Free Trade

How Stunningly Stupid Is Trump's Tariff Threat Aimed at Mexico? Let's Count the Ways.

Politically. Economically. Diplomatically. Legally. Trump's tariff threat against Mexico is a stunningly stupid maneuver no matter how you look at it.

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If you still believed President Donald Trump is just using tariffs as a clever negotiating tactic to get better trade deals for the United States, you got a rude awakening Thursday evening when the White House announced it would put tariffs on Mexican imports to stop illegal immigration.

Those tariffs, Trump tweeted, will start on June 10 and will add 5 percent to the cost of all imported goods from Mexico. They will "gradually increase until the illegal immigration problem is remedied," Trump wrote. The White House later outlined a plan to hike the tariffs from 5 percent to 25 percent by October.

This is a stunningly stupid idea on many levels.

Let's start with the most obvious: Tariffs are taxes on Americans. Making it more expensive to import goods from Mexico is a pretty roundabout way to get Mexico to change its border policies, but it's a very direct tax increase for American businesses and consumers. Last year, Americans imported more than $346 billion in goods from Mexico, so a 25 percent tariff would amount to an $87 billion tax increase.

Second, the number of undocumented immigrants coming to the United States from Mexico has been declining for years, and many have returned home already. In 2016, there were 1.5 million fewer unauthorized Mexicans living in the U.S. than there were in 2007, according to data from the Pew Research Center. Overall, the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. has declined from 12.2 million in 2007 to about 10 million last year, Pew says.

Perhaps Trump means that Mexico should curb the flow of migrants passing through the country on their way to the United States—specifically, the migrants fleeing violence in Central America. But those are not, by and large, illegal immigrants; they're coming here to legally present themselves as candidates for asylum.

Third, even if Mexico could be convinced to act, somehow, by the tariff threat, the White House's demands are absurd. The tariffs are set to ratchet up by 5 percent every month between June and October, but what sort of comprehensive immigration policy could be implemented in a matter of weeks? Trump says the tariffs will stay in place until the "problem is remedied," but what does that mean? Illegal immigration over the southern border is already near historic lows, and it's not at all clear what metric the Trump administration will use to judge whether Mexico has done as it is being told. Mexican officials are being told to fix a problem they didn't cause, to do it in a matter of weeks, and without knowing how their performance will be measured.

Fourth, if the tariffs work the way Trump think they will, they will make illegal immigration worse. Think about it like this: Trump believes tariffs harm the economy of the country exporting goods to the United States (which is true, though importers and consumers in the U.S. are hurt worse). So he's implementing a strategy that's designed to harm Mexico's economy, but what happens when Mexico's economy weakens? More Mexicans try to come to the United States!

Fifth, Trump's out-of-nowhere tariff threat is rattling the stock market, again.

Sixth, Trump is complicating the passage of his much touted United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) with these new tariff threats. Earlier this year, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R–Iowa) made it clear that the Senate Finance Committee, which handles trade issues and which he chairs, would not approve the USMCA deal until the Trump administration withdrew the tariffs on steel and aluminum imported from Canada and Mexico. Trump backed down and lifted those tariffs two weeks ago, apparently clearing the way for the USMCA to pass Congress.

Now the White House is threatening to impose tariffs on steel, aluminum, and literally everything else coming over the border from Mexico. Grassley's response? "This is a misuse of presidential tariff authority and counter to congressional intent," the senator tells Politico. "Following through on this threat would seriously jeopardize passage of USMCA, a central campaign pledge of President Trump's and what could be a big victory for the country."

Seventh, Trump just pulled the rug out from under his own defense of America's trade wars. Despite much evidence to the contrary, the president's defenders have stuck to the idea that Trump is using tariffs to extract better trade deals for the United States. With the exception of the USMCA, those deals have not yet emerged. But recently, there have been signs that the White House was starting to reorient its punitive trade policies with a singular focus on China—and while the strategy of using tariffs is still questionable, the hardball approach with China is a politically winning one for Trump.

All that goes out the window now. Trump is obviously not using this tariff threat against Mexico to achieve a better trade deal. Indeed, it's more likely to scuttle the trade deal that the U.S. and Mexico already reached. He's just trying to bully another country into doing what he wants. Lacking any diplomatic skills and having soured the relationships between America and many of its closest trading partners, Trump is grasping for one of the only tools he has—though it is a tool that he, clearly, does not understand.

Finally, it's not at all clear that Trump has the legal authority to impose these tariffs. Though the administration has successfully stretched the definition of "national security" enough to allow Trump to unilaterally impose the steel and aluminum tariffs under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, that law is not useful to the president here.

Instead, he's reaching for the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which requires the declaration of a national emergency. White House trade advisor Peter Navarro tells CNBC that illegal immigration across the southern border constitutes an emergency because "what we have in Mexico is the export, one of their high exports, of illegal aliens."

But the law granting Trump those emergency powers has never been used to impose tariffs before, and CNN reports that "privately, officials have conceded it's not clear the White House has the legal authority to impose tariffs on this scale."

There will almost certainly be legal challenges to Trump application of emergency powers in this case. There ought to be a congressional effort to revoke Trump's tariff powers too, but don't hold your breath.

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  1. Eric Boehm doesn’t like Trump !!!

    News at 24/7

    1. What exactly would be your bridge too far? This is an extreme bluster in of itself and if translated to action would be a further absurdity.

      1. I agree it’s very blustery. But I agree with the objective of ending the situation of 100,000 border jumpers in a single month — who, due to legal loopholes engineered by radical progressives, must be released into the US. They shouldn’t be allowed to come to the Mexican border to claim asylum if they’re not from Mexico.

        The question is, what should Trump be doing instead to rectify this situation? What is the better way?

        1. Reason would say, open borders dude! All of C. America has the same right to live here as everyone else.

          I agree, though, if you’re going to bitch about this move, which is clearly desperate because the GOP(e) and Democrat(e) each have reasons to support unfettered immigration of illiterate dirt farmers with socialist tendencies, then tell us what would be a “smart” move.

          At this point, I’d trade open borders for the rights to Nicaragua and Honduras, with an agreement that 95% of the residents of those countries have to move to here. They’ll surely wreck the USA the same way they wrecked their own countries, but the land they want to leave is actually pretty nice.

        2. What is the better way?

          Normal presidents in a republic would address the situation by endeavoring to work with Congress to change current immigration law which allows refugees to petition the U.S. for asylum by presenting themselves at the border to an immigration official. That’s the law. POO*, being utterly incapable and unqualified to maneuver or even comprehend the intricacies of how legislation is made in a republic, resorts to the blunt and stupid instrument of executive privilege, e.g., tariffs, in order to get his way. It won’t work and he’ll back down eventually, as he always does, being more petulant bluster than competent executive.

          *President Orange Obstruction

          1. So you admit it is a congressional issue… but blame the president. Insightful logic there.

            1. There exists no problem with his logic.

              You’re just an idiot.

            2. it is a congressional issue… but blame the president

              Competent presidents know (or learn) how to work with Congress. They understand the concept of coequal branches of government. They are knowledgeable of how the legislative, executive and judicial branches of our constitutional republic work, what their prerogatives and mandates are as well as their constitutional limitations.

              Successful, competent presidents have experience working in government. They understand that running a constitutional republic in the executive branch is not like running one’s own small, private business dictatorship. Trump is an incompetent politician with no experience dealing with coequal entities, and this incompetence is demonstrated every single day. He is utterly incapable of dealing with Congress, in working out a principled immigration policy, so he lashes out like a petulant child, throwing tariffs about like monkeys throw feces. He is proving to the world that he doesn’t know what the hell he is doing, as if the world needed further proof.

            3. Jesse gets it. Too bad we have so many Marxist morons and anarchists here.

          2. existing laws regarding assylum REQUIRE the assylee to apply to the government of the FIRST nation they cross into upon leaving their own.

            Mexicans, IF they were seeking assylum, could present and apply here in the US. However, Honduran, Nicaraguan, Guatemalan, Venezuelan, unless they leave their native coumtry and travel by water direct from their own country to here, but as far as I know, except the odd attempt from Cuba, this is not happening at all.

            So your meme about frustrating lawful assylees is bogus.

            Wanna rare back and have another go? This one missed the mark. No point scored.

          3. Trump has tried many times to fix this situation with congress and each time they have rejected any attempt.
            The truth is, these migrants are travelling over 2000 miles right through Mexico and Mexico is simply allowing them to do so unhindered, sometimes in groups of hundreds. Anyone who believes that Mexico should sit back and allow this to happen is either partisan or an idiot.
            Ask yourself, exactly what options are left open to Trump to force Mexico to stop this practice. He has none that I can see. He has tried often to obtain adequate funding for a wall. The Dems won’t even acknowledge that there is a problem. How blinkered do you have to be to not believe there is a serious problem here. Even the WaPO and the NYT are now writing about the crisis on the border and the Dems, for purely partisan reasons, will not admit to this crisis.
            How the hell is ‘protecting your border from mass invasion’ considered to be ‘immoral’
            When you own property is surrounded by a wall can you stupidly state that ‘walls don’t work’.
            These are weak arguments at best and outright lies at worse.
            It is clear that the Dems only have one policy/objective
            Remove Trump by any means possible and oppose everything he wants to pass in the mean time.

        3. A better way. President Trump might start by looking at the source of the immigration problem. Why are people are fleeing their home in central America and what actions can we take to improve conditions in these countries. He could add judges to adjudicate asylum claims more quickly. He could support comprehensive immigration reform in this country. He could address the issues of dreamers and get those people on the citizen ship pathway. He could do a lot of things. Instead he just trying to be meaner and nastier. It hasn’t worked yet and I doubt it will.

          1. “”Why are people are fleeing their home in central America and what actions can we take to improve conditions in these countries.””

            I seen a few reasons thrown around. Corrupt government and gangs for example. What do you think we should do about that?

          2. I don’t think anything you said would change things. Look at the problems? You think Trump doesn’t know a shithole country when he sees one? Does anyone not understand that people leave Central America because those countries are poorly run, dangerous, and lack opportunity?
            We could add judges and his has been proposed but gone nowhere bc of Congress. We’d have to hire what, 20,000 Article I judges to get to the point where people didn’t have to be released on their own recognizance? Congress can’t even hire 500. Courtrooms would have to be built. Translators, court reporters, clerks, etc. Nobody wants to pay for that. And even if they did, that is an 8-10 year project.

            Any decent solution is not going to be fast. And none will be perfect. You may not agree with it, and it may not work even if well executed, but a high quality border wall might be able to slow the flows down enough to enable longer reforms to be implemented. The country can definitely absorb a some illegal immigration and, on balance, it is probably a good thing. A lot better than people leaving. We’ve way beyond that point and the citizenry has a problem with it. Failure to do something is going to invite a lot ‘meaner’ person than Trump.

            I’ve yet to see any concrete solution offered up beyond simply defining the problem away by conferring citizenship to anyone asking for it. I.e., the Gillespie solution. Generalized handwaving about “comprehensive immigration reform” without specifics that would somehow lead to an ability to actually control immigration is meaningless pablum.

            1. “Comprehensive immigration reform” is code words for amnesty of the tens of millions of illegal aliens – latest estimates in the 20,000,000 range, meaning that many more voters, who would break better than 60% for the demoncraps.
              That would be the end of America.
              Soon to become just another shithole turd world country, just as the “progressives” want.

          3. Why should Americans pay their hard earned taxes for judges to solve a problem which has nothing to do with America.
            Why can’t Mexico just do what they should do and either protect their own southern border or at the very least stop thousands of migrants simply marching thousands of miles through their country to get to the American border. Even Mexicans are sick of the inability of the Mexican government to prevent these caravans. The vast majority of asylum claims are rejected. If these people want asylum they should present themselves at legal points of entry, not entering illegally. You have to be a complete idiot to believe all of these illegal migrants are actually fleeing persecution. The huge majority are economic migrants. It is not the responsibility of America to feed and clothe the world.
            You cannot have open borders and a welfare state.

            1. If you buy Perdue or Tyson products you are paying the illegals to come here. I list Perdue first because their buses were the first to show up when I was a lad.

              Granted, this was done by shell corporations but the buck should stop at the top.

      2. What exactly would be your bridge too far?

        The Civil War. But, since we crossed that bridge, Social Security. But, since we crossed that bridge, Vietnam. But, since we crossed that bridge, the War on Drugs. But, since we crossed that bridge, the War on Terror.

        At this point, freedom has been dragged for miles of bridge and you’re complaining about a hop over a stream. Whaddya gonna do to stop him from making the hop which he can legally make? Build a wall?

        1. Is this supposed to be a defense? Oh we already did a bunch of bad shit, so it’s not like more bad shit really matters. Trump fanboys are really scraping the bottom of the barrel to justify their existence, which is understandable given the circumstances.

          1. Is this supposed to be a defense?

            Are you equating the wanton slaughter of millions of Americans with raising taxes on foreign goods? Because your intellectual dishonesty is showing.

            David N. doesn’t give a shit about what bridge I or Rockabilly will or won’t cross. He wants it firmly established that he absolutely will not stand for absurd blustery foreign/trade policy in any form! Especially from a President with orange hair who doesn’t wear a pince-nez!

      3. A bridge to far is letting 1 million a year individuals invade another country against their immigration laws. 9 out of 10 illegal immigrants skip their immigration hearings from the latear DHS report.

        We get you are ignorantly open borders. But we still have laws. Change the laws. Not the enforcement of laws.

        Wont even get into the various studies on the welfare costs of these individuals.

        1. Fake news lulz.

    2. You can tell just from the title which posts are Boehm posts.

    3. Eric Boehm tries to convince someone that he has a grasp of economic reality !!

      New at 24/7

    4. Better article: ‘How Stunningly Stupid is Eric Boehm? Let us Count the Ways’

      Start counting everyone!

    5. Morons continue to defend moron!

      More at 11.

    6. Three words: Trump Derangement Syndrome.

  2. “Let’s start with the most obvious: Tariffs are taxes on Americans. ”

    Hahaha. Is that why a stunned Mexico immediately sent its representative to discuss the threatened tariffs? They don’t care, right?

    “Second, the number of undocumented immigrants coming to the United States from Mexico has been declining for years, and many have returned home already. ”

    Fake News. We have record amounts of illegal border crossers right now. Pew’s numbers are wrong, a Yale study showed 22 million illegal immigrants are in the US — double Pew’s number. Moreover, the Yale study is a year old now and we’ve had another million or so border jumpers since then!

    1. Hahaha. Is that why a stunned Mexico immediately sent its representative to discuss the threatened tariffs? They don’t care, right?

      If the U.S. suddenly decided to impose a 25% tax on American-built cars, U.S. automakers would complain and so would American consumers. Such a tax would dramatically raise prices for consumers and dramatically cut sales (and profits) for automakers. It’s entirely possible for a policy to be so idiotic that everybody loses. Making our trading partners afraid and angry doesn’t mean that we’re ‘winning’.

      1. Consider your audience. They are, being far-right goobers, impervious to logic and ethics, let alone basic economics.

        1. And you’re the sockpuppet of a person who posted links to kiddie porn screech.

        2. Blowhard – you are exactly correct. The reason comment section is, largely and lamentably, a strange conspiracy minded far right sewer.

          1. And that’s being charitable. 😉

          2. So this is what constitutes the “far right”? Such radicalism!

        3. You fool. Raise the prices of Mexican goods and you would expect to see fewer Mexican goods sold. This is indeed basic economics.

          1. Except for when those goods are part of critical supply chains.

            Which means the actual end result is higher prices for Americans, with minimal impact on Mexico.

            Trump supporters are truly the dumbest people on the planet.

            1. BYODB doesn’t need no stinkin’ supply chains!

              1. The problem is far more complex than supply chains. Illegals need to eat. To do so, they either take hand outs which cost American tax payers, or they take jobs at far reduced wage thereby undercutting the value of that job for other Americans. Quite often they do this job illegally, therefore not paying taxes. Multiply that by 22 million and you are looking at billions of dollars in lost revenue as well as cheap labour resulting in Americans not being able to find employment
                Next, you have the problem of schooling the children of these illegals which again costs the American tax payer billions each year.
                Next, you have hundreds of thousands of cars on the roads which ordinarily would not be, This causes congestion and pollution and in many cases thousands of accidents with uninsured drivers who often do not even have driving licences.This has a knock on effect of over crowding the hospital system.
                This goes way beyond the cost of tariffs. Can you imagine America with 22 million fewer people.
                This does not even take into account the number of crimes committed by illegals or the type of people crossing the border, or the drugs they bring in or the diseases they are carrying.
                If you also add to this equation the number of immigrant children who are raped and murdered on the journey through Mexico.
                Why would anyone NOT want to stop this from happening. This is a humanitarian crisis and the only one in power who seems to want to do anything to stop it is Trump. Yet Trump is supposed to be the monster here. This makes absolutely no sense.
                I defy anyone to state what options he has left since the Dems in congress won’t even acknowledge there IS a problem, let alone want to do anything to solve it. Trump has tried numerous times to reach out to the Dems and has been demonised for outreach. They won’t give Trump money for the border wall. They won’t even discuss changing the law to discourage illegals from coming into America. They set up sanctuary cities and thereby prevent their law enforcement from informing ICE when they arrest any illegal aliens.
                At every turn, the Dems are preventing Trump from stopping illegal immigration. This is one of the few options he has left to do the job he was elected to do. Let’s make no mistake here. Trump was given a clear mandate by the electorate to build this wall with the purpose of preventing illegal immigration. It is not as if he did not campaign on this issue. It was front and centre of his campaign.

      2. You do know that welfare and enforcement of border is also a tax on the American people literally paid for by taxes… right? By not fixing the problem of illegal entry, taxes naturally go up to cover said costs. But you keep pretending tariffs act in isolation.

        1. Jesse, open borders gotta be nuts.

      3. “Making our trading partners afraid and angry doesn’t mean that we’re ‘winning’”

        True enough, but that’s not the point. Trump isn’t concerned about results, even those of the unintended consequences variety, Trump doesn’t have any strategy; his aims are formless and indistinct.

        That leaves a foreign policy based on three pillars : Posturing, Pandering, and Tweets. You can pretty much define any Trump action on the world stage by those three criteria. One example is Iran, where Trump’s “policy” hits the trifecta of pandering to the Saudis, Israelis, and his political base. With an accomplishment like that, who cares if there isn’t a real objective anywhere on the horizon? Recently I heard someone wondering why Trump picked Bolton, since DJT has no interest in Bolton’s goals or beliefs. I just laughed, because the answer is so easy. Trump didn’t care about his National Security Adviser’s beliefs because Trump himself has no beliefs. Bolton was a face on Fox, so he was a good pick to pander to the base – all substance was completely irrelevant……

        1. We’re you saying something? I just heard a lot of TDS gibbering.

          1. ‘Were’

    2. Yeah of course tariffs hurt the exporting country, which Boehm mentions specifically in this post. It’s still a self-destructive strategy being used to address the non-problem of individuals making their own decisions about where they want to work and live.

      1. Non problem. Not eve idiots would say that. Sp what’s after idiot…

        Your belief is there are no external costs with low wage and low educated workers?

        1. Free migration makes economies and societies stronger, not weaker. So yeah, it’s not a problem.

          1. How would 300 million additional welfare recipients be helpful?

            1. Have you considered the possibility that welfare might be the problem and are you seriously implying that the 1 TRIIIIIILLLLION (with a T!) dollar deficit is mainly, partially, or even in any way remotely because of the spending on non-citizens living within US borders?

              https://www.heritage.org/immigration/report/the-fiscal-cost-unlawful-immigrants-and-amnesty-the-us-taxpayer
              This paper estimates that total expenditures on illegal immigrants is about 56 billion a year. That’s a hefty sum, no doubt and should be reduced, but is that the sort of price you want to crash the economy with no survivors over? Particularly when it’s something like 1% of total federal expenditures and in no way a major driver of the deficit and even more particularly when that’s only the expenditures, it doesn’t count revenues. Most illegal immigrants end up paying payroll taxes and about half contribute money to social security with no ability to collect.

              But don’t let facts get in your way of a good two minute hate.


              1. Most illegal immigrants end up paying payroll taxes and about half contribute money to social security with no ability to collect.

                Which is also why both sides of the aisle are happy to let the problem continue. We need those people to pay into a system without being able to draw from it in order to make that system solvent.

                I like how this is considered by many people to be the kind and noble solution, when in fact it’s probably the most selfish and morally bankrupt.

                1. Even if this is true, it doesn’t begin to cover the costs associated with these illegals being here. Medical costs, education, infrastructure, the prison system, identity fraud, etc..

                  The forty million or so illegals here cost us big. They are not a net benefit in any reals sense.

              2. That six year old report starts with the “key takeaway” of 3.7 million illegal alien households.
                With the latest estimate of 22 million invaders, that would have almost six illegals per household.
                Clearly flawed data, from a time when we weren’t getting over .1 million, per month.

                1. 22 million minus 3.7 million is 18.3 million.

                  Wow has the criminal-in-chief* mucked things up.

                  * Employed illegals for over a decade.

          2. No, it doesn’t. At this scale it just makes us poorer.

    3. White supremacists seem to be mostly slack-jaws — even those whose screen names include “Lawyer.”

      As association between intolerance and ignorance seems natural.

      1. Coming from probably the most intolerant and ignorant poster, on this site, that’s rich.

        1. He’s also one of the most racist too.

    4. Border crossings dropped dramtically after Trump took office, started creeping back up as people south of the border noticed that Congress wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about security the border, and then exploded late last year after it became obvious to everybody that a Democratic House wasn’t going to fund border security.

      They’re deliberately using dated statistics to conceal that surge, and pretend we’re still looking at the low tide level of a couple years ago.

  3. Trumptards in 4….3….2……

    1. Leftards in 4…3…2…

      oh, you’re already here.

  4. “Perhaps Trump means that Mexico should curb the flow of migrants passing through the country on their way to the United States—specifically, the migrants fleeing violence in Central America. But those are not, by and large, illegal immigrants; they’re coming here to legally present themselves as candidates for asylum.”

    Are 90% of them denied asylum?

    “USCIS approved 11,729 affirmative asylum applications in FY 2016, representing slightly more than 10 percent out of the 115,399 affirmative asylum applications filed with the agency.”

    https://immigrationforum.org/article/fact-sheet-u-s-asylum-process/

    P.S. Who was the president in 2016?

    P.P.S. Asylum applications appear to be approved at a lower rate now than they have been in years past.

    1. Asylum, unlike what the America-haters claim, is not for those whose only complaint, about where they are supposed to be, is that it sucks.
      It is meant to be for those, who would face an existential threat from their government.
      Granting asylum to even 10% of these scam artists is exceedingly generous.

  5. There’s a heated discussion at work here about Trump tariffs. The Trump supporters (people I presume are Trump supporters) seriously believe that this will not cost consumers a dime. The liberals in the office (having recently discovered economics) are explaining carefully how those costs trickle down to the consumer.

    I will say this about the Trump administration, it’s created some fucked up through-the-looking-glass shit in political discussions.

    1. “The liberals in the office (having recently discovered economics) are explaining carefully how those costs trickle down to the consumer.”

      That’s funny. Politics make strange bedfellows.

      1. Hmm. Maybe that’s Trump’s 9D Vulcan Mind Meld! Getting Democrats to learn economics and hate taxes!

        1. He’s gaslighting them into becoming libertarians!

        2. You’re cracking wise, but it might actually have that effect.

          1. Maybe, but only as long as taxes can be used to bash Trump and not a minute longer.

          2. They’re too deep into the socialism trap now.

    2. Hi there, it seems you are rather uninformed, and lack an understanding of both sides of the tariff issue. Check this out. http://www.econpol.eu/publications/policy_brief_11

      Who is Paying for the Trade War with China?

      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. On the other hand, most economists agree that international trade has positive effects for the economy as a whole. The overall gains from trade are high enough to compensate those groups that lose out. These opposing views also characterise general public opinion in the US. Stokes (2018) shows that most Americans believe that international trade is good for the economy, but that they personally do not gain from it, particularly in the labour market. Trade in general, and the US trade deficit with China in particular, has a bad reputation.

      Then, google “Adam Smith on Tariffs: an Interview”

      1. I’m not making the argument either way, I’m just noting how the two sides have run to the opposite end of the merry–go-round.

      2. “which could subsequently be redistributed in the US.”

        This won’t happen.

        1. “…generate revenues of around USD 22.5 billion, which could subsequently be redistributed in the US.”

          Hopefully, to people here illegally in the form education and emergency room visits. /sarc

      3. That will not last. In the short term, Chinese producers will take the hit in order to preserve their markets and distributor/retailer sales channels, etc. But they’ll do this only for a short while and only as long as they believe the tariffs are temporary. If things drag on and they conclude tariffs are here to stay, they’ll stop doing this, and prices will spike.

        1. You’re either gonna be right or wrong about that.

          1. but i think you’re probably right.

          2. Prices will go up, go down or stay the same.

            1. Totally agree

        2. “Chinese producers will take the hit in order to preserve their markets and distributor/retailer sales channels, etc. But they’ll do this only for a short while”

          They’ll do it as long as they want in the US market, the richest in the world.

          1. They won’t want to be in it if they can’t make any money doing it. The U.S. is one of the richest automobile markets in the world, but Ford, GM, and Chrysler have all but stopped selling cars (as opposed to trucks and SUVs) because they couldn’t make any money selling cars.

            1. Thank Obama and his pals for that. Plenty of other companies, all of whom make a lot of their cars here have no problem making a profit off of their cars. Part of this is also a shift away from sedans to small crossovers, since Americans can’t bring themselves to drive station wagons anymore.

              1. Minivans and SUVs replacing station wagons is because station wagons have to conform to automobile mileage standards while taller vehicles have to conform with lower truck mileage standards. This is an example of an economic rent manipulating the market.

                Don’t get me started on the appropriately named Alan Blinder and his Cash for Clunkers clunker.

        3. You’ve got it opposite. In the short term, these tariffs cost our importers (and some exporters) a bit of cash. But in the long term, we can get a better trade deal and enforcement and advance U.S. interests to our significant long term benefit.

          If in the process we redirect some business away from China and to, you know, any of the other hundred countries that aren’t a rising communist, imperialist, global superpower, well, that’s OK too. The “free trade” tards here at Reason act like U.S. companies don’t have plenty of other countries to look at as options.

      4. Their simple economic model is clearly too simple. This is just another example of the “Garbage in, garbage out” computer modelling principle.

        1. Right, they need a model that gets to the answer that fits my brain-dead, spoon-fed views about trade.

      5. The fact that tariffs raise prices on imported goods and makes things more expensive for consumers–even those sold by domestic competitors–is a fact.

        Even IF IF IF the impact of tariffs were slight in in the short run, that would do nothing to speak to the longer term problems associated with an inefficient economy that evolves to conform to the political preferences of politicians because of artificially trade barriers.

        In short, long term economic growth and prosperity comes from specialization and exchange, and the extent to which tariffs, taxes, and central planning gets in the way of that, it hurts the economy over time. Pointing out that Adam Smith once made an observation that wasn’t entirely critical of tariffs is like pointing out that Stalin once gave his mother flowers on Mother’s Day.

        P.S. Tariffs would still be unnecessarily inefficient and harmful to the economy even if Adam Smith had swore on a stack of Bibles to the contrary. Adam Smith is among the greatest minds to ever put pen to paper because he was right about so many things, but there isn’t anything that’s ever been right or wrong just because Adam Smith said so.

        1. “The fact that tariffs raise prices on imported goods and makes things more expensive for consumers–even those sold by domestic competitors–is a fact.”

          That’s not necessarily true. It would depend on the price elasticity of demand for imports, and the response of the Chinese exporters to a drop in demand (i.e., lowering prices). In a given context, it’s reasonably plausible that the American importers absorb some of the tax, and perhaps some smaller fraction of that gets passed onto consumers. But again, that depends on the price elasticity of demand for the particular product. More importantly it depends on the absence of competing American companies that offer the same product but import it or its materials or components from some country other than China. Alternatives, competition = high elasticity.

          “Even IF IF IF the impact of tariffs were slight in in the short run, that would do nothing to speak to the longer term problems associated with an inefficient economy that evolves to conform to the political preferences of politicians because of artificially trade barriers.”

          Your point here would make sense, except that there’s no basis for concluding that the status quo is any more “efficient” than a few more tariffs being put in place. In fact, there’s reason to believe the opposite. As you might have noticed, there is no one-world government yet dictating global economic policy, establishing and enforcing the construct known as a “market” on a uniform global scale. Instead, we have nation-states. The U.S. generally has high regulatory costs, substantial taxes, and a lack of government subsidization of private enterprise (relatively speaking). There’s nothing “efficient” about trading with a communist nation that has slave labor and no environmental or other regulations to speak of. The U.S. may stand to gain a short term benefit by engaging in such trading, but in the long term, without reasonable prudence, the U.S. could risk destroying domestic industry and the core economic engines of the nation (i.e. kill the goose that lays the golden eggs). That’s presumably why Adam Smith made one of his many comments that the tradetards would find puzzling, “It will generally be advantageous to lay some burden upon foreign industry for the encouragement of domestic industry, when some tax is imposed at home upon the produce of the latter.” (Read the link for the rest of that quote).

    3. Have you looked at polls about support for NAFTA recently? Before Trump Democrats were more opposed to NAFTA than Republicans, but since Trump now opposes NAFTA Dem support has jumped 30 points to 78%

      Everything is topsy-turvy

      1. Exactly. I just find it funny that in the last two of the most recent fifty years, the left have become Milton Friedman.

        This creates a great opportunity for discussions where I’m going to be able to say, “So what you’re saying is…”

        1. Funny???

          I really hope this sticks. If Democrats continue not ignoring economics once in power we might actually get a halfway decent government.

    4. “The Trump supporters (people I presume are Trump supporters) seriously believe that this will not cost consumers a dime.”

      I oppose what Trump is doing, but there’s this thing called “intellectual honesty”. Without it, you’re not about to persuade anybody of anything. They won’t even really listen to your argument. There’s also this story called, “The Boy who Cried Wolf”. Yeah, this time the wolf is real, but if no one comes running, don’t blame “Trump supporters”. With a tantrum Trump balloon up there, few Trump supporters will bother to read the article. Why should they?

      1. So what you’re saying is that TDS is a 2-way street? Some delusionally hate him, some delusionally love (and defend) everything he does.

        I oppose what Trump is doing, but

        That’s usually the sign of someone teetering on the edge of the latter form of TDS, when they instinctively defend everything their principles say are wrong.

        1. Bleh! You are so tedious. That is not what is saying at all, but since you have the former type of TDS, you can’t comprehend his point.

          Leo: Trump is doing something bad! Fly the Trump balloon!
          Everyone else: Hey, they are flying the Orange Baby again, the bat-signal for butt-hurt Progressives. We can certainly ignore this…

          1. “flying the Orange Baby” is lol

    5. I will say this about the Trump administration, it’s created some fucked up through-the-looking-glass shit in political discussions.

      As someone who may or may not have colluded with Russians, this is according to plan. Putin couldn’t possibly have defeated a SJW rage mob but SJW-liberals spouting economics can be beaten by a strong breeze.

    6. The liberals in the office (having recently discovered economics) ….

      Let’s congratulate those liberals, who have now discovered economics. That puts them one-up on their friends from the Right, who are economic illiteracy personified. When it comes to economic Stupid (capital “S”), you can’t beat the political party that believes tax cuts magically pay for themselves, so the more trillions the merrier.

      You see, before those liberals decided to study their Adam Smith, they at least knew basic math. But the post-Reagan Right has been boycotting 2+2=4 for almost a half-century now. You wanna talk about “fucked up through-the-looking-glass shit”, try jokey nonsense like the “laffer curve”…..

      But free stuff gotta be free, right?

      1. You see, before those liberals decided to study their Adam Smith, they at least knew basic math.

        Mmmno.

        Or do we consider Democratic Socialism a temporary aberration that’ll fade away faster than Michelle Wolf’s comedy career?

        1. I consider Democratic Socialism a right-wing wet dream. And wet dreams rarely have any relationship to reality……….

          1. And the 200 million dead bodies that socialism left in its wake? Is that a dream as well?

            The stench of your failure to comprehend is overpowering.

      2. You see, before those liberals decided to study their Adam Smith, they at least knew basic math.

        Parroting the fact that ‘costs trickle down’ is hardly an indicator of reading ability, let alone do basic math or grasp Adam Smith.

        It’s entirely likely that one side effect of TDS is that their IQ crept up a couple of points and, once cured, they’ll return to continue being the blathering idiots who openly balance healthcare on the knife’s edge of population statistics and then say we should open the borders *and* cripple the census.

        1. It’s entirely likely that one side effect of TDS is that their IQ crept up a couple of points and, once cured, they’ll return to continue being the blathering idiots who openly balance healthcare on the knife’s edge of population statistics and then say we should open the borders *and* cripple the census.

          Policies that, unlike tariffs, have proven they can’t simply be rolled back under the next administration.

        2. “blathering idiots who openly balance healthcare on the knife’s edge of population statistics and then say we should open the borders *and* cripple the census”

          I find it entertaining to debate public policy with wacko loons. Their minds inevitably drift, treating us all to rambling incoherent rants.

          Incidentally, my point above was this : Whether or not “liberals” firmly grasp economics and the wealth of nations, they’re still not as shit-for-brains stupid as today’s conservative, economics-wise. Because you couldn’t even get a kindergarten class to believe supply-side nonsense; the little tykes would giggle, make faces, and loudly demand you be serious. But today’s “conservative”?They consume that bullshit like it’s their mother’s milk. The core-belief of today’s Right is an “economic theory” roughly on the level of magic purple unicorns….

          That’s in a whole other world than the “liberals” you sneer at. Conservatives need to up their game a few-score IQ points just to get in the game…..

          1. Since your apparent economics understanding is at a kindergarten level, I can see why you think your fellow travelers wouldn’t understand the logical reasoning behind supply-side theory.
            You people are so easily fooled, that you think the world will be powered by unicorn farts and that the illegal invaders, swarming across the border, are a plus for the economy.

    7. The one plus side of the Trump presidency is that it’s seemingly made liberals understand economic benefit of trade. OTOH, it’s made conservatives forget about those benefits. So I guess it’s a wash.

      1. And it’s made open border idiots deny externalities of the importation of low skilled workers and deny government spends money on said class of people.

        1. They learned economics and forgot demographics/population statistics.

    8. Diane with the strawman argument. Find me one person saying tariffs cause nobody a single dime? The argument is the welfare programs and government programs used by illegal immigrants costs more than the tariffs will.

      1. Diane with the strawman argument. Find me one person saying tariffs cause nobody a single dime?

        Well if you’d have read my message, I’d introduce you to several of my co-workers which would more than satisfy your “one person” argument.

      2. And further, if you’d have really read my message, I didn’t say it will cause “no one” a single dime, I said “consumers”.

        And if you’d have really really read my message, I didn’t say any of it, it was a discussion that was happening in my office.

        So you really whiffed this one.

        1. There seems to be a lot of complete misreading of comments going on lately.
          Obviously you aren’t supposed to read the articles, but it’s probably good to actually read people’s comments before you start calling them idiots.

    9. I think it’s obviously going to cause our economy a short term hit, (And Mexico’s economy a much larger hit, which is why they’re so eager to talk Trump out of it.) but if we have to suffer a hit to our economy to still be America instead of Northern Mexico 50 years from now, I’m OK with it.

      Nobody comes out better from a knock down, drag out fight, but that doesn’t mean you should let somebody beat on you without responding in kind. Mexico is deliberately enabling violation of our immigration laws. I’d be fine with just treating that as the cause for outright war it is, if a trade “war” won’t stop them.

      1. Even if Trump gets his stupid wall, and people like you get the xenophobic immigration policies that you really want, 50 years from now, America won’t even be the America of today. It will be some other country, just as the America of today is not the same place that America was 50 years ago, or 100 years ago, etc. There is no option on the table which leads to the outcome of “America stays exactly the same for the rest of all time”. That is utopian thinking, just of a nationalist bent, and trying to create that type of utopia, as with attempts to create any utopia, will just lead to negative results. In this case, I fear that it will lead to an America that is closed, conformist, paranoid, belligerent, xenophobic, autarkic, alone in the world, with very few friends because America will have alienated everyone who might be a friend with its belligerent and paranoid attitudes. Such places tend not to be favorably disposed to respecting liberty because they tend to treat individuals who don’t conform as enemies of the state rather than simply people who made alternative but valid choices. So I don’t really want to live in the type of future you have in mind for us in 50 years. I would rather have a future that is open and engaged and welcoming of different points of view. Such a future has its own set of challenges and problems, but I’ll choose those over the ones you would set forth for us.

        1. And then they tore my chest out and they threw it over THERE!

        2. So Pedo Jeffy thinks our current immigration policy, which is possibly the most liberal in the civilized world, are xenophobic. As compared to whom?

      2. Ah – beneath the calm-seeming, intellectually-engaged total moron you usually come off as, you’re also a nativist sociopath. Good to know.

  6. pic is Pink Floyd show gone wrong.

  7. “In 2016, there were 1.5 million fewer unauthorized Mexicans living in the U.S. than there were in 2007, according to data from the Pew Research Center.”

    My understanding is that Trump is going after Mexico for not doing enough about non-Mexican citizens who come across their southern borders.

    “Overall, the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. has declined from 12.2 million in 2007 to about 10 million last year, Pew says.”

    What does this have to do with asylum seekers?

    Asylum seekers don’t become “undocumented immigrants” unless they’re denied a hearing because their claims don’t qualify for consideration, unless their applications for asylum are rejected, or unless they fail to show up for their asylum hearing–which, taken together, seems to account for some 90% of all asylum seekers.

    Is Boehm claiming that when these people who fail at abusing the asylum system become illegal immigrants, that this is a good thing?

    I feel sorry for legitimate asylum seekers. It’s bad enough that they have to flee their country of origin for legitimate fears of persecution, but then they have to contend with a system overwhelmed by so many phony asylum seekers, too?

    Have a heart!

    1. I don’t think Boehm is so stupid as to claim that.

      This whole issue is one of the reasons I don’t trust the media, even the one’s I like. Nobody will be nuanced or principled enough to admit that this isn’t about Mexican immigrants, but other people who have been shepherded through Mexico to the border. No, instead it’s about how millions of people want to come to racist America for reasons.

      1. Yeah, sometimes assuming people are being intellectually dishonest is giving them the benefit of the doubt. If he really believed some of the things he writes, that would mean he was a victim of his own inability to reason. Personally, I think being intellectually honest is more important than being smart, but not everyone feels that way. For a lot of people, being dumb is worse than being dishonest.

        I may make stupid mistakes in the future, but if I’m honest, I can learn from them–and I have the additional benefit of being persuasive with people who disagree with me. George Orwell was a fucking socialist, but I find his arguments against communism particularly persuasive, and it’s probably in no small part because of his intellectual honesty. How many socialists felt like they had to apologize for Stalin because if they didn’t, people might think socialism was bad?

        Libertarians can easily fall into the same trap.

        1. I totally agree. I’m sure I fall into it myself at times.

      2. Nobody will be nuanced or principled enough to admit that this isn’t about Mexican immigrants, but other people who have been shepherded through Mexico to the border.

        Technically, this is about Mexicans, other people shepherded through Mexico, Russians, Norwegians, people from various other shitholes shepherded through Mexico or not, refugees housed on islands in the S. Hemisphere… only one side likes to pretend it’s just about the Mexicans.

    2. Who says they’re phony? How do you know without a system to determine it?

      Furthermore, why is your face so permanently adhered to the rectum of the Republican party, willingly human centipeding in all its stupid made-up racist horseshit?

      This is a libertarian website. Talk about individual human freedom for once, you embarrassing jackass.

      1. Taxation this theft. The government steals from me and uses it for many things, including services for illegal immigrants. The government stealing from me to give to illegal immigrants is inhibiting my individual freedom.

        *tips cap*

        1. Again, horseshit. Among all types of Americans, illegal immigrants are least likely to use public services (while they also pay taxes in). So why focus on them at all? Why not start calling for the deportation of natives who actually use government services?

          1. illegal immigrants are least likely to use public services (while they also pay taxes in)

            You are a bald-faced liar.

            Tell all of us here exactly how an asylum seeker feeds, houses and clothes themselves and their family without public services. By definition an asylum seeker is not paying taxes. If they had a job, they wouldn’t be able to claim asylum. And explain the daily reports about folks showing up half-dead from the border crossing and in need of urgent medical care.

            We are waiting…

            1. True, I suppose the cages the federal government is putting them in are paid for by taxpayers.

              1. Yep, just like the cages all the other lawbreakers occupy. And here I thought you were against private prisons.

      2. Well, for one thing, if they were real refugees, they wouldn’t have walked to our border in the first place, unless they were walking there from Mexico.

        If your house burns down, and you walk down the street to the Motel 8 and ask for emergency lodging, you’re a refugee. If you walk past the Motel 8 and the Doubletree, to reach the Hilton, you’re just a guy looking for a free hotel room.

        1. But how does it possibly affect you for us to comply with refugee laws? Even if we had extremely generous ones?

          You’re being had by politicians using the oldest, stupidest, and most evil trick in the book.

          1. We do comply with refugee agreements. There is no ‘law’ of which you speak. And according to international treaty, there is no forum shopping. Refugees from countries further away than Mexico need to seek asylum at the nearest country to them.

            That isn’t us.

        2. If you don’t stop and walk past the Motel 8 and the Doubletree, *because they are run by the same people who burned down your house*, what does that make you, Brett?

          1. Well Pedo Jeffy, it definitely doesn’t make him an enthusiast of violent child rapists. Not like you.

          2. Bullshit. Mexico is considered a safe country to seek asylum in. Indeed, many of these migrants have been offered asylum by Mexico and have refused their offer. If they were true asylum seekers they would have accepted instantly.
            They continue to walk to the American border to take advantage of the weak immigration laws. It is that simple.
            They cross the border illegally and only claim asylum if they are unlucky enough to get caught. It is a defence mechanism to prevent instant deportation and many of them have been taught to claim asylum by NGOs who are well versed in American immigration laws and many of these NGOs are financed by the likes of Soros.
            Some of these NGOs were actually caught on camera literally handing money to these immigrants to help them on their journey.
            This is a coordinated and orcastrated campaign to swamp America with illegal immigrants.

        3. To correct your metaphor: If you walk past the Motel 8 and the Doubletree because they’re also either on fire or likely to soon be on fire, to reach the Hilton, which is very clearly not on fire, then you’re a refugee.

          1. What happens when the Hilton is full?
            Problem with the metaphor is that their home countries are not “on fire”, just that there is somewhere, that they think they can get free stuff, just like all “progressives”, but will quickly turn the US into the same kind of shithole they left.

            1. What “free stuff” are we giving them, exactly?

          2. It’s a good thing that countries in Central America, other then Venezuela, are not on fire then. Economic forum shopping isn’t part of the deal. No matter how much open borders nuts think it is.

  8. “Let’s start with the most obvious: Tariffs are taxes on Americans”

    Let’s start with the actual obvious. That is a stupid platitude used by intellectually stunted clowns. They are similar, but not the same, and the differences matter enough to make your attempt at summation into simply an advertisement of ignorance.

    1. “…and the differences matter enough”

      They matter enough that you won’t even describe them.

      1. liar

        1. Careful not to burn another sock, Tulpoopy. You’re pathetically predictable, at least.

    2. This kind of pedantic bullshit is all that the Trump defenders have left. It’s the last resort of the corncobbed fanboy.

      1. Rhayader – Ding! Correct, you have control of the board.

        1. left hand sock puppet

          1. So who are all these new progtarded faggots that have cropped up of the last week or so? Socks, or refugees from WaPo and the like?

            If they’re new, then they need to be beaten down savagely.

      2. sock puppet

        1. I’m genuinely curious, what makes you decide a poster is a sock-puppet? Or is it just a generic insult now like the idiotic “NPC” thing?

          1. Screen name never seen before that jumps in to support an ad hominem attack? Seems like puppetry. Or shared psychosis…

            The ‘new’ Tulpa switches screen names all the time, but at least has the courtesy not to reply in support of himself.

            1. Nice try Tulpoopy. You’re fooling nobody.

      3. It’s like the old chestnut about how tax cuts don’t “cost” anything, when doing budget math, because they’re just about “taking” less money.

        1. Which is true. As if tax revenue somehow inherently ‘belongs’ to government. I’m sure you believe that shit, but it is in no way true.

    3. Public debate is going to be more insightful and enjoyable after this latest batch of white supremacists and superstitious slack-jaws is replaced.

      1. jar of gall bladders

      2. Anther predictably idiotic statement by Artie.

  9. “Sixth, Trump is complicating the passage of his much touted United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA) with these new tariff threats.”

    By “complicating”, do you mean making it more likely that Mexico will ratify the USMCA in order to terminate the tariff in question?

    “President López Obrador calls for dialogue on migrants, says Mexican ratification will proceed”

    —-30 minutes ago

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/mexico-continues-trade-pact-process-despite-trump-tariff-threat-11559308905?

    1. Aren’t the Democrats dragging their feet on approval?

      1. I suppose so. If both Canada and Mexico ratify, there will be a lot more pressure for the Democrats in the Senate to stop dragging their feet.

    2. López Obrador is obviously saying what he needs to, in light of a sudden heel turn by Trump, in order to keep his options on the table.

      I am not sure why you think Obrador will work harder to ratify Neo-NAFTA when the tariffs aren’t even about Neo-NAFTA in the first place.

  10. At what point is it just cheaper and better to have the US military seize Mexico’s southern border and build a wall down there at US expense then give it back to Mexico? The border is shorter, labor is plentiful, and there is no CEQA, NEPA, or any other bullshit regulation you’d have to deal with.

    1. At what point is it just cheaper and better to have the US military seize Mexico’s southern border and build a wall down there at US expense then give it back to Mexico?

      Ladders.

      1. Machine guns.

        1. Force fields.

    2. What brings authoritarian right-wing bigots and half-educated malcontents to an ostensibly libertarian website?

      Are these the white supremacists who get banned by Breitbart, RedState, Stormfront, and National Review for being especially anti-social, racist, and stupid?

      1. What brings an obvious imbecile, spouting ridiculous bromides about conservatives to an ostensibly libertarian website?

        Has this communist been banned by WaPo, HuffPo, MoveOn, etc. for being intellectually bereft?

  11. Flinging feces tariffs is the last refuge of the incompetent.

    1. Posting links to kiddie porn like you did is disgusting.

  12. “It is important to realize that what those benefited by these measures (tariffs) consider an advantage for themselves lasts only for a limited time. In the long run the privilege accorded to a definite class of producers loses its power to create specific gains. The privileged branch attracts newcomers, and their competition tends to eliminate the specific gains derived from the privilege. Thus the eagerness of the law’s pet children to acquire privileges is insatiable. They continue to ask for new privileges because the old ones lose their power.”
    –Ludwig von Mises
    https://oll.libertyfund.org/quotes/583

    1. It is important to realize that you’re a sockpuppet for a person who got banned for posting child pornography Screech.

      1. Right. Your ad-hominem claim is key to interpreting that Mises quote. It all makes sense now.

      2. What the fuck is it with the tin foil hat crowd screaming child porn at everyone they don’t like?

        1. Child porn is a big thing here at Reason.

          1. Tulpa sure seems to protest much about it, methinks.

            1. The experts call it “projection.”

        2. It isn’t ‘at everyone’. It’s two people, Chemjeff, and Palin’s Buttplug. Pedo Jeffy advocates for letting in illegals who are child molesters, and PB posted links to kiddie porn back around the end of April.

          Lots of people saw all of this, so it’s not a ‘claim’. It’s a proven fact.

    2. Yeah, and von Mises argument works fine in trade between countries that are mostly free market.

      In the presence of minimum wages, mandatory benefits, and a social safety net, unrestricted trade is itself a form of rent seeking.

      1. In the presence of minimum wages, mandatory benefits, and a social safety net, unrestricted trade is itself a form of rent seeking.

        One of the best, most succinct ways I’ve heard it said. The only change I’d make is to add rampant credentialism to the list.

        It blows my mind (not really) that people who intrinsically consider huge transnational corporations to be inherently evil will actively set those convictions aside to specifically make sure that huge transnational corporations have as simple a time as possible doing business. They’ll ignore banks, markets, exchanges, unions, regulatory entities, and even whole governments to make sure we understand that international trade and the tariffs thereon will hurt only the local farmer and the poor Chinese peasants to whom he’s trying to sell his grain.

        1. It blows my mind (not really) that people who intrinsically consider huge transnational corporations to be inherently evil will actively set those convictions aside to specifically make sure that huge transnational corporations have as simple a time as possible doing business.

          Who are these people? Seems like the people on the left who are acting that way are mostly just reacting to Trump. Or maybe I’m just behind the times. I still think of the Democrats as being pro-labor and suspicious of free trade.
          And the libertarian argument seems to get lost in all this. How about the idea that everyone should be allowed to do business as they see fit?

      2. In the presence of minimum wages, mandatory benefits, and a social safety net, unrestricted trade is itself a form of rent seeking.
        But so is restricted trade, so what are you going to do?

        1. What one should do is recognize that we’re talking about a choice between two non-libertarian positions, not a libertarian and a non-libertarian position.

          What one should do is recognize that much of what masquerades as libertarianism these days is simply non-libertarian rent seeking.

  13. Honk! Honk!

  14. More anti-Trump rhetoric. Libertarians are disappointing me more than never-Trumpers. It seems the party likes unfair trade practices and no boarders like the establishment does. I guess the illusion of free-trade is enough. I guess open boarders will pay for itself.

    1. Their complaints would have some validity if Trump were imposing tariffs for the sake of imposing tariffs, or against trading partners who had none won’t us. As it happens the US has had shit trade agreements for decades and our trade relationships are frequently abused. China and the EU being among the worst.

      Sometimes it becomes necessary to hit back to get the abuse to stop. Even if one has to bleed a little bit more in the short term.

  15. “Down with NAFTA down with NAFTA! Oh wait, what? Shit.”

    *squeaking of sharpie on placard*

    Down Up with NAFTA up with NAFTA!”

    1. or just turn the sign upside down.

  16. Summary:

    “Orange man bad!”

    “Maximize consumer spending at any cost!”

    That’s what Reason/Cato/Koch libertarianism is all about these days.

    1. Seems better than the bigotry, superstition, and belligerent ignorance that animates Trump supporters.

  17. Interesting.

    Reason writers have repeatedly called people who enter on legal visas and then remain in the country illegally afterward are “illegal immigrants” in order to point out a border wall can’t stop them.

    But now I’m being told by a writer in Reason that people who enter without visas, make bogus asylum claims, and then remain in the country illegally afterward aren’t “illegal immigrants”, so successfully stopping them from entering the US won’t stop illegal immigration.

  18. Tariffs are taxes on Americans.

    Get that? Trump lowered taxes on corporations and added taxes to food. He is trying to bandage the wound with government giveaways to farmers.

    Most libertarian president ever!

    1. $12 billion + another $16 billion in Heartland™ farmer bribes buys a lot of blowjobs votes from the Base™ come 2020, if POO is still alive and not a felon in an orange prison jumpsuit to match his current skin. By the way, if POO is in an orange jumpsuit, how do you know he’s really there?

      1. It must be considered that his skin color and hairdo are the best he can possibly do. They don’t let you fake bake in prison, and hair care is shoddy at best. I’m not sure I even want to gaze upon that.

        1. I’m thinking he looks, in actual life, like that Game of Thrones Frankenstein’s monster whose head was finally revealed in the mercifully last episode.

  19. Trump says the tariffs will stay in place until the “problem is remedied,” but what does that mean?

    2024.

    1. american made avocados.

  20. Quit fucking around and declare war on the traffickers bringing these people here. A few missiles on the “coyote”‘s mansions and a few strafing runs on convoys will abate the traffic much more than trade sanctions.

    1. Declaring war requires congressional approval. And congress doesn’t like to hand its authority to the executive.

      Oh, who am I kidding? Start rolling out the artillery!

      1. Trump is not far away from sending out a memo stating that he has the unilateral authority to use the military in whatever way it suits him, inherent in his executive powers.

        It will come. All the groundwork is being laid now.

        1. Presidents have been doing that for decades already, without bothering with a “memo” explicitly arrogating the privilege.

          1. When Obama used military assets in Libya, he faced criticism for doing exactly this – proceeding without full congressional authorization, in violation of the law. But because Republicans essentially agreed with ousting Gadafi, little was done.

            What’s coming is Congress trying to block Trump from declaring war on Iran – or wherever – by denying him funds, blocking his invocation of the War Powers Act, etc. And Trump declaring that he doesn’t need to listen to Congress or view himself to be constrained by their attempts to constrain him.

            1. Depending on the outcome, that could be a good thing. It’s way past time for Congress to reassert its power over war.

    2. All-talk, blustering, right-wing authoritarians are among my favorite inconsequential faux libertarians awaiting replacement.

  21. “How Stunningly Stupid Is Trump’s Tariff Threat Aimed at Mexico?”

    Stunningly *awesome*.

    I didn’t see it coming. And it’s perfect.

    Mexico is aiding and abetting the invasion of the US. Make them pay a price for it.

    That’s what has been missing in US immigration policy. Consequences for violation of US immigration law.

    Similarly, if a foreigner is caught *illegally* in the US, they should be *deported* and *forever* ineligible to return.

    1. Similarly, if a foreigner is caught *illegally* in the US, they should be *deported* and *forever* ineligible to return.

      You’re as Cold as Ice.

      1. That’s like a bad trip back to 70’s radio.

        All to punish those who are a Long Long Way from Home

        1. We need a Head Knocker to get things done.

          1. Only way to deal with the Hot Blooded

            1. They’re just Dirty White Boys

              1. Not WPOD?

              2. Y’all are just playin head games now.

                1. Shit…should’ve kept reading…I now see my comment might make someone think they have double vision

      2. I’m willing to sacrifice your love.

        1. You’re just playing Head Games.

      3. It feels like the first time they illegally crossed the border.

        1. But That Was Yesterday…

        2. Teach your children.

  22. What he should do is stop all remittances. Or place a 90% tax on them anyway.

    1. Let’s cut off the money that supports people still living in the old country so they too come here.

      Brilliant idea.

  23. So how many newly-declared states of emergency are we up to now?

    No wonder the Rbots are so petrified about everything. Skies are falling everywhere. Usual suspects must be rounded up. When all around you are panicking, then it’s time to panic

  24. How Stunningly Stupid?
    Let us put it in verse.

    President Orange Obstruction

    Donald the POO,
    Donald the POO,
    Orange moron liar all stuffed with goo.
    He’s Donald the POO,
    Donald the POO,
    Fucking moron, lying old bore.

  25. GOD BLESS DONALD TRUMP FOR RAISING OUR TAXES!!!!

    How fucking retarded are you retarded fucking fucks for cheering for higher taxes and a bigger government? Get the fuck off my planet you sick bastards.

    1. Imagine the tragic wailing and bed-wetting in this chat room if a president with the party affiliation of “D” were doing 1/100th of the stuff our current “fucking moron” is doing. I don’t know which syndrome best defines their knee-pad devotion to our orange imbecile — Stockholm or Down,

  26. I don’t import anything from Mexico, so I don’t pay tariffs.

    The argument that we pay tariffs is cartoon economics.

    Given how we tax domestic *production*, Adam Smith would recommend a much higher general tariff rate.

    “It will generally be advantageous to lay some burden upon foreign industry for the encouragement of domestic industry, when some tax is imposed at home upon the produce of the latter. In this case, it seems reasonable that an equal tax should be imposed upon the like produce of the former. This would not give the monopoly of the borne market to domestic industry, nor turn towards a particular employment a greater share of the stock and labour of the country, than what would naturally go to it. It would only hinder any part of what would naturally go to it from being turned away by the tax into a less natural direction, and would leave the competition between foreign and domestic industry, after the tax, as nearly as possible upon the same footing as before it.”

    1. So you don’t buy avocados? What kind of person are you? Sick…you are sick.

  27. As an interesting thought experiment, imagine if the roles were reversed, and a much larger and stronger Mexican government were making demands of a much weaker and poorer American government to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into Mexico from America, or else suffer a reduction in trade that will be much worse for America than it would for Mexico.

    Let’s even assume for the sake of argument that this American government didn’t immediately say “screw you Mexico”, and actually agreed with the Mexican government that illegal immigration from America to Mexico was a problem, and that the government ought to do something about it.

    What concrete steps would you expect the American government to take as a response to the Mexican government’s demands?

    I think it’s safe to say that every single conceivable action that this American government could undertake would result in a reduction in liberty for Americans.

    It might even be the case that the cost of trying to accede to the Mexican government’s demands would be higher than the cost associated with any lost trade that might ensue for not acceding to the demands.

    1. As an interesting thought experiment, imagine if the roles were reversed

      Dude, you are a fricking ignoramus. Remember the Alamo?

      1. The Battle of the Alamo (February 23 – March 6, 1836) was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna reclaimed the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar (modern-day San Antonio, Texas, United States), killing the Texian and immigrant occupiers.

        LOL. Jeffy got facerolled.

      2. So this is where you demonstrate how petty you are that you refuse to read the words “thought experiment” and instead virtue-signal to your Trump Humping buddies how loyal you are in expressing your hatred of the people of the “wrong” tribe.

        1. So, you admit to posting under a psuedonym in support of your idiocy. I didnt say a thing about Trump, dipshit, I expressed a knowledge of history. Mexico treats the bulk of its citizens as serfs, they always have.

          1. Yes, because it’s still 1836, and not a thing has changed, anywhere.

    2. Why would you pose a thought experiment to the commentariat here? Isn’t that kind of like asking a dog to solve calculus problems?

      Far better to just listen to the barking and watch as they try to hump the Prez leg.

      1. That said – got a new nickname for them – the Trump Humpers

      2. Seriously? A post in support of the jackass who is so completely ignorant of history that he no idea that the Spanish Empire was once the superpower on the continent and when its bastard child, Mexico, had the upper hand they murdered immigrants that they labeled as ‘invaders’. He literally didn’t remember the Alamo.

        There was a question about sock-puppets up-thread. JFree is certainly behaving like some sock Chemjeff has stuffed down his pants. I have come to the conclusion that commenters this ignorant deserve to have scorn heaped upon them until they come to the realization that they need to actually go learn something and cease vomiting stupidity all over the message boards. It gets old…

        1. Or, maybe you don’t know what a thought experiment is.

          1. Schrödinger‘s Mexican?

            1. Is la cucaracha en la pinata alive or dead?

        2. “….go learn something and cease vomiting stupidity all over the message boards. It gets old…”

          It sure does. I’d be great if you took your own medicine, Tulpoopy.

    3. Let’s start with the reverse being Mexico putting tariffs on American goods until the flow of CANADIANS into Mexico would stop – not Americans, dummy.
      Stopping Canadians would not deprive Americans of any liberty, though with your reversal, Mexico would be the nation that was set up on the idea of individual liberty and was facing a crisis of being invaded by Canadians, wanting to remake Mexico into that type of nation, these Canadians were fleeing, which would have to be for Canada to be shithole.

    4. I would expect that the Canadians would get a little pissy if we had been bussing Central America from our southern border to our northern border to invade Canada. And I wouldn’t blame them at all.

      Being a sovereign country comes with responsibilities as well as rights. If an invasion come from *your territory*, it’s *your problem*.

      Put that in “muh anarchy” and smoke it.

  28. Trump needs an intervention and Congress is too chickenshit to give it to him.

    1. I’d settle for a well greased guillotine.

  29. It’s an attack on the Congress and SCOTUS. And I don’t mean “they won’t give me the money to build the wall.” What I mean is: “our asylum, chain immigration, anchor baby, and bring-a-child-to-the-border policy make stopping the insanity impossible.”

    This is a move to light up the Trump Base and slap the US Gov Orthodoxy across the face.

  30. quote:
    But those are not, by and large, illegal immigrants; they’re coming here to legally present themselves as candidates for asylum.

    Wrong. And you are big enough to know this by now.

    The rules for assylum require that the candidate present at the FIRST country they enter upon leaving their own. For ANYONE from Cenral America (or Somalia, Nepal, Syria, Libya, Ecuador, Venezuela, Nigeria, etc, that is NOT Mexico. Check your maps to see they are current.

    Next, “presenting themselves as candidates for assylum” is NO indicator that their status being requested is legitimately assylum. Fleeing general violence or economic hardship in their home country does NOT qualify one for assylum.

    And last, for now, candidates for assylum do NOT present themselves with “borrowed” (kidnapped, purchased, rented) children. Nor are they individuals who have been IN the US previously and have committed known felonies, got their sorr rotten backsides kicked out, and have now attempted to re-enter, in flgrant violation of their terms of release/removal.

    You also fail to address the huge number of cases, taken up by two bit local federal “judges” who utterly lack any authority to take up such cases, and set national limits/requirements/laws (news flash.. the JUDICIAL branch can NOT make law, that is up to the legislature, which admittedly has abdicated, but that makes no place for anither branch to “fill in the gap”.) Such federal courts have NO jurisdiction on matters where the President is a named party. Nor can they take up cases where one or more parties to the matter are a State.

    Hack the legs off those out of order lower level Federal courts and stop tying the hands of the one legitimately charged with DEALING with the entry/immigration/assylum issues, and HE would not have to get so creative as to drop tariffs into place. He’s tried every which way to fix the immigraton crisis. Every step es been thwarted. You’d think he was not even the President. Oh wait, that’s EXACTLY what is being attempted, isn’t it?

  31. “The rules for assylum require that the candidate present at the FIRST country they enter upon leaving their own. For ANYONE from Cenral America (or Somalia, Nepal, Syria, Libya, Ecuador, Venezuela, Nigeria, etc, that is NOT Mexico. Check your maps to see they are current.”

    That is not at all clear so far as I can see.

    If the asylum seeker somehow gets through France and presents to the UK there is some EU agreement. Even then the asylum seeker is still the problem of the British, not the French.

    Same goes here. You can reject an asylum seeker yet if that person never applied for asylum in Mexico there is no way to not process the claim.

    Trump is going with tariffs which have nothing to do with treaties or legal claims to circumvent any of that. To change the law he would need to work through the political system and diplomacy rather than tweets. He has no patience for that and his fan base loves him for it.

    More tariffs more punishment and there are those on a libertarian website who support it.

  32. “How can you trust Trump to honor a deal?”

    Good question!

    Trump’s 180-degree turn on one of the largest U.S. trading partners is sending a ominous message to the international community that he can’t be trusted, Wall Street policy analysts said, adding that China, already skeptical of Trump’s reliability, is now less likely to sign a trade deal with him.

    “Chinese officials have stated their concern about the reliability of President Trump as a trading partner. These tariffs were announced the same day as significant advancement of the USMCA. If China does not believe a deal will stick, why negotiate?” said Ed Mills, public policy analyst at Raymond James.

    “Trump’s readiness to hit a trading partner with new tariff threats soon after striking a trade deal will make China still more cautious about signing up to a deal that Trump then reneges upon, humiliating its leadership,” said Krishna Guha, policy strategy analyst at Evercore.

    “How can you trust Trump to honor a deal?” Chris Krueger, Washington strategist at Cowen said. “Mexico submitted USMCA this week for ratification…Trump’s signature trade achievement was moving downfield…and he just threatened Mexico … with unilateral tariffs on ALL Mexican goods exports to the U.S.”

    The heightened trade tensions rattled the stock market this month, with all major indexes posting their first negative month of 2019. The S&P 500 has fallen more than 6% in May, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost more than 1,200 points.

    “POO, you’re doing a heck of a job.”
    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/05/31/surprise-mexican-tariffs-hurt-china-agreement-chances.html

    1. Moreover, one of the sticking points for the deal with China is that the US negotiators wanted the US to have some kind of unilateral enforcement mechanism that they could invoke whenever they thought China wasn’t sticking to the terms of the deal. Trump’s actions with Mexico vividly illustrated to the Chinese how they should expect that kind of mechanism to work (at least as long as Trump is in office).

      1. that kind of mechanism

        For example, stunningly stupid tariffs employed to address an unrelated issue, i.e., immigration. The point being — as you willfully overlooked — there will be no deal with the Chinese, as they know that POO can’t be trusted to keep his end of the bargain. POO, just like his ghost-written promotional material The Art of the Deal, is a petulant fraud, and the world knows it.

        1. Ya know we all take contracts, agreements, some work out others, we walk away.

          If you work at Subway making sandwiches, or a high powered law firm it is no different.

          Every individual matters. Every one has the right to accept or reject an offer to exchange.

          I would never accept an offer from a guy like Trump. He does not honor his commitments.

  33. Nothing will ever change as long as liberals think that every low IQ mestizo with socialistic proclivities is entitled to American citizenship.

  34. […] a human rights violation only oppressive totalitarian regimes would resort to. Anyone who defends Trump’s new plan to use tariffs to force Mexico to restrict the emigration of its citizens to the United States can […]

  35. […] a human rights violation only oppressive totalitarian regimes would resort to. Anyone who defends Trump’s new plan to use tariffs to force Mexico to restrict the emigration of its citizens to the United States can […]

  36. […] a human rights violation only oppressive totalitarian regimes would resort to. Anyone who defends Trump’s new plan to use tariffs to force Mexico to restrict the emigration of its citizens to the United States can […]

  37. “I won’t permit this!” cried Mr. Thompson Trump. “I won’t permit it! Do something! Solve it, whatever it is! I order you to solve it! I’ll fire the lot of you for this! I’ll put the whole profession on trial for sabotage, desertion and treason! Do you hear me? Now do something, God damn you! Do something!”

  38. […] a human rights violation only oppressive totalitarian regimes would resort to. Anyone who defends Trump’s new plan to use tariffs to force Mexico to restrict the emigration of its citizens to the United States can […]

  39. Assuming tariffs work as proponents claim, aren’t tariffs still premised upon the idea that the good of the collective is more important than the freedom of the individual? Isn’t the standard libertarian stance that absent harm, individuals rights shouldn’t be infringed, even if it will benefit the majority? How do supporters square this circle?
    And if we accept that premise of positive rights, then what is to stop someone from making the argument that we should also give up our freedom of choice in other areas in order to benefit the country? Say, eating sugar? It can be argued that Americans eating too much sugar has a negative effect on the country as a whole. Let’s assume putting in place a sugar tax could save the nation money. Does that make it right? IT seems the whole idea of tariffs is based in a collectivist moral world view. Feel free to help me better understand.

    1. How did a libertarian get in here?

      Well said.

    2. “muh anarchy”

      Tariffs are tax policy. Tariffs are foreign policy.

      Every person in a country does not get to choose their own tax and foreign policy, despite what the muh anarchy crowd may think, and despite your weeping and gnashing of teeth over the fact, that does not make America one open air gulag.

      If we followed Adam Smith’s logic, tariffs would be a lot higher than they are today. They should at least be high enough to match the taxation that go into the same goods produced locally.

      “It will generally be advantageous to lay some burden upon foreign industry for the encouragement of domestic industry, when some tax is imposed at home upon the produce of the latter. In this case, it seems reasonable that an equal tax should be imposed upon the like produce of the former. This would not give the monopoly of the borne market to domestic industry, nor turn towards a particular employment a greater share of the stock and labour of the country, than what would naturally go to it. It would only hinder any part of what would naturally go to it from being turned away by the tax into a less natural direction, and would leave the competition between foreign and domestic industry, after the tax, as nearly as possible upon the same footing as before it.”

      1. I do not think you read that quote through.

        A “less natural direction”

        It does not mean what you think it means.

        He also wrote this.

        “ To judge whether such retaliations are likely to produce such an effect, does not, perhaps, belong so much to the science of a legislator, whose deliberations ought to be governed by general principles which are always the same, as to the skill of that insidious and crafty animal, vulgarly called a statesman or politician, whose councils are directed by the momentary fluctuations of affairs. When there is no probability that any such repeal can be procured, it seems a bad method of compensating the injury done to certain classes of our people, to do another injury ourselves, not only to those classes, but to almost all the other classes of them”

        Which describes the current situation exactly.

  40. As I’ve said many times, I don’t disagree with the motives, but Trump’s execution could surely be better much of the time… He should have waited on this, or not done it at all in this way. This will probably make settling things with China tougher. Also, I would think there are better ways to pressure Mexico than tariffs in terms of the illegal immigration issue. We’ll see how it goes…

  41. […] crossing into the United States from Central America. At the end of May, he ordered new tariffs on all Mexican imports to begin the second week of June. The initial 5 percent levies will increase to 25 percent between […]

  42. […] crossing into the United States from Central America. At the end of May, he ordered new tariffs on all Mexican imports to begin the second week of June. The initial 5 percent levies will increase to 25 percent between […]

  43. […] crossing into the United States from Central America. At the end of May, he ordered new tariffs on all Mexican imports to begin the second week of June. The initial 5 percent levies will increase to 25 percent between […]

  44. Oh, Look, Mexico is sending a delegation to DC to discuss this matter.
    Guess it wasn’t so stupid after all – especially in light of the Mexican Government’s admission that they only have any power in 20% of their own territory.
    Perhaps they will accede to a line-of-control 20 to 50 miles inside their northern border to be administered by the U.S. Army – couldn’t be any worse than what they have.

  45. […] no more foolish than the tariffs themselves, which would amount to an $87 billion tax increase on Americans, would disrupt more than $670 billion in annual cross-border trade between the two […]

  46. […] no more foolish than the tariffs themselves, which would amount to an $87 billion tax increase on Americans, would disrupt more than $670 billion in annual cross-border trade between the two […]

  47. […] no more foolish than the tariffs themselves, which would amount to an $87 billion tax increase on Americans, would disrupt more than $670 billion in annual cross-border trade between the two […]

  48. […] a tweet last week, President Donald Trump abruptly announced plans to slap 5 percent tariffs on all Mexican imports starting on June 10. The White House […]

  49. […] a tweet last week, President Donald Trump abruptly announced plans to slap 5 percent tariffs on all Mexican imports starting on June 10. The White House […]

  50. […] – Idiot Extraordinaire: Donald Trump https://reason.com/2019/05/31/how-stunningly-stupid-is-trumps-tariff-threat-aimed-at-mexico-lets-cou…This Week’s Quote: “Money, first and foremost, is a medium of communication, conveying […]

  51. […] is a stunningly stupid idea on many levels,” wrote Eric Boehm at the libertarian Reason magazine. “Making it more expensive to import goods from Mexico is a […]

  52. […] is a stunningly stupid idea on many levels,” wrote Eric Boehm at the libertarian Reason magazine. “Making it more expensive to import goods from Mexico is a […]

  53. […] Trump threatened to hit Mexican imports with tariffs because he was unhappy with how the Mexican government was […]

  54. […] Trump threatened to hit Mexican imports with tariffs because he was unhappy with how the Mexican government was […]

  55. […] International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which Trump threatened to use recently to unilaterally impose tariffs on Mexican imports. That law is meant to allow presidents to respond to foreign adversaries with economic […]

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