Free Trade

Do Trump's Tariffs Actually Exist? Donald Trump Debates Donald Trump.

Trump suggests the tariffs are a fiction invented by CEOs, using the president as a scapegoat. But maybe he has a point?


Joseph Sohm Visions of America/Newscom, edit by Eric Boehm

Do the tariffs imposed by the Trump administration actually exist? Many people are saying that they do—and that, in fact, they are the greatest tariffs ever—but some are now disputing that claim.

One of the loudest voices to emerge recently from the tariffs-are-not-real camp is President Donald Trump himself.

"We don't have any tariffs," Trump told four reporters from The Wall Street Journal during an interview conducted Tuesday in the Oval Office. "I didn't put tariffs. Where do we have tariffs? We don't have tariffs anywhere."

This is a potentially earth-shattering revelation. Just this week, for example, more than one-third of the companies in the S&P 500 have cited the Trump administration's tariffs in third quarter earnings reports and calls with investors. Trump's argument that the tariffs do not actually exist raises some major questions about whether those businesses—including major American companies like Ford, Caterpillar, Harley-Davidson, and more—are being honest with investors and the American public.

But why would all those companies lie about the consequences—nay, the very existence—of the tariffs? Could the tariffs be a collective hallucination on the part of dozens of corporate executives? Or, worse, perhaps nothing more than an elaborate plot to sell T-shirts?

Trump suggests one possible answer.

"A business that's doing badly always likes to blame Trump and the tariffs because it's a good excuse for some incompetent guy that's making $25 million a year," he told The Wall Street Journal.

To get to the bottom of the question of whether the Trump administration's tariffs are real or not, we must turn to the man in charge of the Trump administration's trade policies: President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, just hours before Trump sat down with the Journal's reporters, Trump tweeted about the tariffs.

That should be taken as strong evidence that the tariffs are real. But wait, there's more. Trump has tweeted that the "tariffs are working big time" and that the tariffs will increase the price of Apple products, like iPhones, that are assembled in China (though it remains unclear if that's what he meant by the tariffs "working"). At press conferences and political rallies, Trump has bragged about imposing tariffs and has routinely threatened to add imported cars to the list of items subject to tariffs.

It is clear, then, that the tariffs are real. It is also clear that Trump lies about them without any apparent strategy, conscience, or consistency.

For example, Trump has claimed that his tariffs are causing American steelmakers to open new plants—but the number he's cited has changed from six to seven to eight, when in fact, zero new steel plants have opened in the U.S. since March, when the tariffs on imported steel supposedly began. U.S. Steel has expanded operations at two existing facilities, but it is not a stretch to claim it has opened new plants, it is a lie.

Trump has also claimed that the tariffs are having "no impact on our economy," despite the fact that he's also touted the effects of tariffs, like the supposed opening of new steel plants (which, again, has not happened), and the supposed increase in the price of Apple products.

The shifting explanations, contradictory claims, and inability to offer rational explanations suggest that Trump continues to think about tariffs the way another person may believe that Elvis is still alive and living under a different name: because he just does. To wit, Trump once offered that very same explanation to Gary Cohn, then the White House's top economic adviser, according to a passage from Pulitzer-winning reporter Bob Woodward's latest book, Fear:

"Why do you have these views [on trade]?" Cohn asked Trump.

"I just do," Trump reportedly replied. "I've had these views for 30 years."

The more I think about Trump's argument that his tariffs are not real, the more I think he believes it. Real tariffs could not do all the things Trump says his tariffs can do, have done, and will do in the future.

While that explanation may reflect Trump's magical thinking, it doesn't reflect reality. The White House has issued official statements announcing tariffs. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has held days of hearings, filled with heartwrenching testimony from American businessmen and businesswomen who practically begged the government not to impose higher taxes on the products they must import in order to build everything from lawnmowers to baking ovens. The U.S. Treasury has collected more than $1 billion in tariffs from American businesses that purchased foreign steel and aluminum. Literally hundreds of American companies have reported being harmed by the tariffs. The existence of the tariffs may be up for debate within Trump's mind, but they are very real to every other human being participating in the global economy.

In the end, there are only two options: Either Donald Trump is lying, or Donald Trump is lying.

NEXT: Virginia's Attorney General Wants To Stop Jailing People Just Because They Can't Afford Bail

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  1. Here it is Wednesday already and we finally get an article on *TRUMP*!

    1. Turns out that this Wednesday, Boehm suddenly discovered that Donald Trump is no more honest than your average politician.

      1. A lot of commenters here still have that lesson to learn. Must be in the post-grad curriculum.

        1. Trumpty Dumpty, He’s quite off-the-wall,
          Trumpty Dumpty won’t stay in His toilet stall
          He just goes ahead and takes His shits,
          Totally regardless of whereever He sits
          Whenever He simply, no way, can sleep,
          He Twits us His thoughts, they’re all SOOO deep!
          He simply must, He MUST, Twit us His bird,
          No matter the words, however absurd!
          He sits and snorts His coke with a spoon,
          Then He brazenly shoots us His moon!
          They say He’ll be impeached by June,
          Man, oh man, June cannot come too soon!
          So He sits and jiggles His balls,
          Then He Twitters upon the walls
          “Some come here to sit and think,
          Some come here to shit and stink
          But I come here to scratch my balls,
          And read the writings on the walls
          Here I sit, My cheeks a-flexin’
          Giving birth to another Texan!
          Here I sit, on the pooper,
          Giving birth to another state trooper!
          He who writes these lines of wit,
          Wraps His Trump in little balls,
          He who reads these lines of wit,
          Eats those loser’s balls of shit!”

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  2. This is what we get instead of Libertarian candidates running for office around the USA.

    I wonder when Reason is going to get around to changing its heading Reason: Free Minds and Free markets

    1. They talk about libertarian candidates all the time. Especially Gary, the cosmo god that failed.

      I have no idea what you’re complaining about now

      1. Who’s the Libertarian Governor candidate for Georgia?

        1. Ted Metz

      2. How many Libertarians are running for office around the USA this election?

      3. How is GayJay’s campaign for Senator going 13 days until the election?

      4. Who is the Libertarian running for Secretary of state in Georgia?

        Evidently its a big position since our last one is winning the Governorship for Georgia.

      5. How close are the Republicans to getting the 2/3 states required to convene an Article V Constitutional Convention?

      6. Another stupid article about who Reason staff are supporting for the election.

    2. There’s a libertarian running against a democrat for one of the judge seats here in Texas, with not Republican. Can’t wait to see if the republicans who constantly shout small government will actually fill in his bubble.

      There’s actually a lot of Libertarians on the Texas ballot. You’d never know cause the party does a shit job of advertising/announcing it.

      With any luck, Michael Ray Harris will at least be able to spoil the choice between one of the worst AG’s on first, fourth, and fifth amendments and his Democrat opponent.

      1. News on this site…finally.

    3. You mean the Libertarian candidate that authoritarian cocksuckers here will denigrate for being not sufficiently Libertarian enough and then reliably pull the lever for the goober from Team Red?

  3. Before the cosmos and yokels attack each other, remember that we all agreed in the last thread about those bombs to tone down the vitriol. Except toward Suderman. We all agreed that he sucks, regardless.

    1. What about Soave? Can’t we kick him around a little? I know he is not Suderman and he is kind of slow and you should probably feel sorry for him but still. Can’t we reserve a little hate for Soave?

      1. for the hair if nothing else


      1. You broke “The Peace of Screw Suderman”

        1. I’m sorry, you bitch-ass fucko, but fuck you.

          1. Red Tony is Suderman. Spew your vitriol at him

            1. I am still waiting on a ruling for my Soave Amendment to the Suderman unilateral armistice treaty.

              1. We only pick on Rico twice a week on a rotating basis. And always by metioning how whatever he’s writing against “seems credible”.

          2. I must confess… I don’t know what a ‘fucko’ is. Is it like a bug?

            1. Shut up, fucko.

  4. The WSJ interview is behind a paywall. If anyone has a subscription, it would be nice to see that “we don’t have any tarriffs” remark in context. I am oddly suspicious that there might be more to the story if you see the context.

    1. Because it’s like impossible that Trump would lie to us. Impossible.

      1. Because the context shows that Eric is lying here. Read below.

        1. He literally said, “we don’t have any tariffs” and the context didn’t exonerate it at all.

    2. Paste the link into

      WSJ: Right now, three weeks ahead of the election, where we’re at; the economy, as you say, there’s a lot of positive signs. What are the biggest risks right now for the?

      Mr. Trump: The Fed.

      WSJ: The Fed?

      Mr. Trump: To me, the Fed is the biggest risk because I think that?I think interest rates are being raised too quickly. I think, to me, the biggest risk is the Fed, because my trade deals are great deals. And the tariffs?you saw what I put out today on the tariffs, I guess, did you see I put out a little social media. We have a lot of money coming into this country, people don’t realize. And ultimately, I’ll use it to negotiate. And if they don’t negotiate a free?don’t forget, they wouldn’t even meet with President Obama, Europe and these other countries. They wouldn’t even meet. You know, the European Union wouldn’t even meet. They said, we are very happy with the deal. Well, I’m not happy with the deal. And if they don’t do the right thing, I’ll put tariffs on the cars. And if they do, there won’t be any tariffs. And tariffs are a great negotiating?now, tariffs essentially ended in 1913, and the country was rich. If you read some of McKinley’s speeches, they were very interesting. He talked about we will not allow the outsider to come in and take our wealth from us without having to pay.
      I could never have done it [renegotiated Nafta] without tariffs. Without tariffs I could have never made the deal.

      1. Mr. Trump: No, because I said, look, fellows, I say that?I say that all the time. I have nothing to hide. If I put tariffs on cars coming in from the European Union?Mercedes Benzes, you know, the BMWs, all of them; millions of cars pouring in. If I put a 25% or a 20% tariff on those cars, the money would be staggering that we would take in.

        They wouldn’t meet with Obama, the European Union. Japan wouldn’t meet with Obama. And they wouldn’t meet with us either. After a few months I said, all right, that’s all right. So I called them up. I said, listen, we don’t have to meet with you anymore; we’re just going to put tariffs on your cars coming in. They were in my office the next day.

        WSJ: A lot of people say that tariffs are really the biggest threat to the economy long term.

        Mr. Trump: We don’t have any tariffs.

        WSJ: But you’re saying it’s the Fed.

        1. Mr. Trump: It’s so much nonsense, OK. This is your story. We don’t even have tariffs. I’m using tariffs to negotiate. I mean, other than some tariffs on steel?which is actually small, what do we have? I didn’t put them on the USMCA. We have a trade deal. I didn’t put them on in South Korea. We have a trade deal. That was the worst deal. That was a deal made by Hillary Clinton. It was a horrible deal. We made it into a sound deal.

          But I didn’t put tariffs. Where do we have tariffs? We don’t have tariffs anywhere. I read that today: We’re worried about the tariffs. You know what happens? A business that’s doing badly always likes to blame Trump and the tariffs because it’s a good excuse for some incompetent guy that’s making $25 million a year.

          WSJ: Just to go back to the Fed for a second?

          Mr. Trump: But think of it, Michael. We don’t have tariffs. Where do we have tariffs? I’m talking tariffs. I’ll use tariffs. I mean it. I’ve said I was going to put tariffs on European Union cars, right? They came to my office. We made the concept of a deal. We’ll see what happens. But they agreed to a deal that they wouldn’t even talk about. There’s no tariffs.

    3. Its the first line in the article…

      “We don’t have tariffs anywhere,” President Trump said in a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal. In fact, his administration this year has placed levies on more than $300 billion in imports.
      Mr. Trump said he views tariffs as a trade negotiating tactic. “We don’t even have tariffs,” he said in the interview. “I’m using tariffs to negotiate. I mean, other than some tariffs on steel?which is actually small, what do we have? … Where do we have tariffs? We don’t have tariffs anywhere.”

      He was right when he asserted in the interview that not all tariffs threatened in trade negotiations have been imposed, such as tariffs on car imports.
      And yet, so far this year, the U.S. has acted on threats to impose tariffs — ranging from 10% to 50% — on several classes of products. Here’s a list of the tariffs that have been put into place.
      Solar cells and panels
      $7 billion in imports affected
      Duties on imported solar products imposed under a provision known as the safeguard law, to protect domestic producers from a wave of imports.

      Washing machines
      $2 billion in imports affected
      Another “safeguard” trade case targeting Korean-branded washers made abroad.
      $29 billion in imports affected
      Tariffs on most steel imports under a national-security law.
      $19 billion in imports affected

      Tariffs on most aluminum imports under a national-security law.

  5. Trump’s supporters will accept his statement that there are no tariffs without question. And then they’ll say tariffs are great and trade wars are easy to win.

    1. Exactly. And then Trump opponents will say that they are free traders while supporting tariffs to enforce Western IP laws and trade sanctions against the most recent baddie of the week. And then their fans will pretend as if tariffs weren’t instituted by the three preceding presidencies as well and this is all new and unprecedented.

      1. It is new and unprecedented (at least in modern times). Obama limited his tariffs to tires and then abandoned them when it was clear how futile they were. Rather than learn from this, Trump and his supporters decided to go all in.

        1. Tariffs aren’t futile. They can be if poorly structured. But tariffs on all tires entering the US would mean more/all tires being made here depending on how high they were. Putting them on only Chinese tires had the obvious outcome of them being imported from other low wage countries. Across the board would have not done that.

          The real argument is if the increased costs are worth the extra jobs, tax revenue, etc. Often times, if not most of the time, they are not. I don’t think that is true 100 percent of the time like some purists do though… Because math can show situations where it just ain’t so. But that still doesn’t mean government is going to choose correctly either.

          1. ^Here’s an economic illiterate…

            1. Did you not read my second paragraph? I fully believe in most cases tariffs do harm economically. I don’t think it is true in 100% of cases though. For instance, imagine a product where importing it saves 1% off of producing it domestically… How would sending 99 billion dollars to foreign companies, to save a mere 1 billion dollars, possibly result in a net gain economically in the USA?

              IT CAN NOT mathematically. You now have 99 billion less capital to invest, and the 1 billion saved cannot make up for the 99 billion lost. Even if the 99 billion comes back to be invested in the US, the assets are still owned by a foreigner, hence the country has a 99 billion dollar lower net worth.

              Hence there are some, probably most, cases where we come out ahead… But some where we don’t.

  6. That tweet is hilarious… The president just bragged about billions in new taxes his own citizens are paying to his treasury dept due to his own policies. And the “fiscal conservatives” and Taxed Enough Already folks love him for it. Idiots.

    1. Look at the bright side, the deficit is lower than it would have been!

  7. suppose i’m not an importer/exporter and give little thought to the retail price of goods?

  8. Here is the context of the “we don’t have Tarriffs:” quote.

    WSJ: A lot of people say that tariffs are really the biggest threat to the economy long term.

    Mr. Trump: We don’t have any tariffs.

    WSJ: But you’re saying it’s the Fed.

    Mr. Trump: It’s so much nonsense, OK. This is your story. We don’t even have tariffs. I’m using tariffs to negotiate. I mean, other than some tariffs on steel?which is actually small, what do we have? I didn’t put them on the USMCA. We have a trade deal. I didn’t put them on in South Korea. We have a trade deal. That was the worst deal. That was a deal made by Hillary Clinton. It was a horrible deal. We made it into a sound deal.

    But I didn’t put tariffs. Where do we have tariffs? We don’t have tariffs anywhere. I read that today: We’re worried about the tariffs. You know what happens? A business that’s doing badly always likes to blame Trump and the tariffs because it’s a good excuse for some incompetent guy that’s making $25 million a year.

    1. If you read it in context, Trump is not saying literally we don’t have tarriffs. He says right there that he has put them on Steel. He is saying that the tarriffs we have are small and a negotiating tactic to get other nations to lower theirs.

      You can argue with that statement. But what you can’t do is what Eric is doing here and claiming that Trump is gaslighting the world claiming the US literally has no tarriffs. I understand Eric is the classic 20 somthing liberal arts major who knows nothing. But surely to God he knows how to read something in context. Was he just too lazy to look or knows what it means and is just lying?

      1. Are you fucking insane?
        Oh, it’s John.

        1. How am i insane? Look at what he said. He says we don’t have any tarriffs and then immediately says ” I mean, other than some tariffs on steel?which is actually small, what do we have?”

          How in the world can you think that means he is saying we literally have no tarriffs as Eric claims? Are you illterate? Are you just so desparate to virtue signal that you will say anyting no matter how obviously wrong to show your disdain for Trump?

          In short, what the fuck is the matter with you? I find it hard to believe you are actually as stupid as you are acting.

          1. Aren’t the Atlas Shrugged tags part of the Hihn conspiracy? We know that Ellis Wyatt was, as he was arguing with himself.

            1. I think this is a Hihn puppet. The guy is one crazy bastard.

          2. $200B in new taxes is small? Can’t tell nowadays whether that makes you a Republican or a Democrat, but it sure rules out libertarian.

            1. In a $14 trillion dollar economy and in a government that collect $3.3 trillion dollars in taxes, yes it is.

              1. Seriously, fuck you.

          3. It’s Hihn. Don’t bother replying.

          4. “Small” and “on steel” alright.


        2. As much as the Hihnpuppets are usually not quite all there (if we’re being polite about it), this guy has a point. Donald Trump did try to downplay his tariffs despite talking them up earlier. And, on that note, John has a point: there is more context to Donald Trump’s interview than just “the tariffs don’t exist”, which when taken out of context makes him seem like a crazy or a liar.

          1. Trump is claiming his tarriffs are small incomparison to the economy and no big deal. That is a subjective opinion. It is reasonable to disagree with it. What is not reasonable is to do as the Hihn sock puppet and worse Eric is doing here and read him to be claiming there literally are not tarrifs and try to portray him as lying or crazy.

            Once again, Reason proves itself a complete joke on anything involving trade.

        3. As much as the Hihnpuppets are usually not quite all there (if we’re being polite about it), this guy has a point. Donald Trump did try to downplay his tariffs despite talking them up earlier. And, on that note, John has a point: there is more context to Donald Trump’s interview than just “the tariffs don’t exist”, which when taken out of context makes him seem like a crazy or a liar.

      2. Well that nice John! My prices are through the roof on steel! There are tariffs and they are hurting my company and my employees (you know the type Trump likes to pretend to be wearing a hard hat every now and again for the photo op).

        1. Question: Did his tax cuts dave you more than these are costing? Shifting around incentives csn be annoying in the short term… But if he cracks China open, methinks you will be unambiguously better off. It sucks we have to twist their arm to get them to do the right thing, but such is life.

    2. Thanks John. Reason refuses to put Trump stuff in context.

      Reason just pushes their TDS agendas until the wheels fall off.

      1. When everything the president says has to be explained by “oh, he didn’t mean *any* tariffs, he meant *many* tariffs”, or “I meant to say *would not*, sort of a double negative”, who’s at fault – the media, of the dumbass who keeps saying the wrong thing?

    3. Yeah John, it’s called lying by omission/intentional mischaracterization. It’s not like Trump doesn’t give them plenty to bitch about legitimately… But they still feel the need to lie to make him seem even worse.

      It is their DUTY, you know, to manipulate the rubes away from wrong think afterall.

  9. This is like straight out of George Orwell.

    1. No it is really not. Read the context of the quote. The only thing out of Orwell here is Eric taking the quote out of context and pretending it means something it clearly doesn’t.

      1. China. (smirk)

        1. One night in. (smirk)

        2. Hihn sockpuppet. (smirk)

      2. Newspeak Johnspeak!

      3. Thanks again John for posting the actual conversation.

  10. It is also clear that Trump lies about them without any apparent strategy, conscience, or consistency.

    That’s his midterm strategy. His bullshit will continue getting crazier and crazier. His base is very low information voters, and mindlessly parrots anything he says.

    Soon … EVERY Democrat congressional candidate was born in Kenya.

    1. You and Eric seem inacapble or unwilling to read what he actually said. Yet, somhow it is Trump who is the crazy one.

      1. Read what I said, dumbfuck.

        1. I did. And it makes no sense dumb fuck. Again, are you illiterate?

      2. Newspeak Johnspeak!

        1. Shut up Hihn. Don’t you ever get tired of losing arguments?

  11. Where do I go to find out official tariff rates? Is there like a US Department of Something .gov website I can see current tariff rates? Where exactly are The Tariffs so I can look at them myself?

    1. Can’t you read? We don’t have any tariffs!

      Newspeak Johnspeak!

      1. Fuck off Hihn.

    2. You csn Google particular rates for particular items. There’s a Byzantine numbering system for basically every type of good you can imagine, and the rates vary depending on the country of course. Our rates are largely zero, or close to it. Most developing countries have double digits on up rates for most items.

  12. “A business that’s doing badly always likes to blame Trump and the tariffs because it’s a good excuse for some incompetent guy that’s making $25 million a year,” he told The Wall Street Journal.

    You would always hear this argument from progressives when it comes to onerous regulations. If you can’t jump through our expensive and arbitrary hoops, you shouldn’t be in business and if they put you out of business, good.

    1. And in this case it is being made by Ford Motor Company. As was pointed out in the thread about Ford yesterday, the other American car companies say the steel tarriffs are not making a difference. That seems to be pretty good evidence that Ford is just using the tarriffs as an excuse, don’t you think?

      Also, as I pointed out yesterday, the difference in price between a ton of steel in the US and one in China is around $400. Since the average car uses a ton of steel and costs around $35,000 new, the tarriffs are at most responsible for a $400 or 101% increase in car prices. And that is making the very generous assumption that all of the cost is passed onto the consumer.

      In this case, it appears that Ford really is lying and using the tarriffs as an excuse. But hey, don’t let the facts get in the way of the trade religion.

      1. You sound exactly like a leftist who justifies this or that tax by saying “It’s only a nickle here or a dime there.”

        Tell you what. Add up how much that measly, little tariff costs Ford over the course of an entire year, and then say it’s meaningless.

        1. A tax is a tax is a tax. He just cut their income taxes and emissions standards, leaving them better off overall. On the flip side, there is now a couple thousand dollars of money (whatever the per ton price) staying in the US too… So if one wants to talk macro economics that is creating more spending domestically. It’s not all as cut and dried in every instance assome want to pretend.

      2. A 101% increase means the prices doubled plus 1%. I’m pretty sure that’s not what you meant, so thanks for the laugh.

        This isn’t the real issue though. The real issue is that Chinese consumers are enjoying a government enforced comparative advantage over American consumers. The president harming Americans while Chinese gain isn’t what anyone should want.

    2. The only difference is those regulations don’t get wall-to-wall daily coverage from Reason. But, it’s a very true analogy.

      1. The difference is that we know what other auto companies say and we know exactly how much these tarriffs affect the price of a car. And no other company is claiming what Ford is and the tarriffs represent a 1.1% rise in the materials cost of a new car, which hardly seems catastrphic.

    3. It’s almost as if Trump is *gasp* a Democrat!

  13. “I didn’t put tariffs. Where do we have tariffs? We don’t have tariffs anywhere.”

    I don’t know who you saw with that other woman, honey, but it wasn’t me.

    1. I mean, other than some tariffs on steel?which is actually small, what do we have?

      He says right there that we do have tarriffs. He is just claiming that they are small and insignificant and that his threats of tarriffs are much larger than the actual tarriffs he imposed.

      Come on Juice, you are generally smarter and more honest than Hihn.

      1. Newspeak Johnspeak!

      2. Trumptard cockroach scurries down the page again, with MOAR crazy bullshit

        I mean, other than some tariffs on steel?which is actually small, what do we have?

        Steel is MUCH higher than he said, goober …. AND aluminum, Sparky … AND CHINA
        Pull your head out of Trump’s ass!


        US firms and individuals that use steel and aluminum may file a request to be excluded from these tariffs. … As of October 11, there have been a total of 34,849 steel and aluminum tariff exclusion requests filed by 807 firms in 292 congressional districts across 46 states plus Puerto Rico. Of these filings, 30,916 exclusion requests ask for exemption from the steel tariffs, and steel manufacturers have filed 14,356 objections.

        AND CHiNA! (How fucking stooopid are you people?)

        Anything else?

        1. God you are fucking stupid. The number of people asking for an exclusion means nothing. People don’t like paying taxes. What matters is the numbers and the numbers show that it is a big nothing.

          I know you are likely too far gone to see how irrational your arguments are, but you really just show yourself to be completely bonkers and incapable of rational thought.

        2. Hihn attack!

          1. He’s really aggressive, isn’t he.

            1. He keeps coming back as interns.

        3. Serious question though… what’s the point of all the sock puppets?

          You’re like Fran Drescher wearing a bunch of different disguises. The different appearance may fool someone for a moment or two. But, the instant that you open your mouth, it’s obvious who you are.

    2. I honestly don’t know what we actually have new tariffs on besides steel.

      Can one of the Hihnsane puppets post a link that lists them out?

      1. They’re not in yet, but starting in January we’re hitting a ton of Chinese finished goods, like electronics. It still won’t be a HUGE deal, but is a big stepping up. If he keeps on the heat China will probably have to cave next year or suffer a recession.

  14. “I did not have sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.” See, if you look at this statement in context it’s completely true. Bill was telling Monica Lewinsky that he did not have sex with *that* woman and both Bill and Monica knew he was referring to Martha Washington when he referred to *that* woman.

    1. Well, he technically didn’t have sex with her. Societys view on sex at the time was penis in vagina. Everything else were things good Baptist and Catholic girls did to stay virgins.

  15. This from Mercatus Steel and Aluminum Tariffs: Thousands of Exclusion Requests from US Firms Devastating.

    Trump lies about the magnitude of steel tariffs, denies his aluminum tariffs entirely. … and “forgets” CHINA!
    He seems scared shitless of the midterms and keeps getting crazier every day.
    His base swallows whatever he drools.

    1. Yes lots of companies ask to be let out of paying taxes. That is not devistating you illterate crazy fucking half wit. That is called government.

      They banned you for a reason Hihn. It is because no one wants you here. You are a crazy dangerous bastard.

      1. Newspeak Johnspeak!

        1. Hihn, you are one crazy, stupid bastard. I just hope you never do any real harm to others.

          1. somewhat entertaining from time to time … from the sidelines anyway

            1. Unlike the other trolls, Hihn is kind of scary. His posts all start out logical and then fall off the rails. The fact that he thinks the number of excemptions applied for is proof of the harm of the tarriff is really twisted logic. I wish he would go way.

              1. Pay attentiomn, Goober


                2) The MASSIVE number of exemptions proves EXACTLY what you deny.


      2. Crazy-ass John ,…. PROVEN a bullshitter ….


        2) FAILS to see his “aluminum” bullshit exposed …. in boldface for retards.

        3) NEVER acknowledges the MASSIVE tariffs ON CHINA!

        Just a typical low-information Trumptard puppet, dancing on a string.
        Pity them.

        1. Hihn you are crazy. Take your meds and go away. No one listens to you or is persuaded by you and people either feel sorry for you or are kind of afraid of you or both.

          1. Trump is going to bail out farmers due to the trade war. That’s libertarian?

        2. Fuck off Hihn.

          1. Hihn is right on this issue. Protectionism totally violates libertarian principles.

  16. Taxation is theft and so on, but . . . . it’s hard to imagine a better tax than tariffs under the circumstances.

    1. Uh, how about an increased deployment of user fees instead?

  17. Kinda sad how Trump supporters use the exact same arguments that leftists use when they are trying to justify their new taxes. “It’s only a nickle here and a dime there, what are you complaining about?”

    But it’s different when their Dear Leader does it.

    Principals, not principles.

    1. “Principals, not principles.”

      Exactly. The same policies and logic put forward by Obama/Hag/any-team-blue and they would be shouting from the rooftops against it. They will do any amount of mental gymnastics to justify whatever the leader tells them is good.

  18. If these tariffs are so minuscule that we have no right to bitch about them, how are they going to be significant enough to force China to the negotiation table?

    Seems to me that Trump needs to really put the squeeze on Americans who buy stuff from China before China will do what he wants.

    But that’s what a trade war is all about. A contest between governments to see which one can better punish its citizens who purchase imports. The one that does the best job wins.

    1. Here’s the thing about how tariffs work:

      A 10% tariff may cost 10 billion for a 100 billion market… But if it shifts 100 billion in production, that hurts the exporter to the tune of 100 billion in GDP, wages, etc. So we might get s bloody nose, while they get their back broken. Since their economy is vrry precarious they will cave if they’re smart.

  19. Kinda great how Trump is negotiating with our trading partners to get lower trade restrictions.


    1. Yup. Raising taxes on your own people is a great way to get your trading partners to give you a better deal. And if they refuse, raise taxes some more!

      1. It is if it loses them hundreds of billions in GDP and costs them millions of jobs… I don’t see how it is so hard to comprehend this stuff…

        1. Yeah. You can’t really call yourself a libertarian and support protectionism, vek. The government’s job isn’t to pick winners and losers. Libertarians and Austrian school economists actually support unilateral free trade because Americans benefit from free trade even if our trading partners don’t reciprocate. The lower costs of goods make up for the few manufacturing jobs that are lost, and the savings on those goods can be spent on other stuff. Trump’s trade war is not libertarian at all.

          1. Well, for one I support free trade. But I’m not against arm twisting to get it. So if I have the same goal, but differ in negotiating tactics I find acceptable… What then?

            That said, I do believe there are flaws in the simplistic traditional free trade theory that are not addressed in any writings I have ever seen on the subject. They make assumptions that just don’t happen in the real world. Like assuming 100% employment at all times, assuming no lowering of wages ever, completely ignoring who owns assets (if you’re running a deficit over time this can really add up), and that not all specific trades DO benefit the economy.

            I get that one can assume it’s worth it OVERALL… But many libertarians deny the very concept that ANY particular trade can possibly be worse for the economy overall… Which is empirically disprovable by basic math. Also, I believe classical free trade theory DID work 100% as advertised, with the economy at the time it was conceived of. Namely when we had hard currencies, transport was tougher, wage disparities weren’t as great, etc.

            Any which way, I believe people can be libertarian overall, and not be 100% purist on everything. Because NOBODY is 100% pure anyway.

            1. What trade is worse for the economy?

            2. I’m a little skeptical because if people voluntarily trade with one another, why would they make a decision that makes them worse off overall? I can only see that happening with government coerced trade.

    2. Trump! Trump trump!

    3. Aren’t libertarians supposed to be against raising tariffs? In fact, most libertarians support the idea of unilateral free trade (free trade regardless of whether our trading partners reciprocate). Raising taxes on Americans to get our partners to lift restrictions sounds stupid.

  20. Today’s previous ‘tariffs are bad” article seems to be dead so I’ll re-post this here: CNN of all places, CNN! has an article on how China putting tariffs on American soybeans isn’t going to work out for them.


    1. Funny. This is the thing cucks can’t accept: we have the upper hand. In a fight, the stronger opponent with greater stamina will win. In this fight, that is the US. Which is why China will cave if we keep it up.

    2. But, if you listen to sarcasmic, tariffs are a tax on the Chinese, so why would American soybean producers be worried about the Chinese paying more for soybeans?

      Oh, right, because that’s not how tariffs work.

      1. Right? Tariffs don’t work! You can never get anybody to cave by putting tariffs on them!

        People in the US: Get the Chinese to remove those tariffs, give them whatever they want! They’re screwing up our business!

        And yet SOMEHOW it will not have the same result in China… Seems funny to me…

  21. Whilst I refuse to engage in the debate over whether Trump is a compulsive liar and total nutjob…….
    “Among the blind, the one-eyed man is king”

    What I’m interested in is………
    While there are over 69 million Twitter users in the US.,
    Why are his tweets getting less than 100k “likes”?

    The 2016 “election” has proven again what a complete sham American “democracy” is.

    Candidates, regardless whether “Democrap” or “Republicant” (or “Libertarian or “Progressive” for that matter) that receive a minority of support from voters have absolutely no place leading the country.

    TYRANNY OF THE MINORITY! (often via the corporate Lords).


  22. I can’t remember. Did Reason ever call Obama the liar that he was? Curious and serious question.

  23. The tariffs are real, but they’re not really Trump’s. Congress legislated them a long time ago. All the Trump admin. has done is to not take advantage of exemptions that Congress also allowed the admin. to apply under certain conditions, by deeming those conditions not to be met.

  24. My company is planning to move some final assembly operations from China to San Jose due to the tariffs. They think they’ll save some money that way. They avoid the tariff and save bulk transportation costs to many customers in North America. It can’t be impossible to build things in the U.S. profitably.

    1. It’s not. Many people incorrectly assume we save massive amounts by importing… Like a generic t-shirt would be $100 if made here… It’s just not so for most products. Often total savings are only 10-20% after higher shipping costs, lead times + carrying costs, etc are factored in.

      Global trade has it’s benefits, but its importance is overplayed too by many.

      1. vek, so in other words, you support government COERCION in the form of tariffs to make people buy domestic products. Not very libertarian.

        Ford is already complaining about the costs due to Trump’s trade war.

        The GOP learned from Hoover that protectionism doesn’t work. Trump is reinstating Hooverism.

        1. No, I support twisting Chinas arm, and then having more free trade than the world has ever seen.

          But to point out inconsistencies in the argument is a good thing right? Because being CORRECT matters?

          For free trade theory to work, it HAS TO meet certain criteria in outcomes… And if the outcomes in the real world do not match the ones that should happen according to theory, would an intelligent person not note this? Not try to figure out why?

          To believe in an idea when there are facts that contradict it is to be religious about something… I don’t believe in being a religious zealot about ANY particular idea. I want to know THE TRUTH, even if it doesn’t jive with what I want to believe.

          Free trade theory worked perfectly when we had hard currencies, and other economic factors were different. In the modern world, I think one needs to reexamine the equation a bit, because some of it doesn’t seem to hold true in all cases anymore.

      2. True, but the savings should add up when purchasing many products.

        The main argument against free trade is that America doesn’t manufacture anything anymore, which is supposedly bad for national security, but that’s just not true. Manufacturing has doubled the last thirty years, even though there are fewer jobs, which are likely due to automation and more worker efficiency.

        Even if free trade didn’t work, which I dispute because I think economic liberty works, the libertarian principle would still be to support free trade simply because it’s a matter of economic freedom. (In a libertarian utopia, tariffs would be minimal, and their only purpose would be to fund a minarchist government, not to protect industries.) Like you said in another post, outcomes are important, but I think libertarianism is also about “right and wrong,” which is like being “religious” about something. Libertarians believe that government coercion in the market is wrong, not just because the outcome is bad but also because it’s wrong for the government to apply force.

  25. I would chose option one. The President is lyingf.

  26. Call me crazy, but you might just be taking things out of context. See sometimes people say things in words that aren’t meant to be taken literally, and normal people understand what a person means. Like if one said “Military victories? What military victories has the US had in the Middle East, it’s a mess!”

    One wouldn’t mean we’ve had literally zero victories, because we have… Merely that it is a shit show.

    That you have the TDS so bad you feel the need to pretend statements like that are an unknown phenomena is pretty ridiculous. Trump provides plenty of stuff to rail on without having to make stuff up!

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