Free Trade

Wilbur Ross Says Consumers Won't Notice the New Tariffs. Then Why Impose Them?

The only goal of tariffs is to change consumer behavior. If consumers won't notice the costs, the tariffs have already failed. Or maybe Ross is lying.

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Leah Millis/REUTERS/Newscom

Nothing summarizes the nonsensical nature of the Trump administration's trade policies quite as well as some comments that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made this morning.

Ross was on CNBC's Squalk Box program to discuss the White House's plan to put another 10 percent tariff on about $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. That latest volley in the trade war between the U.S. and China was announced Monday, and it's by far the largest escalation so far. (Previous rounds of tariffs targeted a total of about $50 billion in Chinese goods.) Already, China has announced plans to retaliate with more tariffs aimed at American exports.

Ross claimed this won't cause pain for American consumers. "Because it's spread over thousands and thousands of products," he declared, "nobody's gonna actually notice it at the end of the day."

Much like his boss' claim that "trade wars are good and easy to win," Ross' argument is so bad that it's almost funny. Start with the numbers. If the U.S. is going to apply a 10 percent tax—that's what tariffs are—on $200 billion of Chinese goods crossing the border, the cost to import those goods will increase by $20 billion. Whether that whole $20 billion gets passed along to consumers remains to be seen, of course, but someone is going to have to pay those import taxes.

Unlike previous rounds of tariffs that mostly targeted industrial goods and raw materials, this latest package of tariffs is aimed squarely at consumer items: computers, furniture, clothing, household goods, and so on. Trump's previous tariffs increased the prices of industrial goods; that hurts American businesses that rely on those manufacturing inputs, but there are more opportunities for the costs to be spread out along the supply chain. The newer tariffs will hit consumers harder and more directly, producing price increases for everything from computers, tablets, and video games to vacuum cleaners, furniture, and children's toys—though the Trump administration has excluded some consumer electronics and safety products like bike helmets from the planned tariffs.

But that isn't even the biggest problem with what Ross said. His argument defies common sense at a more fundamental level.

Think about how tariffs work. By making imported products more expensive, they are supposed to redirect consumer spending toward domestically produced goods or other imports not subject to tariffs. The whole point of protective tariffs is to use the government's taxation authority to change consumer behavior.

If no one notices the tariffs, as Ross says, then consumer behavior won't change. If that happened, the tariffs will not have accomplished their one and only job.

So which is it? Will consumers see higher prices and therefore behave as the Trump administration wants? Or will the tariffs have no effect on consumers, in which case they're disrupting international trade for nothing? Ross can't have it both ways.

Of course the Trump administration knows consumers will face higher costs because of these tariffs, and that reality is baked directly into the plan. The administration was originally considering a 25 percent tariff on these $250 billion of imports, but decided to set the tariff at 10 percent—until January 1, when the tariffs will increase to 25 percent.

That's a cynical move intended to do exactly one thing: to limit the effects of the tariffs on the holiday shopping season.

It's also another acknowledgment that Americans are indeed paying for the trade war. Two weeks ago, the president tweeted that prices for Apple products, such as iPhones, "may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China." Before that, there was the $12 billion bailout for American farmers hurt by the new trade barriers. Before that, there was the White House's own report on the tariffs, showing that they would raise prices and slow economic growth.

Yet Ross keeps trying to peddle this nonsense, with arguments that get more unbelievable the longer you think about them.

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  1. Alright Alex, “Lying” for $800.

    1. Whether that whole $20 billion gets passed along to consumers remains to be seen, of course, but someone is going to have to pay those import taxes.

      This assumes that the same amount of goods are sold.
      If the tariff causes a decline in sales, that hurts the seller.
      Whether the buyer obtains a replacement product from a different source (American or otherwise), the tariff works to the detriment of the seller.
      Commodity items have a whole different dynamic. Suppose we put a tariff on Venezuelan oil. So Saudi Arabia sells us more oil, and Venezuela sells their oil in markets that Saudi used to sell to. No change.
      But if we are the biggest market for a product (like, steel) and tariffs go into effect, sellers are hurt, and buyers are hurt (if they can’t find an alternative source). The theory is the “alternative source” will develop right here in America. That’s probably not a bad bet, provided the tariffs stay in play.

      1. Yes, the seller is hurt, but so is the buyer who must pay the tariff or at least find a more expensive alternative. Why the government should have the right to penalize me, a consumer, in order to help out some inefficient producer, is beyond me. If the tariff were something that might promote the general welfare, that would be one thing. But no economist of any note believes that. Please tell me why this isn’t a simple case of thuggery on Trump’s part.

  2. The only goal of tariffs is to change consumer behavior. If consumers won’t notice the costs, the tariffs have already failed. Or maybe Ross is lying.

    You’re lying Boehm.

    tar?iff
    ?ter?f/
    1. a tax or duty to be paid on a particular class of imports or exports.

    The Founders used tariffs to raise revenue for the tiny federal government.

    1. And they also fought against the Whiskey Rebellion, they weren’t perfect. Damn close, but not perfect.

      1. Exactly. I would 99% be for tariffs if we shrunk our federal government down to 10% its current size, eliminated federal income tax and corporate tax and used the tariffs to be the sole source of federal revenue.

        1. You’re already 100% for tariffs because your God-King Trump commands it. Stop lying.

          1. I am for free trade.

            I am for using tariffs as a negotiation tool.

            I am 99% be for using tariffs if we shrunk our federal government down to 10% its current size, eliminated federal income tax and corporate tax and used the tariffs to be the sole source of federal revenue.

            I am for laughing at you (Jerryskids) for lying.

            1. I am for free trade.
              I am for using tariffs as a negotiation tool.

              Fine, but Trump doesn’t know how to do that. Essentially, he’s failing in his demands that US products should be 20% cheaper, on average, but their products will be only 3% cheaper here. (Repealing all tariffs)

              The reason Trump keeps failing at ANY type of negotiation is that making a deal requires that both sides have something to gain. He and his clones can gloat about demands that benefit us and screw our trading partners, which just says they don’t understand deal-making either.

              And a trade war was a key factor in the 1929 Stock Marker crash and the Great Depression.

              I am 99% be for using tariffs if we shrunk our federal government down to 10% its current size, eliminated federal income tax and corporate tax and used the tariffs to be the sole source of federal revenue.

              And if pigs could fly .. and if your math made sense.

              It’s not free trade if anyone has to be bludgeoned into doing it. duh.

              1. Why are you pretending to be David Nolan?

            2. Hihn trolling.

              1. When they lose on the issue …

            3. Maga

            4. I am for using tariffs to bludgeon Communist China. They are assholes, we should not trade with them to begin with. Let them sell their shit to someone else.

              1. FORCE AMERICAN CONSUMERS TO PAY MORE
                DESTROY OUR LARGEST EXPORT MARJKET FOR MILLIONS OF FARMERS.

                Says the dictatorial right-wing fascist.
                Ignorant that Trump had to pay a $12 billion bailout to the farmers destroyed by his fucking trade war

    2. Re: lovecons…. Oh, you’re kidding no one,

      The Founders used tariffs to raise revenue for the tiny federal government.

      So much for the “Tax Cuts” president…

      Tariffs are a HIGHLY REGRESSIVE tax. The poorest among the people end up paying more for the goods they could afford before the tariffs.

    3. The purpose of a tariff in a trade war is to change consumer behavior. You want consumers to purchase less of the taxed item because your goal is to hurt foreign producers. That is why the tariffs range from 10 to 25 percent. They are intended to inflict pain on consumers, and to pass that pain onto foreign producers.

      They are not intended for revenue, because the goal is to have consumers purchase less of the item.

      That is opposed to tariffs for the purpose of revenue, which are generally less than 10 percent. You want the people to keep buying the stuff so they tax generates revenue.

      It’s not that hard.

      1. As I pointed out, what Boehm said was not true.

        Its a tax. A tax can exist for several reasons.

        Trump wants to use tariffs as a negotiating tool. I will give him until June 2019 to make it work.

        1. How can they be a negotiating tool if they don’t have an adverse effect on those he is negotiating with?

          How can there be an adverse effect without consumers changing their habits in response to higher prices?

          How can there be higher prices without tariffs put into place not for revenue, but too change consumer behavior?

          1. 1. Your premise is false. Tariffs have an effect on sellers and buyers. Many of the sellers are controlled by Socialist regimes.

            2. If I like a product or service, I will pay more…until I wont.

            3. Higher costs of the product or service. Trade restrictions add a lot of cost to the base cost of products and services.

            1. 1. Your premise is false. Tariffs have an effect on sellers and buyers. .

              Bull. Tariffs only have an effect on sellers because they change buying habits. Buyers must suffer before sellers can suffer.

              Many of the sellers are controlled by Socialist regimes

              So?

              2. If I like a product or service, I will pay more…until I wont.

              That’s what free markets are all about. Prices going up because of protective tariffs is not a free market.

              3. Higher costs of the product or service. Trade restrictions add a lot of cost to the base cost of products and services.

              You moving the goalposts again? The subject is tariffs. If you’re going to bring in things like regulatory environments then you’ll never support tariff-free trade, because you’ll want to slap taxes on imports to “even the playing field.”

              1. OMG dude.

                1. If no buyer buys a product, the seller is the only person hurt by that.

                You dont buy from individual Chinese. You buy from the Communist Party of China. The Communist Party own everything in China that is not authorized to be foreign owned.

                2. The USA has had manged trade for a long time. You being upset about managed trade to get less managed trade and lower trade restriction seems like the perfect argument for that argument.

                3. You avoid all the trade restrictions because they blow your argument out of the water. Tariffs are part of all the trade restrictions that increase costs and make trade…not free trade or free market.

                You cannot separate the two when you are discussing managed trade policy, which we are.

                1. 1. If no buyer buys a product, the seller is the only person hurt by that.

                  Absolutely untrue. If the buyer doesn’t buy something because the price was artificially inflated by their own government, when they could have bought it otherwise, then they are indeed hurt by that.

                  You dont buy from individual Chinese. You buy from the Communist Party of China. The Communist Party own everything in China that is not authorized to be foreign owned.

                  Untrue again. China has been a rising economic force precisely because they have allowed private ownership of companies since the 80s.

                  The USA has had manged trade for a long time.

                  Riiiiight? Sooooo? Fact is that tariffs were at record lows before Trump.

                  You being upset about managed trade to get less managed trade and lower trade restriction seems like the perfect argument for that argument.

                  Word salad. Got any ranch?

                  You avoid all the trade restrictions because they blow your argument out of the water.

                  No, actually. They don’t. Those other things are what is referred to as comparative advantage.

                  You cannot separate the two when you are discussing managed trade policy, which we are

                  First you want your absolute free trade strawman, now you want managed trade that takes other factors into account and want to use tariffs to even the playing field.

                  Dude… You’re all over the fucking place

                2. Is there no hill too small for you to die on when it comes to defending Trump? Wilbur Ross made a blatantly idiotic statement. Just relax and let it be, it’s not the end of the world for the Trump fan club.

                  1. Is there no hill too small for your trolling?

        2. As I pointed out,

          Falsely.

          1. Incorrect. The idea that tariffs are only to change consumer behavior is ridiculous.

            1. The word “only” is not part of this issue. And he’s wrong.

        3. Hihh is Trolling for MAGA!

          1. MAGA = Morons Are Governing America
            MAGA = My Attorney Got Arrested!
            MAGA = My Advisors Going Away!
            MAGA = My Associates Getting Allocutions!
            MAGA = Make America (debt) Great Again.!

            You guys and your “Hihn conspiracy” are fun to watch

      2. I doubt that end-consumers are the real target of most of these tariffs. The target for these is the processor/middleman – the multinational who is making semi-bogus ‘trades’ from one subsidiary to another. Those are not arm’s length transactions. Nor do the prices paid have anything to do with market-determined prices. Mostly the prices are tax games – with a significant portion based on recovery of sunk-costs and corporate debt. Adding some % of tariff overhead will be like adding a bit of sand into the machine – but that merely puts those entities more on the same level as truly independent entities that are making market-based transactions.

        I’m not a fan of these tariffs. Mostly because I truly don’t think those making these decisions have the slightest clue of the actual end-game. But to the degree that it eliminates some the excess mobility of capital relative to labor (esp the hot portfolio money which does NOTHING for anyone outside the financial sector and has essentially been a huge subsidy to that sector); then they can actually fix some of the structural outflows of ‘reasonably good jobs’ that have been a real problem for the US for the last couple decades.

        1. I doubt that end-consumers are the real target of most of these tariffs.

          We agree that Trump fucked up again. Consumers will pay the tariffs, regardless of what he “thinks” he targeted,

    4. “The Founders used tariffs to raise revenue for the tiny federal government.”

      And the reason it didn’t remain tiny was because the government switched to an income tax for the majority of it’s revenue.

      It’s been downhill ever since.

      1. +1

    5. In a way I think tariffs for revenue, not to change consumer behavior, are a legitimate way to fund the federal government. It’s like a user fee for keeping stuff safe as it crosses the border. And protecting that border is the primary function of the federal government.

    6. I would gladly embrace (non-discriminatory) tariffs, even high ones, if it meant abolition of the income and payroll tax.

  3. Ross, like Trump and every other successful peddler of shoddy goods, knows his audience with exquisite precision.

    He’s not trying to persuade educated, informed, accomplished, modern people.

    1. Of course not, they already know he is correct

      It is the shamanistic, superstitious idiots like you that he is educating.

  4. So which is it? Will consumers see higher prices and therefore behave as the Trump administration wants? Or will the tariffs have no effect on consumers, in which case they’re disrupting international trade for nothing? Ross can’t have it both ways.

    I think he does want it both ways. He wants consumers to change their behavior, but not know that they’re doing it. Call the tariffs a “nudge.”

    1. False.

      He wants the countries that he is imposing tariffs on to change their behavior. You can debate whether that is what is actually happening, but it’s a lie to suggest otherwise.

      1. Lemme ‘splain it to you, Lucy

        The latest round is a 10% tariff on $200 billion = $20 billion .
        Divide that by 122 million households = $160 tax increase for every household in America.
        But it jumps to 25% next year, so 250% of $160 = $400 for every household.in America.

        We already have a 25% tariff on $50 billion. That’s 1/4 the recent one. So add 25%, he’s already at $500 for every household.

        He threatens tariffs on ANOTHER $250 billion of Chinese goods, which would double that to = $1,000 per household. Every household in America.

        Common knowledge to anyone informed on this.
        And junior high math,

  5. No, Tariffs are a tax and the point of them is also to collect revenue. Before income taxes, tariffs were the only means the federal government had to raise money.

    Beyond that, it is quite possible that consumers don’t notice the tariffs and they have the intended effect. Tariffs raise the price of imported goods. But domestic producers still compete with each other. So, they don’t get to just raise their prices equal to the tariffs. The price will rise to whatever price the domestic competition and supply and demand dictate that is below the tariff. That may or may not be very much money and it might be such a small difference consumers don’t notice. It just depends on the circumstances of the market at that time.

    1. “No, Tariffs are a tax and the point of them is also to collect revenue”

      The point of tariffs was to collect revenue but historically they have also been used by the federal government for protectionist purposes. At one point back in the early 1800’s there was a 45% tariff on British imports because the government wanted to protect domestic manufacturing.

    2. Re: John,

      Tariffs raise the price of imported goods. But domestic producers still compete with each other. So, they don’t get to just raise their prices equal to the tariffs.

      Yes, they will raise their prices with the tariffs because the tariff will present a new price floor.

      1. Yes, they will raise their prices with the tariffs because the tariff will present a new price floor.

        That would depend upon the items with tariffs and that industry. As in very competitive industries, selling lowers than others would be a competing advantage they would full exploit. More commoditized industries and products though, you’re likely correct about the outcome.

        Dislciamer: I believe a tariff is a tax just as minimum wage is. But like minimum wage, raising it to 7.50 or whatever when prevailing minimum is already 10/hr, it may not have much impact.

        In the long run though all taxes reduce the use of the thing being taxed whether it’s products or wages/labor, but where/who is impacted and by how much is not a foregone conclusion as it’s dependent upon several key details.

    3. No, Tariffs are a tax and the point of them is also to collect revenue.

      Depends on the tariff. Modest tariffs are not intended to change consumer habits. They raise revenue. A 1000% tariff would not be for revenue, because it would raise the price of the good beyond what anyone would be willing to pay.

      In this case intentions do matter.

      1. Trying to negotiate with trading partners to get the USA lower trade restrictions, is worth a little pain.

        Freedom isn’t free.

        1. You have to be one arrogant motherfucker to make others suffer for your goals.

          1. Gosh no, he’s a libertarian; didn’t he tell you?

            1. He’s the libertarian, and we’re just a bunch of Nanarchists (whatever that means).

              1. Funny, Sarcasmic first brought up that he is an anarchist.

                1. Minarchist, tard.

                  1. Anarchist, Anarchist.

            2. Scarecrow, dont you have some more lies to tell without citations?

              1. You mean like definitions of anarchist and minarchist?

                Yeah, no. Not for uneducatable plunks like you. Let me know when you’ve learned some basic economics, maybe I’ll reconsider. And it wouldn’t hurt for you to include a few citations too.

              2. You dum-dums are funny.

          2. You make me suffer here every day, you arrogant motherfucker!

            1. Then leave. Nobody is forcing you to be here.

            2. Sarcasmic loses a debate again….

              Better luck tomorrow.

        2. How can there be pain unless consumers are being forced to pay more?

          Get your story straight. On the one hand you argue that nobody will notice and consumer habits won’t change, then you say it is a negotiation tactic which requires inflicting pain on Chinese producers which must come from changing consumer spending habits, and then you say it is for revenue.

          Dude.

          1. Get YOUR story straight.

            No being able to buy something because government manages trade and causes the price to go up artificially can be pain in the market place.

            I NEVER argued that consumers wont notice taxes influencing trade. Its why I keep bringing up that freedom isn’t free.

            How is that goalpost moving machine working for you since yesterday? Its seems to be gassed up and chugging along like your …………… ……………whoa…………….. …………..arguments.

            1. This is the part where you start trying the rubber/glue routine without knowing what you are talking about.

              Whatevs…

              gtg anyway

            2. Sarcasmic is using the rubber and glue method for losing arguments.

              1. Seems you’ve switched to Silly Putty? to copy others without thinking.

              2. Amazing how Sarcasmic has gtg and Scarecrow fills in.

                I wonder why that happens…

  6. The only goal of tariffs is to change consumer behavior. If consumers won’t notice the costs, the tariffs have already failed. Or maybe Ross is lying.

    Or, more likely, he has NO fucking idea of what he’s talking about.

  7. The goal of tariffs isn’t to change consumer behavior. You completely missed the point. Tariffs are a negotiating tactic/strategy to pressure other countries into agreeing to trade deals more advantageous to the US.

    Consumers won’t notice when businesses source their products from Vietnam instead of China. Why would they? China will notice though.

    Maybe discuss with people or watch the news or read Trump tweets so you understand this stuff.

    1. Not every company can resource their products. Especially if it is a Chinese company.

      The point is to change consumer behavior by distorting prices. People respond to incentives. Higher prices are an incentive to buy less or find an alternative.

      When people buy less then the producer suffers, which is the leverage Trump hopes to achieve.

      The shitty part about it is that he has to hurt consumers before he can hurt producers.

      1. See? Even you agree that the “goal” isn’t to change consumer behavior. Even the conspiracy ***hole posting below understands that the “goal” isn’t to change consumer behavior.

    2. Trump uses them as a negotiating tactic because the changed consumer behavior changes importers behaviors and inflicts pain on foreign exporters. Pain all over the place.

      Vietnam can now charge more. You think consumers won’t notice?

      All the extra money spent buying the same goods now goes to the US Treasury instead of to other manufacturers whose products consumers no longer buy because they don’t have as much spending money left over after paying the tariffs. How is that a win?

    3. Sarcasmic and Scarecrow are not very good with this topic (to put it mildly).

      1. [citation needed]

        1. “Trump uses them as a negotiating tactic because the changed consumer behavior changes importers behaviors and inflicts pain on foreign exporters. Pain all over the place.”

        2. “The shitty part about it is that he has to hurt consumers before he can hurt producers.”

        3. “Yeah, no. Not for uneducatable plunks like you. Let me know when you’ve learned some basic economics, maybe I’ll reconsider. And it wouldn’t hurt for you to include a few citations too.”

        4. I would cites more stupid shit from you and Sarcasmic but it would break Reason’s servers.

          Reason servers are already jammed up with stupid shit that its writers say.

    4. Re: Ben_,

      Tariffs are a negotiating tactic/strategy to pressure other countries into agreeing to trade deals more advantageous to the US.

      That’s a lie.

      No, I’m not saying you’re mistaken. I’m not saying you’re misinterpreting the roles that tariffs play. I’m saying, without assuming that you’re an idiot, that YOU’RE FUCKING LYING. Tariffs are NOT a negotiating strategy. They NEVER WERE. They’re exclusively protectionist schemes meant to favor a few domestic industries to the detriment of consumers.

    5. They also won’t notice when Chinese multinationals setup shop in Vietnam to sell tariff free products.

      http://www.asianews.it/news-en…..44096.html

      Something, something, 5 dimensional chess.

      1. Vietnam is on the tariff list too.

        1. Citation? A quick google shows there are some tariffs on clothing from Vietnam but those predate Trump AFAIK.

        2. Citation? A quick google shows there are some tariffs on clothing from Vietnam but those predate Trump AFAIK.

  8. No different than the people who support soda taxes to get people to stop drinking Coke and at the same time claim that there’s so many wonderful things they can do with the gazillion dollars they’re going to raise off the soda tax. If all you care about is winning, you just make whatever arguments you want to support your position, there’s no need to be logically consistent with them.

    1. Trump using tariffs as a negotiating tactic to get lower trade restrictions for the USA — Lefties using soda taxes to force their will on Americans under the pretense of changing dietary habits

      Same–same

      1. Yes! Finally ou understand!

        Trump is a statist mercantilist who doesn’t give a damn about anything but his own misconceptions. He is as obvlivious to reality as socialists.

        1. ou doesnt get your inaccurate claims and neither do I.

      2. Re: lovecons…. Don’t bother anymore,

        Trump using tariffs as a negotiating tactic to get lower trade restrictions for the USA

        Which is actually a clumsy and obvious lie.

      3. MAGA!

  9. This country was built on tariffs, not free trade. We’ve seen what free trade and open borders does, keeps wages stagnant for decades. Reducing imports is good for the GDP, pure and simple.

    1. This country was also built on slavery and women being subservient to men.

      If you think free trade keeps sages stagnant, you are a double fool — not only does free trade improve all economies, wages have not been stagnant. Would you really want to live decades ago?

      You also need to learn the difference between price inflation and wage inflation. They are not the same.

      1. Wages have been stagnant relative to inflation but not because of trade policy. Turns out you just don’t have to pay workers too generously as long as everyone needs a job and their negotiating leverage is minimal.

        1. Your citation fell out of your head on the way to “Tony’s room” in your Mom’s basement.

        2. Stagnant wages?

          Grab a Sears catalog from whatever Golden Age of wages you want, and start to compare prices. Take the cost of some item and figure out how many hours someone had to work at the median age to purchase it. Do that for then and now.

          You’ll find, without exception, that people work fewer hours today for almost anything you can find.

          Not to mention all the things you simply could not buy in the 70s. The technology we have today only existed in science fiction.

          Don’t take my word for it. Do the work. Look at the numbers.

          1. YOU make the claim, you prove it!

            You and Scarecrow are good at having your citations fall out of your brains. A lot of room up there for that too happen, evidently.

            1. gotta go. you can keep shouting at the wind if you want.

            2. But when you claim wages are stagnant, no citation needed?

              1. My wages have gone up.

                All those people who got $15 per hour in Seattle, Frisco, etc. got their wages to go up.

          2. The average (real) wage has the same purchasing power as it did 40 years ago. Wage stagnation is a reality across advanced countries around the globe.

            And that’s countries with strong unions and without, in point of fact. The actual heart of the matter, which some economists acknowledge and others ignore and remain baffled by the stagnation phenomenon, may be the most intuitive explanation of all: a change of values in the corporate world over the last half century. Many economists will flat out say that maximizing shareholder value above all other concerns is a dumb way of doing things. But it’s the way corporations do things in all those countries. Workers are costs to be minimized. The current reality seems inevitable given that workers aren’t actually valued in and of themselves but are a means to an end of shareholder profits (an end that serves little social good).

            1. You too need to read Caf? Hayek.

            2. Re: Tony,

              The average (real) wage has the same purchasing power as it did 40 years ago.

              Wages are a COST – people tend to conveniently forget that because everyone wants to make more money for less.

              And that’s countries with strong unions and without, in point of fact.

              Unions do the exact same thing and operate under the same assumptions that trade protectionists use: Artificially increase the cost of an economic good (wages or imported goods) to protect a privileged group, be it union workers or domestic producers. The same economic fallacy applies.

          3. “Grab a Sears catalog from whatever Golden Age of wages you want, and start to compare prices. Take the cost of some item and figure out how many hours someone had to work at the median age to purchase it. Do that for then and now.

            You’ll find, without exception, that people work fewer hours today for almost anything you can find.”

            Yea, I bet consumer debt levels are exactly the same too…

        3. Which inflation, bud? You too would rather live decades ago than now?

      2. “This country was also built on slavery and women being subservient to men.”

        You went full progressive.
        Never go full progressive.

    2. This country was built on not having an Internet.

  10. That $20B is roughly $200 per household. That’s $200 that goes straight to the government and not to other things the consumers would have bought instead. I suppose the $20B can be diverted to the farmers whose crops aren’t selling, or the industries whose products consumers aren’t buying. But by the time you factor in the inefficient government bureaucracy to redistribute those taxes, all you’ve really done is increase the federal bureaucracy.

    1. That $200B assumes too that spending habits don’t change, when the entire point is to change spending habits. How can the Chinese be persuaded into negotiating trade deals if their producers don’t suffer? The entire point is to harm Chinese producers, and that can’t happen unless Americans respond to higher prices by buying less of their stuff.

      1. $20B, rather

    2. More made up numbers.

      1. Trump said 10% tariffs on $200B of goods. Is Trump’s calculator not good enough for you? No wonder no one leaves citations for you!

        1. People like you Sarcasmic, dont leave citations because your claims are bullshit.

      2. More made up numbers.

        Did you also flunk junior high math? You can’t figure 10% of $200 billion? It’s 20 billion.

        Divide that by 122 million households = $160 tax increase for every household in America.
        But it’s 25% next year. 250% of $160 = $400 for every household.in America.

        And that’s only the latest increase!. The Bumbler in Chief has fucked up AGAIN..

        So .. you’re running all over this page, chirping for Trump as always … without the slightest clue of the cost, as always.

        Trump’s America.
        The bland leading the blind.

        1. lc1789’s education seems very hit and miss, as if he’s just a bored high school kid who learned everything from Trump campaign speeches; as if Trump is the first politician he’s been aware of, intellectually, after 8 years of Obama to dull his senses. I wouldn’t be surprised if he widens his political horizons enough at some point to start following Occasional-Cortex, all without ever any independent economic study. He sure doesn’t have enough foundation for any stable beliefs.

          1. MAGA?

            1. Let’s correct lc1789’s lies even more.

              He lied about the cost of Trump’s tariffs to the average household — $400 for every household (just above). But that’s just the latest tariffs. We already have a 25% tariff on $50 billion. That’s 1/4 the recent one. So now a total $500 for every household, and he threatens tariffs on ANOTHER $250 billion of Chinese goods. So double the total

              Trump’s tariffs will increase prices $500 for every household in America, and he also threatens to double the amount of Chinese goods. That would bring the cost to $1,000 on every household in America.

              Another massive Trump failure. Plus he has already added more new 8-year debt in less than two years, than Obama added in 8 years. That explains all his business failures.

            2. Mag

              1. A

                  1. p

                    Let’s correct lc1789’s lies even more.

                    He lied about the cost of Trump’s tariffs to the average household — $400 for every household (just above). But that’s just the latest tariffs. We already have a 25% tariff on $50 billion. That’s 1/4 the recent one. So now a total $500 for every household, and he threatens tariffs on ANOTHER $250 billion of Chinese goods. So double the total

                    Trump’s tariffs will increase prices $500 for every household in America, and he also threatens to double the amount of Chinese goods. That would bring the cost to $1,000 on every household in America.

                    Another massive Trump failure. Plus he has already added more new 8-year debt in less than two years, than Obama added in 8 years. That explains all his business failures.

                    MAGA — Make America Great again by adding more debt than Obama did, and increasing consumer prices by $1,000 per year per every household in America.

      3. MAGA!

        1. MAGA: My Attorney Got Arrested!
          MAGA: My Advisors Going Away!
          MAGA: My Associates Getting Allocutions!
          MAGA Make America (Debt) Great Again

          1. Add: Morons Are Governing America

        2. MAGWA!

          1. That’s all you’ve got?

          2. Maga

            1. That’s all you’ve got?

              Maga

              That’s all!
              As predictable as a bobblehead

  11. Don’t worry, Trump’s got this. He used to walk around construction sites as the people there humored his delusions that he knew what the fuck he was talking about, so therefore he’s a giant in the field of economics.

  12. MAGA!

    1. MAGA: My Attorney Got Arrested!
      MAGA: My Advisors Going Away!
      MAGA: My Associates Getting Allocutions!
      MAGA Make America (debt) Great Again.

      1. Also: Morons Are Governing America

        1. Added. Thanks!
          I’ll put it on top.

    2. MAGA!

  13. I’m trying to recall a single statement from Ross that wasn’t as wacky as this one.

    1. Wait a while, lc1789 will quote it.

      1. Hahaha, you replied to Hihn to prove a point.

        Hahaha

        1. And you replied to me to get in the last word.

          There’s a dilemma for ya: do you let someone else get the last word and look a fool, or do you cave in to your primal urge and prove you have no self-control?

          1. He hasn’t responded with “MAGA” yet!

            And even he had nothing from Ross that’s NOT wacky.

        2. HaHaha. He’s still talking to himself. Hahaha

          1. HaHaHa. You were TOTALLY humiliated here.

            HaHaHa. And here.

            Hahaha, you replied to Hihn to prove a point.

            Hahaha

            Umm, why were you laughing? What was funny?
            And how did you screw up what he said?

          2. M.a.g.a.

  14. Open letter to lc1789 —

    Sometimes you have remarkable insight into libertarian principles. Other times you strike such bizarre poses (anarchy, minarchy) that you seem like a hopeless goober, and your insults are generally grade school level.

    But on economics, you seem basically uneducated about the simplest most basic principles and even terminology, as if even the supply vs demand curves were uncharted territory. You really ought to get some basic economics education just to even talk the same language as everyone else. I doubt it would change your mind on such basics as tariffs, but at least you’d understand what other people mean and why they say what they do.

    My primary suggestion is Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt, which is a somewhat misleading title; it is not one short 10 page lesson, but a full length book, first published in 1946. But it is easy to read, not some academic miracle of jargon. There are two versions I recommend.

    The HTML version was updated in 1962 with up-to-date statistics and such, but those changes are minimally useful and certainly not necessary.

    The Foundation for Economic Education PDF version is clean and easier to read than other PDF versions.

    I am sure Amazon also has dead tree versions, but I don’t know anything about them to recommend.

  15. Open letter to Sarcasmic aka Scarecrow–

    Cite some stuff, so we stop laughing at you.

    Learn economics because you are really really bad at it. Like, my 8 year old knows more about economics than you do and presumably you’re an adult.

    Good luck and God speed with that fringe Anarchy thing.

    1. JFC, I just left two links. What more do you want? Your behavior is beyond childish; I do not believe you are old enough to have an 8 year old child.

    2. Its two links to the same reference.

      I like it that you know how dangerous to you, my dissents are.

      It so easy to manipulate you young girls into cutting yourself these days.

      1. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt:
        The HTML version was updated in 1962 with up-to-date statistics and such, but those changes are minimally useful and certainly not necessary.
        The Foundation for Economic Education PDF version is cleaner and easier to read than other PDF versions.

      2. Dissent as volatile as yours is no threat to anybody.

        1. I shall save you a kleenex my good man.

    3. Learn economics because you are really really bad at it. Like, my 8 year old knows more about economics than you do and presumably you’re an adult.

      How can you handle economics when you FAILED junior high math here????
      So presumably you’re not an adult.

      Adults don’t skip around chanting “MAGA”

    4. maga

  16. A tariff can cause the country affected to change its policies. Are you being intentionally obtuse?

    1. The country affected is OURS. Are you being intentionally ignorant?

  17. Did the half-educated right-wing bigots who love big government — tariffs, border walls, statist womb management — and prance around in silly libertarian drag frequent this site before Trump was elected?

    Did all of the libertarians get tired of the faux libertarians and depart the Reason website?

  18. One of the lessor-known consequences of the new trade deal with Mexico is that it includes mechanisms to force higher wages for factory workers in Mexico. Funny how mainstream American media virtually never gets around to mentioning any aspect of that.

    Not talked about much on this blog, either. No sense in forcing higher wages in Canada, the enemy there is the labyrinth of protective regulations the Canucks enforce in order to enrich themselves and screw the USA.

    Only one man in the world can kick apart dirty rackets like that, and he is in the White House. Were Trump in the NFL, 75-yard field goals would be the new standard.

    1. +1

  19. One of the lessor-known consequences of the new trade deal with Mexico is that it includes mechanisms to force higher wages for factory workers in Mexico.

    How is that possible?

    Funny how mainstream American media virtually never gets around to mentioning any aspect of that.

    Funny how you failed to substantiate your assertion.

    Were Trump in the NFL, 75-yard field goals would be the new standard.

    He’s too fat to be kicked that far.

    And he’s ALREADY added more new 8-year debt in less than two years than Obama added after 8 years,
    Obama started with the 2nd worst RECESSION since the 1930s,
    Trump started with the longest RECOVERY for a new President EVER – from Obama.

    The economy is like his life. He was born on third base and thought he hit a triple.

  20. MAGA!

  21. USA! USA! USA! USA!

  22. Why does the federal government impose tariffs?
    Because, fuck you, that’s why.

  23. Because American consumers weren’t the intended audience, political leaders in various foreign capitols were.

    1. Because American consumers weren’t the intended audience, political leaders in various foreign capitols were.

      Yeah, that’s what Trump “intended.” He is THAT fucking stupid.

      His current and threatened tariffs will increase prices by $1,000 per EVERY American household.
      Do the math. I kinda feel sorry for his base.

  24. Don’t worry America – the Democrats are coming to the rescue!

    1. Left – Right = Zero
      They are both destroying America
      Which is why they’re noe less that 40% of Americans, and shrinking.

  25. The comments to these “Trump is a big meanie on trade” articles are pretty much a retard circle jerk with a few rational observations by you, me, and a few others.

    What I get out of all the snarky babbling is that tariffs are just fine, as long as they are unilaterally leveled at the US. And we dare do nothing about it, or we may anger them further. And apparenty, Trump is a big poopy head.
    moschino earrings

    1. Despite your childish denials — and your SPAM — Trump’s current tariffs will already increase prices by $500 for every household in America. He threatens to double that, which would be $1,000 per household;

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