Donald Trump

Trump and Sanders Both Stand Against Free Trade

Will free traders find a political home in either major party?

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Despite several interviews revealing a profound lack of basic knowledge about public policy and government, 28-year-old self-described democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a darling of the media and the left. Her surprise primary victory in a heavily Democratic district all but guarantees she will win a seat in the 116th Congress and have many pundits pronouncing her the future of the Democratic Party. The prospect of an emergent far-left faction in the United States raises many grave concerns, but one area that's getting little attention is what it could mean for the future of trade.

By now, President Trump's attitudes toward trade are well-known. While he occasionally makes superficially free trade-oriented declarations—such as his call for the G7 to eliminate all tariffs and subsidies—it's always premised on the erroneous belief that foreign-government interference is behind the U.S. trade deficit, which he also wrongly considers evidence that America is being cheated.

Trump has a flawed understanding of both the causes and significance of trade deficits. Briefly put, trade deficits reflect the fact that Americans can afford to buy a lot of goods from other countries, and that the United States is an attractive destination for foreign investment, which promotes American economic growth. The dynamics that have led to sustained trade deficits aren't going to be significantly affected by his protectionism, unless his tariffs become so onerous as to make Americans significantly poorer and unable to afford as many imports.

Trump's misunderstanding of trade deficits matters because it means he may still push for tariffs even if other nations drop theirs. If the United States continues to run trade deficits, even in the absence of tariffs abroad, Trump may conclude that a world with zero tariffs isn't good for America after all.

In this sense, Trump isn't all that different from the wing of the Democratic Party represented by Ocasio-Cortez or her former boss Sen. Bernie Sanders. Consider her discussion of trade during an interview with The Intercept: "(W)e have the destabilization of countries around the world due to wealth inequality that has been historically powered by global trade deals that concentrate the gains of trade into multinational corporations as opposed to the workers who create that wealth."

Swap a few words around and a passage like that could pass for something uttered by President Trump. He blames foreigners instead of multinationals, but both politicians are highly critical of existing deals. And both treat trade as zero-sum—where someone is gaining and someone else, inevitably America, is losing.

The truth is that even under less-than-perfect conditions, the voluntary exchange of goods is mutually beneficial. It took a long time and numerous costly wars before a global system was established that permitted individuals to buy and sell across political borders without significant interference. And once that happened, a sharp rise in global prosperity followed. What barriers now remain should ideally be removed, but that's best achieved by working within the system, not tearing it apart.

During the campaign, Trump said of Sanders, "He and I are similar on trade." Trump was correct. Despite seemingly falling on different ends of the political spectrum, both men are populists who apparently believe that governments are better than markets at managing economic activity.

Such bipartisan protectionism isn't new. Support for free trade has never fallen strictly along partisan lines. NAFTA cleared the Senate by a narrow margin, with similar levels of support from Republicans and Democrats, and was signed into law by Democratic then-President Bill Clinton. And while Republicans typically claim the mantle of free markets—despite being justifiably confident in the superiority of the American system during the Cold War—on trade, they inexplicably tolerate the notion that foreign governments with centrally planned economies may succeed so spectacularly as to bury the U.S. economy.

While Sanders lost his bid to take charge of the Democratic Party, his acolyte is on the rise, and many seem eager to anoint her as their standard-bearer. Unfortunately, that means Democrats are less likely to provide meaningful opposition to Trump's trade agenda should they capture either chamber of Congress.

Trump now directs both the GOP and the nation, and Republican members' attitudes toward trade have so far been muted to not clash with the president's agenda.

Yet, recent polls reveal that a vast majority of Americans still support trade. Perhaps these results can provide congressional Republicans with the backbone they need to reassert institutional power over trade policy. If not, where will free traders find a political home?

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116 responses to “Trump and Sanders Both Stand Against Free Trade

  1. “And both treat trade as zero-sum?where someone is gaining and someone else, inevitably America, is losing.”

    Relative gains. Does the West want a communist China to be the next world hegemon? It certainly looks like that is where we are headed.

    1. Oh for fuck’s sake — trade has been proven to lessen the chances of war and to decrease authoritarian tendencies.

      The last thing any dictator wants is free trade. The Castros’ best gift ever was teh trade embargo we slapped on them. Hitler went full Trump and did his level best to stop all trade to encourage domestic industries. Every Soviet dictator hated trade with the west.

      1. I tend to agree that trade makes the World more peaceful overall but the 20th Century was very violent and humans some of the most prosperous trading that mankind has every seen.

      2. I am 100% against tarriffs and 100% for free trade, including unilateral free trade, but I don’t think the case is strong that trade necessarily lessens the chance of war. I don’t know who said it, but wars start “because somebody thought they could win”…in the end you can toss out all the other motivations and explanations because they really don’t mean shit.

        My problem with the “China is the next hegemon” stuff is that if you believe they are evil incarnate bent on world domination, then they are quite unlikely to be deterred by some tariffs, and dictatorships have shown they can do a lot of damage even if economically crippled. Meanwhile, these same tariffs do damage to OUR economy, and we are weaker for it…and democracies with weak economies end up weak in other ways.

        So, if your goal is to deter China in some way, the best thing is to have a decisive deterrent from a military standpoint, and the best way to do that is a robust economy.

        I say this not necessarily believing China is evil incarnate…but they aren’t benign either.

      3. “Oh for fuck’s sake — trade has been proven to lessen the chances of war and to decrease authoritarian tendencies.”

        Prior to WWI the word was much more free trade, free investment, etc. Eveb a near universal currency in gold. How did that end up?

        You keep repeating a lie. Just so you are aware.

        1. bwahaha haha hahaha. wow. best comedy post in ages. laughed until i cried. i mean modern economics hadnt even been invented yet, the financial center of the world – europe – was dominated by literal fiefdoms whose economic policies were centered on massive taxation + colonial remittance, the largest corporations in europe were frequently invested by royal seal, stock markets were barely a thing & there were no formal intl markets. but it was a free market utopia.
          BWAHAHAHAAHAA oh man. you, sir, are a funny man/woman/other/bot.

    2. If China wants to be the next world hegemon it’s going to have to kick Japan and the EU out of the way. Trump was warning us back in the ’80’s that the Japs and their keiretsu system were eating our lunch on trade but we didn’t listen. The EU learned from the Japanese, though, and the Chinese, too. Top Men managing the economy will always beat a free market system where everybody and their brother – no matter how much of an idiot they are – gets a vote on what should be produced and how much and at what price. Thank God when Trump said “I alone can fix this”, the People had the good sense to recognize a top Top Man when they saw one. You must have faith and put your trust in the Donald, for He alone is worthy of your worship, and all will be well with your soul. Forever and ever, amen.

      1. Swap a few words around and a passage like that could pass for something uttered by President Trump.

        1. its been a common trope for years to say something along the lines of “political discourse is so stupid n nowadays i cant tell when someone is genuinely articulating their views or taking the piss”. ive usually rolled my eyes a bit on hearing that. but now … im there. republicans claim that newspapers cant be trusted while fixating on 4chan as a direct, reliable connection to intelligence community insiders.
          the religious right elected a 70 year old man who cheats on his wife with prostitutes half his age
          the nazi wall builders elected a first generation anchor baby who has had two green card marriages. the first lady cannot speak recognizable english. and his son-in-law policy whiz kid is jewish.
          and democrats have simultaneously re-embraced the “socialist” label while for the first time publicly arguing in favor of tariff-free laissez faire international markets. oh and theyve gone from annointing ppl like Trumbo & the Rosenbergs as saints to adopting the sort of full-on red-scare soviet infilitrators are among us line that would give roy cohn a semi (& hes been dead for decades).

          1. once upon a time liberals had problems with the FBI & the CIA for trying to get MLK to kill himself, turning the USA into a country of torturers, mass surveillance & generally being assholes. it maybe hard to remember that because they jettisoned all that shit when obama took over & kept the secret prisons going while ramping up the assasinations (targets include us citizens as young as 12!). but then the FBI “handed” Trump the presidency because they told Clinton she was a very naughty girl for breaking public records & confidential data handling laws, obstructing justice & tanpering with evidence. so the FBI was evil again! but then the special prosecutor was appointed to pursue Trumps byzantine history of criminal dumbfuckery. so now the FBI & the CIA are unquestionable civil servants who selflessly pursue the Common Good with only Christ Jesus & the ghost of Abraham Lincoln to guide them.
            all of this whiplash inducing comedy gold is uttered with either straight-faced solemnity or impassioned, humorless, Mr Smith Goes to Washington sincerity. its enough to drive someone nuts who has a functioning long term memory but lacks a tribal affiliation to either team Bklue or Team Red

  2. Thanks for connecting Trump and his cult to the wacko left.

    Left – Right = Zero

    1. Swap a few words around and a passage like that could pass for something uttered by President Trump.

  3. False equivalency.

    Sanders is a Socialist and more likely a Communist at heart. He wants TOP MEN to control all aspects of trade, the economy, and government.

    Trump offered free trade to trading partners if they ended their trade restrictions. They refused. Trump is now trying to negotiate with trading partners to get trade restrictions lowered as close to free trade as possible.

    1. Re: loveconst… oh, no, you don’t,

      — Trump offered free trade to trading partners if they ended their trade restrictions. —-

      You’re a Gawd-damned liar. Trump first imposed tariffs claiming national security concerns. It wasn’t until he went to the G7 summit that he ‘proposed’ zero tariffs but that is as insincere as his breakfast taco bowl.

      1. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it. No amount of reasoning will change what he feels.

        1. At least y’all admit that Trump offered free trade. On JUNe 1, 2018 Trump instituted tariffs. On June 8-9, 2018 was the G7 Summit.

          China-USA trade talks

          I know that you would never admit that Trump had gotten free trade even if he had gotten free trade.

          1. He jacks up taxes on imports, and then offers free trade. K, sure. Like OM pointed out, if he meant it he would have jacked up taxes after making the offer, not before. I’m not buying it. Smells like bullshit to me.

            1. Its negotiation. Why would the EU and China lower trade restrictions if they dont think Trump has the political clout to do it?

              The EU and China have initiated the desire to talk about lowering trade restrictions.

              It partly worked. The most important part that needs to work is actual lowering of trade restrictions with the best being free trade.

              1. Re: lovec… oh, ferfuckssake,

                — Its negotiation. —

                It’s also confusing, because the tariffs were imposed on national security concerns. Do you think those concerns disappear because the other guys lower their tariffs? The Unions sure love’em them tariffs.

                It’s BULLSHIT. Like your arguments.

                1. Great argument. NOT!

                  1. i was on the fence until you dropped this hot fire.
                    for those not up to date on their rhetoric, Mr. Loveconstitution1789 made use of the fabled Reductio Mallraticus. First used by Plato during his Los Angeles Symposium, the RM proffers A & not-A simultaneously. Both ones argument partner & the audience are left baffled, allowing the RM user to wuickly retreat back under the internet rock from whence it came.
                    The Reductio Mallraticus is particularly adroit when used in defense of Donald Trump, whose own rhetorical style mirrors the RM (some have described DT’s rhetorical style as “stroke-influenced”).
                    The RM theme is recurrent in nearly every Trump statement: whether he is condemning racism while supporting violent nazis ala charlottesville, implementing tariffs in order to create freer intl markets or
                    claiming that mexicans are both rapist-murders & “mice people”

          2. I know that you would never admit that Trump had gotten free trade even if he had gotten free trade.

            I give credit where credit is due. Like the rare occasions when Chapman is right for example. Unlike some people who are so blinded by their hatred that they reflexively oppose anything that the focus of their animosity says.

            1. You havent yet. You have not said that trump was partly right that pressuring our trading partners would cause them to negotiate lower trade restrictions.

              Admit it and we can move on.

              1. Or dont admit. Who cares.

                The most important thing is the best trade we can get with our trading partners.

                1. Meanwhile 325 million Americans are poorer because Trump won’t let them buy stuff at the lowest available price. Meanwhile American businesses are losing money and shutting down because the Trump increased the price of raw materials. Meanwhile American producers are being hurt by retaliatory tariffs in response to Trump’s.

                  These tariffs hurt Americans more than they hurt our trading partners.

                  1. ~320 Million Americans were poorer pre-Trump because of all the trade restrictions.

                    Trump has zero control over Chinese trade restrictions.

                    Trump has zero control over EU trade restrictions.

                    China and EU are responsible for hurting American exporters.

                    If Trump can get trade to free market or lower than trade restrictions pre-Trump then America will have to spend less on trade costs.

                    1. ~320 Million Americans were poorer pre-Trump because of all the trade restrictions.

                      Serious question: are you retarded?

                      You seriously don’t see how Trump increasing tariffs raises the price of imports? Are you saying that because tariffs existed before Trump, that Trump’s higher tariffs didn’t increase prices?

                      I ask again, are you retarded?

                    2. Sarcasmic, you are clearly retarded and much much worse.

                      I would laugh at you but it would make you cry.

                    3. Exports are COSTS.

              2. NON-puppets know that Trump’s “offer” of zero tariffs was bullshit.

                EDUCATED people know our tarffs average 3.5% and theirs average over 20%

                MATH-enabled humans know that Trump graciously offered our trading partners a 3.5% discount here, if they’d give us a 20% discount there. (lol)

                Trump also had the largest inauguration crowd in history.
                The largest tax cuts ever.
                The greatest Electoral College margin ever.
                And the tiniest hands.

                And this comment means I hate Trump, and that he won the Electoral College by 0.03% of the vote. Because honesty is now “derangement” to Trumptard puppets-dancing-on-a-string-who-gaze-at- their-Savior-with-adoring-eyes-and-drool- on-their-chins. (It’s actually Trump’s semen).

                1. Hey Hihn and your troll comment.

                  No bold today?

                2. Trump also had the largest inauguration crowd in history.
                  The largest tax cuts ever.
                  The greatest Electoral College margin ever.
                  And the tiniest hands.

                  Trump is a con man and full time liar, as you know.

                  Just like he conned those idiot students at Trump “University”.

            2. Dont go to Trump University then if you think its a scam.

              Law schools and many public universities are much more of a scam than private universities.

    2. He wants TOP MEN to control all aspects of trade

      As opposed to Trump, who imposes tariffs and then demands that companies supplicate themselves to TOP MEN if they want to get a waiver. That’s so much better!

      1. 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.

        1. Maybe there shouldn’t be a “trade policy” in the first place. What do you think?

          1. As I said, free trade is the best.

            Government needs a ‘policy’ but as long as that is one sentence long and says ‘free trade’, that is fine.

  4. If by

  5. Anyone who says Trump wants free trade is full of shit. Trump has said over and over that he wants to make America great again, with the implication being lots of people employed in factories. Being that it is cheaper to buy stuff made in factories elsewhere than to produce the stuff at home, the obvious “solution” is to use tariffs to make imports so expensive that it will be cheaper to produce the stuff at home. Then America will be great because we’ll have lots of people working in factories, wastefully producing things that can be purchased more cheaply from foreigners. The only thing more painful than Trump’s economic ignorance is the blind faith that his followers have in him.

    1. You’re WRONG. As of today, Trump tariffs have gotten China to negotiate lower trade restrictions. The EU caved in less than 5 weeks.

      Whether really low trade restrictions will happen is the next question.

        1. Meanwhile, China is begging for lower trade restrictions.

          MAGA!

    2. Trump doesn’t want free trade.

      Trump wants American mercantilism.

      There is no way Trump is going to support some trade deal in which America and China compete on an equal footing.

      He is going to demand a trade deal in which America and China compete on an UNEQUAL footing, in which America is the one on top calling all the shots.

      And his supporters will justify it, just like JoeBlow above does, on vague national security grounds. Or just with ignorant flag-waving MURICA FUCK YEAH grounds.

      1. What proof do you have that Trump wants mercantilism?

        He has offered free trade to American trading partners. Mercantilists dont offer free trade because they want to control trade for the state. Trump wants Americans to do well in trade for Americans.

        1. Try most of his campaign speeches?

          He was promising merchantilist policies all through his campaign. And now he’s living up to his promises.

          1. Cite one then.

            1. Jobs can stop leaving our country, and start pouring in. Failing schools can become flourishing schools. Crumbling roads and bridges can become gleaming new infrastructure. Inner cities can experience a flood of new jobs and investment. And rising crime can give way to safe and prosperous communities.

              All of these things, and so much more, are possible. But to accomplish them, we must replace the present policy of globalism ? which has moved so many jobs and so much wealth out of our country ? and replace it with a new policy of Americanism.

              Under this American System, every policy decision we make must pass a simple test: does it create more jobs and better wages for Americans?

              That is textbook merchantilism right there. Putting all the focus on producers, while ignoring consumers.

              1. Cite it goober. Dont you know how to cite, so we can all find it and makes sure its in context and Trump said it.

                1. Here’s the whole thing.

                  You’re calling me names again, which means I won. Have a great day.

                  1. I missed that whole admission on your part of being an anarchist? Damn!

                  2. Yup. As I said, Trump has never advocated for trade to benefit the state. That is what mercantilism is.

                    Trump advocates trade to benefit Americans. Trump wants US trade policy to make it better for Americans to be able to trade. Trump has never advocated for trade to benefit the US Government. The US Government actually does not trade, its sets trade policy with foreign nations.

                    1. That is what mercantilism is.

                      You really have a problem with breaking down words, don’t you.

                      The “mercantil” in “mercantilism” means a system for the benefit of merchants, businesses, or producers.

                      As opposed to “consumerism.”

                    2. Trump has never said he has chosen merchants over consumers.

                      He is pushing for lower trade restrictions for companies and consumers. If we have zero, then we have free trade.

          2. Cite one single speech where Trump said that he wanted:
            mercantilism (mer?can?til?ism )
            1 : the theory or practice of mercantile pursuits : commercialism
            2 : an economic system developing during the decay of feudalism to unify and increase the power and especially the monetary wealth of a nation by a strict governmental regulation of the entire national economy usually through policies designed to secure an accumulation of bullion, a favorable balance of trade, the development of agriculture and manufactures, and the establishment of foreign trading monopolies

            1. policies designed to secure … a favorable balance of trade, the development of agriculture and manufactures, and the establishment of foreign trading monopolies

              I think you just shot yourself in the foot.

              1. Oh Sarcasmic, there is more to that definition.

                Notice the state is absolutely in control. Because trade is for the benefit of the state.

                Trump has never said he wants American trade to benefit the US government.

                I knew you were full of shit when you claimed Trump was a mercantilist. Mercanitilists want trade to benefit the state. Its Imperial trade policy, which is why we dont use that term anymore.

                You would know this if you knew history, which you clearly dont.

                1. Do you ever get tired of moving the goalposts?

                  1. Its the definition Sarcasmic. You got caught and your goal post moving machine is already in action.

        2. Trump is the definition of a mercantilist.

          1. Read the definition ins bold and cite one single thing that Trump has ever said where he advocates trade for the benefit of the state.

            He hasn’t.

      2. If Trump wanted mercantilism, he could have just left trade policy what it was.

        1. Yeah. Because some of the lowest tariffs in history were merchantilism. Because any tariff at all, no matter how big or small, is a full fledged trade war.

          You can be smart about some subjects. Why must you be such a moron with regards to trade?

          1. You same old tired comment just exposes your ignorance and your desire for anarchy-land.

            sarcasmic|8.15.18 @ 4:12PM|#
            Anarcho-anything is a childlike belief in the inherent everlasting goodness of man.
            Contrast that with a childlike belief that giving men power turns them into angels, especially if they are selected by some democratic process. That once they have power they are cured of the selfishness that poisons us mortals, and are transformed into altruists who only care for others.

            1. And if you scrolled down a bit further you would have seen this:

              sarcasmic|8.15.18 @ 5:46PM|#

              I’m saying you have beliefs that are in line with anarchist beliefs

              I won’t deny that. I certainly don’t trust government, and nor do anarchists. But not everything can be done through the private sector. Can’t really have a market for courts. They need to use force. You can have competition for the last word in violence like in a market economy. Such competitions are called wars. So no, I’m definitely not an anarchist.

              1. *You can have* was supposed to be *You can’t have* which is obvious from the context.

              2. You just shot yourself in the foot.

                You are a Minarchist, which is an anarchist. You hide it as much as you can because that theory is full of shit and you dont want to be shown to be the fake person that you are.

                Just own being an anarchist and lets have great discussion about how you think government is bad and Libertarians are bad because they like tiny limited government.

                1. You are a Minarchist, which is an anarchist.

                  Apparently you don’t understand that the prefixes “min” and “an” do not mean the same thing.

                  For the benefit of people without a learning disability, I will explain.

                  “Min” means small. “An” means none.

                  “Archy” means ruler or government.

                  So when you put everything together “min-archy” means “small government” while “an-archy” means “no government.”

                  Different words mean different things. Imagine that!

                  1. So you’re a Libertarian? Small government under the US Constitution?

                    You’re not. You are trying to take prefixes and suffixes and makes words that are not commonly accepted.

                    This is fine and acceptable in America. The catch is that you are basing your new word off an existing movement which is anarchy.

                    Then you get upset when people dont agree with you. Then you get upset when people point out that you are already talking about anarchy.

                    I think its funny you dont own it. Really chickenshit if you ask me.

                    I wont fall for it. Since you dont plan on convincing anyone to like what you are for, good luck with anarchy.

                    1. You are trying to take prefixes and suffixes and makes words that are not commonly accepted.

                      So now because the word “minarchy” isn’t commonly accepted it doesn’t mean what those who do use it accept that it means, which is minimal government?

                      The catch is that you are basing your new word off an existing movement which is anarchy.

                      No. The problem is that you see a word that contains “archy” and can’t comprehend that it doesn’t mean “anarchy.”

                      Then you get upset when people point out that you are already talking about anarchy.

                      No, I get frustrated when small minds see a word with “archy” in it, and can’t fathom it meaning something other than “anarchy.”

                      Here’s a few more: hierarchy, oligarchy, patriarchy, matriarchy, monarchy…

                      Do they all mean anarchy too? They all contain “archy.”

                      I think its funny you dont own it.

                      I think it’s sad that you can’t comprehend words.

                      I wont fall for it.

                      You mean you won’t accept that different words mean different things. That’s fine. It only makes you look like a fool.

                    2. Its not minimal government. Its no government. What you want is a volunteer group. Thats not government. Government has real power and police powers. You dont want that.

                      Just because you are using the root of a word does not change the fact that your position is what we call anarchy. You are a branch of anarchy, who cares. You are fringe and no large groups of people want to follow your lifestyle.

                      I know that upsets you, so you hide and lie.

                      I think its sad that you make up words that are not commonly accepted, get mad that people wont accept your non-existent reason to accept said position, and then undermine others for their positions that are widely accepted.

                      In fact YOU evidently live in the USA, so you are more than willing to accept the protections of the US and state Constitutions but then undermine them at every turn. This is another reason people dont generally like anarchists like you.

                      You’re a pussy, who cannot convince enough people to form Min-AnarchyLand and prove that it can succeed.

                      Libertarians have created a free country that has succeeded beyond anyone wildest dreams. In fact the USA is so successful, that people like you hate America and what it stands for. You make it worse and then say “See, the Constitution sucks”!

                      You’re a fool and we are not fooled.

                    3. You think the constitution is libertarianism?
                      Hahahahahahahahaha. You’re a retard.

                2. @ILC1789, you’re either a 15 year old with autism, or a senile 80 year old. I can’t tell which yet.

                  1. My money is on senile 80 year old. But I’ve seen 15 year old girls argue the same way. Tough call.

                    1. I’m an 18 year old with the soul of a 242 year old patriot.

      3. “And his supporters will justify it, just like JoeBlow above does, on vague national security grounds.”

        I am not a Trump supporter. I am also not so blinded by free trade zealotry to fail to recognize that continuing to support a trade system that enables an oligarchic communist non-liberty endorsing country to economically grow at a rate that will leave the West, the only liberty endorsing group of nations in the world, at their mercy is fraught with dangers.

        But you barely believe in nations anyways so it does not surprise me you care little for this type of argument. What are nations anyways? Fake lines on a map, right?

    3. WHY is it cheaper to buy stuff made abroad?

      Because of the free market? Or because leftists have priced our workers out of competition? Because leftists have priced our factories out of competition?

      Do we get the same level of access to our trade partners markets as they do to ours? No? Ah.

      Tariffs are not the answer. The answer is open, completely free trade. Tariffs are a club.

      And yes, sarcasmic, after decades of being soft on trade you have to show that you’ll USE that club before anyone will take you seriously.

      The only thing more painful than Trump’s assholery is the way it exposes the deficits in people who were once respected as they deteriorate into frothing TDS-fueled madness.

      1. WHY is it cheaper to buy stuff made abroad?

        Comparative advantage. Look it up.

        1. Comparative advantage includes a lot of things sarcasmic. If we regulate an industry out of existence and China doesn’t, China now has a comparative advantage. But it is an artificial one. When you say comparative advantage you mean a natural one that arises because of the market circumstances not the intervention of government.

          Beyond that, even if it is natural, why does that answer the question? Just because it is cheaper to buy our electronic equipment for our military from China because of some natural comparative advantage, doesn’t mean it is a good idea. Moreover, maybe there are advantages to keeping some industries in the US and forgoing some of the comparative advantages if doing so causes employment to be more stable and there to be fewer large economic and social disruption. It sounds great to tell the people in some industry to go fuck themselves in the name of comparative advantage until those people have lost their jobs and facing ruin vote for socialist who promises to give them free shit. The more insecure people feel, the more they will look to government for answers and security. There is more to life than being a little richer overall. Things like security and stability matter too.

          1. It sounds great to tell the people in some industry to go fuck themselves in the name of comparative advantage until those people have lost their jobs and facing ruin vote for socialist who promises to give them free shit.

            That happens all the time without foreign competition. Technology moves on, some industry becomes obsolete, and people lose their jobs. Georgia gains a competitive advantage over California and people lose their jobs.

            What makes it different when an international border exists between the people with comparative advantages over one another?

            1. Sure it happens all of the time. But just because it happens anyway doesn’t mean it is a good thing or that it happening less often isn’t something we should want.

              1. So you’re on board with Foucahontas?

            2. People who babble about comparative advantage ought to consider some of the premises the theory requires, and ask themselves to what extent they actually apply today, in the U.S.

              The theory depends on the notion that labor is generally fungible?that jobs lost in one industry won’t matter, because workers will move to some other industry which is thriving, because of comparative advantage. That ability to move, and the assumption that both kinds of jobs will be of equal value to the workers forced to move, were characteristics of the 18th century labor market (overwhelmingly agricultural, or resource extractive, and minimally mechanized). Even the practical know-how to do farming turned out to be a good fit for early industrial revolution jobs in textile mills, for instance. That made the theory look good.

              Maybe it was just good for its time. Today’s assembly line workers don’t seem as likely to make the necessary transitions. It has yet to be demonstrated that a 20-year career making car parts can be transformed into a new career doing systems analysis. It isn’t even clear that the children of the car parts worker can make that kind of transition. And if that critical labor fungibility can’t be widely realized, then comparative advantage is a dead duck as a practical theory. Reliance on it becomes a royal road to a state managed economy, and forced wealth redistribution.

              As always, the best advice for theorists is, “Look around.”

              1. Stephen Lathrop, fantastic points. Even further, let’s say out 20 year auto parts maker has a house and family in the area and refuses to move? I bet we all know people that never leave their hometowns. Or they are too poor or cannot move to where the jobs are for any number of reasons?

        2. Yes, sarcasmic. Others have a comparative advantage because leftists have made American labor prohibitively expensive. That is what I said.

          1. Yes, sarcasmic. Others have a comparative advantage because they have restricted American access to their markets. That is what I said.

            1. Others have a comparative advantage because they have restricted American access to their markets.

              That’s not an advantage. If we can produce certain goods at a lower cost than they can, but through trade restrictions they don’t allow their people to take advantage of this, they are making themselves poorer.

              Retaliating by restricting American consumers’ ability to buy goods at the lowest price only makes Americans poorer.

              A trade war is a contest between governments to see which one can do the best job of screwing over its own people.

              1. So government trade policy to this point hasn’t screwed anyone over?

                1. Really? Your argument is that because previous policy wasn’t perfect, that making it ten times worse doesn’t matter? You serious?

                  1. (1) Its not ten times worse.
                    (2) Past trade restriction policy was almost exclusively designed to create TOP MEN positions in government, create a more bloated government, create a trade atmosphere that was anti-free trade, and protect crony capitalists who gave to the political parties.

  6. If The Dotard had wanted free trade he would have suppored the TPP which eliminated 18,000 tariffs on US products.

    Sanders opposed it too.

    Bernie is just stupid – Trump is evil.

    1. Swap a few words around and a passage like that could pass for something uttered by President Trump.

  7. TPP was NOT free trade. Not even close.

    NAFTA is NOT free trade. Not even close.

    1. You’re a fucking idiot.

      North American FREE TRADE Agreement, see you idiot? Just like National SOCIALIST.. It is right there in the name.

      I am using logic for morons like you.

    2. Ever heard of the expression “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”?

      Sure those agreements weren’t perfect. Not by a long shot. But they were a heck of a lot better than what preceded them.

      1. And we can’t do better?

        We can’t try to make them even better? We should just shut up and accept what the Leftist’s Top Men have decreed is for the Greater Good?

        Fuck off, slaver.

        1. Compared to Trump’s trade war I’d rather have imperfect trade agreements.

          Can we do better? I don’t know. Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.

          1. I dont want NAFTA and TPP or any other trade agreements that people like you like.

            America can do a lot better. Luckily, I have Trump pushing for our free trade position and not yours.

      2. Great! Thanks for admitting that trade agreements are not perfect. Trump’s trade agreement for tariffs is not perfect.

        The USA can try and get our trading partners to do better. Get lower trade restrictions than pre-Trump.

  8. Meanwhile in the real world

    A surge in retail sales and rising manufacturing output suggest the U.S. economy’s strong growth in the second quarter continued into the third.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-…..1534336580

    Hack supporters of free trade are going to do grave damage to the cause of free trade and capitalism. Yes, there is such a thing as protectionism and trade wars and they can do real damage to the economy. That does not, however, make every tariff Smoote Hawley or make it impossible for the US government to in any way leverage access to our markets without causing a depression. All articles like this create a false dichotomy of isolationism or a complete commitment to a tariff-free economy regardless of the circumstances. None of the doom predictions made about the coming trade war and the revenge of the trade monster on a sinful America are going to come true. And when they don’t, it is going to be very hard to convince the public of the value of international trade and prevent some future administration from engaging in actual damaging protectionism. Thanks a lot jackasses. God forbid anyone ever think about something in a nuanced way or consider that perhaps the truth might be more complex than your ideology and corporate backers tell you it is.

  9. Illinois manufacturer moving to Mexico over Trump tariffs

    BY AVERY ANAPOL – 08/15/18 11:49 AM EDT

    https://goo.gl/zdmmH7

    1. The unemployment rate among young Millennials ? those under 25 ? is only 5.1 percent, Sen notes, the lowest since the government began measuring this in 1994. So much for mom’s basement sofa. Black unemployment is down to 6.5 percent and Hispanic unemployment down to 4.6 percent in June, both the lowest number since 1994, when the government began tracking them.

      Moreover, the labor force is expanding, with 600,000 new entrants in June, notes American University economy Evan Kraft. Simultaneously, the disability rolls are decreasing. All of which suggests that incentives to work are returning to Appalachia and other previously forlorn areas where so many idle people have been driven to opioid dependency.

      Blue-collar employers have been searching hard to fill job vacancies, ditching educational requirements and following the advice of liberal and conservative politicians to take a chance on former felons who have served their time, as the Manhattan Institute’s Aaron Renn reports.

      It must kill you to see all of those brown people and deplorables getting jobs. Next thing you know they might start thinking for themselves and not looking to superior white people for the answers. It is a disaster.

      1. Same trend for nine years.

          1. You can’t read a chart, you idiot.

            Black UE was 16% in 2009 and has been falling in a straight line to 7% in 2016. Now it is 6.6% and you give him credit for the full amount?

            Idiot

            1. It was 15% in 2012. You can’t read the chart.

  10. More notable are positive trends among subgroups who weren’t doing so well before Trump took office. Obama administration chief economic adviser Jason Furman, writing at Vox.com, notes that in the past three years “recent wage growth … at the lower end of the wage scale has been stronger” than among those higher paid. Similarly, Bloomberg columnist and portfolio manager Conor Sen makes the point that job growth has been greatest among “goods-producing workers and the least-educated workers.”

    http://www.washingtonexaminer……very-lucky

    International trade as we currently do it consists of shipping our manufacturing and lower wages jobs overseas and keeping our service sector and higher wage jobs here. This is great if you are in the service sector. You see wage growth and your money goes further because goods are cheaper. Not so great if you are lower skilled or in the manufacturing sector. Your wages go down as you have to shift from higher productivity manufacturing jobs to low skill service sector jobs. Sure, you get cheaper goods. But you only get cheaper consumer goods. Costs of things like housing and energy and healthcare and such are unaffected. So you end up much worse off.

  11. A South Carolina company plans to lay off almost all its workers ? 126 people ? because of the Trump administration’s tariffs.

    Element Electronics, which assembles televisions, notified the state of the expected job cuts earlier this week. The company also plans to close its plant in the town of Winnsboro.

    The company said the layoffs and plant closure were a direct result of US tariffs on goods imported from China, including important parts that Element uses to put together TVs.

    CNN

    1. Anecdotal evidence remains anecdotal, retard.

  12. The truth is that even under less-than-perfect conditions, the voluntary exchange of goods is mutually beneficial. It took a long time and numerous costly wars before a global system was established that permitted individuals to buy and sell across political borders without significant interference. And once that happened, a sharp rise in global prosperity followed. What barriers now remain should ideally be removed, but that’s best achieved by working within the system, not tearing it apart.

    The author of that paragraph should not be criticizing anyone for ignorance about economics, or about trade policy. That is textbook theory, offered in defiance of evidence to the contrary. If “mutually” is meant to include rust-belt Ohio, or upstate New York, or most of formerly-industrial Pennsylvania, then everything else asserted is inoperative. So cross out, “The truth is,” and instead take a look around.

    As so often among fans of economic theory, they pick parts of the results they like most, or that most conform to mathematical predictions, and leave out the rest. In this case, the leave-out is gigantic. Economies must not only grow the size of the pie, they must distribute the pie. Arguably, if the latter is done better, then even shortfalls in the former may prove tolerable. Global free trade has delivered a contrary outcome, and for a great many people the result has been intolerable.

    Donald Trump didn’t get elected for no reason at all.

    1. As so often among fans of economic theory, they pick parts of the results they like most, or that most conform to mathematical predictions, and leave out the rest. In this case, the leave-out is gigantic. Economies must not only grow the size of the pie, they must distribute the pie. Arguably, if the latter is done better, then even shortfalls in the former may prove tolerable. Global free trade has delivered a contrary outcome, and for a great many people the result has been intolerable.

      Bingo. And the people who are defending this system are always and forever the ones who benefited from it. That is fine. They have every right to argue for policies that benefit them. What is not fine, however, is for them to use economic theory as justification for declaring the interests of those harmed by the system to be illegitimate.

      People like Reason treat the “market” such as it is as some kind of judgment from God. If you lose your job because the government allows cheap competitors from China to undercut you, well that is what you deserve and if you complain about it, you are just making an illegitimate claim on everyone else’s welfare. They are taking wht should be a value-neutral description of the effects of government policies and making it into a religious doctrine that decides the just and the unworthy.

      1. One thing few people realize is that when trading with Mexico the money from the United States huge trade deficit with Mexico does not stay in Mexico very long. When you start thinking about all the money and jobs we shift into Mexico each year you would think by now Mexico would be rolling in cash.

        A bit of research quickly confirms that the money Mexico receives by way of trading with America quickly passes through its lands and flows to Asia. It could be argued that when all is said and done we are still transferring our wealth to the far east only by the scenic route. More on the problem with this in the article below.

        http://brucewilds.blogspot.com…..co_21.html

  13. Great post.

    My favorite part:

    “Swap a few words around and a passage like that could pass for something uttered by President Trump.”

    which basically says whatever you want it to say.

  14. LEFTISTS AT REASON . COM

    Will push UNconstitutional Trade Deal that shipped US jobs but they will never give you the numbers of these deal and the thousands of pages with them……………….

  15. Interestingly these two political opposites that agree on little also are on the same page when it comes to Amazon which Sanders bashed just last week. Before embracing Amazon we should consider and think about what kind of society and world future generations might want to live in. The company has ravaged America’s retail landscape destroying jobs while at the same time exploiting a slew of taxpayer subsidies.
    Recently Amazon, with its ties to the CIA and NSA, seems to have increased the number of cross-company promotions that offer up Amazon Prime for free in an all gloves off effort to expand their customer base and weasel into the lives of those who have resisted its advances. The article below delves deeper into this company and urges you to loudly just say NO!

    http://brucewilds.blogspot.com…..ay-no.html

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