage growth, and was pinched through Congress only because there’s a big IOU tagged on to the end that will cost another hundreds of billions of dollars when it comes due.

      and I approve of his realist and pragmatic approach to foreign policy.

      “Pragmatic” and “realist” foreign policy would have acknowledged that the U.S. projects power and influence through the multinational organizations and structures he’s trashing. “Pragmatic” and “realistic” doesn’t mean pulling out of one nuclear deal before you’ve secured another one you want. “Pragmatic” and “realistic” doesn’t mean painting yourself into a corner on complex geopolitical questions, handing leverage to your counterparts.

      He was right to withdraw from the Paris Accord.

      A non-binding agreement to do something about climate change? What, exactly, have we gained by withdrawing from it?

  3. In a battle of self-inflicted wounds it’s impossible to win.
    Of course, redefining ‘win’ will continue. Cronies will benefit, at least in the short term.
    But ultimately we will all be made worse off.

    1. The USA has been bleeding from trade management for decades.

      We all know you have TDS.

      1. Yes, it has.
        Yet you and the rest of the power worshippers refuse to countenance the only solution we have.
        Eliminate all our barriers to trade.

        1. The EU and China refuse to lower trade barriers.

          Screw the Americans businessman that wants to sell outside the USA. We have to accept cheap chinese crap and have to accept the commies running the American export show.

      2. Infant mortality has halved over the last few decades, preterm birth is both survivable and has fewer effects later in life now, electronics are far cheaper and ludicrously better than they were a free decades ago, AIDS, cancer, and other diseases are far easier to manage now, a score of other diseases are nearly eliminated, food remains cheap, we haven’t had gas lines like in the seventies, global economic engagement has discouraged wars between nations, and employment is higher since the eighties than before then.

        What metric could you possibly be using where the US has been “bleeding”? The availability of an original Beatles album? The likeliness of nuclear war? Mass hysteria over rock and roll? The exclusivity of international travel? The intimacy of a written letter?

          1. More:
            In 2005, the latest year that the international ranking is available for, the United States ranked 30th in the world in infant mortality, behind most European countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, and Israel (5).

            The United States international ranking in infant mortality fell from 12th in the world in 1960, to 23rd in 1990 to 29th in 2004 and 30th in 2005 (5). After decades of decline, the United States infant mortality rate did not decline significantly from 2000 to 2005 (6).

            In 2005, 22 countries had infant mortality rates of 5.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births or lower. The lowest infant mortality rates (3.0 or lower) were found in selected Scandinavian (Sweden and Finland) and East Asian (Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore) countries (5). The rate in the United States was 6.86 in 2005 (6).


            1. Also, maternal deaths are sharply rising.

              1. You should probably read the study behind it. Most of the sharp increase is due to reporting changes, the estimated actual increase is 5 in 100000 births. A relatively modest increase considering the general fucking over of health care in the 2000s.

                1. Although most countries require that all live births be reported, limits on birth registration requirements for some countries do have the potential to affect infant mortality comparisons, especially if very small infants who die soon after birth are excluded from infant mortality computations (7,8). There is also concern that birth registration may be incomplete near the lower limit of the reporting requirement, as the exact gestational age may not always be known.

                  Differences in national birth registration notwithstanding, there can also be individual differences between physicians or hospitals in the reporting of births for very small infants who die soon after birth.

                  For this reason, births and infant deaths at less than 22 weeks of gestation are excluded from the subsequent analysis in this report.

                  The U.S. infant mortality rate was still higher than for most European countries when births at less than 22 weeks of gestation were excluded.

                  When births at less than 22 weeks were excluded, the U.S. infant mortality rate dropped from 6.8 to 5.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2004 (2).

                2. The US rate of >22 week live births is 5.8/1000. The best countries were 3.0 (reported similarly) and other, less rich countries (Greece, Portugal, Spain) were clustered around 4.0, with Czech Republic even slightly lower. That works out to a difference of 1800/100,000 births. You’re only off by about 35000%!

                  Stillbirth rates
                  If other countries didn’t “concentrate” on preterm births, their stillbirth rate would be higher. The US isn’t as far behind, but is still behind other countries.

                  The difference is access to care.

            2. The differences between US and foreign mortality rates are due to far more than the US sucking. For one thing, the US focuses more on preterm babies than in other nations, resulting in lower preterm mortality rates, as we have more of them. For another, most of the countries that compare favorably are rich and not diverse. Many are small.

              While health care here has not improved at the same rate as other products, it’s not a good standard bearer for trade restrictions. Housing, health care, and education are our most restricted industries and they are also our worst.

              1. The rate of preterm birth in the US is not due to “concentrating” on it. It’s due to lack of access to prenatal care. Look for the US. It’s right their between Timor and Thailand, midway in the yellow area.

                Preterm births are a symptom, not a cause. It’s a sign that our health care system is sick.

      3. So, the solution is to drop all tariffs and NTTBs.

  4. “America is the world’s largest exporter of soy beans, and China is the world’s largest consumer of them.”

    It’s animal feed, mostly. The reason soybean oil is so cheap (and so widely used) is because it’s a byproduct of creating soy meal for animal feed. They have a lot of people to feed over there, and the first thing people start doing as soon as they can afford it is start eating meat instead of vegetables. So many in China have moved away from their peasant farms and into the cities for manufacturing jobs, you don’t get to just reverse that flow and go back to the way it was. And the people who are still out in the countryside aren’t going to just pay more for animal feed and raise their prices accordingly. You raise the price of animal feed like that so quickly, and they’re just going to buy less and raise less livestock than they would have otherwise.

  5. Emperor Xi was trying to hit Trump back where he thought Trump might be most vulnerable politically (in farm states in the Midwest), but I think he may have picked an item there that’s especially politically sensitive for China. If Emperor Xi raises food costs on his own poor people to try to hurt Trump, then he’s playing a dangerous game. He may be emperor for life, but he wouldn’t be the first emperor deposed because of rising food costs. He should have stuck with something that wouldn’t hurt so many poor people so badly–like Boeing airplanes. That threat made a lot more sense in one way–it doesn’t hurt his own people so badly. On the other hand, it’s not like Trump is worried about losing support in Washington State anyway. In that sense, going after Boeing may be as scary to Trump as going after California wines.

    1. Are you saying China is trying to interfere in the 2018 elections by changing the predicted outcome in several farm states where the GOP really needs to flip some Senate seats to the red team column? My sure the DNC will be denouncing this meddling in their next talking points.

      1. In a way, I suppose it’s even worse.

        Xi is hitting Trump in sensitive farm states ahead of midterm elections, in which it’s largely anticipated that if the Democrats win, they’ll impeach Trump. They won’t get the two-thirds of the Senate necessary to remove Trump from office, but Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House and doesn’t impeach Trump, the House Democrats will probably replace her with another Speaker who will. She’ll have no choice–if she wants to remain Speaker.

        In other words, China isn’t trying to manipulate a presidential election with tariffs. They’re trying to force the House to impeach Trump.

        Anyway, that’s the way the right wing sites will probably spin it. And there’s some truth to that. Certain items are chosen for tariffs because they’re politically sensitive, and being politically sensitive means imposing them has political consequences.

        1. I wonder if the Lefties will demand that Mueller investigate the Communist State of China for trying to manipulate election 2018.

          1. No reason why Republicans couldn’t do that now, right?

      2. Are they breaking laws?

        Are they giving material benefits for a particular candidate?

        Are they breaking into computers to support a particular candidate?

        Are they laundering donations through dark money non-profits for a particular candidate?

        1. 1. Yes. All the time. How many spies have we caught over the last few years?
          2. In 2018? Don’t know. I’m guessing there’s a few. In the past? Most definitely. Bill Clinton, to name one.
          3. To support a candidate? Not that I know of. 3 years ago they stole the identity information of 20 million federal employees.
          4. Yes, though I don’t know which candidates.

          Much, much, much more evidence of China doing the kinds of things Russia is accused of than there is of Russia doing so

          1. 1) Spies are arrested and charged. That’s what happens.
            2) That was fully investigated. No investigators were fired.
            3) Not campaign related.
            4) Vague assertion with no detail or evidence.

    2. You may be underestimating how much abuse Chinese peasants can absorb. I bet they can absorb more than Trumpkins can in the heartland.

      1. The commies want real growth for a bigger military. That has little to do with how much the peasants can take.

        China needs trade with the USA to steal technology. China also cannot afford to let the USA default on securities that China holds.

    3. Gosh, it’s too bad for Xi that there’s only one place in the world for the Chinese market to get soybeans.

  6. Soy bean prices fell to nearly 10-year lows this week in anticipation of China’s response.

    Aren’t lower prices better for consumers? Isn’t that why everyone doesn’t like tariffs?

    1. You are destroying the narrative that this new trade war is much different than the trade that the USA has been engaged in for decades.

      The dumb dumbs on here that have no idea how economics work fail to see that if American farmers cannot sell their crops to foreign markets, they will drop prices to sell to Americans. The crops are already grown or coming to market soon, so some money is better than no money.

      Food has been getting more expensive and this standoff will probably drop domestic food prices on many products.

      1. There is only so much soy Americans can consume. The net losses to the soy guys will exceed whatever savngs the consumers will get.

        1. Lesson. Dont support politicians that tell you what to produce and when. There might come a time where politicians pull the rug out from under you.

    2. Market set prices are optimal for consumers, at least for commodity goods such as soybeans.

      Tariffs are market interference.

      Therefore, the price is not optimal.

      Why does the registered Green living in Berkeley have to explain the free market to supposed libertarians?

      1. Because too many of them are economic illiterates.
        They lack the courage of their convictions? either freedom is always better or it’s not.

      2. Because too many commenters here aren’t libertarians. They’re Republicans who are in fact hostile to liberty. They worship Trump and anything he does, especially if they believe it hurts people they don’t like.

        1. I thought it was because I was a commie puke who couldn’t understand the genius of protecting the free market by interfering in the free market.

          Also, saving jobs by taxing the means of production. You want more manufacturing, we have to raise the price of raw materials!

          1. Sarcasmic is right. You’re not explaining economics to libertarians. You’re attempting to teach ‘something’ to Trumpistas, a daunting task indeed.

            1. You guys having fun circle jerking one another?

        2. Anarchists are definitely hostile to libertarianism.

    3. The tariffs are supposed to improve our trade balance. Cratering prices seem counter to that goal.

      1. 1) Trade balance is not a value. There is no benefit to trade surplus nor cost to trade deficit. A trade deficit means that we consume more than we produce, and in return people consume our money.
        2) Trade deficits typically (for the US, currently) crater during recessions and increase in boom times. The trade deficit dropped in 2008-2010. Want to reduce the trade deficit? Start a recession. I’m not sure it’s worth it.
        3) Tariffs can’t meaningfully change the trade deficit. If we import less, the exporters have less dollars to spend/invest, and we export less. This is regardless if they retaliate or not.

        1. I love the bullshittery of economics. It is not even worthy to try and debate the shit people say anymore. But I will point out one hting.

          “No benefit to trade surplus nor cost to trade deficit.”

          This is such a load of hogwash. Everyone is trying to be like the USA then right, big consumers, and not South Korea or Germany or China, big savers and producers?

          I do not know why you ignoramuses continue to posit such illogical bullshit just because some PhD in economics repeated it enough to get you to believe in their bullshit religion.

          1. Yeah, because WHO owns the assets doesn’t matter at all right?

            It makes ZERO difference if you own your own house, or rent right?

            It makes ZERO difference if you spend more than you make every month right, as long as somebody is willing to extend you more credit?

            The line of thinking where it is all 100% consumption based, and pays no mind to investment or who owns assets, is suuuuuuuuuuch a stupid, short sighted, middle class, consumerist mindset. I own businesses, and lemme tell you, who owns assets is EVERYTHING. People who spend less than they produce, and invest the difference, become wealthy, powerful, and influential. Those who consume more than they produce become indebted, poor, and powerless. This rule applies to people and nations on the aggregate.

            We’re on the wrong side of the saving/investing thing right now, but the USA wasn’t always. The USA used to own trillions more in foreign assets than foreigners owned in US based assets. In other words our foreign investments brought in hundreds of billions of dollars into the US economy every year, enriching us. Now that is reversed, and on top of the current trade deficit, we have hundreds of billions a year in investment income flowing to foreigners. There’s nothing wrong with foreign investing both directions, but it’s better to be on the side of being a net receiver, not a net payer.

  7. Begun, the trade war has.

    The aliens in the Trade Federation spoke with Asian accents. How is that not problematic? I feel like I’m taking crazy space pills here.

    1. Because for the most part we don’t talk about that movie.

    2. Maybe the same reason Yoda talks like an old Jewish guy.

      Because Frank Oz is Jewish.

      1. True fact: Yoda’s line, “Play with the dreidel you will,” was cut at the last minute from Empire Strikes Back.

        1. The original line was “Use the force, I want you should.”

  8. Trump: “I can tax Americans who buy your stuff!”

    China: “Oh yeah? Well I can tax Chinese who buy your stuff!”

    Trump: “Oh yeah? I can tax my people more!”

    China: “Oh yeah? I can tax my people more!”

    Idiocy. Pure and simple.

    1. Precisely.

    2. Idiocy? Each tin-pot generalissimo has come up with an excuse to raise taxes and call it patriotism.

      If I thought they had planned it, I would call it “genius”.

    3. This should be required reading for protectionists and other Trumptards.


      Amazing. It is like they might actually have a reason for raising tariffs, the most powerful people in the world with absolutely zero accountability to electorates like Xi Jinping.

      It is way better to pretend they are just idiots who have not read Hayek though, right? Idiots and totalitarians!!

    5. Trump: I will end all trade restriction if you lower yours.

      China and EU: no fucking way!

      Trump: good luck commies and socialists.

    6. The funny thing is it WILL in fact shift where production of many products is done… Because tariffs DO work.

      You can argue it will not be the optimum distribution of where things should be made, but employment will shift. With all the barriers we already had before this one can’t really argue that the optimum distribution existed anyway… So perhaps we will be left about as well off as before, with a small tax increase, which will just keep the national debt from ballooning a little bit higher than it would have been.

      This isn’t going to amount to much either way, unless China caves of course.

  9. Congress could stop this at any time if they do their fucking job. The President should not have the authority to do this

    1. +1000

      The Republicans don’t have a spine; they’re terrified of Trump. He’s already shown that he’ll step on his own if they don’t toe his line.

      I suspect there’s a solution in the courts. Steel and aluminum is at least somewhat related to national security. Cars and other consumer products though? There’s no way to draw a national security correlation there. Now that these tariffs are in effect I’m hoping someone sues on those grounds.

    2. I wish I had more thumbs. Sadly, I don’t, so I can only give this 2 thumbs up.

    3. Agree.

    4. But, he does have the authority not to institute tariffs on Ivanka’s clothing line.

    5. But he does. Constitutional authority based on statutes that congress passed and he duly executing.

  10. Man, what a missed opportunity in the headline.

    “Begun the Trade War have.”

  11. Reason writers act as if the USA did not already have a trade war with china and the EU.

  12. In any trade war, the nations that accumulates more (taxable) wealth VIA FOREIGN TRADE wins, and some nations go bankrupt by spending their existing wealth, plus borrowed money using their existing privately owned taxable wealth as collateral, to pay for their nation’s government activities lose!

    The USA will probably lose Mr. Trump’s trade war because the USA is no longer a taxable wealth creating nation, but is now a taxable wealth consuming (destroying) debtor nation.

    US citizens are selling (or letting the government mortgage privately held US located assets as collateral for US treasury bonds) existing title to every privately owned national taxable wealth (businesses and real property) in the USA that was created by previous working generations of their citizens in order to pay for our government payrolls, entitlements, contracts and other government activities (plus our foreign made consumer products).

    This creates a constant flow of title to US privately owned taxable wealth generating assets being transferring to individuals in the wealth creating industrialized nations.

    1. The US government is now borrowing privately owned wealth (US Dollars) back from the wealth creators (mostly in Asia) to pay for US wealth consuming government contracts, services such as US government payrolls, US government entitlements, infrastructure replacement, and other US government activities that do not create any new taxable wealth to pay for US government activities and using title to our US located privately held assets as loan collateral!

      Most of the recently industrialized wealth creating BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, & China) nations are now creating and accumulating new privately owned wealth and jobs for their citizens by making things and then selling those things to wealth consuming people in the USA so that some of these industrialized BRIC nations newly created wealth can be confiscated by their BRIC nation’s governments via taxation to pay for their own BRIC government payrolls and other BRIC government activities without borrowing money.

      Foreigners from the BRIC nations are immigrating to the USA as they purchase title to our US located assets and then they will eventually become the major (or maybe the only) source of employment for US citizens after they redeem their US treasury bonds and US dollar credits that they earned, by making the things that US citizens bought and consumed, for title to and control of (most all of) the businesses located in the USA.

      How many things that you buy every year are made in Communist China, or Mexico?

      1. This is about how it works.

        We’re consuming more than we produce. Plain and simple. If you have to borrow against the equity in your home every month to pay for your current consumption, eventually you will run out of equity. It will take a long time for us to run out of all assets, as past generations in the USA produced such a MASSIVE net worth for the country… But it’s still better to be producing more than you consumer, or AT LEAST be level, not going in the hole more every day.

  13. With Trade Wars, elected US Government politicians and their “Deep State” US Government bureaucrats pick and choose the winners and the losers among US businesses.

    This selection of winners and losers is based upon the established institutionalized political “Pay to Play” Chicago type procedures that are now required for doing business with the US federal government!

    In any trade war, the nations that accumulates more (taxable) wealth VIA FOREIGN TRADE wins, and some nations go bankrupt by spending their existing wealth, plus borrowed money using their existing privately owned taxable wealth as collateral, to pay for their nation’s government activities lose!

    The USA will probably lose Mr. Trump’s trade war because the USA is no longer a taxable wealth creating nation, but is now a taxable wealth consuming (destroying) debtor nation.

  14. The US Government sets the trade policy.

    The Chinese Communist Party sets the trade policy.

    The EU Committees set the trade policy.

    Trump at least wants free trade where the TOP MEN dont decide every facet of trade.

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