Free Trade

The Messy Unintended Consequences of Trump's Trade War

It's like trying to plunge lasagna out of your kitchen sink.


Caro / Thomas Ruffer/Newscom

In an interview that aired on 60 Minutes Sunday night, President Donald Trump reiterated his belief that America would "win" the trade war—er, battle…or skirmish—that his administration launched earlier this year.

The truth is that trade wars are much more complex than Trump's simplistic win-or-lose mentality suggests. "Winning" the trade war—whatever that even means—could come with major unintended consequences for the American economy. This should not come as a surprise. All governmental intrusions into the economy have unintended consequences, and these tariffs are a particularly potent intrusion into the free exchange of goods.

Take what's happening at Kent International Inc., a South Carolina–based bicycle manufacturer. The Wall Street Journal reports that Kent, which currently employs about 167 people, canceled plans to hire another 30 or 40 workers as part of an expansion of the plant. The culprit? Trump's tariffs, which subject imported steel to a 25 percent tax and have triggered sharp spikes in the price of both foreign and domestic steel.

Instead, the company is now planning to expand operations in southeast Asia, where Chinese-made steel can be imported without the extra taxes.

"We are not bringing jobs back to America with this thing," Kent CEO Arnold Kamler tells the Journal. "We are bringing jobs to different countries in Southeast Asia."

Does winning the trade war mean offshoring American jobs? That's probably not part of the president's plan.

Trump says the tariffs are a tool to bring China to the negotiating table and get it to stop engaging in unfair trade practices. In practical terms, the tariffs are forcing companies to rework supply chains, and that's not something the administration can control (nor should it try). As the Journal notes, some American companies are seeing increased revenue as manufacturers seek domestic suppliers to avoid import taxes. But those wins are counterbalanced by a difficult reality: that building things in America is now more costly, thanks to the tariffs.

A speaker assembled in Florida with Chinese-parts will be more expensive because of Trump's trade barriers, but the same speaker built in China and imported to the U.S. would be tariff-free, as the Journal notes. That's the rationale for the administration's continued escalation of the trade war. Last month, the White House targeted another $200 billion of Chinese-made goods, mostly finished products, with a new round of tariffs.

The unintended consequences of tariffs extend out in a variety of directions. Tariff-dodging is now a thing, for example. And the trade war may halt a joint Chinese-American project that was translating ancient Chinese texts into English.

All of which is to say: Trade wars are messy.

Messy like blasting chunks of leftover lasagna into your neighbor's apartment. That's the metaphor economist Austan Goolsbee used to describe the current situation during an appearance this weekend on NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. You really have to listen to the segment for the full effect, but the story involves a kitchen sink clogged with lasagna and a plunger loaded with explosive charges. Here's the key bit:

GOOLSBEE: And they lived in a—what in Chicago we would call a converted. It was a house. It had a wall down the middle. There were two identical apartments. And the drains did not just go straight down. They connected in a little Y.

SAGAL: Right.

GOOLSBEE: So every time he blew the bomb into the drain, it didn't go down the drain to the sewage. It just blew it to the neighbor. And so the next morning, that person comes over (mimicking doorbell), says, Bob, was there some kind of terrible plumbing catastrophe that happened?

And they go— He said, I'd like to show you my apartment. And all over the ceiling, over the kitchen, is my Aunt Trina's lasagna.

Trump is firing the plunger into the drain, repeatedly. And while he might win a victory over the lasagna that's stuck in the pipes, the White House's only plan for dealing with the mess in the neighbor's house is, apparently, to spend taxpayers' money to bail out farmers hurt by the trade war. There does not seem to be any plan to deal with the other consequences—like the jobs that could have been created at plants like Kent's in South Carolina but now will go to workers in Southeast Asia.

That's what tariffs do, says Goolsbee.

"You can blow the lasagna out of the steel drain. But when you blow it out of the steel drain, right onto the auto industry, Boeing, and all the others, it's all over the ceiling," he said. "And that's what's wrong with this. It ends up destroying thousands more manufacturing jobs than you're saving in the one where you're doing it."

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  1. I’ve now lost my appetite for lasagna.

    1. Blowing lasagna out of your sink, and polluting the neighbor’s residence, and NOT caring if maybe the neighbor gets pissed, and blows it right back? That’s a good analogy… So is the below… Pussy grabbing!

      All Hail to THE Pussy Grabber in Chief!!!

      I fundamentally think that a huge percentage of Trump voters (who bothered to study up in the slightest) voted for a Pussy-Grabber in Chief who would pussy-grab for them, on behalf of them and theirs! If PGC (Pussy-Grabber in Chief) could pussy-grab the people whose loans he defaulted on, people who’d been ripped off by his “school”, and illegal humans who’d worked on building his buildings, and on and on, then SURELY the PGC can grab some pussy for us selfish, short-sighted voters! We can pussy-grab our international trade partners, and other nations, races, and creeds in general!

      These voters simply cannot or will not recognize the central illusion of politics? You can pussy-grab all of the people some of the time, and you can pussy-grab some of the people all of the time, but you cannot pussy-grab all of the people all of the time! Sooner or later, karma catches up, and the others will pussy-grab you right back!

    2. What if it’s baked to resemble an American flag?

      1. What, the lasagna or the pussy?

        Either way, Der TrumfenFuhrer will be an obstinate pig about it, supposedly on our behalf!

  2. It would be interesting to find out what standards for winning and losing a trade war lc1789 has. At what point would he declare the trade war over and won, or lost? What measurements would he have for admitting that tariffs suck, that trade wars suck, and that Trump has lost?

    I doubt he has any measurable values. It will be won when Trump says it’s won, and can never be lost.

    1. These things have to be viewed years down the road, outside of the political environment in which they’re operating. And even then, the “truth” is almost impossible to really get at. You can’t even get economists to agree on how hard the New Deal sucked.

    2. According to lc, anything other than zero tariffs on both sides is a trade war. Winning the trade war means getting the other guy to drop all their tariffs. Even if they’re down to historic lows, like one or two percent, that’s still a full fledged trade war that warrants twenty five percent tariffs in retaliation. Winning is essentially impossible. So the goal is not to win. The goal is protectionism.

      1. I don’t think LC really thinks quite that… But I don’t. I think the deal we had in NAFTA was about as good as it gets, although there were plenty of things for a libertarian to bitch about, OR even a pragmatist to bitch about.

        But we don’t have 2% tariffs with most of our other trading partners. Well, correction, WE have 2%… They don’t.

        I don’t think Trump is executing this thing well, but in theory I can get behind a well orchestrated campaign to force trading partners to lower their high barriers. China has a ton of tariff barriers, AND more non tariff barriers than any other nation on earth.

        Our big problem was allowing massive trade with them in the first place without requiring they open their markets up. We gave away our carrot when we lowered our barriers, and got nothing in return for being generous on our end… And we didn’t have to. We weren’t connected to China in any major way in the 90s, so it would have had zero disruption. Now the status quo evolved around that, and it is causing disruptions trying to change it. But they will never lower barriers without either a carrot or a stick being used, so I just don’t see any other way to get it done.

    3. My guess would be when Criminal Trump’s ego has been satisfied, not when any objective analysis says so. The man is irrational. We all know objective analysis is also known as fake news.

  3. Free trade is the best IMO. No trade agreement or renegotiating trade terms. Its unrestricted trade at all times.

    Getting better terms for the USA under managed trade is a “win” for Trump. The left said he could not get better terms, so better terms means that they are wrong….a win.

    The trade war is every going as long as all parties to the managed trade are not happy with the agreement. All sides will continue to jockey for better terms.

    That’s the why the phrase ‘trade war’ is stupid. Its constant negotiating of managed trade. The USA has been at trade war with various nations since 1776.

    1. We’ve always been at (trade) war with Eastasia.

      If what you’re saying were true, would you at least admit that Trump has escalated the trade war with China, unilaterally?

      1. Since Jan 20, 2017 Trump increased tariffs on some trading partners before they raised tariffs on the USA.

        Additionally, China has been escalating trade restrictions for years. Google is my best example off the top of my head. Google left China because of Commie restrictions that they could not or would not comply with. Google wants to go back because the market share is ginormous. Google has spent over a year trying to please the Commies and even Lefty Google employees refuse to cave to Communist restrictions for their web browser.

        BTW: The Chinese Communist Party is involved in major international business dealings. You and an individual American dont buy directly from John Chin’s sex doll factory with the Communist party saying its okay to sell to Americans.

        If I want to sell a bump stock to you via Amazon (pre-2018), you find my listing and pay me. I send you the item. Little government would be involved in that transaction.

      2. Leo, you are arguing with a high school kid.

        1. Poor lefties like baculum dont understand economics. They have daily sads with Trump in office.

          1. Haaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha!

            You are telling people that they don’t know about economics?

            Haaaaaaaaa ha ha ha ha ha!

            Whew! I’m out of breath! That’s fucking hilarious!

            1. Yeah it is hilarious that you dont understand basic economics.

              I would laugh at you but you are more sad than anything.

      3. As LC said, China has in fact escalated the trade war several times in recent years through policy changes, Bush and Obama both fired a few shots back too. Trump has upped the ante though.

        Thing is, when you have all the leverage in a deal… You’re kind of dumb if you don’t use it to negotiate a deal that is really solid for yourself.

    2. That’s the why the phrase ‘trade war’ is stupid.

      Indeed. Because it’s a contest between governments to see which one can best punish its own citizens who dare to buy imports. “You’re going to tax your people ten percent? I raise you to fifteen!” “Oh yeah? I can tax my people twenty percent!” “Pussy! I can tax my people twenty five percent!”

      1. Yes, Sarcasmic if its not free trade than someone is benefiting and someone is hurt outside of market decisions.

        I know that you dont WANT government to negotiate rules of trade but they do. Until we have free trade that will be the way it is.

        Trump is trying to get the best trade deal for our managed trade scheme. People who hate Trump dont want to help. They want the USA to maintain the status quo.

        Trump is not asking for MORE trade restrictions overall. He is asking for some trade restrictions to be loosened and some trade restrictions to be strengthened (stupidly I might add).

        1. Whenever a nation has engaged in unilateral free trade they have always become richer. Without exception. Whenever a country has engaged in protectionism, either honestly or in this case dishonestly, they have always become poorer. Without exception.

          Free trade means that a country does not punish its own citizens who choose to purchase imports. It need not be reciprocal, though that is indeed better. I know you are convinced that it must be reciprocal, though I don’t know why. I still don’t believe you when you say you want free trade. You keep saying you want a “better deal.” That usually means benefits for producers (protectionism), not benefits for consumers (free trade).


          Don’t let history be your guide though. I’m sure we can do it better this time because we have the right people in charge. Or something.

          1. “Whenever a nation has engaged in unilateral free trade they have always become richer. Without exception.”

            This is not true.

            One-sided free trade is NOT free trade. The other trading partners might not accept the item that you are selling for non-market reasons.

            Free trade is all individual and business parties can sell and buy whatever they want for any reason. Or not for any reason.

            1. Are American consumers and businesses better off or worse off because of Trump’s raising the cost of imports?

              That is a rhetorical question. The answer is obvious.

              If they are worse off because of tariffs, would they not be better off without those tariffs?

              Again a rhetorical question. The answer is obvious.

              If the American people are better off without tariffs, and worse off with them, would unilateral free trade not be better than slapping taxes on imports, regardless of what other nations do?

              1. Of course higher costs cause businesses and Americans more. American businesses and Americans have been paying more for decades because of high trade restrictions.

                That is the status quo.

                Trump wants get lower overall trade restrictions by renegotiating managed trade. Since free trade offer was refused by uSA trading partners, Trump is doing the best he can.

                I can be more wealthy if I am allowed to buy and sell anything that I want to any nation that I want. You currently cannot do that. That is the status quo.

                Sarcasmic, you keep asking rhetorical questions that are only part of the trade picture and you wont learn about economics.

                1. If the American people are better off without tariffs, and worse off with them, would unilateral free trade not be better than slapping taxes on imports, regardless of what other nations do?

                  So you’re saying the answer to my question is no.

                  1. So you’re ignoring what I said and replace thought with whatever you do.

                    1. You do realize that it is really about benefit shifting right?

                      Some will be hurt, and some will be helped.

                      Mathematically one can create scenarios where importing items is in fact a net loss to the US economy, even though the import is cheaper. Free trade theory relies on a few key concept to pencil out. One is that all lost employment is replaced by comparable or better employment. This has empirically not been true in 1st world nations over the last couple decades. We replaced $15-20 an hour manufacturing jobs with $10-12 dollar an hour service jobs, by the millions.

                      As for basic math, try this on for size: If we save 10% on importing an item, that’s a win right? Except it isn’t. Let’s say it’s a product that sells $1 billion a year. We save 100 million by importing! But we lose $900 million that is now owned by foreigners. That $100 million savings cannot possibly offset the loss of $900 million in wages, buying of materials etc.

                      If we save 75% by importing, that is an AWESOME deal for the US economy. Well worth it. But that isn’t most of the trade we do. Other than arguing that individuals have a RIGHT to buy whatever they want, one can argue the pragmatic impacts based on actual math… And not every trade is good according to math.

          2. No country has ever engaged in unilateral free trade.

        2. Trump is trying to get the best trade deal for our managed trade scheme. People who hate Trump dont want to help. They want the USA to maintain the status quo.

          Trump is causing all kinds of havoc with people and businesses that use imported goods. It’s costing thousands of jobs and billions of dollars.

          What are you saying? The end justifies the means?

          And yes, the status quo was a hell of a lot better than this mess. Was it perfect? Hell no. But what Trump is doing now is a hell of a lot worse.

          1. What Trump is doing is not worse in the long run.

            Freedom isnt free. Short term pain can lead to long term gains.

            Renegotiating managed trade deals happened in a few months with Canada and Mexico.

            1. Short term pain can lead to long term gains.

              Tell that to the people who are losing their livelihood right now thanks to these tariffs. Please. Find someone who has lost their job and their home, possibly causing their marriage to fail as well, and tell them they will be better off in the long run. Tell it to their face.

              1. So you will tell all the people in the Midwest that already were impacted by bad managed trade deals…to their face?

                You wont. You dont want America to get better managed trade terms or free trade because that requires fighting the status quo.

                1. So you will tell all the people in the Midwest that already were impacted by bad managed trade deals…to their face?

                  There is a difference between people being impacted by competition, be it from China or California, and people being impacted by their own government making imports artificially expensive for their own good.

                  It doesn’t surprise me one bit that you can’t see the difference.

              2. You know. It would be really bad if China went belly up because of Communism. All those good deals would disappear.

                We must prop up Communism to keep those good deals in force.

                1. You know. It would be really bad if China went belly up because of Communism. All those good deals would disappear.

                  We must prop up Communism to keep those good deals in force.

                  Wait a minute. You’re saying that central planning produces better results? Seriously?

                  Oh, no. You’re completely ignorant of history. Turns out that China only became competitive after they started to allow private ownership. Look it up. Never mind. You won’t. Your mind is made up and no amount of facts will change it.

                  1. Sarcasmic wont ever get it.

                    He’s not for free trade. He’s not for America renegotiating managed trade.

                    He wants the USA to fail. He hopes that Anarchy-Land will arise from the ashes.

                    1. “There is a difference between people being impacted by competition, be it from China or California, and people being impacted by their own government making imports artificially expensive for their own good.”

                      But it’s NOT fair competition. That’s the fucking problem!

                      If China had opened up its markets, we’d probably have exported literally trillions of dollars more goods to them over the years. How many American jobs would THAT have been???

                      The truth is the blame lies on the pussy incompetents/sell outs (depending on your opinion of their motivations) who opened up our market without demanding our trading partners do the same.

                      NAFTA, for all its flaws, damn near eliminated tariffs across the board. Mexico kicked our ass fair and square via lower wages. China would have kicked our asses good and plenty even with a fair bilateral 0 tariff regime… But we still would have exported far more, and THEN at least it would have been a fair competition.

                      Agreeing to run a race against somebody is fine. May the best man win! But agreeing to run a race against somebody, and agreeing that you have to carry a backpack with 75 pounds in it, and they don’t… That’s just stupid.

                  2. China became “competitive” after the USA gave them MFN status in 1980 and their central planners took advantage of it.

          2. How much disruption can our economy take before it starts to decline? In my lifetime, I have observed the economy does well when the seas are calm, as in economic factors are predictable and steady. Rough seas and tidal waves , so to speak, damage the economy. Criminal Trump is making some big waves, and i fear and suspect the will eventually blow up in our faces. It is already happening, as this essay points out.

            1. The economy is already in trouble after decades of heavy regulation and trade restrictions.

              In spite of all these government nooses around the neck of the economy it is trying to break lose. It pisses Lefties off because it has not imploded yet.

              Even the market correction that will come some day will be minor if government stays put of it and lets the market correct itself.

              1. Before Trump tariffs were at record lows. Was it perfect? Of course not. Was it better than before his war on American consumers of imports? Hell yea.

                1. Yeah Sarcasmic, that the rub. You say that tariffs are the only trade restrictions to further your narrative.

                  Trade restrictions were higher that you will admit.

                2. And I ask you, what will you say if in a year China lowers their restrictions on US goods? And the US starts sending an extra $100 billion a year to China? We could probably do that with them merely lowering restrictions moderately, not even eliminating them. Some of their restrictions are so onerous it makes it literally impossible to compete.

                  That is not an unrealistic outcome if Trump keeps ratcheting up things on them. Remember THEY are dependent on us as an export market. We can import from any other nation on earth. This gives us the upper hand. In short, if Trump decides to push it hard enough, there is a 0% chance that they wouldn’t break first.

    3. Getting better terms for the USA under managed trade is a “win” for Trump

      Let me add that there is no USA in trade. Domestic manufacturers don’t have a common interest or goal. This is kind of the point of the article. Sure you can prop up the domestic steel industry with tariffs, only hurting the domestic manufactured goods industry (cars, or speakers in the example) and requiring more retaliation to support them now, at the expense of some other industry. In the end, the consumers pay the brunt of this in higher prices.

      When anyone tries to direct the economy through central planning, they will inevitably have unintended consequences. We’re seeing those now, and doubling down in trying to fix the consequences with even more tariffs.

      1. I know that you dont WANT the US Government to negotiate trade agreements but it does since we have managed trade. If we had free trade there would be no trade points for the government to negotiate.

        The USA business community does have a common trade goal. Make as much money as possible to stay in business.

        The USA government’s trade goal is very different.

        1. If we don’t want the US government ‘managing trade’ then why is unilateral free-trade rejected out of hand?
          It’s very easy, and it works as sarcasmic noted.

          1. why is unilateral free-trade rejected out of hand?

            When these foreigners punish their consumers who buy imports, they buy fewer imports. That hurts our exporters. So as long as these foreigners hurt our producers, those who reject unilateral free-trade want to use tariffs to equal the playing field. So these people who reject unilateral free-trade are producer oriented, not consumer oriented. That makes them protectionists, no matter what they claim.

            1. Foreign nations are already rejecting American exports because trade restrictionism is rampant. This hurts American businesses because we are expected to buy foreign crap but not sell our crap that non-americans want to buy. Foreign governments are very restrictive on US exports.

              Trump wanted to get trade restrictions lowered and our trading partners are fighting that.

              1. Dude, those are the words of a protectionist.

                1. Unilateral managed trade that you push are the words of a protectionist.

                  You cannot have free trade unless all parties in a trade have free trade.

                2. I would argue it is not a protectionist position… So much as it is an arm twisting position.

                  I don’t want protectionism, but since the USA is in a position to twist arms, I want us to do so to give our businesses a leg up.

                  You focus all your time on consumers… Forgetting that every consumer is ALSO a producer. You may not work at an auto plant, but many Americans do. That those Americans have a good paying job, and pay taxes, AND spend that money on other goods… That ultimately benefits whatever line of work YOU are in.

                  That’s simple reality, whether you want to admit it or not. Your economic fate is tied intimately with that of other Americans. You have basically ZERO connection to somebody from saaay Ethiopia, and a far more modest and indirect benefit with a Chinese worker, mainly just because their economy is large enough to effect global markets now.

                  An actual protectionist would be someone who wants to have high tariffs across the board, at all times, simply for the sake of protecting American industry at all costs. Totally different than being okay with arm twisting.

  4. “We are not bringing jobs back to America with this thing,” Kent CEO Arnold Kamler tells the Journal. “We are bringing jobs to different countries in Southeast Asia.”

    If only Trumpstains understood that. But then they don’t understand that trade deficits have as much to do with the dollar’s status as a reserve currency and our low savings rate as it does with trade.

    1. The dollar is a reserve currncy because the USA has never defaulted on paying its debt.

      The USA does not hyperinflate its currency. American dollar is recognized Worldwide.

      1. And a trade deficit is REQUIRED to maintain reserve currency status.

        1. Good luck explaining the Triffin Dilemma to a Trumptard.

        2. In the modern age of digital money transfers, that is not necessarily applicable anymore.

          The USA does not need to maintain a trade deficit to maintain a reserve currency status.

          Oh no, The Triffin Dilemma! A 1960s theory that largely does not apply anymore since currency transfers are mostly done electronically not via pallets of cash or gold.

          You self-proclaimed economists who dont make good arguments about your positions because your positions are wrong.

        3. Actually, we could just print an excess of money that was needed for our own domestic purposes, and sell it to people on the international market. Alternatively, even if we were net exporters, WE would be accepting foreign currencies we got from selling goods abroad, and investing those in their respective countries, and could STILL simply print enough new US dollars to sell ever more dollars into the market for anyone who wanted to hold them.

      2. No, the US hasn’t defaulted because the dollar is the world’s reserve currency, thus allowing us to print as much as we want without defaulting. Go take an economics class and stop embarrassing yourself.

        1. Typical trolls. Throwing out words that largely dont apply to modern economic policy and running to safe spaces.

  5. Look at the bright side, Fred.

    Every tariff-related layoff of a Trump voter, every protectionism-related failure of a business owned by a Trump supporters, every community-ravaging business setback in a rural town in Trump territory, is a small victory for accountability, justice, and libertarianism.

    1. If Trumpstains were the only ones who suffered from protectionism it might actually be worth supporting as an educational endeavor. Unfortunately they will take the rest of us down with them and not learn anything in the process.

      1. Lefties sure are upset about Trump doing so well.

  6. An anecdote and a metaphor from Austan “I loves me some Big Government” Goolsbee?

    Color me convinced.

    Did Eric get laid off from his high school newspaper?

    Mexico, Canada, South Korea are done.

    Japan, and Europe and next and then we just have China to deal with.

    If you believe that we have Free Trade with China, well then, please take the sharp knives from your home and give them to a smarter relative.

  7. Bicycle manufacture is one of the weakest examples that Reason could have chosen. Very few industries spend less on raw materials relative to machining/forming/welding/plating/etc., and very few have been hit harder by foreign competition.

    I’ll admit that low-end bikes are a little more exposed to changes in material costs, but even in that segment processing operations that dwarf manufacturing costs.

    For example, *each individual tooth* on a rear sprocket has a special shape to cause the chain to jump from at a location where it meshes cleanly with the next gear over. Low end bikes use stamped sprockets, but the dies are expensive and they wear out. On high end bikes, each tooth is milled. Ditto for the chainrings in the front, some of which are hollow 7075 T6 for stiffness.

    1. So if the market for bicycles is better in Asia they can probably make more moving there for a number of reasons including cost of raw materials, tarrifs, shipping, supply chain. When your profit margin drops by a few percent it is a bid deal.

      Trump represents as he stated an America First policy. That has not worked out so well for companies who manufacture, buy and sell overseas. In fact they are the enemy to protectionists and populist nationalists who support these policies which includes Harley Davidson now.

      Libertarians know that free trade and open markets are the goal. We have moved further from that. Trump said that no tarrifs are better and he learned that in the Wharton School. I think he missed a few lectures.

      1. The original reason was low labor costs. Welding frames and lacing spoked wheels took a lot of hand work (and still does on high end bikes). Now the frames are robot MIG welded (on the low end) and the wheels are machine-laced.

        There’s still a fair amount of labor during assembly. Also, note that consumers don’t seem much of the savings from outsourcing, since the mark-ups between wholesale and retail are quite large.

        It’s not very libertarian to recite what your teacher (or other random authority figure) told you years ago without studying the physical reality of the topic you’re debating.

  8. It’s like trying to plunge lasagna out of your kitchen sink.


    1. How did lasagna get past the drain screen?

    2. Do you not cycle the garbage disposal regularly?

    3. Why are you plunging instead of snaking?

    1. No, I couldn’t get past this to read the article.

  9. There is a war on.

    Supply chains get disrupted.

    Amazingly they reform with amazing rapidity.

    Otherwise Germany would not have been able to keep fighting so long (1940 to 1945).

  10. The correct spelling is LASAGNE.

  11. ‘Why are Armenians eating lasagna?’ Les Nessman.

    Trump era TDS in a nutshell.

  12. As I have said elsewhere, I don’t think Trump is executing his trade wars very well. But there is nothing wrong with the general concept when you are the nation with all the leverage.

    We could put the Chinese economy into a depression LITERALLY tomorrow if we instituted 200% tariffs on all their goods, an effective embargo. YET amazingly, the US could still be readily importing from India, Vietnam, Mexico, etc and not suffering much on the consumer end, OR the business end. Our economy would get a bump on the head, their economy would get a .45 ACP to their heart. They’d probably have a revolution over the economic turmoil we could cause at the drop of a hat.

    It is really that simple. The only question is will power.

    For some crazy reason corporatists, globalists, etc seem to prefer a status quo that leaves 1st world countries at a disadvantage economically.

    The funny thing about it is that these low wage countries have a natural advantage anyway… Low wages! China STILL would have taken over a ton of industries, even if we had real free trade. Mexico did, and that was pretty fair both ways.

    But for some reason a lot of people feel like things need to be slanted against the US/Europe/Etc, even though we have an inherent disadvantage anyway. This sped up the collapse of industry in the 1st world unnecessarily. And speed of transition can make a big difference in how acute the pain is, so it is unfortunate.

  13. I don’t agree with Trump’s actions on trade, but this is an article based upon anecdotal evidence. And not even a change in behavior, but instead a change in plans. Come back with some countrywide statistical data, please.

  14. Tariffs are central interventions into otherwise free interactions similar to minimum wage, rent controls, etc. It’s amazing to me how many fiscal ‘conservatives’ are gung ho for tariffs.

    And the flip side is even more amazing. All these reason writers who are horrified by the Trump Tariffs but show a soft side for other economic controls frequently.

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  15. Kent has “been importing parts and products from China and Taiwan to the U.S. since the 1950s”.

    “We are not bringing jobs back to America with this thing,” Kent CEO Arnold Kamler tells the Journal. “We are bringing jobs to different countries in Southeast Asia.”

    ” I would not consider investing that in a state that’s not a right-to-work state.” – says Kamler

    Time to hit his bike and bike-parts imports with a huge tariff.

  16. Thats pretty cool, keep an eye for Entry doors and this can really help with Outdoor kitchens after all trumps tarrifs show increase in Interior doors purchases. always show Nielsen Israel is great.
    thanks for the article

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