Free Trade

Trade War Kills a New Hampshire Meadery's Plan to Export 100K Bottles to China

Another unseen cost in Trump's misguided trade war, which escalated again today.


Caro / Sorge/Newscom

Earlier this year, Michael Fairbrother was closing in on a huge deal: a contract to send 100,000 bottles of mead—a wine-adjacent alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey—to a distributor in China.

Landing the $750,000 contract would have been a game-changer for Moonlight Meadery, the New Hampshire–based business that Fairbrother started in his garage eight years ago. Already recognized as one of the best breweries in the state, it would have opened a huge new market for for its products. It also would have hired at least six new employees and bought new equipment to meet the new obligations, he says.

Then the trade war came.

President Donald Trump slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from around the world, then followed up with another round of tariffs on various Chinese-made goods. China responded with a range of tariffs that mostly targeted agricultural products—including those, such as mead, that are made with honey.

"We had gone through multiple rounds of evaluation, and we were getting to the final point, negotiating down to the penny," Fairbrother tells Reason. "The conversation at that point went dry, so I followed up to see how things were going. They said with the tariffs happening, they were taking their business to Poland."

Trump's trade war has many costs that can easily be measured, like the job losses triggered at places like the Mid-Continent Nail Corporation, or the jobs at Harley-Davidson that could be shifted overseas. But there are hidden effects too—costs that won't show up in a ledger. Jobs that could have been created but never were, as shifting trade policy changes businesses' decisions about where to invest and build. Or, as in the case of Moonlight Meadery, causes prospective buyers in China to take their business elsewhere.

"Basically, the second runner-up got the contract because of the increase in cost," says Fairbrother.

Instead of protecting American jobs and businesses—as the White House claims it is trying to do—Trump's tariffs (and the predictable response they have triggered from America's biggest trading partner) have limited businesses' ability to grow.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D–N.H.) brought Moonlight Meadery's circumstances to the attention of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer during a hearing on trade policies last week. What's the plan, she asked, to address the costs of tariffs on small businesses?

"The president is very sympathetic and I, personally, am very sympathetic," said Lighthizer. "It certainly is not our plan to have small business or agricultural or anyone else in America feel the brunt of a change in trade policy which is designed to make the U.S. stronger and richer."

But if that's not the plan, one might reasonably ask what the plan actually is. Before erecting tariffs, Trump proclaimed that a trade war would be "good and easy to win." Peter Navarro, director of the White House's National Trade Council, predicted that no country would retaliate to American tariffs.

Each day seems to bring new evidence of just how inaccurate those claims were. Today China announced another round of retaliatory tariffs aimed at $60 billion worth of U.S. imports, with rates ranging from 5 percent to 25 percent. That means another set of American businesses face the prospect of reduced access to Chinese markets. Like Moonlight Meadery, they might miss out on a chance to expand their sales, hire more workers, and grow their business.

"Any unilateral threat or blackmail will only lead to intensification of conflicts and damage to the interests of all parties," the Chinese government said in a statement, according to a translation by CNBC.

Meanwhile, Trump is threatening to impose tariffs on literally all Chinese imports. The two sides are growing farther apart, and the prospects of a deal to end the escalating tensions seem to be fading. Indeed, Chinese officials say they don't even know what concessions the White House trying to get.

Until there's a plan, and until the trade war comes to an end, more businesses will get caught in the crossfire.

At the end of our conversation, I ask Fairbrother what would he say to Trump if he had a chance. He chuckles and then pauses, like he's holding back what he really wants to say.

"I'd just love to see some wisdom from his years on this earth," he finally offers. "Instead of all this."

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  1. Trump is just flat out wrong on trade. If I were to defend him, relative to the progressives on this, it might be on the following basis:

    Barack Obama thought that taking the best interests of the United States into consideration was selfish, evil, wrong and probably racist. He didn’t bring refugees into this country because he thought it was in America’s best interests. He didn’t sign the Paris Accord because he thought it was in America’s best interests. He didn’t sign the Iran nuclear deal because he thought it was in America’s best interests either. He did those things, and so many others, because he thought that good government meant using the coercive power of the state to force selfish people to make sacrifices for the benefit of others. Doing things solely because they were in the best interests of the U.S. was evil.

    I find Donald Trump being wrong on free trade to be preferable in some ways.

    I can persuade someone that what we’re doing isn’t in our own best interests.

    I can’t persuade someone who thinks that doing what’s in our own best interests is wrong.

    1. On the contrary. Trump seems to have persuaded a political party otherwise based on economic freedom to believe in central economic planning as long as it’s in the interest of America First. That’s pretty dangerous to anybody who believes in true conservatism that someone like Trump can coopt the entire movement.

      1. Don’t miss the point.

        Trump is wrong about what’s in our best interests.

        The progressives are disgusted that we would even consider such a thing.

        One of those mindsets is better than the other–even if neither are good.

        No really.

        1. Oh god, your straw man is totally terrible!

          The ten people in the country that actually may believe something like that are devastated.

      2. What is true conservatism exactly, and who defines it?

        1. Conservative and what they do?


    2. “Trump is just flat out wrong on trade”

      How exactly do you claim he is wrong?

      Is he wrong to want our foreign trade partners to reduce their trade barriers to US goods?
      Is he wrong to use retaliatory US tariffs to get them to reduce trade barriers? Do you claim that tactic never works?

    3. You’re right, if a little generous, about Obama’s perspective, Ken. You’re right about Trump’s perspective as well, and may be right about his policy,
      But I find Reason’s approach a little bit… illogical?
      They keep running articles about “company x and company y hurt by retaliatory tariffs” – see? Trade war bad!
      So, Reason points to domestic producers that have been hurt by foreign tariffs and forced to alter orders because mead or soybeans or whatever won’t be shipped due to China’s or EU’s retaliatory tariffs.
      If their argument is that tariffs aren’t a good tool to influence foreign trade partners’ policy… why are they advocating the US change policy based on the effects of foreign tariffs?
      Aren’t they making the case that tariffs are an effective measure to influence foreign trade policy?
      Just a thought

      1. That’s kind of the funniest part! The fact is that tariffs DO work. The real question is if we have the stomach to jack them up high enough to make China buckle. Because if we do, China HAS TO buckle. Their economy cannot survive without exports to the USA. We can survive by importing cheap shit from India, Vietnam, etc instead of China.

  2. Here Trump is sitting down to the poker blackjack table and you don’t know what he’s got in his hand but he’s betting bigly. Either he’s got a big hand and he’s playing it for all he’s worth or he’s got a tiny little hand and he’s bluffing about the size of his hand. But here you are kibitzing on the game and telling Trump’s opponent that he’s got a weak hand and he’s a fool for doubling down on his bet. Well, thank you very much for alerting our trading opponents to the fact that Trump’s lying about what he’s got, without you telling them they never would have figured out Trump is a tricky fellow who’s frequently dishonest. Besides which, Trump’s a risk-taker when it ain’t Trump’s money Trump’s gambling with, Trump didn’t get to be worth 3 billion dollars by risking his own money, he got there by risking other people’s money. So let the old man play his hand, see how it pans out instead of pre-emptively calling him a sad failing loser like some people would.

    1. Since some of it is my money, I am fine with giving Trump 12 months to crack the EU and China and get lower trade restrictions than pre-Trump. Its worth the risk to me.

      Freedom isn’t free and neither is free trade.

      1. The folks at Moonlight Meadery just need to suck it up for the good of the cause. These kulaks don’t even #MAGA.

        1. No sacrifice is too great for others to make.

        2. If that company put all their hopes in selling fermented honey to China then seems dumb to me. Whatever its their company.

          The USA did not have free trade, so someone was getting screwed.

          At least Trump is trying to get lower trade restrictions for US companies.

          1. Doesn’t matter what’s dumb or smart to you. As you note, it’s their business to run as they see fit, and who they sell to shouldn’t be any of your or our damn business. What other trade restrictions there are shouldn’t affect their freedom to trade as they see fit; trade was free enough for them to come close to a deal that would have helped their business, but instead they get thrown under the bus so that someone else *might* get a better deal. Fuck that.

            1. So Chinese tariffs were effective in influence US policy, as you’re using the mead company’s situation to argue that the US should change it’s policy.
              Thus, tariffs are effective at extracting concessions.
              Isn’t that what you’re saying?
              Because it is, the conversation isn’t that Trump’s strategy can’t work – it’s that you prefer the status quo ante Trump and think the US should capitulate on the “trade war”.

              1. Thus, tariffs are effective at extracting concessions.
                Isn’t that what you’re saying?

                What I’m saying is that that’s irrelevant to the rights of this business to trade with whoever the fuck it wants.

        3. “The folks at Moonlight Meadery just need to suck it up for the good of the cause. ”

          Lots of other companies ALREADY HAVE, and gone out of business, by virtue of the fact that previous administrations didn’t negotiate for better trade deals in the past!

          You’re looking at the status quo and saying nothing can ever be changed because it might have winners and losers… But the status quo did the exact same thing to other industries in the past. When we allowed China into the US market without demanding reciprocal access to theirs, that threw millions and millions of jobs out the window. And we haven’t replaced them with better jobs either. They’ve been replaced with minimum wage service industry crap that’s even less productive than $15-20 an hour factory jobs.

      2. Man, you really are dumber than a bucket of panda cum.

        1. I heard you drink panda cum by the gallon, so you your brain is full of panda cum.

          Makes all your thoughts very cum-related and stupid.

          later stupid with cum breath.

  3. The view from China:

    Also on Friday, Beijing moved to rein in the yuan’s rapid depreciation as investors bid down the tightly controlled currency to its weakest level in more than a year amid growing worries over a bruising trade battle with the U.S.

    The People’s Bank of China announced it will reimpose a requirement on trading of the yuan that is aimed at making it more expensive to bet the yuan will fall in value against the dollar. Specifically, starting Aug. 6, banks buying and selling what are called currency forwards denominated in U.S. dollars for clients will be asked to deposit 20% of their sales at the central bank.

    . . . .

    Analysts and advisers to the Chinese government say it isn’t employing currency weakness as a trade weapon, but rather allowing a market-led softening at an orderly pace. Diverging monetary policy between the U.S. and China is also weighing on the currency.


    1. Trump may be right about one thing. In the absurd contest to see who can hold their breath the longest, China will have to capitulate before the U.S. Our economy is still getting stronger. Their economy continues to weaken.

      The open question is whether Trump wants China to capitulate.

      I don’t believe Trump wants lower trade barriers with China. This isn’t 3-D chess. The policy Trump is chasing is the one with high tariffs for Chinese products. It isn’t a means to an end. That’s his goal. I don’t think there’s much that Beijing can offer Trump if Trump is already getting what he wants most of all with high tariffs on Chinese products.

      1. China was hoping that their propaganda and US media propaganda and the EU propaganda would be enough to crack the USA.

        So far the EU has cracked in less than 5 weeks.

        1. Trump may not want the same thing with the EU that he wants with China.

          And the agreement to eliminate tariffs hasn’t been inked yet.

          1. He wants the US to “win.” His definition of that appears to be a reversion to the 50’s with more blue collar factory jobs supplying a lot more exports. I think he would be fine with an export favoring tilt tariff regime even if that meant an overall and widespread lowering of the standard of living.

            1. I think you’re right. People have this idea that we don’t make stuff anymore. The US manufactures more than it ever did. It’s manufacturing employment that is down, because we’re so damn efficient.

              A century ago something like three quarters of Americans were farmers. Now it’s like two percent. Yet we produce more food than ever before. Again because we’re so damn efficient.

              Protectionists deny all of this. They want the jobs back. They don’t give a whit about output. They care about the jobs.

              They’re modern day Luddites.

              1. I think where it does get interesting is the intersection with welfare. So many of the same people who are OK with propping up the welfare state are simultaneously opposed to tariffs which function in much the same way.

            2. His version of winning is a good headline for him with nothing behind it, like the Europe agreement. There’s nothing there.

              1. So just like the Paris Accord then.

                1. The only people who portrayed the Paris accords as anything more than a voluntary agreement for countries to set their own targets were the dishonest opponents. It was a show of good faith, and was never claimed to be anything more.

                  Except one country had bad faith.

                  In Trump’s case, he took a promise of absolutely nothing, and declared victory. Komrade LC1789 serves as the town crier proclaiming great victory of foreign hordes.

                  1. The EU cracked! IN less than 5 weeks. We’ll see if it turns into anything that is good the USA.

                    Funny how the Leftist tries to imply that I am the Kommunist. Just like a Lefty to deflect when they are butt hurt.

                    1. You realize that Russia isn’t communist anymore, right?

                    2. Who said it was?

                  2. The only people who portrayed the Paris Accords as having any beneficial impact were the ones acting in bad faith. You serve as the village idiot.

                  3. The Paris Agreement was an embezzlement scheme, aimed at defrauding US taxpayers and sending their money to globalist “nobles” and their cronies, along with a few 3rd world warlords.

            3. ^ This, it’s been my opinion for a while now. He’s just a Democrat with a time machine.

        2. Funny, modern day luddites want status quo managed trade.

          As long as the USA finishes last.

      2. Very good point.
        US can definitely hold its breath longer, we have far more wiggle room in our 300 year old capitalist system than the Chinese have in their 30 year old pseudo-capitalist system.
        Just the threat of trade war caused their stock market to tumble, ours barely a blip.
        Eventually their playing it too close to inherent market and financial system instabilities will existentially endanger their system, to the point they will have to blink first.
        Their attempts to to game their system by favoring pro-Chinese transactions over US, will only work out to be whack-a-mole, as one tweak will lead to unintended instabilities consequences in another area.
        They may play this to the death to save face, or they may just come to their senses, and agree to bi-laterally reduce tariffs to zero.

  4. Fucking protectionists. Would rather suck at the butt of Trump than let people be free.

    1. Yup. Stupid EU and China could have had free trade is they took Trump up on his offer to end trade restrictions. They refused, of course.

      1. So it is their fault. They didn’t obey Trump.

        He’s president of the US, not the world. How they tax their citizens is their own business.

        Trump taxing Americans more because they won’t tax their citizens less is, well, dumb.

        You don’t seem to understand that a tariff is not paid for by the exporter. It’s paid by the consumer.

        1. They dont want free trade.

          So no managed trade deals that they had before.

          Luckily, the US Constitution enumerates the power to Congress to regulate foreign trade.

          Like it or not, when you trade with China you trade with the Communist Party. The Commies manage their trade. Under past managed trade agreements, your trade was heavily regulated and had various taxes or tariffs.

          1. What’s your point? We can’t have free trade unless both sides do it? That’s not free trade. That’s fair trade. That’s lefty-talk. They’re the ones obsessed with fairness.

            Unilateral free trade is better than nothing. Domestic consumers win.

            1. Free trade is no trade restrictions on all sides of the trade deal.

              Fair trade is managed trade. That is what we had pre-Trump.

              1. Free trade is no trade restrictions on all sides of the trade deal.

                Seems that the world has much to learn from you, since you know more than the man who wrote Wealth of Nations. He must have been some kind of dumbass. Stupid motherfucker thought that we get wealthy by buying things from whoever produces it most cheaply. Comparative advantage and all that. With as little government interference as possible. So unilateral free trade gives consumers the ability to buy from the cheapest producer. Tariffs raise the price of those goods, encouraging people not to buy them from the cheapest producer. Dude was some fucking stupid, wasn’t he? And people erected statues in his honor? Created entire disciplines of economics because of his works?

                Jesus, every single economist is a motherfucking dunce!

                You know better than all of them!

                1. You love to throw out names and then incorrectly cite them or what they theorized about.

                  Name calling this quick. Usually you Anarchists wait until your comments are utterly humiliated by better people before you resort to name calling.

                  You have citations for all your nonsense, Im sure.

                  Oh wait, Anarchists dont want rules that are enforced by society.

                  1. “You have citations for all your nonsense, Im sure.”

                    Try google. You wouldn’t need to if you had read any books by any economists.

                    The fact that you are back to name calling means you have no argument. You don’t know what I’m talking about because you don’t know dick about economics.

                    Your willful ignorance is painful to behold.

            2. Domestic sellers dont win.

              They get screwed because they dont have Google money to bribe Chinese Communists into letting their Tiananmen Square protest doll set go to Chinese market.

              1. Domestic sellers win because cheaper goods from overseas means there is more money left to buy the goods made domestically.

                Domestic sellers win because lowering tariffs reduces the value of the currency, meaning their products are more competitive worldwide.

                Pretending that the economy works on a bilateral basis means you miss the whole picture.

                Who was it that said trying to sell product into China was dumb?

                1. Who are YOU to decide what people should or should not buy or sell?

                  End all trade restrictions and let buyers and sellers decide all that.

                  1. Exactly. We should end all of our trade restrictions. I’m for that.

                    1. How do you suggest we do that again?

                    2. Pass legislation ending all tariffs and restrictions. President signs. See schoolhouse rock

                    3. “How do you suggest we do that again?”

                      Unilateral free trade. If other countries don’t reciprocate, oh well. Taxing Americans is not going to make us more wealthy. Quite the opposite.

                      Look at Hong Kong. It’s a big fucking rock. Yet through unilateral free trade it went from dirt poor to filthy rich in a matter of decades.

                      Focusing on protecting producers helps the few at the expense of the many.

                      Try learning some basic economics.

                    4. Hong kong was taken over by a communist dictatorship. Not exactly the best example of free market.

                      The british subsidized hong kong for decades.

                    5. OMG! You call yourself a libertarian who knows something about economics and you’ve never seen Free To Choose or Stossel?

                      Dude… You’re embarrassing yourself!

                      Youtube. Free to Choose. Stossel.

                      Educate yourself!

                      Unless you’re just here to score points. Which makes you nothing but an ignorant troll.

  5. So this is China’s fault. China slapped a tariff on this company’s products.

    Thanks for clearing that up, Eric.

    I am sure that you have businesses that were unable to sell products because the managed trade we had pre-Trump and you have examples of companies that were not hurt by tariffs?

    1. The existence of tariffs does not equal trade war. That simply isn’t so. “You’re taxing your consumers of imports? Well we can tax our consumers even more!” That is a trade war. Escalation. That is a trade war.

      China didn’t slap those tariffs on honey products out of the blue. They did so in response to Trump’s tariffs. Cause and effect. That lost business is 100% Trump’s fault.

      And you celebrate those lost jobs because fuck China or something.

      1. So about those two wrongs thing. And about those outrageous twitter mobs…

        1. Two wrongs make a 180, or something.

          1. Anything that is bad for the USA is good to you. Makes sense.

            1. Anything that screws over domestic consumers is good for you. Makes sense.

              1. Free trade is no trade restrictions for domestic sellers/buys foreign sellers/buyers.


              2. Except that this is 100% China’s doing. Trump did not force them to retaliate.

      2. “China didn’t slap those tariffs on honey products out of the blue. They did so in response to Trump’s tariffs. Cause and effect. That lost business is 100% Trump’s fault.
        And you celebrate those lost jobs because fuck China or something.”

        So the US should change its trade policy because China’s tariffs negatively effect the US. That is what you’re saying.
        Don’t you realize that if your argument is correct, the reverse is as well? That the US can use tariffs to alter Chinese trade policy? That it works?
        So, since you’ve already established that using tariffs to influence foreign trade policy is an effective tactic, your position seems to be that you want trade policies to go back to status quo ante Trump rather than freer trade.

        1. I’m saying that trade wars are self inflicted pain. That meadery wouldn’t be in trouble if not for Trump instigating a tit for tat.

          Thing is, with these tariffs, everyone suffers. The Chinese people who are guilty of nothing other that being born in China suffer by not having access to lovely honey wine. The meadery suffers by losing business.

          The only winners are politicians who get to claim some patriotic victory, and their sycophants who think taxing Americans who buy imports makes society more wealthy.

          1. Americans will be winners. Lower trade restrictions for imports and exports. MAGA

            1. That’s right! Tax Americans into prosperity!


      3. China didn’t slap those tariffs on honey products out of the blue. They did so in response to Trump’s tariffs. Cause and effect. That lost business is 100% Trump’s fault.

        Suppose Alex is in the habit of punching Bob in the face every day, and Bob never punches back. Then one day Alex punches Bob, and Bob finally snaps and punches back. By your logic Bob is the aggressor.

        1. China already had tariffs on US exports. Whos fault was that in 2016?

        2. You don’t get it. The existence of tariffs is the same as new retaliatory protectionist tariffs. Because all tariffs are trade wars. It’s either completely bilateral free trade or full-on trade war. That’s it.

          So what if tariffs were at history lows? They existed. That means we were in a vicious trade war with the world. There is absolutely no difference between historically low tariffs and protectionist tariffs.

          They are THE EXACT SAME THING.

          That means that none of this is a response to Trump’s tariffs. They would have done it anyway, because they already had tariffs. It’s pure coincidence that there is what appears to be a tit-for-tat going on. This isn’t a tat from the Chinese in response to a tit from Trump, because tariffs already existed.

          There was already a trade war because there wasn’t 100% bilateral free trade.

          Is that about right lc?

  6. But there are hidden effects too?costs that won’t show up in a ledger. Jobs that could have been created but never were, as shifting trade policy changes businesses’ decisions about where to invest and build. Or, as in the case of Moonlight Meadery, causes prospective buyers in China to take their business elsewhere.

    Good protectionists only recognize the seen. That is the unseen. Good protectionists wave it away. Because they have never read Bastiat, and never will.

    1. For some reason Bastiat never address how to get other nations to free trade deals.

      Its almost like the philosopher/economist was theorizing in a vacuum.

      Its funny when you throw names around and cannot fit them into the real World.

      1. For some reason Bastiat never address how to get other nations to free trade deals.

        He wasn’t into coercing others. Definitely not a libertarian. True libertarians like you understand that coercion is how you get what you want.

        1. You’re right, Bastiat was not a Libertarian.

          Libertarians haggle and use leverage in business dealings. You cannot use force to coerce someone else into a business deal. Any other non-violent method is fair game for a Libertarian.

          Tariffs are not force. Some trade restrictions use force. Trade embargoes use force to blockade another country’s ports.

          1. Tariffs are not force.

            Tariffs are taxes. Taxes are force.

          2. Tariffs are not force.


            1. Sorry. Physical force.

              I stand corrected.

              1. Like all taxes and other threats, physical force happens when you don’t comply.

                1. I should have been more clear to say that tariffs are not physical force.

                  You can not comply with tariffs. Government will punish you and use physical force to execute on that punishment.

                  There is a step between tariffs and physical force.

                  There is also a step between taxes and physical force.

                  Not that these government burdens are less harmful.

                  1. You’ve officially sunk to a new low LC. I never thought I’d see a conservative, let alone a supposed libertarian or libertarian-leaning one to defend tariffs to the point of running around in circles chasing his own tail over force or physical force (as if there’s a difference) or whatever you’re talking about.

                    I think you should step back and take a look in the mirror and ask yourself are you defending your principles or just blindly defending Trump. I say that as someone who thinks you’re better than this.

                    1. Who cares what you think. You cannot even tell the difference between a Libertarian and a conservative. It because youre not a libertarian, probably.

                      As I corrected my statement to tariffs are not physical force.

                      If you cant handle people typing and making mistakes and then correcting what they said, fuck you. Why are you even here?

                      A strategy to get free trade is to pressure trading partenrs short of physical partners. It might not work but the EU cracked in less than 5 weeks, which proved you IIRC. You said it would never work. It did. Hopefully it ends becoming far less trade restrictions.

                    2. Keep up the good work LC. Trump said you’d defend anything he ever does. That apparently included central planning for imports. A collectivist, leftist economic strategy. Oh and picking winners and losers like steelworkers unions over car manufacturers. You’re even willing to sacrifice all these companies that Eric is telling the stories of for the good of Mother ‘Merica.

                    3. Leo, you will attack anyhting Trump does. Unlike you, I support the libertarians-ish things Trump does and criticisze the bad thing he has done.

                      There was already managed trade pre-trump. Some companies already won and lost based on those trade restrictions. Trump is trying to get the USA And our tradin* partners to free trade.

                    4. “A strategy to get free trade..”

                      Free trade starts at home. By not taxing consumers of imports, the masses are able to buy from the cheapest seller. This frees wealth to be used for other purposes. This allows comparative advantage to thrive.

                      This premise is the foundation of modern economics.

                      Focusing on producers is to step back in time time to before 1776 when Adam Smith changed the world. It is mercantilist protectionism practiced by kings and feudal lords who refused to import anything but gold.

                    5. Free trade starts when both you and your trading partner(s) end all trade restrictions.

                      Ypu didnt misquote bastiat this time?

                    6. You disagree that the masses are made wealthier when they buy from the cheapest seller?

                      You disagree that we should use our comparative advantage, even if others do not?

                      I just want to get this straight. You’re saying that artificially raising the price of imports to the point where we produce the same thing at home, negating comparative advantage, makes us more prosperous?

    2. There is seen and unseen on both sides. Bastiat is an advocate, not a god. His own arguments can be used against him.

      Also while Bastiat is very good in general, he errs when he dismisses national security concerns by blithely assuming that nations that trade with each other will never go to war. This is unjustified by history. It may be true that at the moment two nations go to war they often are not trading, but that is usually because trade has been previously cut off due to the same tensions that led to the war.

      1. Sarcasmic doesnt like it when you mention that point.

        He misquotes bastiat and others to many times to count.

        1. You claim that I misquote something you’ve never read. That’s rich.

  7. So this is a pretty dumb move by china that only hurts them, right? After all I’ve been told repeatedly that exports are a cost, as are jobs. Oh, and people are who give us real things for these green pieces of paper are really dumb because we get stuff and they get green paper! *chortle*

    1. Game theory makes it complex.

      In an equilibrium, raising your own tariffs unilaterally is a dumb move.

      However, once someone else does it, then tit-for-tat raises of your own is optimal. Kind of like the prisoner’s dilemma.…

      1. Good thing you know exactly which round we’re on here and who cheated first.

        1. We had equilibrium. Whatever the terms were, that was equilibrium. No new tariffs were initiated until Trump.

          Game theory.

          1. Well that was convincing.

          2. And, by this reasoning, we have equilibrium after each tariff is passed.

            1. Wrong. Last move was lowering tariffs, a win win situation. It was the raising that broke the equilibrium.


                This was a little twist. Generous tit-for-tat works a little better.

                The last move before Trump was lowering of tariffs. I’m not exactly sure when it last was, but definitely the comedown after the failed Chinese tire tariffs. There was no tit until the steel tariffs got a tat.

                What was the steel tariffs a tat for? There was no tit.

          3. I don’t think you know what equilibrium is.

  8. So what now, they’re going to want us to drink it? Fuck that.

  9. Good lord. What does the staff really think about tariffs?

    1. I guess the same as any tax.

      1. Funny, I don’t see them posting multiple articles every day about any other tax. Indeed, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Reason article arguing against the existence of sales tax, property tax, or income tax.

  10. GDP up 4.1% in the last quarter on an annualized basis
    Wage levels going up

    That’s the economy as a whole

    There are relative winners and losers of every policy change
    One anecdote of a loss is not an argument against a policy as a whole

    1. Wages were up 2.7%. Inflation was up 2.9%. Wages are growing slower than inflation.

      The GDP number is a one off, partly due to shipments moved up to beat the tariffs that started at the beginning of Q3, and partly due to borrowing $750 billion this year and laundering it through corporations into stock buybacks. That’s not real growth, that’s borrowing money and moving it.

      1. The economy is doing great in spite of all the Parade of Horribles you Lefties mention.

        Its funny to watch all the excuses come from Lefties. When a market correction happens, Lefties will say “aha”, even though they never admit gains and losses are part of the market.

        1. Lefties never disputed Keynes. If you borrow money, give to corporations, and keep the government spending like a drunken sailor, the market will go up. That doesn’t mean it’s sustainable.

          Real wages are less than a year ago, which matters much more to the forgotten class than what the market does.

          1. Try again with your word salad.

            1. I’ll use short words.

              Fed borrows dollars for corporations. Stocks up, for now.

              Wages lagging inflation. Workers poorer.

              1. This is the part where you explain how the fed is “giving” money to corporations. Oh, it’s because they’re taxing them less, right? So when a mugger only takes half the money in your wallet he’s giving you money, right?

                But you know what’s even funnier? The idea that those offshore accounts were ever going to be repatriated. Just like the funny notion that going after inversions will keep all those greedy corporations here in the US. You just have to have good intentions and laws cannot fail. It is known.

                1. Shorthand.

                  Compared to previous law, the fed is borrowing more. Corporations are getting more. You pick at the semantics because the point is true. The stock market is up because of the borrowing and the money going to corporations compared to previous law. That provides little benefit to the average person. Wages are falling behind inflation. That hurts the average person.

                  It’s the same it’s been since Reagan. The richest are gathering more of the pie and the median ship is not rising at all. The only exception has been the 90’s, with the Clinton tax hikes where the rich got a bit richer but the middle class saw their biggest raise in the two decades before or since.

                  1. “Compared to previous law, the fed is borrowing more. Corporations are getting more. You pick at the semantics because the point is true. The stock market is up because of the borrowing and the money going to corporations compared to previous law. That provides little benefit to the average person. Wages are falling behind inflation. That hurts the average person.
                    It’s the same it’s been since Reagan. The richest are gathering more of the pie and the median ship is not rising at all.”

                    So status quo ante Trump wasn’t working well. Then why would you oppose an attempt to change the situation?

                    1. Because it failed to help working people, as was obvious and predicted beforehand.
                      Because stimulus this late in the business cycle is bad policy.
                      Because it made things worse.

                  2. This isn’t picking at semantics. This is reality versus your feelz. The greedy capitalist pig dogs are stealing all of the money. The kkkochtopus is stealing from the proletariat!!!

                    Or we could look at some real analysis.
                    My, this is inconvenient.

                    But what’s really laughable is that you claim that Clinton’s tax hikes improved growth. Strange, why didn’t Bush I’s tax hike rev up the economy? Oh, it must have been because it wasn’t BIG enough. That’s the ticket. Gosh, why did GDP DECELERATE from 4% to 2.7% in the year immediately after the Clinton tax hike? Gosh, that’s weird. Let’s take a closer look:

                    93: 2.8
                    94: 4.0 (Now we’ve got it! Now we’re rockin!)
                    95: 2.7 (Nevermind)
                    96: 3.8
                    97: 4.4 (Tax cuts. Wait, wut?)
                    98: 4.5
                    99: 4.8
                    00: 4.1
                    01: 1.0 (Bubble burst, but the high was great while it lasted)

                    Or we can look at another real analysis of what happened.

                    1. Oh look, you can find partisan articles! Congratulations!

                      Hint, what I was talking about was wages, not GDP. That’s kind of the whole point. We had a high GDP number this past quarter with negative real wage growth.

                      So, try wage growth next.

      2. Now do personal savings and business investment.

  11. “Any unilateral threat or blackmail will only lead to intensification of conflicts and damage to the interests of all parties”

    Chinese tariffs are *not* unilateral action
    US tariffs are
    Uh huh

    Tough nuggies, Emperor for Life Xi.

    I hear the Chinese stock market has dropped 20% since January. Let’s see how much further he wants it to drop.

    1. He really doesn’t need to worry. The yuan is dropping against the dollar, blunting the effects of Trump’s tariffs and making them more competitive in selling to third parties, who are removing trade barriers to China as they put them up against the US.

      Trump is getting more free trade, between other countries but not with the US.

      1. At least Trump is getting free trade! His strategy worked. I am sure you and your Lefty buddies will shout it from the rooftops.

        The Yuan is being manipulated by the Communist Party TOP MEN.

        1. I think your bot programming is off.
          His strategy was to have free trade for the rest of the world, while making the US poorer? Doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.

          1. And again we come back to the Paris Accord…

            1. Not following you. Voluntary emissions limits that benefits the world?

              Republicans have claimed since kingdom come that every environmental law would kill our economy. Taking lead from gas, emissions standards, gas mileage standards, CFCs. All that’s happened is our air gets cleaner. Even if you don’t believe in climate change, reducing emissions is a good thing by itself.

              1. We will never know how much wealth we have lost chasing Lefty tricks to slow down the US economy. They call these delay strategies ‘environmental law’, yet eliminate the possibility of people impacted by pollution or lead in gas to sue for actual damages.

                Lefties want government to have huge budgets, masses of employees, and decide for people and business what is good for the environment and what is not.

                1. Actually, it’s lefties filing those lawsuits.

                  What possible evidence do you have that’s not true?

                  And, your last statement….that’s a faded straw man, so old it’s blown over.

              2. Voluntary emissions limits that benefits the world?

                Offshoring all your pollution on purpose to look good while fucking over your own nation and labor is rarely a smart move.

                1. Good thing Paris didn’t do that.

                  1. Except it did. Or are you going to claim that china agreed to immediate reductions in CO2? (Hint: They didn’t)

                    But this just adds to the long list of feel good disasters like banning DDT, requiring biofuel production which consumes US corn and wood pellets and clear cuts Indonesian rain forests for EU rape seed production, or increased NOx and particulate emissions in Europe so the dreaded CO2 demon can be held at bay. Now what was that about cleaner air?


                      China agreed to reduce their contribution from where it would otherwise be.

                      Banning DDT was a success, and the opposition comes from money-motiviated charlatans on the level of the tobacco lawyers. Use of DDT in agriculture led to resistant mosquitos, reducing its effectiveness.

                      The ethanol mandate is not from environmentalists, it’s from midwestern legislators and all presidential candidates because of Iowa.

                    2. China has said many things, yet rarely does them. Curious. Why trust them to cut off their domestic production advantages now, of all times?

                      Banning DDT was a success…at a resurgence of mosquito related illnesses.

                      The ethanol mandate is driven by environmentalists just as much as it’s driven by rent seeking assholes, but I repeat myself.

                    3. Yay! You can parrot industry ppropaganda! Now do cigarettes and long cancer.

                    4. No, China agreed to reduce it in the FUTURE. From your own link (I’m beginning to suspect you have a reading problem):

                      Peaking of carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and making best efforts to peak early;

                      Blanket banning of DDT killed millions in Central & South America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Mission Accomplished! Love the hand wave about reduced effectiveness. It’s so light and airy…

                      The ethanol mandate like the EU biofuel mandate and natural gas promotion are/were ALL supported by eco advocacy groups. In the former two cases the problems became so obvious that even they were forced to admit that their policies were idiotic (although they still haven’t given up on wood pellet burning in the EU even though it results in higher net CO2 emissions). Natural gas has been so successful that the ecoterroristsactivists HATE it now. See, they assumed that supplies were limited. Oops.

                      And it’s strange that you neglected to touch on my point about NOx and particulate emissions. Why is that? Musta just slipped your mind.

                    5. You didn’t read what I wrote. Try to respond to what I said, not what you think I did.

                  2. Good thing Paris didn’t do that.

                    The U.S. has, is, and will continue to do exactly that. You think industries move to those countries just for the indentured servitude and communist controlled workers? I mean, it’s one reason why for sure.

                    And thus your worldviews collide: arguing for more diverse and more generous labor and wage policy in America directly contributes to global CO2 emissions.


                    1. So are you arguing for an environmental adjustment border tax? A ban on imports from countries that are environmentally bad? Or are you just saying that we should pollute our air more?

                    2. No, pointing out that your side is either doing a terrible job or lying through their teeth. Pick one.

                    3. None of the above. I’m saying burn the fossil fuels we have. Unlike you I understand the carbon cycle and do not consider it a pollutant at 405ppm or even 605ppm.

              3. Voluntary emissions limitations which raise the price of domestic energy while resulting in zero benefit to the world. And that’s assuming that all of the players are cooperating. So since you think you understand the prisoners’ dilemma…

                No, all that happens is not that our air gets “cleaner.” And that is especially true of CO2 which is nowhere near toxic levels and in fact further increases would actually provide net benefit to the planet using the IPCC GCMs and IAMs for several more decades. CAFE standards are no different than rent control or the minimum wage.

                1. Industry has complained about every environmental law. Somehow the market manages to come up with a solution.

          2. Its was joke because everything you say is so stupid.

            Clearly your Paycheck in Yuans has been downsized because the Communist Party has been manipulating the Chinese currency.

            1. Is this where you’ve gotten so thoroughly whooped that you’re off to name calling?
              Didn’t take long.

              1. You start with name calling immediately because you get whooped right out the gate.

                We get it, your job is web traffic starter.

  12. Where’s the meadery’s bailout?

    1. It will bee there soon.

  13. General Electric is losing billions through restrictions and tariff’s on selling nuclear reactors and materials!

    But BYODB, that’s different!

    But, if it’s different than this means absolutism on ‘free trade’ is absurd.


    1. Logical consistency does seem to be in short supply here these days.

      1. All I want from Reason authors is to argue the specific point, and do so logically. They continue to disappoint, but I can’t find it anywhere else either. The world today, in a nutshell.

        Pretending things like unilateral open borders or absolute free trade is possible is the caterwauling of an infant, barely removed from their communist sympathies.

        1. Well you literally have a piece here arguing that Trump is responsible for Chinese retaliation, while at the same time another Robby piece is arguing that it’s wrong for the right to retaliate using the left’s own tactics. What’s inconsistent about that?

          You come for the comments like all the rest of us (minus the 3 Reason Defense Brigadiers).

  14. What’s the problem? Trump has given them the opportunity to open new markets. Globalism baby!

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