Tariffs

Trump's Deep Misunderstanding of Trade Policy Is Threatening the American Economy

The president's bizarre and counterproductive obsession with tariffs could spell economic catastrophe.

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In one of the stranger incidents to occur under the current administration—which is saying something—President Trump yesterday took a piece of paper out of his pocket, flashed it at reporters, and claimed it was some sort of secret immigration deal with Mexico.

Trump wouldn't show it to reporters, saying that he couldn't, because if he did, it would be analyzed—as if examining the details of any such agreement would somehow render it useless.

But a picture snapped by a Washington Post photographer appears to show some sort of agreement between the U.S. and its southern neighbor, though it remains unclear exactly what it entails. Trump claims the deal was a result of his tariff threat: "Without the tariffs, we would have had nothing," he said.

Given the lack of details, and the president's history of, let's say, over-claiming when it comes to trade and immigration deals, it's hard to know what, if anything, he actually has. The Mexican government, meanwhile, continues to insist that there is no secret component to any agreement with the United States. Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said today that the public may never see the secret deal.

Is this real secrecy, intentional obfuscation, or simple confusion? Most likely, it's some combination of all of the above. In any case, it is yet another sign of a bizarre and counterproductive obsession with tariffs, a warning about the ways in which Trump's deep misconceptions about trade continue to threaten the country's economic health.   

News of Trump's supposed secret deal comes on the heels of an impromptu call-in interview with CNBC on Monday, in which the president griped about the Chamber of Commerce's opposition to the tariffs his administration has imposed.

The interview consists mostly of Trump ranting wildly and inaccurately about how cross-border trade works. At times it is flat-out incoherent. It nevertheless serves as a revealing look at how Trump conceives of tariffs and their role in international relations.

"Without tariffs, we would be captive to every country," Trump said during the call, "and we have been for years." He went on to complain about the size of America's trade deficit, saying, "We lose a fortune with virtually every country. They take advantage of us in every way possible, and the U.S. Chamber is right there with them."

He portrayed tariffs not only as a way to bring other countries in line, but as a tool for economic growth at the expense of foreign rivals. "We've picked up trillions of worth since I've been elected. China has lost many, many trillions of dollars. They're way behind. They were going to catch us," he said. And he essentially refused to accept that tariffs function as a tax on American consumers, because of the control that China's government exercises over its economy.  

This, too, was cause for grumbling. "I'm winning. But I'm not winning on a level table," Trump said, complaining that the Federal Reserve isn't supporting his policies. Notice the first-person: Trump has personalized the nation's trade arrangements, viewing them as zero-sum games—wins or losses for himself. Trump's trade war is not just a series of disastrous real-world policy choices; it is a virtual construct inside his mind.

What these two incidents underscore is that when it comes to trade—which, along with immigration, is one of this administration's defining issues—Trump is living in a fantasy world, and forcing Americans to accept the consequences of his inability to deal with reality. 

He imagines that tariffs make him a more powerful dealmaker who is able to dominate foreign rivals; in reality, Trump's tariff threats and trade deals have won him little, if anything. The USMCA, his replacement for NAFTA, which he once called "perhaps the worst trade deal ever made," mostly tweaked the original deal around the margins; the deal with Mexico that Trump said last week was brought on by his tariff threats consisted "largely of actions that Mexico had already promised to take in prior discussions with the United States over the past several months," officials from both countries told The New York Times.

Trump believes trade deficits are a sign of weakness; in fact, exports help keep the economy—which Trump often brags about—strong. An estimated 11 million American jobs depend on exports. Trump's trade war is putting those jobs at risk.

He believes that tariffs improve the American economy, yet the economy has shown signs of weakness as his trade war has dragged on, and the tariffs threaten to cost most Americans more than they have gained from Trump's tax cuts. Even in cases where the tariffs have either not gone into effect or been eliminated, the lingering uncertainty stemming from the president's erratic behavior has rattled bond markets and left the economy shaken. The trade war has been so tough on farmers that Trump has put together a $16 billion subsidy package to bail out those harmed by his policies. When he made the announcement, he falsely claimed that China, not Americans, would pay it.

Trump's approach to trade is delusional and deranged—a war inside his head that bears little relationship to the destructive reality he is forcing Americans to endure. And it is cracking the foundations of the American economy.

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132 responses to “Trump's Deep Misunderstanding of Trade Policy Is Threatening the American Economy

  1. “The USMCA, his replacement for NAFTA, which he once called “perhaps the worst trade deal ever made,” mostly tweaked the original deal around the margins”

    But did it make the deal better? Because that’s all that matters. It kind of shows that trade deals are in fact “easy”.

    1. No, it made it worse with more regulations.

      1. PB, you taking some time off from raping small children?

        1. Fuck your redneck faggot ass, you dumb hick.

          The Dotard larded up NAFTA with “content requirements” and more useless regulations.

          You and Sevo should just go marry and not worry about your gay conversion therapy programs that won’t work anyway.

          1. Such homophobia. So typical of the left.

              1. Yep. PB is a kiddie raping piece of shit. Proud of it too. Must be why he linked his child rape videos here.

    2. I see where the author quotes the CATO institute in which it promotes Globalization at the expense of US Sovereignty. I once thought that the Koch Brothers were patriots. I once thought that a good Libertarian believed in the Constitution and of course patriotism. I now see that I was mistaken. Apparently most Libertarians are really silly progressives who will at the drop of a hat or for some cheap Chinese goods sell this country out in the name of fair trade (even if that fair trade isn’t fair trade ). I don’t agree with Trump on all of his tariff rants but making China accountable and understanding the grave threat that this still communist based society poses is the adult view. Reason has succumbed to a half wit progressive mind set where all that matters is that you have access to all kinds of drugs, infanticide and any reference to religion should bring out the torches and pitchforks.

      1. Restrictionist anti-trade bastards like yourself are never libertarian.

        1. Shut up and stop posting kiddie porn.

        2. PB you just don’t want your kiddie porn restricted.

  2. Look, I am not a big fan of tariffs. But:
    And it is cracking the foundations of the American economy.
    Seriously, you lecture Trump about making exaggerated statements. And then you close the article with this. Argue the merits of more free trade. But the whole tone of the article is nothing but “TRUMP WILL DESTROY US ALL!”

    1. What do you expect, it’s Peter Subhuman.

      1. Suder-Man to the rescue! Stopping tariffs in a single Whitney article! But only the ones from after January 2017!

        1. I’m always so late to the party.

    2. Did you notice the lack of signals in market data to back up Pete’s assertions? I sure did.

      1. Hey. My Sudey Senses are picking up something you just can’t understand.

  3. The Chinese government show the US all the consideration they show Hong Kong. We put up with it for the 25 or so years after the fall of Soviet communism in the happy expectation that any trade would inevitably lead to a liberalized economy and freer political life. Looks like we were wrong.
    So why look the other way as intellectual property is stolen and political prisoners are used to undercut non-Chinese costs? Threats of treating the Chinese as equals with demands for fair treatment seems to be working.

    1. “The Chinese government show the US all the consideration they show Hong Kong”

      Yeah, but the difference is that when Emperor Xi is sticking it to Trump, he’s sticking it to someone Suderman and the rest of his ilk don’t like. And isn’t that more important than anything–especially in an election year?

      1. Yes I believe you are right and it is a shame Reason hires half wit progressives like this

  4. Wow, something could happen? Thanks!

  5. Trump policies are described here as “disastrous”. Please enumerate the specific disasters that have resulted from these policies.

    Unless you’re just as hyperbolic as Trump. Then just continue hyping and we’ll continue not taking you seriously.

    1. Sending $16 billion of welfare to farmers to make up for Trump’s trade war with China sounds pretty disastrous to me, for just one of many examples…

      1. After years of Progressive trade policies that favored the Chicomms from Clinton, to the Bushes and of course Obama has led us to the point where something needs to be done. Trump’s policy may fail but the attention is now on the Chicomms and as they brutalize the residents of Hong Kong they are exposed as to what they really are. Enemies of Capitalism, Liberty and Freedom who have the destruction of the USA as a world power in their sights. Apparently this is same objective of the Koch Brothers, Soros and Reason.

        1. I also find it absolutely amazing that the *libertarians* at Reason are ignoring the impending extradition, torture, murder (or disappearance, is that what we call it nowadays?) of potentially hundreds of thousands or over a million Hong Kongers– – All for a dig at Trump. Libertarians ignoring the socialists as the tyrannical mass murderers, slavers and enemies of freedom that they are. If investors trust Maoist Dictators enough to throw capital at them, the losses are on the global investors. I’m a little more concerned with mass murder and an end to freedom in Hong Kong.

      2. Not a disaster (unless we’re falsely hyping ordinary stuff as a disaster).

        Not actually one of zero examples…

      3. “Sending $16 billion of welfare to farmers to make up for Trump’s trade war with China sounds pretty disastrous to me”

        Because you’re an idiot.

  6. It’s impossible to have a secret trade agreement without entering into a kafkaesque universe. The whole point of trade agreements is that they are open and known.

    Trump imagines trade is just between rulers and potentates. Bullshit. Trade is between individuals. If they individuals can’t know what is permissible then trade simply cannot happen. You don’t go hauling in importers to court based on trade agreements no one knows anything about. That’s crazy. That’s Kafka level of crazy.

    But sadly, it’s what people think is normal in our modern Kafka world.

  7. Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said today that the public may never see the secret deal.

    Just so you know, any deal negotiated in secret has as much weight as Obama’s Iran Deal or the Paris Climate Deal: Zero.

  8. I’m bigly in favor of tariffs now that I understand it’s the foreign countries paying the tariffs. I’m just puzzled as to why Trump hasn’t raised the tariffs by like 50,000% and eliminated both the budget deficit and the income tax, paid off the national debt, tripled the defense budget, built a solid gold wall along the Rio Grande and sent every man, woman, and child in America a check for $43,000. It’s free money they’re sending us!

    1. Well, we do know that most consumer goods made overseas cost much more than the same stuff made in the USA, right?

    2. Just like the minimum wage. If $15/hr is good $50/hr must be better! Repeal the law of supply & demand!

    3. I’m bigly in favor of tariffs now that I understand it’s the foreign countries paying the tariffs. I’m just puzzled as to why Trump hasn’t raised the tariffs by like 50,000% and eliminated both the budget deficit and the income tax

      In what way do you think that a large deficit and income tax are better for America or the economy than tariffs?

      I think a large consumption tax (and that’s what tariffs are), balancing the budget, and elimination of the income tax are, in fact, sound economic policies, because that encourages savings and investments, discourages consumer spending, and ends imposing burdens on future generations.

      Why do you disagree?

    4. Jerry, can you show us in the inflation data where the increase since trumps tariffs has happened? Unless you think there is perfect inelasticity in the markets from government regulations. You wouldnt be that silly though… would you?

    1. We should up the tariffs to 100% and apply them to all foreign countries, and to ourselves as well. 100% tariffs for everyone! Things will be better than ever.

      1. We should put American tariffs at zero and let other countries do whatever! See how your stupid hyperbolic statement works in reverse?

    2. I’d be inclined to say that tax apologia is, if not treasonous, anti-American (certainly unconservative and unlibertarian).

      Either way, fuck off, slaver.

      1. Are we going with the world was in perfect equilibrium on trade prior to trump again?

        Why cant reason get non naive libertarians.

  9. We are now about 2.5 years into what Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman called a global recession, with no end in sight. Things will not improve until a Democrat is back in the White House.

    #DrumpfRecession
    #KrugmanWasRight

  10. President Trump yesterday took a piece of paper out of his pocket, flashed it at reporters.

    Hey, it worked for Neville Chamberlain…

  11. “Trump’s approach to trade is delusional and deranged . . .”

    Kinda puts a new spin on “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” doesn’t it?

  12. the president griped about the Chamber of Commerce’s opposition to the tariffs his administration has imposed.

    It’s almost like the C of C is composed of businesses acting in their own self-interest.

    1. And it’s also almost like 63,000,000 voters decided to act in their own interest and not that of the CoC.

      Sometimes we forget that John Galt is just one of Ayn Rand’s imaginary friends.

      1. And it’s also almost like 63,000,000 voters decided to act in their own interest and not that of the CoC.

        There have never been 63,000,000 voters in this country.

        1. Never mind -my brain put a zero in there that wasn’t there.

          Carry on.

          1. put a zero in there that wasn’t there.

            At least the theres were there.

            1. Gertrude Stein hardest hit.

        2. Trump received 62,979,636 votes

          1. Yes – I figured that out. Thanks.

            1. Take some time off you’ve been slipping lately.

      2. And the business owners of the CoC make up part of those 63 million voters.

  13. Get your check from Huawei yet, Peter?

  14. Trump thinks there is a thing called the American economy, which he controls, and a German economy, Chinese economy, all controlled by governments. He sees a zero sum game with winners and losers.

    Free market proponents only see individuals who trade goods or services. There is no overall plan only different individual preferences. I may, for example decide to take a job that pays less because it gives me more flexibility or is less stressful. That is not a loss from my point of view.

    Trump talks about “our money”, “we are getting ripped off”. There is no such thing unless you are a collectivist.

    Productivity continues in spite of, not because of, government interference with trade between individuals.

    1. This is why I’ve started calling the die-hard Trump zealots (e.g. most of the regulars here in the last couple years) the communists that they are.

      Their entire perception of markets is collectivist in the extreme. But trade isn’t about “us”, it’s about individual fucking rights.

      We need to bring back McCarthy on these imbeciles.

      1. Their entire perception of markets is collectivist in the extreme.

        Like it or not, US and Chinese markets are “collectivist” right now; they are not free markets. If you think they are, you are a fool.

      2. Wow what a stupid post.

    2. I may, for example decide to take a job that pays less because it gives me more flexibility or is less stressful.

      In the US, you are prohibited from taking a job that pays below minimum wage.

      Free market proponents only see individuals who trade goods or services.

      Blind fools only see individuals who trade goods or services when they look at the US economy. Realists see that the US economy is mostly not a free market in either labor or goods, and that trade with China ultimately ends up subsidizing the import of cheap Chinese goods with US tax payer dollars.

      1. Why have libertarian thought and goals if all there is to do is say “oh well that is just as things are”. Most soviet citizens were realists who said the same thing. Why bother being in the opposition?

        The second part of your reply falls into the fallacy I posted below. Imports are not a subsidy and cheap Chinese goods are not a loss. The opposite actually.

        1. Why have libertarian thought and goals if all there is to do is say “oh well that is just as things are”.

          Saying “I want this government restriction removed in isolation because it increases my liberty and my economic well being” isn’t libertarian thought, it is simple rent seeking.

          The second part of your reply falls into the fallacy I posted below. Imports are not a subsidy and cheap Chinese goods are not a loss. The opposite actually.

          Indeed, imports themselves are not a subsidy. But when US government policies artificially increase the cost of labor in the US, then that can have the same effect as a US government subsidy of Chinese goods. And under such conditions, comparative advantage arguments for free trade fail. I suggest you give it some thought and work through some examples.

          1. Rent seeking involves a regulatory environment favoring my trade over another. That is exactly what happens when the government exacts trade restrictions increasing cost of Chinese steel over German or Pittsburgh steel.

            There is no such thing as artificial cost of labor. Labor is what I am willing to trade for what I do vs what you do. I paid the barber today for a decent haircut. He has never given me a dime. Yet other people will pay me for my skills.

            What is getting lost in the basic level. Each of us have differing and competing interests. We are not just a stream of things to be managed by some elected officials. Left alone we can do better.

            1. Rent seeking involves a regulatory environment favoring my trade over another.

              Rent seeking involves seeking any regulatory change that benefits you. An argument could be both rent seeking and libertarian, yours just happens not to be libertarian.

              There is no such thing as artificial cost of labor.

              Indeed there isn’t. But there is costs governments imposes on labor. Let’s say equally qualified Chinese and a US artists are willing to give your portrait a virtual haircut for $100; you’re probably going to go with the US artist because it helps your community. But when the US government imposes an additional $50 in taxes and regulatory costs, you’ll go with the Chinese artist unless the US artist lowers his wages to $50.

              If the US government now imposes $50 in tariffs on the Chinese import, it simply shifts the cost of US government taxes and regulations from the worker to you, the customer. It also has some additional benefits relative to making the worker eat the costs.

              This isn’t some bizarre Trumpian idea, it’s what the entire EU is based on: free trade among nations with similar tax and regulatory structures, and tariffs and trade restrictions imposed on imports. As long as you have a welfare state, that’s the way you need to deal with trade.

              1. Ever lived in the EU? The cost of anything and everything is ridiculous. The cost to run a business there is also insane. The only practical way to do is to get a subsidy from one of the governments. Your point falls flat. The protectionism in the EU is it’s most crippling feature. Try again.

                1. You also seem to be confusing the issues of immigration and free trade. What does the welfare state have anything to do with free trade and tarrifs? You’ve gotten your talking points all twisted up, I’m afraid. If anything, cheap shit makes stuff more affordable for the poor, *potentially easing the burden of welfare.

                  1. What does the welfare state have anything to do with free trade and tarrifs?

                    My example illustrates what it has to do with one another.

                    You’ve gotten your talking points all twisted up, I’m afraid.

                    The problem here is that you are economically ignorant and unwilling to reason things out. Apparently, even a simple example taxes your feeble little brain too much.

                    1. Sick burn. You’re not worth conversing with. All you assholes blame the welfare state for taking non-libertarian, Trump-humping positions. Here’s an idea, why not try to reform the welfare system? Because you don’t fucking care that’s why. Fuck. Off. Slaver.

                2. As a matter of fact, I have. The reason Europeans can afford so much less than Americans is because government deficits and debt are limited by law and many governments have a policy that penalizes consumption and encourages savings. Those are actually good policies even though they make individuals poorer. In terms of business climate, Europe is generally more free market and less regulated than the US.

                  Americans are living at the expense of future generations and at the risk of default towards our lenders, and that is not a libertarian thing to do since it violates the NAP.

                  1. It’s not that they can’t afford it, it’s that it’s not fucking available to purchase. Everything else you just vomited is pure (socialistic) garbage.

  15. Trump tariffs are the equivalent of throwing a wrench in your own bicycle spokes doing thirty miles an hour, taking a huge spill consisting of horrible asphalt road rash then getting up with your hands in the air yelling “I’m ok, no harm done” while no one is watching. Except everyone is watching as he pulls that wrench from his 4X sized slacks!

      1. People blink on the average at least 15 times per minute.

        It is normal.

        So the Mexican government faced with an unreasonable demand did what exactly. Blinking. Good response.

      2. Partially blinked. Until they agree to be ‘safe third country ‘ this could all change.

  16. Apple just announced they can supply the entire US mobile phone market without China.

    US PPI data from yesterday shows no sign of tariff-related inflation. The NFIB small business survey just stated:
    “Optimism among small business owners has surged back to historically high levels, thanks to strong hiring, investment, and sales. The small business half of the economy is leading the way, taking advantage of lower taxes and fewer regulations, and reinvesting in their businesses, their employees, and the economy as a whole.”

    No tariff-caused destruction there. In Iowa, Trump still has approval and favorability ratings over 80% among farmers (Iowa R’s)

    I can’t take these chicken-little-sky-is-falling articles seriously.

    1. “Apple just announced they can supply the entire US mobile phone market without China.”

      Yes, by moving manufacture to Taiwan. Which is fine, but it will have fuck all effect on the American economy except increasing the cost of iPhones.

      You really are retarded, aren’t you?

      1. So which makes you smarter, the lack of reading comprehension or the innumeracy?

        Just for shits and giggles, how’re them real wages doing with all of the “catastrophic damage” from the tariffs? Well…

      2. I like how the simplistic moron spouting platitudes calls the guy who actually points to data a retard.

          1. Screech=PB right?

    2. Apple is very vulnerable to the trade war. I follow APPL and most investors and analysts are expecting apple to take a hit. You can expect to pay more for Apple products as a result.

      https://seekingalpha.com/news/3467864-morgan-stanley-trims-apple-target-china-impact

      The company has deep pockets and vast resources so they have that going for them. Sure most will at least hold on thinking this has to be over soon but there are consequences.

  17. And……… In REAL news; Unemployment is the lowest since 1954, stocks are higher than ever and purchasing power is growing.

    BUT…. The President killing the economy?!? So then; What’s the definition of a good economy? Massive foreclosure, Bankruptcy and Unemployment?

    1. Feels over facts bro. Suderman and all of the other econ 101 naive libertarians here know better than actual data bro.

  18. I think we should only fear tariffs if they exceed the income tax reductions. Obviously eliminating both is best, but is there a net benefit in US jobs by reducing the income tax by $1 and raising tariffs by $1? Net impact on deficit should be $0. US jobs will likely increase, assuming the tariff applies to all countries. I suppose on the downside, tariffs are probably regressive compared to the income tax.

    1. I think we should only fear tariffs if they exceed the income tax reductions

      We should only fear tariffs once the revenue from them exceeds the deficit, which sadly is very, very far off.

      See, when we have a $1 in deficit, someone will eventually have to pay for it, with interest. It’s better to force someone to pay for it now, which removes the delusion that deficits don’t hurt anybody and avoids the interest.

      1. Totally agree – just trying to compare 2 evils.

  19. Expert economist, distinguished psychologist and master negotiator Peter Suderman analyzing Trump’s ineptitude…so refreshing to come back and see Reason contributors continuing the uber Libertarian traditions of Dave Weigel and Elizabeth Nolan Brown.

      1. Your sockpuppet accounts are better.

    1. All better than some idiot wingnut like Peter Schiff or Fat Rush Limbaugh (Praise Be Into Him).

      1. Don’t worry, you’ll always have Krugman.

      2. You’re a pedophile and a liar no one cares what you think.

      3. So PB, do you prefer to rape little boys, or little girls? Or does it even matter as long as they’re young enough?

        Sick piece of shit.

  20. Reason– why crickets on Hong Kong? And yeah, everyone knows how Reason Trump TDS. Again, Hong Kong?? The end of globalism? Anything, Anything……

  21. Trump’s Deep Misunderstanding of Trade Policy Is Threatening the American Economy

    It’s cute how blissfully unaware you are of the deep sh*t the American economy is already in, thanks to long-standing monetary and fiscal policy. The only question at this point is when it crashes and how badly. Trump’s trade policy has nothing to do with it.

  22. WHERE MY COUNTRY GONE?

    1. It banned you for posting kiddie porn.

  23. Here’s some info from the last Bureau of Labor statistics reports from May. Check them for yourself:

    https://www.bls.gov/

    —-The unemployment rate is currently lower than it’s been since 1969.

    —-Wages stayed on annualized pace of 3.1% in May.

    —-Productivity continue to rise in May–meaning that the increase in pay isn’t having an impact on inflation.

    “Trump’s approach to trade is delusional and deranged—a war inside his head that bears little relationship to the destructive reality he is forcing Americans to endure.”

    You want to talk about “delusional and deranged”?! Suderman’s description of the current state of “reality” is about as deranged as it gets! What fucking weird planet is Suderman living on? Is he in a state that legalized magic mushrooms?

    1. P.S. I have opposed, oppose, and will continue to oppose Trump’s use of tariffs.

      So much of doing that rationally is about debunking the stupid horseshit people are selling in the name of free trade. Really, free trade doesn’t need anybody’s horseshit. It can rest on reality. And the reality is that even if things are good now, that doesn’t mean it’s because of Trump’s tariffs. It may be in spite of them. If Suderman were a real free trade guy, he wouldn’t think it necessary to spoon feed this horseshit in defense of it.

      Now I know how George Orwell must have felt. He was wrong about socialism, but, by golly, nobody can claim that he ever fell for the bullshit that the communists were selling to support it. I’m not wrong about capitalism and free trade, but even if I were, I’ll be damned if I’d fall for the bullshit being sold by the likes of Suderman. What an embarrassment to libertarian capitalism he is!

      P.P.S. Remember that time Suderman opposed a bill that cut $772 billion from Medicaid–because “libertarianism”? He’s a skunk.

      1. Correct. The TDS is very strong in this one.

        KMW should shitcan this guy, or prepare for Reazun to go to the grave with him.

        1. Clearly it’s a broad editorial policy so why remove him?

          1. I seen what you did right there.

            1. Hmm, I didn’t. Maybe my subconscious is smarter than I am.

  24. While it is true that there has been no economic collapse it is equally true that Trumps views of economics are indeed deeply flawed. That constitutes a potential threat in the long run.

    Good post over at cafe Hayek today.

    “And so Trump ignores the value to Americans of the imports we purchase. In typical mercantilist fashion, he believes that the ultimate purpose of trade is to send out as many exports as possible in exchange for as much money as possible — money that in Trump’s ideal world is never spent on imports. His view on this matter is even more bizarre than that of ordinary mercantilists. For Trump, imports are not merely costs that we endure in order to export, they are actual losses. (Although it goes without saying, I’ll say it nevertheless: Trump does not understand that imports are benefits and that exports are costs.)“

    https://cafehayek.com/

    1. As the SPLC has thoroughly documented, it’s more dangerous than ever for black and brown bodies living in the US. And that’s a direct result of having an alt-right white nationalist President.

    2. It is sad how you are a pedophile, and so shameless about it.

    3. Louisiana redneck traditional Democrat indicted for setting fire to three black churches:

      FTFY

  25. We would be fortunate indeed if Donald Trump’s only failing was to misunderstand international trade. However, his failure to comprehend the Constitution, basic human relations, governance, or most else to do with being a president exceed his trade deficiencies.

  26. Look at all of the pants shitting here at Reason. Remember, kids, income taxes cuts are awful because we MUST pay for the welfare state, but raising tariffs, a more efficient consumption tax, are more awfuller because reasons.

    This from the same crowd that gave us the false choice of accept appeasement of Iran or global thermonuclear war. It’s embarassing when you out Dunning-Kruger Krugmann.

  27. Fear of tariffs is the new climate change fear.

    Which will end America first?

    Stay tuned.

  28. I’m loving the new Vox format.

  29. Time overdue to unsubscribe from this verbal diarrhea.

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  32. America is in a completely unique position compared to virtually every other country in the world. She is energy efficient and has the ability to be almost completely self contained in terms of production. There is virtually nothing that America needs from any other that it cannot produce internally. The only real exception to this are rare earth materials which are used in electronic devices.
    This puts America in a massively powerful position in any trade negotiations.

  33. […] But a picture snapped by a Washington Post photographer appears to show some sort of agreement between the United States and its southern neighbor, though it remains unclear exactly what it entails. Trump claims the deal was a result of his tariff threat: “Without the tariffs, we would have had nothing,” he said according to a report by Reason. […]

  34. […] But a picture snapped by a Washington Post photographer appears to show some sort of agreement between the United States and its southern neighbor, though it remains unclear exactly what it entails. Trump claims the deal was a result of his tariff threat: “Without the tariffs, we would have had nothing,” he said according to a report by Reason. […]

  35. We would be fortunate indeed if Donald Trump’s only failing was to misunderstand international trade. However, his failure to comprehend the Constitution, basic human relations, governance, or most else to do with being a president exceed his trade deficiencies.

  36. […] But a picture snapped by a Washington Post photographer appears to show some sort of agreement between the United States and its southern neighbor, though it remains unclear exactly what it entails. Trump claims the deal was a result of his tariff threat: “Without the tariffs, we would have had nothing,” he said according to a report by Reason. […]

  37. Deep misunderstanding of trade policy by people who have never owned a business, or actually “worked” for a living, Is threatening the American economy.

  38. Ever notice how throughout the period from 2001-present, most Republicans were all about supporting companies like Walmart and generally, the concept of massive CEO pay under the guise of “personal responsibility/ pull yourself up by the bootstraps/who cares if they make their money by selling us American flag shorts that were made in China, it’s just good business/offshore tax havens are good?” Then the populist wave hits and all of a sudden it’s “we need god emperor to guarantee us factory jobs” and “globalization bad?” And still to this day Walmart is considered by these same folks to be this amazing patriotic company as it continues to this day to drive small companies out of business by profiting off of…wait for it…cheap foreign labor. The “we vote R because we believe in ‘personal responsibility'” crowd has now gone full-bore into believing the “I alone can fix this” model in the belief that they deserve a government-protected factory job simply as a birthright of being born in America and that the only problems in the world are solely the existence of Mexicans and Muslims. How else can you explain that on the one hand Breitbart has them all whipped into a frenzy about the evils of offshore labor, yet they continue to go to Walmart every day to buy $1.35 American flag shorts made in China?

    1. Walmart is a great company. That being said it was very good for the poor and terrible for the blue collar manufacturing jobs. It did make the life of the unemployed blue collar worker better.

  39. A trade agreement is not the walking reification of Free Trade. It’s a contract. The terms of contracts, being binding (that is, limiting freedom), need to be fair. What is or is not fair under the circumstances is in the discretion of the contracting party, i.e., the executive of a nation. The devils are all in the details of this contract. Not in the magical verbal generalization, “free trade.” We’re all for “free trade.” But we are also free to reject and renegotiate the terms of a contract and set terms such as tariffs on a refusal, in specific aspects, to deal.

  40. NAFTA was made slightly better in the trading for the US, but the regulation changes in enforcing the agreement were worse. We ended up in a fairly neutral change for us, and slightly worse for our trading partners. Other trade agreements have actually helped. Unfortunately, the tariffs Trump has put on China are definitely hurting. However, if it manages to change their behavior, it will in the long run be a benefit. You pay your money and take your chances.

  41. […] economy is humming, for the moment, but Trump’s trade war is threatening economic stagnation, and the steel workers he promised to protect are losing their jobs as […]

  42. […] economy is humming, for the moment, but Trump’s trade war is threatening economic stagnation, and the steel workers he promised to protect are losing their jobs as […]

  43. […] economy is humming, for the moment, but Trump’s trade war is threatening economic stagnation, and the steel workers he promised to protect are losing their jobs as […]

  44. […] economy is humming, for the moment, but Trump’s trade war is threatening economic stagnation, and the steel workers he promised to protect are losing their jobs as […]

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