Donald Trump

Trump's War on NAFTA Is a Loser for American Consumers

The president's destructive attack on free trade.

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On Monday, the American people were treated to a televised Oval Office phone call between President Trump and Enrique Pena Nieto, the president of Mexico, during which they congratulated each other on reaching a bilateral trade agreement. The new deal is meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, yet we now have more questions than answers. Only one thing is clear: If the agreement ever sees the light of day, it will likely be called the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement.

As the president explained: "(T)hey used to call it NAFTA. We're going to call it the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement, and we'll get rid of the name NAFTA. It has a bad connotation because the United States was hurt very badly by NAFTA." But if you know anything about NAFTA, you may be left wondering what was so bad about it. After all, according to World Trade Organization data, all U.S. exports to Mexico face 0 percent tariffs. We have NATFA to thank for that.

The WTO reports that all non-agricultural U.S. exports to Canada also enter that country duty-free. And for all the talk about that pesky 270 percent Canadian tariff on U.S. dairy, 97 percent of U.S. agricultural exports to Canada are duty-free.

Other countries aren't as lucky when exporting to Canada and Mexico. The weighted tariff that non-U.S. foreign exporters face on their agricultural products sold to Canada is 12.4 percent, and on their non-agricultural products it's 2.3 percent. When non-Americans export to Mexico, agricultural tariffs average 20.1 percent, and non-agricultural ones average 3.5 percent. Other countries would love to get some of the NAFTA treatment.

NAFTA had a positive impact on the U.S. economy. Writing about the risk of withdrawing from the 1994 agreement in The Wall Street Journal a few months ago, Matthew Slaughter, dean of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, wrote, "In a new report canvassing dozens of academic and policy studies, I find that the U.S. gross domestic product is now 0.2 percent to 0.3 percent larger than it would be without Nafta, a yearly boost of about $50 billion."

And while NATFA did boost Canadian and Mexican imports into our country, it also boosted U.S exports and increased foreign investments on our shores.

You see, when U.S. consumers buy imports from other countries, they send dollars abroad. However, these dollars always come back to us because foreign holders use them to purchase U.S. exports or invest here (for example, Toyota builds a factory in Ohio, or Canadians buy U.S. government bonds). In other words, more imports result in more exports, faster economic growth, and lower interest rates paid on our gigantic government debt. This reality explains why the Business Roundtable predicts that a withdrawal from NAFTA would, in the initial post-exit years, shrink the U.S. economy by $120 billion and reduce American exports by more than 2 percent.

American consumers enjoy many benefits from NAFTA-induced imports from Canada and Mexico. From low-priced clothing to lower-priced avocados, "American consumers have saved $10.5 billion a year from lower tariffs under Nafta," Slaughter writes, "with most of the benefits going to households with annual incomes below $70,000."

It's true that more imports from Canada and Mexico have destroyed some U.S. jobs in particular industries, yet this shake-up in employment is no different than shake-ups resulting from domestic competition (think about Expedia's impact on the travel-agent industry). For each job destroyed in given sectors, another job is created in other sectors because foreigners return dollars to the United States in the form of job-creating demand for U.S. exports and job-creating investments.

This is why economists, who disagree among themselves on many matters, all agree that trade doesn't create or destroy jobs on net. However, trade does make jobs more productive.

With all that goodness, I'm not sure what bad connotations the president believes the name NAFTA has. That said, the new deal between Mexico and Trump that is supposed to replace NAFTA does suffer from truly bad connotations. According to experts, it's an assortment of bad labor and environmental regulations, and tougher yet insane—and potentially impossible to implement—domestic-content rules for auto manufacturers.

Either way, we lose. If these new rules are implemented, Americans will pay much more for their cars, and jobs will be lost in the automobile and auto-parts industries. And even if not implemented, the chaos and uncertainty of the last year will continue.

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142 responses to “Trump's War on NAFTA Is a Loser for American Consumers

  1. It’s no good citing facts. Trade protectionists are, by definition, ranting from their feelz instead of investigating with their brains. They know just enough economics to spout a few misplaced buzzwords and show their ignorance. Trump is playing nein-dimensional chess but they willfully misheard it as 9-D, and by now they are far too deep in the cesspool to ever lose face by coming out and cleaning themselves up.

    1. Heretics!
      Blasphemers!

    2. Show me the accounting where we’re better off saving a nickel on a geegaw by buying Chinese instead of American but the geegaw factory that my our neighbors works at closes down because of it.

      Grown ups know that there are costs to saving that nickel which are not captured in the purchasing transaction.

      It’s the Free Markets Uber Alles crowd who are ignoring basic accounting. It’s taken as an article of faith that saving that nickel leaves you better off no matter how many of your neighbors are thrown out of work, or how many go on unemployment.

      1. Idiot. The ‘accounting’ you’re looking for is precisely in the nickel saved.
        And what that saved nickel is then used for.

        All you pay attention to is the seen, you ignore even the possibility of the unseen.
        The ‘trade deficit’ is an accounting artifact, having no more substantial reality or impact than the average height of baseball players vs. basketball players.

        Spend some time over at Cafe Hayek, read some Bastiat, and for god’s sake stop treating your naive intuitions as the be-all and end-all of economics.

        1. A trade deficit means an imbalance of trade. It means that if I buy a widget from someone in China, that someone in China is obligated to buy a widget from someone in the US. Otherwise there is a trade imbalance and the US is getting ripped off.

          It’s really fucking stupid if you think about it.

        2. You ignore that there are MANY great trade scenarios where we are coming out waaay ahead by importing… But there are also those where we lose.

          People like you who are so blinded by religious zeal that you cannot see there is grey in the world, not just black and white, are mind boggling.

          For items where we save a lot by importing, say 70%, we’re way better off importing. But when we shit can 10,000 jobs to saaay save 10% on a product… And half those people either find NO new employment, or employment that pays half as well… That 10% is NOT enough of a savings to spur additional economic activity to make up for it.

          The problem is we’ve had too much of that 2nd scenario happening. We’ve statistically NOT replaced the jobs lost with enough new jobs, as per the labor force participation rate, AND the jobs we did replace are statistically at far lower wages.

          This is hard math here, from the real world. Not theory. I believe we would have been far better off with bilateral free trade, probably enough to where it would be a net gain with saaay China… But unilateral as it has been has been a bloodbath, and I don’t think we’ve come out on net.

    3. >>It’s no good citing facts. Trade protectionists are, by definition, ranting from their feelz instead of investigating with their brains.

      That’s for damned sure.

      1. Facts do not favor protectionists. Special privileges in the form of repression of competition and artificially induced scarcity favor protectionists.

    4. “It’s no good citing facts.”

      Ummm, well she didn’t cite facts actually.

      “According to experts, it’s an assortment of bad labor and environmental regulations, and tougher yet insane?and potentially impossible to implement?domestic-content rules for auto manufacturers.”

      Could we actually get some details here?

  2. “Trump’s War on NAFTA Is a Loser for American Consumers”

    Tariffs increases the price for foreign goods and increases the demand for domestic labor. Stuff costs more, but you’re more likely to have a job, and more like to be paid more for it.

    If you’re in the labor market as supply, you’re likely better off.

    1. Another fucking economically illiterate who doesn’t even understand the most basic things.

      Prices make markets efficient. When prices are distorted by artificial government decrees, markets become less efficient. Ergo, there is a net loss to the economy as inefficient producers are rewarded at the expense of consumers everywhere, and efficient producers sell fewer products.

      Read some Bastiat. Learn about the seen (the better paying jobs you think so much of) and the unseen (all the extra consumers pay; all the things they can’t buy because those goods cost more; all those other workers in more efficient industries who lose their jobs).

      1. Another “muh markets” dogmatic believer.

        Where in your market price is the harm to you of your neighbor being thrown out of work?

        1. Re: buybuydavis,

          — Another “muh markets” dogmatic believer. —

          Tony? Joe? Is that you?

          Does anyone else need further evidence that Trumpistas are openly and vehemently HOSTILE to liberty and markets?

          1. Central planning will work now that the right person is in charge.

            All Hail God Emperor Trump!

            1. Sarcasmic would much rather have Anarchy-land anywho.

              1. He could call it anything he likes. You wouldn’t know the difference. Poor LC.

                1. Aw poor Hamster, does not know the difference.

                  1. Your regression to the sixth grade is complete. We should throw you a participation trophy graduation to commemorate.

                    1. At least some of us got an education. You speak in such gibberish, that Google translate had a tough time translating your post.

                    2. At least this time you tried to look up the big words you didn’t understand.

                    3. More gibberish hamster? Sorry. GooglE translate wont work. Try english next time.

              2. LC1789, time to take Trump’s cock out of your ass.

                1. NYP, take Hillary’s dick out of your mouth. People are having a tough time reading what you wrote.

            2. Sure sarc, as long as you get that extra 5% off cheap Chinese shit, it will offset any and all negative economic effects from:

              Foreign IP theft
              Foreign protectionist practices
              Centrally planned foreign industries subsidized with the intent to crush their American counterparts
              Loss of jobs and wage depression from any of the above

          2. buybuy is easily the dumbest person who regularly comments on this site. Others compete for the title, but buybuy consistently takes the cake.

            1. You seem dumb.

              1. Here’s a candidate…

                1. lc has taken the cake from buybuy and eaten it too.

                  1. I always knew that Sarcasmic takes it in the keel of Thesesus.

        2. “You can’t buck the market.” — Margaret Thatcher.

          Actually, you can buck the market but it’s going to cost you. Protectionist want to shift that cost to someone else.

          1. Trump wants to get as close to free market as possible.

            1. I want to believe that. Do you really know that though?

              1. If we end up with less tariffs all around relative to January 20, 2017, then we will know he does. If we end up with relatively more protectionist trade agreements then we know he may really not. At this he’s taking his shot at it. So we will all find out together.

                Since I neither live nor hate Trump, I’m only interested in results. Sarc, Hamster, amd others are more invested in hating Trump than rooting for America’s success. Of course, a lot of,them are the same people that sneer at any show of patriotism and view America as only something to take from.

      2. Thou shalt not question The Economy, for The Economy is good and loving. Verily, thou must proclaim faith in The Economy or thou shall incur wrath, for The Economy is just and righteous. Thou art a sinner if thou does not abide by The One Way as has been written, for there be only the One True Economy and The One True Path to It.

        1. What is your alternative? Central planning?

          1. Their alternative is The Don, for He is Wise, Wiser than the millions upon millions of free individuals whose unpatriotic choices have made the life of the (mythical) American Worker(R) so hard.

          2. To an Anarchist like you, everything is Capitalism, Communist, Socialism, and Libertarianism rolled into one.

            1. “I don’t like government interference in markets” = anarchy –Only idiots believe this.

              1. No, they Sarc and the gang are just fine with unlimited market interference. As long as that interference is from foreign countries and designed to bend our industries over. As long as they save that extra 5% for not fighting back.

            2. You ARE dumb.

          3. Apparently, yes. Where you guys been? The only people I see comment around here are the morons.

            1. We see YOU.

              Dance moron. Dance.

    2. Wrong question. God, we do that a lot.

      Are we really investing -what is it now, nearly half a million per public student – so they can graduate with no marketable skills whatsoever and are unable to compete against illiterate Guatamalan housewives? Why is this investment getting such a poor return?

      Why are the number of jobs so limited? Why aren’t there more small businesses and entrepreneurs – the drivers of job creation?

      This isn’t a zero-sum game. It’s just been sold to us as one to keep us quiet. Stop us ftom asking potentially uncomfortable questions. Heaven help us all if it were a zero-sum game, since entropy means we’re either growing or dying off.

      1. All excellent points. The problem isn’t ‘immigration’ or ‘trade’ the issue is ‘why is America putting a gun to it’s own head and pulling the trigger until it goes click’ if we’re being honest. Our own domestic programs and regulations are what’s killing us, not some mysterious outside force, and no amount of immigration or tariff reform is going to change that.

    3. Bernie Sanders approves of this message.

    4. if stuff costs more, how is the person hiring you, who also has to by “stuff” suppose to pay more for said stuff, while still employing at least the same number of people, and/ or more likely, not have to let people go.

      And you also think, they will be paid more?

  3. “You see, when U.S. consumers buy imports from other countries, they send dollars abroad. However, these dollars always come back to us because foreign holders use them to purchase U.S. exports or invest here ”

    Can we stop with this stupid “investment” canard?

    Who thinks we’d all be better off if we lived in company town of Emperor Xi, who owned our homes and businesses?

    Investments = purchases = ownership = control = power

    I don’t want to be ruled by Emperor Xi.

    1. You are so fucking ignorant. Dollars out HAVE TO equal dollars in, unless emperor Xi is burning them, and that’s fucking stupid.

      Whether emperor Xi buys American exports or invests in American industries or even invests in US Treasure bonds, emperor Xi only had those dollars because he sold goods to Americans.

      And what does any of this have to do with company towns? That’s not even a strawman — it’s so far out in the field it’s in the ditch and is a weedman.

      Why don’t you stop making stupid comments and start thinking?

      1. “You are so fucking ignorant.”

        Not an argument.

        Ownership = power.

        When Xi *owns* your home, *owns* your business, he has *power* over you.

        Fundamentally, “investment” can mean “buying your capital base”. We’re not made better off by selling the country to Emperor Xi.

        1. Substitute “Wall Street” for “Xi,” and “workers” for “you,” and you are making an argument that would make the average communist or social justice warrior proud.

          1. Same-same says Sarcasmic. He no prove it, but he say.

            1. Are buhbyeDavis and LC1789 the same person or just equally retarded?
              Both certainly have Trump’s cock up their ass.

              1. NYP has Hillary’s dick in his mouth so the cries from him about her election loss continue to be tough to hear.

              2. Yards, you really get excited at the idea of being fucked up the ass by Trump. I have never heard anyone gush about it as much as you.

      2. And The Economy in Its infinite wisdom hath chosen Emperor Xi and the tribe of China to bestow Holy Dollars upon, so that Xi may act as shepherd and watch over The Economy’s subjects, the Holiest among whom would be permitted to transact with Emperor Xi and exchange the lowly fleece of the herd to be transsubstantiated into Holy Dollars for Emperor Xi and The Holy Apostles of The Economy, so that The Economy’s subjects would bask in the Economy’s benevolence through the Holy Scraps bestowed upon the flock by its shepherds.

        1. I just don’t understand the abject vitriol towards Trump attempting to level the playing field with our trade agreements. I can understand a certain level of reservation as to his specific strategy and it’s potential effectiveness. That’s entirely reasonable, but saying we should never, ever attempt to reduce the existing tariff structure? That’s just illogical.

    2. Do you have investments — 401K, pension fund, stocks, anything? Do you have control over those companies? What do you think Xi is ging to do, own all US companies? If he wants to throw his dollars at US companies to invest in new production and expansion, what the hell is wrong with that?

      You sound like the kind of derp who applauded G H W Bush kicking Saddam out of Kuwait at the Saudis’ behest, because oh noes he’d steal the Kuwait’s oil! What was he going to do with it, burn it all out of spite? No, he wanted to sell it himself. The only reason anyone invests in anything is to make money on the deal. What do you imagine emperor Xi is going to do, tell all those companies to stop production?

      Keerist in a bucket there’s some dumb people around here.

      1. Funny how conservatives become raging central planners when a cult of personality invokes nationalism.

        1. Its almost always been managed trade for the USA. No real change.

          Trump offered free trade and our trading partners refused. Dont worry, Trump has gotten better managed trade for the USA with Mexico and Canada soon to follow.

          1. Jesus, fuck off. Can you tell us something Trump has done that you disagree with? It’s impossible to agree with everything, unless you’re a cock-sucking piece of shit.

            1. Which sock are YOU again?

              1. Can’t answer the question, can you, pissant?

                1. You were asking a question?

                  I didnt read what you wrote. I dont speak gibberish.

                  1. How could you read anything, what with Trump’s balls dangling in front of your face 24 hours a day, LC1789.

                    1. Trump’s balls dangle in front of the USA.. They are YUGE. Its why lefties hate him so much.

                      I am surprised you can troll this late with Hillary and Chelsea’s dick up your ass. It must make movement difficult.

      2. Xi is going to buy up Pebble Beach Golf Club and then cart it off to Beijing just like the Japanese did in the 1990s.

        1. Looks like only people like YOU are saying nonsensical things like that.

            1. Exactly.

              ROFL

      3. I don’t like tariffs or trade restrictions either. But if the Chinese invest in a U.S. movie studio, let’s say (and they have done so), they can use their ownership interest to pressure the studio to put pro-Chinese viewpoints into their movies. Ideally, we should have free trade with all true privately-owned companies wherever they may be located. But letting entities which are controlled by foreign governments invest in U.S. companies is problematic.

        1. they can use their ownership interest to pressure the studio to put pro-Chinese viewpoints into their movies

          So? Does this mean people are forced to watch the movies or forced to agree with those viewpoints? Are people so stupid that they’ll be brainwashed? Perhaps people won’t like those viewpoints and the studio will go out of business. Who knows? Regardless it doesn’t seem like a justification for restricted trade to me.

        2. MAGA!

          1. Making American Goobers Assholes?

          2. MAGA! Lefties hate it.

      4. “You sound like the kind of derp who applauded G H W Bush kicking Saddam out of Kuwait at the Saudis’ behest, because oh noes he’d steal the Kuwait’s oil! What was he going to do with it, burn it all out of spite? No, he wanted to sell it himself”

        Hey asshole, he did a lot more than just take the Kuwaiti’s oil. I know, I was there. And as it happens, he DID burn their fucking oil. He was also vicious and megalomaniacal enough that without resistance, he may very well have overrun Saudi Arabia and taken control of THEIR oil as well.

    3. When she says “invest here”, what she’s actually talking about is purchasing of United States debt.

      Frankly, I’m not sure why she’s still pushing this falsehood. As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago when she last said this, foreign holdings of U.S. debt peaked ten years and has been slowly but steadily declining ever since. Foreigners held 60% of our debt in 2008, and it has now dropped nearly to 40%, and it’s still dropping.

      If anyone doesn’t believe me and thinks I’m just making this up, I’ll be more than happy to post all the relevant charts. But Reason really should stop saying things that aren’t true.

      1. When she says “invest here”, what she’s actually talking about is purchasing of United States debt.

        That’s not true at all. “Invest here” means things like Toyota and Subaru building car plants for example. Or as creech pointed out, buying golf courses.

        The term “trade deficit” is misleading because it implies an actual debt, which is not the case. Nobody owes anyone anything.

        1. You’d have to be an idiot not to understand this, and the folks who frequent this site now seem to all be idiots.

          1. They’re Trump voters. Oh, wait. I’m repeating what you said. Never mind.

        2. Toyota and Subaru and VW and Mercedes building car plants here were a reaction to tariffs back in Reagan’s day.

        3. “The term “trade deficit” is misleading because it implies an actual debt”

          No, it doesn’t. You’re the only person I’ve heard frame it that way.

    4. Your ‘equation’ is as meaningful, and instructive, as
      Knowledge = power = energy = mass
      And then whining that you don’t want libraries because they’ll collapse into black holes.

      1. Black holes are merely where God divided by zero.

  4. The president’s destructive attack on free trade.

    NAFTA is NOT free trade.

    Trump offered free trade to our trading partners and they declined.

    Trump pressured our trading partners to lower trade restrictions and within 90 days, they are working on another managed trade agreement that lowers trade restrictions. This is still not free trade but if the numbers are right, this agreement will have lower trade restrictions pre-Trump and will be better for the USA.

    1. But if you know anything about NAFTA, you may be left wondering what was so bad about it. After all, according to World Trade Organization data, all U.S. exports to Mexico face 0 percent tariffs. We have NATFA to thank for that.

      Even by your straw man definition of free trade, NAFTA fit the bill.

      1. Look everyone is Mr. Strawman himself- Sarcasmic. Our resident Anarchist, who has come to give us advice on how government (anarchists dont want government) should lower trade restrictions.

        1. LC, Sarc really is a shrill, tiresome anarchistic asshole. And pretty much all the other do,to that consider the US constitution to be be too much government.

      2. Tariffs are only one of many forms of trade restrictions.

    2. — NAFTA is NOT free trade —

      The Don has a funny way of demonstrating it by making a deal that is even LESS free than NAFTA.

      1. I will wait for actual people to crunch the numbers and let us know which parts of the new trade agreement are better.

        1. What if none are?
          Why have you been so absolutely certain that the result would be a win for the US?

          If your certainty must wait on number crunching from others, then it seems your entire schtick is superstition. “When you believe in things you don’t understand.”

          Great Britain, Singapore, and Hong Kong all did very well with unilateral removal of trade barriers.
          ‘Managed trade’ signals your fervent desire for a strongman to manage ‘our’ trade to ‘our’ benefit. Which rather makes you a socialist now doesn’t it?

          1. Great Britain is garbage island.
            Singapore has nothing to trade and was a tool of the UK for its trade.
            Hong Kong is Communist now. All their hard work is for naught.

            1. None of which is responsive to the clear facts ? unilateral free trade works.
              It enriches all involved.

              1. But the benefits of unilateral free trade are dispersed, which makes them unseen. Protectionists only see the enriched cronies.

                1. Gosh, I never realized what a great deal it is being abused by one sided protectionist trade agreements.

                  Stupid asshole

              2. Free Trade! Free Trade! Where can I get Free Trade?

                NAFTA

            2. NO facts from you I see.

              Very convincing gibberish.

              1. Being that you’ve got the reading comprehension of a child in elementary school, us educated folks must appear to be speaking in a different language.

                1. Try english next time troll. Your gibberish wont let google translate work that into english.

                2. Sarc, it’s funny you talk like you’re smarter than everyone else. When you are clearly not. Best you just shut up and learn to obey. Best thing for you really.

  5. The correct answer is to unilaterally abolish all tariffs and subsidies.

    http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html

    1. For the win.

    2. Thats not free trade.

  6. Thats NOT free trade.

    Thats manage trade with the USA having zero trade restrictions.

    1. Jesus H on a skateboard, don’t you get tired of moving the goalposts?

      But if you know anything about NAFTA, you may be left wondering what was so bad about it. After all, according to World Trade Organization data, all U.S. exports to Mexico face 0 percent tariffs. We have NATFA to thank for that.

      You’ve been bleating like a stuck-sheep how it ain’t free trade unless there are no tariffs, so now that it is shown that NAFTA had zero tariffs you’re changing your definition?

      Can you make up your fucking mind?

      1. Don’t bother to respond. I know what you’re going to say. “Sarc is an Anarchist! La la la I’m gonna ignore what he said and call him names because I’ve got the maturity of a thirteen year old la la la Anarchist!”

        1. Jesus H Krist, your goal post moving machine is working overtime today.

          YOU are an Anarchist and YOU ramble about nonsensical things on here.

          1. The only thing nonsensical here is your monkey-see-monkey-write game. You see “goal post” and try to turn it back on me, and you don’t even know what it means. Your posts are so embarrassing that I cringe to read them. They’re worse than a Will Ferrell movie.

            1. Look everyone. Sarcasmic using name calling like he says other people do.

              Jump in your other sock puppets and get busy adding nothing to this discussion….as usual.

              1. Golly, you did it again.

                1. Sarcasmic I know you’re ever the optimist, but I don’t think you’ll gain much from engaging with LC1789. His mind is impervious to logic or facts and he repeats the same tired points over and over again with Hihn-like obsessiveness. That he is so dense and horrible at argumentation would be forgivable if he were funny, but he possesses the wit of a kindergartner. Interacting with him is a complete waste of time.

                  1. Not a complete waste of time. Sometimes I need to be reminded that you can’t fix stupid.

                2. Fuck off Sarc. You’re nothing but a broken record. I do t know what you do for a living, but you don’t understand shit about business. You’re just another amateur economist with no real skin in the game looking for an extra 5% off on cheap widgets from a China. While those of us that do the heavy lifting bear the brunt of those wonderful unilaterally abusive trade agreements that you jerk yourself off to.

                  Maybe the next time one of us producers gets fucked by one of those agreements we should come and take a little bit off you, and see how you like it.

                  I’m sure you’ll take it like a bitch.

              2. Two goobers high five-ing each other for nonsense posting.

                I would not be surprised when they find Sarcasmic and various trolls in human centipede formation.

                1. Does having Trump’s cock shoved up your ass hurt your posture, LC 1789?

                  1. Who is Trump?

                    Is that the person who beat Hillary and has his cock deep inside you Lefties?

                    You do have TDS. Trump’s Dick Side-you

                  2. Again with Trumo’s cock? You’re a bigger faggot than Tony.

      2. How many California avocados are exported to Mexico? How many U.S. grown potatoes are imported by Mexico?

        None and none.

    2. no tariffs or subsidies isn’t free trade? how?

      1. you said trump offered them free trade and they declined, (which is true and that blew away the credibility of those other counties leaders) but what was it he offered that WAS free trade? If you apperantly think no subsidies or tariffs isn’t free trade, which was what I thought he offered them, then what is?

  7. As benefits, you offer assertions that [some] US exports under NAFTA face zero tariffs entering Canada and Mexico. That’s great for customers in Canada and Mexico, but it succumbs to the mercantilist fallacy to claim this as a primary benefit for US residents (We presume your target audience is in the US?).

    US import duties are the first line of benefit for US consumers. Reduction in tariffs elsewhere promotes trade generally, a secondary benefit to all of us, but not the primary argument.

  8. The Invisible Hand and spontaneous order are simply too fantastical for any rational person to believe, if there’s an ordered market then obviously there must be someone creating that order. It would be as silly as believing Life, the Universe and Everything just spontaneously erupted from nothingness into somethingness. No, Intelligent Design is so much more rational an explanation for economic affairs just as much as cosmic affairs than “stuff just happens”. Obviously, there are Top Men ordering our affairs and Donald Trump is the toppest of Top Men so I’ll trust Him to tell me what’s for my own good.

    1. 42. The answer is 42.

    2. We shouldn’t ignore the short term benefits to swing voters in rust belt, swing states in terms of their employment numbers, pay rates, etc.

      Unskilled workers in the rust belt haven’t had it so good in terms of employment numbers in recent memory, and that isn’t entirely unrelated to tariffs and immigration enforcement in the nation’s interior.

      No doubt, most of that has to do with tax reform and deregulation. Regardless, the point is that you’re going to have a hard time convincing swing voters in rust belt swing states that they’re worse off than they were before Trump was elected between now and 2020.

      I don’t see how the Democrats can win the argument against Trump in 2020 with those voters in those states. What are they going to do–convince them that Trump exported their jobs to China? Go all social justice warrior to win white, blue collar, workers in Ohio?

      1. If he keeps on the trade war, there will be plenty of casualties to highlight. He’s losing farmers — will the support bribes be enough to keep them?
        There’s still companies moving offshore, from Carrier to Harley. Promises broken.
        Wage growth is not going anywhere and health insurance premiums are spiking.

        And this is all assuming that there is no recession.

        1. He didn’t have much margin of error. Add in some more indictments/convictions from Mueller and facts coming out if Democrats get subpoena power, and there could be trouble.

          1. Trumps even more popular now and will be super popular in 2020.

          2. Chandler, that shit p,as well if you’re into progressive fan fiction, but it has no basis in reality.

  9. “American consumers enjoy many benefits from NAFTA-induced imports from Canada and Mexico. From low-priced clothing to lower-priced avocados, “American consumers have saved $10.5 billion a year from lower tariffs under Nafta,” Slaughter writes, “with most of the benefits going to households with annual incomes below $70,000.”

    We live, now, with a generation that doesn’t remember serious inflation and high interest rates–and I’m sure much of that is specifically because of NAFTA and GATT.

    The yield on the 30 years treasury was up over 5.4% as recently as 1990, was up over 13.5% in 1982, and hasn’t gone much over 3% since China joined the WTO.

    http://www.usinflationcalculat…..ion-rates/

    Those lower inflation trends sure as hell aren’t about spending cuts over that time period.

    1. “The yield on the 30 years treasury was up over 5.4% as recently as 1990, was up over 13.5% in 1982, and hasn’t gone much over 3% since China joined the WTO.”

      Sometimes? When it’s 6 am in the morning? I write the opposite of what I was thinking.

      I was thinking to avoid talking about the 30 year treasury, since, you know, QE. So what do I write? “30 years (sic) treasury”, of course.

      Those numbers are actually inflation, and the sentence should read, “The yield on the 30 years treasury [Inflation] was up over 5.4% as recently as 1990, . . . “

    2. And when the rest of the world realizes we’re broke, and doesn’t want to take our dollars anymore… We’ll have high interest rates, our currency will sharply devalue, AND we’ll not have the capacity to produce half the necessities of life for ourselves! It’s gonna be a hell of a show when this house of cards collapses…

  10. Wow. I really expected less hyperbole from a Dr de Rugy article. On its face, the proposed agreement offers negligible net change over the existing nafta. The increase in regionally built auto parts is a minor thing, only impactful to the foreign companies that have gamed the existing 67% mininum by avoiding us tariffs with shipments through Mexico. All this screeching over a 67% to 75% change? For fugs sake, that is ridiculous.

    Argue for no tariffs, argue for unrestricted free trade…fine. But screeching that this aggreement is such a travesty is ridiculously childish.

    And…by the way….the primary reason Toyota builds factories in the US is to get around the existing tariffs. Kinda silly to use that as a good example of free trade, when it is the result of the exact opposite.

    1. I love it when they do that with autos! The ONLY reason the Japanese companies initially built plants here was to get around the Reagan tariffs. LOL They may be invested enough now that they wouldn’t pull out if we zeroed them out, but that was 100% what got the ball rolling.

  11. The govt can get the hell out of trade.

    “Show me the accounting where we’re better off saving a nickel on a geegaw by buying Chinese instead of American but the geegaw factory that my our neighbors works at closes down because of it.”

    I want to buy stuff as cheap as I can from whoever I please. I want to save a lot of nickels, invest them, and make money on them nickels.

    Oh your factory can’t keep up? I guess you are looking for another job. Some of these pussies weren’t raised with enough tough love. This is America, you can’t keep up, you need to retrain or fall behind. This is just more welfare for those who cant swim.

    The Bernie crowd wants everything free and the Trump crowd thinks trade deficits (buying stuff) are bad, and that we need to selectively protect certain industries (rust belt voters) picking winners and losers. Both look like big govt democrats to me.

    1. Hey shitheel. It’s easy to talk about other people getting fucked over when you’ve got no skin in the game. You’re the kind of faggoty piece of shit that will let a foreign government use their command economy and govt. owned industry to grind our businesses out of existence to save a few nickels off some cheap shit that country is peddling. That doesn’t make you libertarian, it just makes you a weasely cheap piece of shit.

      Like I told Sarc, maybe when that shit fucks us producers over we’ll just come and take some off of you. You can find out who is really tough then,

      Hint: it’s not you.


  12. But if you know anything about NAFTA, you may be left wondering what was so bad about it. After all, according to World Trade Organization data, all U.S. exports to Mexico face 0 percent tariffs. We have NATFA to thank for that.

    In which libertarians defend managed trade deals.


    With all that goodness, I’m not sure what bad connotations the president believes the name NAFTA has.


    It’s true that more imports from Canada and Mexico have destroyed some U.S. jobs in particular industries, yet this shake-up in employment is no different than shake-ups resulting from domestic competition

    Aside from the fact that she answered her own question, she commits a bald faced lie when she claims that it’s ‘no different’ from shake ups resulting from domestic competition. Notably, domestic competition are following the same laws and standards whereas foreign trade does not. I.E. the minimum wage in the U.S. is going to be far, far higher than the minimum wage in Mexico. What, precisely, do you think Mexico’s comparative advantage is here, anyway?

    I note that no where is it stated that maybe, just maybe, the U.S. should match the minimum wage of Mexico as the baseline. Curious. It’s almost like even De Rugby knows that this is a losing proposition and that they need to lie to sell it.


    1. For each job destroyed in given sectors, another job is created in other sectors because foreigners return dollars to the United States in the form of job-creating demand for U.S. exports and job-creating investments.

      See, now this is how you mix in the truth with a bunch of lies.

      However, I’m still waiting to see the proof that a union line worker can just turn around and become, say, a robotics AI programmer. That is a ludicrous position to honestly take in todays economy. And I don’t mean just the robotics AI programmer. That line worker isn’t going to magically materialize themselves a 4 year degree plus a masters to break into computer science at 40 years old. It happens, but extremely rarely. More likely, you’ve got yourself one more former worker living off welfare programs and Medicaid.

      Sometimes, being this logical bites you in the ass because it drastically misreads reality. This is one such issue.

      Deregulate labor and destroy labor protections down the same level as the worst 3rd world hellhole, or GTFO with this bullshit half assed screed that will inflict maximum pain for no real benefit to Americans. Attacking tariffs and immigration as the cause of our woes is a baseline misunderstanding of what is wrong in this country.

      1. Thanks! It was worth scrolling to get to a comment of someone attempting to look at the issue as a multifaceted issue with ramifications not apparent from the math. We need more of this type of discussion in the healthcare sector which appears to now be heading for disaster as Doctors file out not for economic reasons but the quality of life reasons. Actions frequently have unexpected outcomes.

      2. Tariffs and immigration aren’t the problem, but uncontrolled flow of illegals and heavily one sided trade agreements are a problem.

        I agree with Trump,that we can do better than the status quo.

      3. Yup.

        Labor is not as fungible as is theorized, which is a MAJOR flaw in free trade theory in the modern world. The theory doesn’t even account for the CONCEPT of unemployment in its math, because it basically didn’t exist when the theory came into being. If there was nothing better around, you farmed. Slacking was not permitted. That just isn’t how it works anymore. People going from being highly productive workers, to not only producing nothing, but consuming the productivity of others through welfare.

        But yeah, if we had no labor protections at all, our economy would produce a lot more things. Our artificial barriers are ALL that keep wages inflated in the USA. In a true free market, with a real currency backed by something, we would have long ago had to have our wages drop to equal out the trade imbalance, because we wouldn’t be able to pay for our imports otherwise.

  13. Reposted from above:

    You ignore that there are MANY great trade scenarios where we are coming out waaay ahead by importing… But there are also those where we lose.

    People like you who are so blinded by religious zeal that you cannot see there is grey in the world, not just black and white, are mind boggling.

    For items where we save a lot by importing, say 70%, we’re way better off importing. But when we shit can 10,000 jobs to saaay save 10% on a product… And half those people either find NO new employment, or employment that pays half as well… That 10% is NOT enough of a savings to spur additional economic activity to make up for it.

    The problem is we’ve had too much of that 2nd scenario happening. We’ve statistically NOT replaced the jobs lost with enough new jobs, as per the labor force participation rate, AND the jobs we did replace are statistically at far lower wages.

    This is hard math here, from the real world. Not theory. I believe we would have been far better off with bilateral free trade, probably enough to where it would be a net gain with saaay China… But unilateral as it has been has been a bloodbath, and I don’t think we’ve come out on net.

    1. And additional ranting:

      Another thing everybody likes to ignore is the simple fact that the situation amounts to a VERY simply thing:

      Our ENTIRE country is living beyond it’s means. We’re literally NOT producing enough wealth to provide for our own needs. So we’re borrowing money from foreign countries, which we then turn straight around and hand back to them for goods. They then turn around and use most of that money to acquire domestic assets, largely real estate or stocks. People ignore that WHO owns assets is important. Being an owner is better than being a renter.

      In short, we’re selling off the net worth of the USA to pay for current consumption. If the USA were a person, we’d be selling off family heirlooms, our vacation house, our 3rd car, etc to pay for eating out at 5 star restaurants every night.

      We started out very wealthy, so we have lots of shit to sell off… But even the wealthiest person, or nation, who lives beyond their means will go broke eventually. Our who system is built on sand. We’re BK as a nation, and all it takes is the rest of the world to change their mind about accepting our fiat currency and the whole thing falls apart.

      In a world with sound currency and no regulation our wages would have already dropped a ton to keep us afloat… The fiat game, and foreigners playing it, is all that keeps it going. When that stops, and we can’t import and have lost the capacity to take care of ourselves, you’ll see how dumb this all was.

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