Tariffs

Trump's Malignant Mercantilism

The president’s double-talk about tariffs reflects his economically ignorant conviction that exports are good and imports are bad.

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Larry Kudlow, Donald Trump's chief economic adviser, understands that tariffs on Chinese imports are a tax paid by American companies and consumers—a point his boss refuses to acknowledge. The president's weird insistence that "China" pays the tariffs reflects not just his reluctance to take responsibility for tax increases but his longstanding, sincere, and fundamentally mistaken views on international trade—views that do not bode well for the outcome of his trade war.

"Tariffs are NOW being paid to the United States by China of 25% on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods & products," Trump tweeted on Friday. As Kudlow conceded in a Fox News interview on Sunday, that is not how tariffs work. U.S. importers pay the tariffs, and they respond by reducing their profit margins, raising prices, or both.

During 2018, a recent study of Trump's tariffs by economists at Princeton, Columbia, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York noted, "the U.S. experienced substantial increases in the prices of intermediates and final goods, dramatic changes to its supply-chain network, reductions in availability of imported varieties, and complete passthrough of the tariffs into domestic prices of imported goods." By the end of the year, they estimated, the tariffs were costing Americans $3 billion a month in added taxes and another $1.4 billion a month in lost efficiency.

That was before Trump raised the rate on $200 billion in Chinese products from 10 percent to 25 percent. The administration plans to extend the 25 percent tariff to another $300 billion in goods, which would cover nearly everything Americans import from China, including computers and cellphones.

Kudlow argues that the price is worth paying if the tariffs pressure China to address American complaints about subsidies, restrictions on access to the Chinese market, intellectual property theft, and mandated transfers of technology and ownership stakes. Trump, by contrast, refuses to admit Americans are paying any price at all.

The president does acknowledge that China's retaliatory tariffs have hurt American farmers, and he promises to help them, using revenue generated by his own tariffs, which amounts to a transfer from one set of victims to another. His stance is not just a form of blame shifting but a logical corollary of his economically ignorant conviction that exports are good and imports are bad.

"You only have to look at our trade deficit to see that we are being taken to the cleaners by our trading partners," Trump wrote two decades ago in The America We Deserve, arguing that peaceful economic exchange is "like war." This mercantilist notion—that something shady must be happening unless the Unites States exports at least as much to a particular country as it imports from that country—continues to dominate his thinking about international trade.

"If we didn't trade," the president averred last year, "we'd save a hell of a lot of money." But that does not mean we'd be better off, since we would not have all the things we buy with our money, which we clearly value more than the money itself, since no one forces us to exchange one for the other. The analysis is the same whether or not the people who sell us things happen to be located in the United States.

As Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) pointed out at the time and again when Trump claimed last week that money is "lost" when it's spent on Chinese products, "A trade deficit is not a loss of money. If you buy from a supermarket or go to a movie, you have a trade deficit, but you have not lost money; you get stuff (groceries, entertainment, etc.) in exchange for your dollars."

Whatever you think of Trump's tariffs as a negotiating tactic, you should be troubled by the fact that the resolution of this trade war is in the hands of a man who thinks Americans would be better off if they spent nothing on imported goods they demonstrably want.

© Copyright 2019 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

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142 responses to “Trump's Malignant Mercantilism

  1. President Chump is merely playing 11th-dimensional chess with the Chinks. I’m sure it will all work out in favor of America in the long run. At least, that’s what LastoftheShitferbrains, SUV, and LovesCock69 will try to tell us.
    Fucking econo-retards.

    1. Poor trolls like <NoYardsPenalty

      They know how Trump is fighting for America and Americans against the Commies of China and he hates it.

      He fucking hates it! Hillary wold have never done this.

      1. We have seen Pres. Trump fight for Saudi Arabia. We have seen him fight for his personal interests and for his family. We have seen him fight for Israel. We have seen him fight for certain casino interests, war criminals, and the installation of white male Christian judges.

        We have not seen him fight for America. At least, not modern America. The illusory ‘good old days’ America, perhaps. But not the successful, improving America of our lifetimes.

        Two more years, clingers. Enjoy them.

        1. We have seen liberals fight for Iran and Cuba as they tossed LGBT off of roofs. We have seen them cheer on anti semetism and refuse to see the 40% increase in anti semetic violence in blue areas like NYC. We have seen them cheer on muslims claiming allies of Hitler gave them warm fuzzies.

        2. We have seen Lefties fight for Hitler. We have seen Lefties fight for Stalin. We have seen Democrats fight for slavery, the KKK, and segregation.

          Two more years and then Trump gets re-elected.

          MAGA!

          1. What does that have to do with the fact that Trump is raising taxes in order to redistribute wealth from one group of Americans to another? It is textbook socialism. Stop trying to change the topic.

            1. Poor troll.

              Its okay man. Stick to your script and never question the other trolls.

  2. —“Tariffs are NOW being paid to the United States by China of 25% on 250 Billion Dollars worth of goods & products,” Trump tweeted on Friday. —

    Trump reportedly believes economically illiterate claim that China ‘pays’ for trade war tariffs ‘like theology’

    Something that should worry anyone with a brain (not Trumpistas) is that the president does indeed believe that China pays the tariffs, not American consumers. It’s not mere lie to be consumed by his deplorables. The guy is indeed that ignorant. No wonder then who voted for him. The man who purports to negotiate a trade deal with China doesn’t have a basic understanding of how tariffs work. That should scare the bejeesus out of intelligent humans (again, not the tikki torch-wielding knuckle-draggers who are affraid of “the demographic change they didn’t vote for” or of their sisters dating brown people).

    1. Something that should worry anybody with a brain (not you) is the massive deficit we have. And every dollar that Americans spend on these tariffs is simply a tax on Americans that reduces the deficit. Among the many ways in which the US can raise taxes, a tax on consumption of imported goods from China is probably one of the least economically harmful.

      So, with that background, would you care to articulate a principled objection to tariffs? It can’t be that it costs Americans money because all taxes do that, and even our deficits do that.

      1. Hello, you economic ignoramus,

        Economics is not accounting. Get that through your thick Trumpista head. The so-called ‘deficit’ is nothing more than an accounting mirage that is meaningless when it comes to the economic activity that happens between individuals in this country and the individuals in other countries, who exchange goods for currency because each values the other thing being traded much more than the things they bring to the trade.

        A tariff is a TAX on your economic decision to trade with a manufacturer or a seller who merely happens to be in some other country, presumably to compell you to get your goods from someone else. Whether you can afford to get your goods from someone else, presumably someone local, or not, is something the tariff pusher (someone like you, with no brain) doesn’t mind, because, again, you have no brain.

        Besides the fact that you don’t mind whether other people can afford the goods the president and other brainless individuals pretend to promote, or not, is the fact that you didn’t bother to address the issue where a president, the most powerful person in the world up to now, understands the basics behind tariffs, which that they are a tax that Americans are paying and that they don’t represent a windfall for the country, or a profit. He clearly believes in a fantasy, just like Trumpistas believed in a series of fantasies when they decided to put that man in the president’s seat.

        1. Are you REALLY that retarded?

          The deficit is a mirage!?!?!?! WTF.

          It is NOT a mirage. Someday all that cash will either have to be paid up with stable non devalued dollars, which will cost our economy dearly… Or we will have to devalue our dollar, along with the pain that will cause our economy, and the good faith we will lose, to pay it back in highly inflated dollars.

          It is not made up you stupid fucking moron. The piper will have to be paid one way or another. Your logic means we might as well just spend infinite money to buy everybody ponies or whatever because it makes no difference anyway!

          And a tax is a tax is a tax. If Americans pay 10 billion in income taxes or 10 billion in tariffs, they both take 10 billion out of consumers hands… Where’s the difference? The difference is the ripple effects. Tariffs encourage more manufacturing jobs here at the cost of consumer prices. Income taxes encourages less hiring, lower capital expenditure, and possibly less consumer spending as well.

          But at the end of the day they both ripple to the tune of 10 billion.

          1. That analysis makes my decisions on school loans and a mortgage seem crazy. I signed for school loans when I had no assets. My first home cost nearly twice my salary.

            Today, though, I pay far more in taxes each year than the aggregate amount of my school loans. My current house is worth 10 times the amount of that first mortgage. Financing that education and assuming debt for a first home were excellent decisions — except when viewed through a cramped, largely counterproductive economic lens.

          2. I think that Mexican is confusing Trade deficit with the Government’s spending deficit (which you were talking about). Nevertheless, your logic is bullshit.

            I might be onboard with a consumptive tax if it offset spending and taxes on income. But it isn’t. Indeed, as the article points out, Trump is taking the money from these tariffs and then paying it to Farmers who are retaliated against by China. That isn’t reducing the deficit, it is just adding a new tax and redistribution system to our already stupid government budget.

            1. What is happening at any given moment in time is a completely different subject than theory.

              Different forms of taxation have different kinds of distortions created. Period. The whole sky is falling thing with tariffs is just BS. It’s no different than if our income taxes had gone up a fraction of one percent.

              How a pol decides to spend taxes is a totally separate issue from the effects of raising a given type of tax. That’s all I’m sayin’.

            2. Hello, Overt,

              You say: “I think that Mexican is confusing Trade deficit with the Government’s spending deficit ”

              No, I am not confusing the two. They’re not comparable. Government deficits are true accounting/financial concepts; trade deficits are not. They don’t exist. You’re not in a “deficit” when you trade with Target, you traded the money you desired less for the goods that Target has that you desire more.

              1. They’re both “real” accounting concepts dude!

                If you spend $10K at Target for stuff you want… But you only make $5K a month… Knowing that you overspent by $5K is a very useful little bit of accounting.

                This is not to say it has all the implications some people think it does, but it is not a completely useless, made up metric. It has its uses.

          3. Hello, Vek,

            —“It is NOT a mirage. Someday all that cash will either have to be paid up with stable non devalued dollars….”—

            You really have no clue of what you talk about, do you? That cash doesn’t have to be “paid”. Your argument is just pure nonsense. The logic of what you say is not there.

            —“If Americans pay 10 billion in income taxes or 10 billion in tariffs, they both take 10 billion out of consumers hands… Where’s the difference?”—

            The difference is that an income tax doesn’t distort the market. It is still theft, but it is theft before people start spending. People can still forecast even in the presence of the cut you give to government. Tariffs are a tax on consumption and trade, which do distort the market as it has an effect on prices. Prices are the signals the market supplies to all of us regarding the availability of goods, services and capital. Distorted prices give distorted information. That’s the reason why income taxes and tariffs are not comparable.

            1. Taxes are not theft if people agree to them.

              I voluntarily pay my taxes and dont have a beef with taxes for small and limited government.

              Its all the welfare and bloated government that I have a problem with paying taxes for.

              1. So, if the majority vote for a 78% income tax you are all on board? Thanks for exposing your true self. You are a collectivist prog, plain and simple. You have no business ever calling yourself conservative or libertarian.

                1. Poor troll that hates Libertarianism. Big surprise.

              2. Taxes are not theft if people agree to them.

                If they are consensual and voluntary then they are not taxes.

                I voluntarily pay my taxes

                No you don’t. Don’t be silly. You may be happy to have them taken from you, but that doesn’t mean you voluntarily pay them.

                1. As I said, I happily pay taxes for small and limited government stuff that is contained in the US Constitution.

                  All the massive additional government I pay voluntarily and fight it.

                  Unlike you cowards, if I didn’t want to pay taxes, I wouldn’t. I would not be complaining on here about how taxes are theft when that is a lie since paying taxes voluntarily is not theft.

                  I dont even pay FICA taxes because I dont want to and will never use that ponzii scheme.

            2. The difference is that an income tax doesn’t distort the market.

              Really?

            3. Seriously Mexican???

              You don’t understand that we’re either going to have to pay back our national debt in valuable dollars… Or devalue the currency/default to pay it off? One way or another one of those things must happen. They all have implications. Defaulting gets us off “for free” but will severely hurt our reputation, and ability to borrow in the future, the value of whatever new currency we have, etc. So even with the free way, it costs us.

              As for income taxes not distorting the market… LOLOLOLOLOL

              I own a business. If I didn’t pay more in income taxes I would reinvest more in my business, AKA hire more people, buy more capital intensive items, etc. How is that not effecting the market again???

              The effects are DIFFERENT, but they’re there. All taxes distort the market in various ways. I live in a state with no income tax. We do however have very high sales taxes and property taxes. This probably suppresses the value of homes, and likely retail spending relative to a place with lower property and sales taxes… But because people have more money in their pockets from lack of an income tax, perhaps people still end up spending the same or more as places with an income tax… But they still spend less than a theoretical place that had no income tax AND lower property/sales taxes.

              Every tax effects the market dude, deal with it.

          4. moron, the incidence of a tariff is not all on the consumer, so by definition its not the same

        2. The so-called ‘deficit’ is nothing more than an accounting mirage that is meaningless when it comes to the economic activity that happens between individuals in this country and the individuals in other countries

          I was (obviously) talking about the budget deficit, not the trade deficit.

          But your characterization is wrong even when it comes to the trade deficit with China. Our trade deficit with China arises from individuals in the US buying consumer goods in China, in return for debt, real estate, and capital goods bought by the Chinese. That’s not just an “accounting mirage”, it’s a serious economic problem. On top of that, that consumer spending is largely financed with private and public debt.

          A tariff is a TAX on your economic decision to trade with a manufacturer or a seller who merely happens to be in some other country

          Correct; I said so myself. In particular, a tariff on Chinese goods is a tax on consumption (unproductive). As I was pointing out, that’s a preferable tax to a higher income tax, which taxes productive labor.

          is the fact that you didn’t bother to address the issue where a president, the most powerful person in the world up to now, understands

          Are you really so naive that you think that public statements by politicians corresponds to their understanding or beliefs?

          the basics behind tariffs, which that they are a tax that Americans are paying

          Yes, and so far you and all the other people hyperventilating about this, many of whom call for higher taxes to pay for all sorts of crap, have been unable to articulate why you object to this kind of tax vs other kinds of taxes.

          1. I’m not happy that Trump’s tariffs have caused construction costs to increase. I’m in the process of building a home that I spent 3+ years designing, planning, and budgeting. Trump’s tariffs have cost us several thousand dollars because some building material prices have increased so significantly (far above inflation rate).

            1. I understand your unhappiness, but what you are paying for your home is already the result of a complex mess of both government subsidies and government-imposed costs. Why obsess about a few thousand dollars in tariffs when your land is probably tens of thousands of dollars more expensive than it should be, while your loan and labor are tens of thousands of dollars cheaper than they should be?

              1. Yup. Tariffs have effects, and some of them aren’t awesome… But in 2019 we’re so drowning in ripples from bad government policy modest tariffs are the least of our worries.

        3. Old Mexican, Before you spout your ignorance so confidently, maybe you should check my post below about the study showing that over 80% of the tariff burden ends up falling on Chinese exporters. They are being forced to lower their prices to compete with domestic producers and other foreign exporters.

          With all of the taxes and regulations on domestic production, and the asymmetric barriers put up by China, it’d be economic suicide not to level the playing field.

          1. Chinese exporters aren’t lowering their prices as much as domestic manufacturers are increasing theirs because these tariffs actually reduce competition. This is the same thing that happens every time there is a populist movement demanding tariffs. Things never works out the way the Mercantilists think/hope/pray they will.

      2. Fuck you its my money. Cut spending!

        Let me guess you don’t work in construction where we need steel, aluminum and products from China. Guess what I’m paying a shit ton more now in taxes. Guess what I’m not doing hiring new people and buying new equipment I need. MAGA my ass.

        1. Yeah, taxes suck dude. Nobody here likes high taxes. The question is, if China buckles, and the millions of Americans who do business in China in various capacities all of a sudden start making more money… Will that not spur the construction trade too?

          Short term pain for long term gain can be worth it. Hell, I own intellectual property and if those commies ever start actually playing fair there, I might directly gain tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars over time because of it. If not, I’m still paying increased costs for the few things I buy from communist China too. Buy American, Mexican, Indian, etc made shit instead.

          1. Ok China sucks but then why attack all our other trading partners? Why hasn’t the Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum tariffs been lifted, with the “New and Improved” (same as hold with more protectionism) NAFTA? Trump is honest in who he is, he loves tariffs since the 80s, it has been a consistent position of his, so why should I believe him to be a secret free trader? Also if your banking on steel tariffs propping up the steel industry, who will ever invest the capital needed knowing the next admin will do away with tariffs? I see this as the same hubris that got us into Iraq and Libya, with the same level of planning to get us out.

            1. Well, the truth is we actually do have shitty trade deals with lots of other nations we’re more friendly with too.

              The USA basically opened ourselves wide up to the world… And almost nobody reciprocated to the same degree. IMO we should have demanded equal, reciprocal terms day one. We’re in this weird position now where we gave away all our negotiating chips in exchange for nothing… So we have to threaten to take them back in order to get a fair deal with people. This is to be blamed on politicians of the past.

              I think Trump is OKAY with tariffs. He surely doesn’t hate them. But I do think he prefers to get foreign barriers lowered vs just jack ours up. We’ll see how it plays out. Honestly he’d be doing 10x better if the entire establishment wasn’t directly fighting him, but actually supporting him in what is ultimately a not bad thing, lowering foreign trade barriers.

          2. “Short term pain for long term gain can be worth it. Hell, I own intellectual property and if those commies ever start actually playing fair there, I might directly gain tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars over time because of it. If not, I’m still paying increased costs for the few things I buy from communist China too. Buy American, Mexican, Indian, etc made shit instead.”

            Those commies? Fuck, you are a commie yourself!! You are trying to use the government to force me into buying what you want me to buy. You don’t get to decide for me, simply because you think it is in the “interest of the collective”

            1. Poor returning troll.

              1. nice refutation, prog. lol.

                1. Poor returning troll thinks people actually read his nonsense.

                  1. Poor troll lefty LC1789 is being exposed for what he really is….much to his own surprise.

                    1. See, the trolls just swarm.

              2. I am a troll because I don’t like tariffs and I have a personal stake in not paying them. Good to see the guy who loves the constitution be in favor of an executive branch tax levied.

                SECTION 8
                The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

                See I can post the Consitution too.

                1. I was talking to troll Weinermobile.

                  If you think that you are a troll, then I guess you are.

                  You not understanding that Congress passes laws to allow the Executive Branch to raise and lower tariffs is very illuminating too.

                  1. A troll is a collectivist that masquerades as a libertarian. That is you.

            2. Wiener, I live in the real world. You’re one of those people who wants to live in an imaginary world that’s better than this one… I probably want 99% of the same things you do to happen. Thing is, until then, I say we do what we gotta do in this fucked up world, as it actually exists, to improve outcomes.

              If you think the US economy, including YOU and your interests, won’t be improved by forcing China to lower their trade barriers… You’re an idiot. You will win too if that happens. The fact that you’re too much of a puss bag coward to do what needs to be done to deal with those thugs to get what we should have just means you’re a pussy/idiot.

              Don’t know what else there is to say. We don’t live in libertopia, and in the here and now we have to deal with shitty foreign nations any which way we have to. Sometimes that involves a carrot, and other times a stick.

        2. Fuck you its my money.

          Most of “your money” is the result of the US government printing money and taking on debt.

          Let me guess you don’t work in construction where we need steel, aluminum and products from China.

          The US construction sector needs to shrink massively; it is bloated due to US government policy keeping prices artificially low. The fact that tariffs counteract this is a good thing.

          Cut spending!

          That’s not enough; taxes need to increase just to pay for current debt and liabilities.

          Guess what I’m paying a shit ton more now in taxes.

          Yes, mostly income taxes. Tariffs are consumption taxes. And given US debt levels and consumer (over-)spending, consumption taxes are far better.

          1. You think consumers spend too much and the government should intervene? You sound like a Green New Deal supporting leftist.

            1. You think consumers spend too much and the government should intervene?

              No, I think consumers spent money they have stolen from other people, primarily their children, via the political process.

              You sound like a Green New Deal supporting leftist.

              Well, you’re mistaken. I’m actually a classical liberal who wants small government; you’re not.

              You are the poster boy for why leftists call themselves “liberals”: you steal from others to advance your own interests and pretend that doing so is a liberal position.

            2. I don’t really want the government to intervene per se… But consumers DO spend too much.

              Only a VERY small percentage of the US population has what any intelligent person would consider good spending/saving/investment habits. IIRC the Japanese save and invest almost 20% of their income still. In China it is something like 30%. In America a huge percentage of people spend every penny they make, and many spend more than they make.

              Not smart.

    2. How cute your ignorance. If America dropped all their tariffs tomorrow there would still not be free trade due to other countries restrictions. I dont her why the ignorant keep pushing a naive libertarian ideology. You’re no better than the wearing communists in your naivete.

      1. ughhh… you do realize free trade can be unilateral right? Fuck, none of these idiots on here understand trade. I blame public education. You are all through and through collectivists, you just don’t want to admit it.

        1. Listen to the Lefty try and call Libertarians Collectivists.

          Because voluntary association is the same thing as Collectivism. Haha

          1. You are advocating for a form of central planning and restrictions on voluntary association. The combination of your frequent (objectively ahistorical) denials of others’ libertarian credentials along with your consistently anti-libertarian stance on trade really elevates you to the upper ranks of the clowns here in the Reason comments.

            I think you kind of instinctively know that if you actually learned what comparative advantage is or maybe ever read even a bit of the mountains of libertarian literature published in the last 70 or 80 years, you’d have to admit that you’ve been loudly proclaiming your foolishness for quite a while – which is why you make such a diligent effort to accuse people of being trolls, rather than engage with the substance of their comments.

            1. Great according to your stupid assessment, Libertarianism is a form of Central Planning like the USSR and Nazi Germany.

              Jesus you trolls and your swarm mode to try and get more website traffic for reason.

              1. “Jesus you trolls and your swarm mode to try and get more website traffic for reason.”

                The funny thing is that you come to a website whose motto is “free minds and free markets” trying to promote the virtues of tariffs and protectionism and never bother to consider you might be in the wrong place. S T U P I D.

        2. I don’t think unilateral free trade works quite the way you think it does in a modern welfare state with a fiat currency… All the automatic balancing of a true free market is removed in our current system, hence allowing negative implications that wouldn’t exist in a true free market.

          I agree that classical free trade theory works in a theoretical free market… But that’s not the world as it exists. IMO after you account for welfare costs, tax base lost, capital investments wasted in the form of shutting down otherwise functional factories, etc we’ve come out on the losing end with our unilateral free trade.

          Get rid of welfare and get us a sound currency that isn’t debt backed and we can discuss the virtues of free trade again!

  3. The president’s double-talk about tariffs reflects his economically ignorant conviction that exports are good and imports are bad.

    Exports and imports always have to balance. The question is about what is being exported and imported. The US imports consumer goods, stuff that is obsolete within a few years and produces no value for the US economy. The US exports ownership stakes in real estate, corporations, and the US government; those are long-term investments that give foreigners long term financial returns and power.

    Saying that the trade deficit doesn’t matter is the same kind of economic ignorance that equates GDP gains from Hurricane Katrina to GDP gains from manufacturing.

    And saying that tariffs are bad because they amount to taxes is the same kind of economic ignorance that pretends that trillion dollar deficits don’t matter.

    1. OBL, is that you?
      #LibertariansForHigherTaxes

    2. Exports and imports always have to balance.

      Where did you get that idea?

      1. Do you know nothing about fiat money systems?

        They’re taking dollars. They either have to use those to buy stuff denominated in dollars, which they aren’t doing, hence the trade deficit. So their other options are to buy US denominated assets, like real estate, stocks, etc, or of course buy US government debt. They can also just sit on them in a bank that holds US currency, but there isn’t much gain in that. Hence they own tons of stocks, real estate, and bonds denominated in US dollars now.

        The US used to be a net owner for foreign assets, AKA US citizens owned more abroad than foreigners owned here… We also brought in a net positive amount of income from those assets abroad, sucking their economies dry and enriching ourselves. That has now reversed. Foreigners now own more US based assets than we own abroad.

        1. So their other options are to buy US denominated assets

          Which don’t have to be in the US.

          1. But overwhelmingly they are… And EVENTUALLY the dollars basically always have to come home to roost. This is considered a feature, not a bug, by many fiat currency lovers.

    3. This is exactly it. We’re trading shares in our great American companies, sky scrapers in our great cities, etc for tennis shoes that will fall apart 6 months from now.

      The bottom line is really that Americans consume more than we should. We should be consuming less and saving/investing more. IIRC even Japan still has a savings rate of around 20%, which is actually sufficient for retirement etc. Americans save basically nothing and blow it all on current consumption.

      1. False equivalency and your cite also fell off for the rest of your baseless assumptions.

        1. McGoop DEMANDS citations yet never provides any.

          Just like a troll.

        2. None of that is assumptions. They’re all basically facts. Google any of those items if you want.

          Most Americans DON’T save enough for retirement. Foreign ownership of US based stocks and real estate has skyrocketed. Most other industrialized nations DO save more than us. So fuck off.

          Our society has simply become irresponsible ON AVERAGE. Many individuals live the right way, but the average American is basically a fucking wreck compared to 50 years ago.

      2. “The bottom line is really that Americans consume more than we should. ”

        I’m sure AOC and the rest of your leftist brethren agree with that.

        1. These pro-tariff fools are completely oblivious to how much they sound like the Green New Deal leftists. Alter a few words and their posts really could have been written by AOC.

        2. Have you never seen an article about how almost nobody saves enough for retirement? Or how deeply in debt people are compared to a few decades ago?

          On an individual basis it’s nobody’s right to tell somebody what to spend their money on… But on average people in this country are NOT following financially prudent rules of personal finance. PERIOD.

          EVERYBODY should be saving and investing 10-20% of their income for retirement, yet almost nobody does. I’m not saying we need to force people to do it… But there’s nothing wrong with calling out acting foolishly.

    4. “The US exports ownership stakes in real estate, corporations, and the US government; those are long-term investments that give foreigners long term financial returns and power.”

      You don’t know what you are talking about. The main exports from the US are capital goods like aircraft, machinery and cars, as well as agricultural items like rice and soybeans.

      1. You missed his point.

        We run a several hundred billion dollar a year TRADE deficit. We import that much more every year than we export in all the things you mention.

        The difference between that is invested by foreigners in US based stocks, real estate, bonds, and other things. We’re really “exporting” our capital assets based in the USA, because in the end it ALWAYS has to balance out sooner or later.

    5. Hello, EI (Economic Ignoramus),

      —“Exports and imports always have to balance.”—

      Which exports and which imports have to balance? That’s just pure nonsense, born from economic ignorance. Provided trade is unhampered, both parties benefit from the trade, no matter if they deal in cattle, soybeans, services or entertainment.

      —“Saying that the trade deficit doesn’t matter is the same kind of economic ignorance that equates GDP gains from Hurricane Katrina to GDP gains from manufacturing.”—

      You really show that you have not a single clue of the concepts you attempt to describe. The nonsense about GDP growth post-catastrophic is based on the broken windows fallacy but that concept is not comparable in the least to so-called trade deficits and the argument that they are the result of faulty logic based on thinking of deficits in terms of accounting and balance sheets, instead of thinking in terms of Economics and human action.

      I can make a more apt comparison: people who say tariffs are not bad make the same faulty arguments as those who say tariffs are paid by the seller and not the buyer. But they ARE a tax on consumption and they ARE PAID by the buyer, not by the seller.

      1. Which exports and which imports have to balance? That’s just pure nonsense, born from economic ignorance.

        No, I’m simply saying the same thing that you were saying earlier, and I quote you: The so-called ‘deficit’ is nothing more than an accounting mirage

        You really show that you have not a single clue of the concepts you attempt to describe. The nonsense about GDP growth post-catastrophic is based on the broken windows fallacy

        The GDP objectively grows due to unproductive activity (like repairing broken windows). The “fallacy” is to equate GDP growth with economic benefits. Likewise, trade objectively grows when we lower trade barriers, but that does not necessarily equate to economic benefits.

        people who say tariffs are not bad make the same faulty arguments as those who say tariffs are paid by the seller and not the buyer

        It’s meaningless to say “tariffs are bad/not bad” without context. Tariffs clearly restrict economic activity and impose a tax on Americans. However, so does the income tax.

    6. Imports are literally foreign nations transferring resources and labor into our country. Them buying assets, is simply them joining the U.S. economy. Assets, by nature, do not move. If they did, they would be exports and your “problem” would be solved. But them buying assets is demonstrably superior for us. The nationality of the owner is irrelevant, where the asset is physically located is what matters. A German factory in South Carolina is adding to the US economy. Meanwhile, a U.S. factory in Germany is primarily adding to the German economy. You are committing the fallacy of seeing assets as the same as exports, which they are not. Exports and imports move physically, assets generally don’t. This is a major flaw in your reasoning.

      1. But them buying assets is demonstrably superior for us.

        The assets foreigners buy in the US are investments that yield a a real return for them. The products we import from foreigners are largely consumer goods that yield no return and have no lasting value.

        By analogy, you’re effectively saying that going on a shopping spree with a credit card is “demonstrably superior” for you because you get the goods and the credit card company got debt assets from you.

      2. Who owns the assets DOES matter in the end though.

        A wealthy German man will probably consume most of his investment income IN GERMANY, even if a factory he owns is in the USA. If it were an American who owned the factory making the same goods, more of that money would stay in the country and slosh around here.

        Also, it is simply a fact that foreigners are going to be less concerned with the interests of the USA and whatever locality they’re operating in. A guy who owns a sky scraper in a city might feel a real, deep connection to his home town, and want to do things that make it as nice as possible, do right by the neighborhood, etc… A Chinese owner might not give any fucks, and will be interested solely in bottom line.

    7. Exports and imports only have to balance if you believe economics is a zero-sum game. Are you a communist? You sure sound like one.

  4. “Ignorant conviction” pretty well describes Trump’s opinion on everything, but it’s an improvement on the malevolent ignorant conviction displayed by most of the rest of the political class. Read about 5 minutes worth of any random Bernie Sanders’ speech. (Watching a Bernie Sanders’ speech is not something the untrained amateur can do for 5 minutes straight.)

  5. I’ve been told that Trump was voted in because “he means what he says” so, in that case, Trump actually thinks China is paying tariffs to the United States. Wow.

    1. Poor jcw. He does not know what “he means what he says” actually means.

      Trump ran his campaign on getting better managed trade with our trading partners and he is trying.

      If must be hard for you to not understand what people are talking about around you.

      1. It depends on what your definition of is is.

        1. We all knew what Clinton was trying to weasel out of.

          We all know (or should know) that the media is a bunch of liars. Trump’s actions dont fit the media Narrative.

          1. The funny thing is, you voted for Trump, and you got Clinton. But you are too proud and stupid to admit it, so you instead embrace being a socialist, and say “wealth redistribution and high taxes are what we’ve always stood for!!” You poor, poor little man.

            1. Check this troll out. He is all over the map.

    2. Trump actually thinks China is paying tariffs to the United States.

      Not only that, I have a trade deficit with my barber. I buy a haircut from him but what does he buy from me? NOTHING. Where’s my tariff, Cheeto?

      1. Sales tax on the haircut. That’s your “tariff”.

        1. good to know you are letting your prog flag fly. Maybe Trump can make AOC his running mate next term. I’m sure you would still be all on board.

        2. Poor trolls really got the word out to ATTACK!

  6. When Trump first said that Mexico will “pay” for the wall, I gave people the benefit of the doubt when people claimed he meant Mexico will write us a check for it. I always understood it to mean “pay” in a “you will pay for this” sense of the word, like punishing someone. In that sense, Mexico has certainly been punished. Now we have a second usage of the word pay and Kudlow “contradicting” Trump actually proves that Trump never meant pay in the way the media has reported it. Chinese exporters are suffering because our citizens don’t buy their goods when they lose comparative advantage. Also notice how every time he discusses “paying”, not once has Trump ever mentioned literal financial compensation from Mexico or China.

    For the sake of argument, even if Trump means literal financial compensation, he isn’t entirely wrong. Chinese producers now must sell at higher prices. There’s a transfer of overall welfare in the form of reduced exporting nation producer surplus, which is typically greater than the slight increase in the exporting nation’s consumer surplus. There are no checks coming from China, but they are worse off and we are better off overall.

    All tariffs redistribute and there are always winners and losers (as Reason and many outlets have regularly highlighted), but in an un-free market, redistribution is not necessarily inefficient. In a free market, of course it is because the market has already determined optimal allocations.

    1. Mexicans have paid for the wall.

      I have been assured that illegals pay more in taxes then they receive back.

      Therefore Mexicans who are illegally in the USA are paying taxes that they never fully get back and some of those taxes are used to expand the 700 miles of existing border obstacles.

      1. That’s a fair point for the “Mexico will pay/has paid” aspect. I’m still hoping they will tax transfers back to Mexico for some additional literal payment.

    2. As you point out, the propagandists at reason and other media outlets will say anything to muddy the facts of an issue.

      Their Narrative is the most import thing to turn into a good thing. 9/10 times, the Narrative is bad for America and Americans.

    3. One need look no further than how fucked the Chinese stock markets have been, and their economy in general. We have FUCKED them up good already, and Trump has barely even started turning the screws.

      The Chinese aren’t idiots. They’ve been hoping Trump will crash and burn and they won’t ever have to give in… Because they know our system leaves people more accountable to mob outrage, and people eventually go out of office. But if Trump doesn’t back down, and if he gets reelected… They have to give into at least enough of our demands for Trump to do a deal, because their economy can’t survive us really going to town on them.

      1. All the Chinese have to do is guarantee to stop stealing from America and lower their trade restrictions for imports.

        The fact that they would rather have their people starve than do that, should tell us Americans so very much about how good it is to trade with China.

        1. why should i have to pay extra just so some fucking steel worker in Ohio who I’ve never met can get a job in a mill because they are too lazy to move or learn a trade? Oh, that’s right, I forgot you embrace marxist ideology and see the workers/collective as the highest of all ends, not individual freedom of choice.

          1. why should i have to pay extra just so some fucking steel worker in Ohio who I’ve never met can get a job in a mill because they are too lazy to move or learn a trade?

            Actually, given current spending levels, you should have to pay $10000/year extra just to keep the budget in balance.

            Trump’s tariffs will cost you about $500/year in the short term, less in the long term (if they stayed around). That leaves $9500 to go, perhaps via a federal VAT.

            1. Only $10,000/year? That would be less than a 10% increase to my tax bill.

              1. Obviously, that’s an average to give people an idea of the order of magnitude.

              2. Nice humble brag brah!

        2. Poor Hihn sock.

      2. China will cave long before the 2020 election. Their economy will bare make it another 6 months, especially if Trump increases the tariffs further. The media are disgusting. Not once has it been reported the effects of these tariffs on the Chinese economy. All we get is how bad the tariffs are for a selective number of Americans despite the fact that the American economy is soaring despite the tariffs. It is all doom and gloom no matter what the reality actually is.

        1. Seriously. I have not seen basically anything in the MSM about how fucked the Asian stock markets have been, how their GDP growth is tanking, etc.

          Obviously that is because it would make a lot of people think “Damn, their shit is falling apart, and we haven’t even noticed. I guess we might as well keep turning the screws because they’ll have to tell uncle!” Which they REALLY don’t want to happen.

      3. “One need look no further than how fucked the Chinese stock markets have been, and their economy in general. We have FUCKED them up good already, and Trump has barely even started turning the screws.”

        Shanghai composite Jan 2017 -> 3159
        Shanghai composite May 2019 -> 2938

        Man, that is “fucking them up” good and hard. All you asshole trumpista collectivists don’t realize you are the exact thing you claim everyone else -> a bunch of collectivists a.k.a. socialists. It’s just you feel self-righteous your brand is different. It’s not. Fuck off elsewhere.

        1. When most other places are going up… And when their GDP growth is going down, while ours is going up… Yeah, they’re not doing awesome. I believe their unemployment is also being problematic, and a number of other issues.

          Long story short: They’re feeling it a LOT more than we are. You can hate on me for being willing to do a dirty thing to get something that is in our interests if you want… But that’s the way of the real world. If you think an opened up Chinese market won’t be a good thing long term, you’re a moron. It will.

          I wouldn’t threaten to nuke Beijing to get them to buckle… But I’m fine with fucking up their economy. I am kind of an asshole sometimes, but whatever.

          1. “If you think an opened up Chinese market won’t be a good thing long term”

            Never said that. It’s just you are foolish enough to think tariffs are the correct way to go about this.

            “But I’m fine with fucking up their economy.”

            You’re also fine with fucking up our economy. All china has to do is wait until Trump is gone. 2 or 6 years…..doesn’t matter.

  7. “and they respond by reducing their profit margins, raising prices, or both.”
    Or they stop buying China stuff.
    And China doesn’t get to steal from US companies.
    Of course tariffs cost in the short run, but are they actually costing more, or less, than the amount of economic damage caused by the theft and forced transfers?
    Do we really need to pay China for goods infected with spyware?

    1. The purpose of the economy, insofar as that phrase is meaningful, is consumption.
      Tariffs hurt masses of consumers here, which impact a small number of producers there. And vice versa.
      Tariffs are not, and cannot be, a general benefit for consumers because they favor a small (well connected and politically favored) group of producers while disproportionately harming consumers.
      Tariffs are a self-inflicted wound. To assert that they are worthwhile or sensible is to believe that the wound is worth it because there might be a ricochet that wounds the other.
      The best argument, and it’s a horribly bad one, is that we can suffer more wounds than our trading partners, and so “we will win”. But what is it that will have been won? Crippled economies, people less well off than they (we) would have been without the “trade war,” and the smug satisfaction best depicted in Gahan Wilson’s cartoon of the heavily armed soldier standing in bombed out rubble declaring “I think I won!”

      1. You think like a coward.

        If you are trying to negotiate any deal, but are too scared to ask for a reasonable deal, the other person will offer you a shitty deal. This was us for decades.

        If you’re selling your car, is it worth asking $10K for it if it is worth $10K? Or should you ask the person who wants to buy it what they think it’s worth? If they offer $5K should you take it out of fear they’ll walk if you ask for $10K?

        What we’ll win if we get China to start behaving like a civilized country is probably hundreds of billions a year in added exports to China and IP theft that no longer happens. That can VERY QUICKLY pay for the basically unnoticeable harm we’ve suffered thus far.

        There’s a reason cowards like you never run the world. You’d bend over every single time instead of telling the other guy to agree to something reasonable or get fucked!

        1. +10000

          China not stealing from the USA and the Commies opening up to imports would conceivably contribute to billions in new wealth.

          China licensing US tech would be a huge boon for American companies.

    2. Another good point Longtobefree.

      Americans have lost billions or more in stolen tech that was never licensed by the Communist Chinese.

      People like Sullum and Boehm will never discuss how those losses make renegotiating our managed trade policy with China very reasonable.

      1. Dude, even just imagine the product exports if they lifted tariffs on US made goods. Our manufacturing sector ain’t what it used to be, but we still make a LOT of stuff that is globally competitive. If China didn’t slap huge tariffs on that stuff, might we export another 50 billion, 100 billion, or more of actual stuff to there too?

        The truth is even with a true level playing field we will almost certainly run in the red because of their labor costs… But it would be a LOT LESS in the red, which is a good thing.

        1. Yup. Well put.

  8. Whatever you think of Trump’s tariffs as a negotiating tactic, you should be troubled by the fact that the resolution of this trade war is in the hands of a man who thinks Americans would be better off if they spent nothing on imported goods they demonstrably want.

    Donald Trump said during a speech to steelworkers in Granite City, Illinois, yesterday. “Think of that. We lost $817 billion a year over the last number of years in trade. In other words, if we didn’t trade, we’d save a hell of a lot of money.”

    If the steel industry is “losing” $817 billion a year on bad trade deals, then why would someone want to keep that up? Why not try and get lower trade restrictions with our trading partners?

    Sullum and Boehm can try and spin what Trump actually says as much as they want to fit their Narrative. They just cannot convince anyone to accept their lies.

    Main point against their claim: If Trump did not want any trade, he would set import tariffs at the highest levels that he could. 100,000% so no imports would be sold in the USA.

    1. if we didn’t trade, we’d save a hell of a lot of money.

      Jesus Christ, did he really say that? LOL!

      1. Yup… “If we didnt trade” (under those losing money propositions), “we’d save a hell of a lot of money”.

        The Narrative would have you believe that Trump wants to end trade completely. Yet Trump has not ended trade completely.

        Maybe the Media is trying to push a propaganda Narrative.

        1. Yup… “If we didnt trade” (under those losing money propositions), “we’d save a hell of a lot of money”.

          I mean, I just have to put my face in my hands and shake my head.

          Hey, if I didn’t buy anything or pay any bills I could live naked in a ditch and save a hell of a lot of money.

          Anyway, he’s talking about a $817 B trade “deficit” which is not the same as “we lost” that money.

          1. I am sorry you cannot get past what you think he meant.

            I know him discussing bad managed trade deals where American is losing money to China’s theft and high foreign trade restrictions is over your head.

            It is funny that you actually think he means we should never trade but has never cut off trade.

            His words are not the general phrasing of a politician after all until they are needed to be for the Narrative.

  9. Jesus, you people always have such a low IQ, soft headed, middle class way of thinking about trade, and specifically whether it is better to be a net exporter or importer… This is why you will never be wealthy people.

    See, there’s this thing called capital accumulation… This is the path to becoming wealthy. Ultimately you have to consume LESS than you PRODUCE in order to accumulate capital to invest. Investing then in turn increases your productivity, future income, and thus your wealth. It also snowballs over time, $1 in consumption deferred for 50 years will conservatively be $32 you can consume in the future. Hence these flows are MEGA important in terms of macro economics.

    Any person or nation that consumes more than it produces will get poorer… Anybody who produces and consumes the same amount will remain exactly the same. Somebody who produces more than they consume, and invests the rest, will become wealthier.

    This is simple stuff. Living like a miser is not awesome… But neither is being a spendthrift. BALANCE is the key. And the fact is the US consumes more than we should, because most people are morons, and all the good social habits our society used to have, like saving money and silly stuff like that, have been beat out of us by marketers.

    But the fact is that exporting MORE than we import would in fact make the USA and its citizens RICHER in the long haul. Deferred gratification is how one becomes wealthy. You guys pushing the idea that the ONLY thing that matters is current consumption is retarded, a middle class mode of thinking, and as I said earlier why schmucks like you will never be wealthy.

    1. Living like a miser is not awesome

      But didn’t you hear your president? If we didn’t trade at all, we’d have saved a bunch of money.

      1. I didn’t even vote for him, and I never said the man in a genius! He’s clearly not a very intellectual guy… I wish he was. But I think his gut is right on a number of issues, this being one of them.

        Personally I think I could have executed a better strategy for making the Chi-Coms buckle, but we’ll see how his ham fistedness works out in the end I guess.

      2. That must include domestic trade too. I mean he said “trade”.

        Its not like he was discussing trade and the bad trade deals, which cause the USA companies to lose money.

    2. Vek-

      The only reason why a dollar deferred today is $32 dollars in 50 years is that it is invested. Our trade balance with China does not inform us on how we are doing with saving/investing vs consuming. If I send $20,000 to china and in return get 30 phones for my company’s sales staff, that is a capital investment. I have a $20k deficit with China, but the goods I received in return are going to allow me to earn more money.

      No doubt, Americans- especially the bottom 50% of earners are doing more consumption than saving. But that choice is independent of the trade balance with China. Tariffs make that consumption more expensive- as well as making capital investments such as office equipment. It doesn’t actually lead more people to save or invest.

      1. I have a $20k deficit with China

        And they have a 30 phone deficit with you. What are they going to do about that?

      2. This comment is a great and simple response to Vek’s non sequitur screed, and it’s worthwhile to post it for the sake of other people who aren’t really familiar with these topics.

        But folks like Vek and LC1789 have exposed themselves as central planners. Arguments re: capital, negotiations, and game theory are the rationalizations that they are using in an attempt to obscure their endorsement of planning. Nothing anyone writes here is going to discourage their love for the omnipotent state.

        1. ^^Check this troll out. Another one on SWARM mode.

        2. So the very idea that negotiating is a thing makes me crazy? I hate to break it to you genius, but nations have had to negotiate with each other on countless points since the dawn of time.

          I want to blow China open as an actual free market. What Trump wants may differ from that, but that is what he says he wants. The fact that I’m willing to twist their arm a bit since we’re stronger than them may make me an asshole… But not an idiot.

          People like you simply long for a world that is perfect where all these dirty types of things don’t exist… The problem is that world doesn’t exist. I wish it did. I wish we could just call up Xi and have him drop 100% of trade barriers with a single phone call because it’s the right thing to do… But he won’t. So if we have to kick his ass a little bit to get him to do the right thing, I’m okay with that. Grow a pair lady!

      3. Overt, I totally agree. Your general point is valid. You are correct that different types of items purchased change the equation. Not all trade with China is bad, obviously, and not all of it is in lieu of investing.

        But the fact is that American consumers DO spend more than any sane financial advisor recommends, and save less than is required for secure retirement. Also, most of the goods we import from China ARE consumer goods used by individuals simply for personal consumption.

        In theory there is no “right” or “wrong” amount of investment we should be doing… But there are amounts that are insufficient to meet future goals most people have, like a secure retirement. We’re not hitting those targets.

        On the other hand, if Americans all decided to completely eschew consumerism, while working just as hard, we as a nation would become vastly more wealthy than we are now by investing that difference, and deferring gratification.

        Are you aware that foreign owners now own more assets in the USA than American citizens own abroad? It used to be the reverse. Americans used to own trillions more assets abroad than foreigners owned in the USA, now they own trillions more in the US than we have abroad… And all the hundreds of billions a year in income that entails. The gap is growing every year too, largely because of dollars we’re sending overseas for consumer goods.

        If we stopped consuming as much, and invested hundreds of billions a year abroad, we would be building our net worth massively, and bringing in many billions in income from those foreign assets on the back of the natives in those lands. It would make us richer. This is what America used to do when we saved more and spent less.

        I’m a business owner, and very much somebody who focuses on wealth building… IMO this is the kind of society we SHOULD have. It’s responsible, fiscally prudent, having excess wealth leaves you fluff room if things go bad, etc. It’s not my job to force people to do it, but if we did every person in this country would be wealthier, and ultimately be able to consume even more than we presently do simply by deferring that gratification a little.

    3. You believe economics is a zero-sum game. Sad.

      1. It’s not ZERO sum… But it isn’t INFINITE sum either. In a world with finite resources, finite production capacity, and finite wealth to consume said things, one can kind of rough out the math and see where things are landing.

  10. the president’s double-talk

    “Double-talk”? Is that what toddlers do? I’ve always called it babble — the comical attempt at forming words and concepts — but “double-talk” seems OK with the local tenured Orange Man Crew, and who are we sensible people to argue with the incoherence of the Stable Genius?

  11. Funny how Lefties want to ignore context of what Trump says about “trade”.

    Yet, he is Hitler, if you just read between the lines.

    1. I guess the media got tired of reading between the lines to push Obama’s nonsense for 8 years.

      I can see where that wears out propagandists.

  12. My comment is awaiting moderation immediately upon posting. Last time this happened it stayed that way forever. I will try reposting but without the links (I had two links in the post).

  13. Here is another study. You can find it reported on by Bloomberg and on EconPol’s website.

    “In this analysis we show that, contrary to public opinion, the greatest share of the tariff burden falls not on American consumers or firms, but on Chinese exporters. We calibrate a simple economic model and find that a 25 percentage point increase in tariffs raises US consumer prices on all affected Chinese products by only 4.5% on average, while the producer price of Chinese firms declines by 20.5%. The US government has strategically levied import duties on goods with high import elasticities, which transfers a great share of the tariff burden on to Chinese exporters. Chinese firms pay approximately 75% of the tariff burden and the tariffs decrease Chinese exports of affected goods to the United States by around 37%. This implies that the bilateral trade deficit between the US and China drops by 17%. The additional tariffs generate revenues of around USD 22.5 billion, which could subsequently be redistributed in the US. Although the tariffs introduce a distortion to US consumption decisions, the economic costs are shifted to Chinese exporting firms and the US government is able to extract a net welfare gain of USD 18.4 billion. Autor, Dorn and Hanson (2013, 2016) show that Chinese import competition can have dramatic negative effects on the US labour market.”

    1. The thing about models is you can make them spit out whatever answer you want. Is their economic model better than the climate models that predict apocalypse by 2050?

      Every time this country has had a pro-tariff populist movement in the past, the unintended consequence has been that domestic producers raised prices because reduced competition allowed them to. That’s what will happen this time, regardless of what some “model” says.

      1. actually its not just the”model”, economic theory tells us that the incidence of tariffs is shared by the producer as well

        1. It only makes sense that people split the difference in the pain… If they didn’t, you can bet your ass a TON more orders would have been shifted to Vietnam, India, Mexico, and GASP even the USA for many goods.

  14. The key excerpt for emphasis: “a 25 percentage point increase in tariffs raises US consumer prices on all affected Chinese products by only 4.5% on average, while the producer price of Chinese firms declines by 20.5%.”

    The lying and ignorance from the media and pundits on trade is a real drag, and Reason gleefully joins in. As you can see in the comments a lot of people fall for it.

    1. Your “reasoning” might be useful if my well-being were enhanced through the impoverishment of the Chinese, or if hoarding gold bullion was the secret to prosperity.

      But since they aren’t, you don’t have a point, and the fact that you don’t realize it shows just how poor your economics knowledge is.

      1. Zee troll from Nazi Germany.

      2. Your “reasoning” might be useful if my well-being were enhanced through the impoverishment of the Chinese,

        You already enhance your well-being through the impoverishment of the Chinese and the impoverishment of future Americans.

        Tariffs are not the best way of putting a stop to that, both because they don’t get to the root cause and because they can’t be large enough, but don’t expect people to shed any tears for you being able to pay a little more of what you ought to pay.

  15. Irrespective of economic theory the real question now is what is China going to do. The ball is in their court. There is more at stake for them than trade balances.

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