Free Trade

Voters and Business Owners Know the Trade War Should Be Abandoned. Does Trump?

It's not just the cost of the tariffs that are hurting the economy. "The indirect costs are enormous," says one Wisconsin CEO.

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If you want to understand how President Donald Trump's trade war is acting as a drag on the U.S. economy, you have to take a look at businesses like the one Paul Shekoski runs in southern Wisconsin.

Shekoski is the CEO of the Primex Family of Companies, which includes three divisions that manufacture and sell clocks, timers, and other small gadgets and gauges, many of which are used in the so-called "internet of things"—a catch-all term for internet-equipped devices that aren't computers or tablets. Without Primex equipment, Shekoski says, the clocks in many hospitals wouldn't remain synchronized and the bells in many schools wouldn't ring. He has about 160 employees in Wisconsin, but most of the products Primex sells are dependent on imports from China—some of which are now subject to 25 percent tariffs, and others that will be subject to 10 percent tariffs starting on September 1.

There's not a whole lot that a business like Shekoski's can do to shield consumers from the cost of tariffs. He says the higher costs created by those import taxes get passed along to his buyers like any tax would. But the tariffs are also having a secondary effect on Primex—and lots of other businesses thorough the economy—by forcing the company to make expensive changes to its supply chain.

"We've gotta make a several-million-dollar investment, with some uncertainty on it, and take our management time and our bandwidth to go work on this instead of working on new stuff," Shekoski says. "We're not making the investments for our future right now, because we're making the investment just to stabilize something—just to stop the hemorrhaging. That's impacting our long-term growth."

That sort of reallocation of limited resources seems to be happening across the board. The uncertainty created by the escalating trade war with China has both large and small businesses cutting back on investments that might otherwise be driving economic growth. Domestic investment dipped into negative territory during the second quarter of 2019, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and a Bloomberg metric that tracks business executives' opinions about trade shows a level of uncertainty not seen since before the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed in 1994.

"If a manufacturer has to source different parts from different countries, that's not just as simple as picking up the phone and saying 'do you have this part and can you send me 500 of them,'" said John Kirchner, executive director of congressional and public affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, during a Thursday event organized by Tariffs Hurt The Heartlands, a pro-trade coalition of businesses. "It's a long, expensive process for employers and businesses to change up their supply chains."

This week's stock market volatility, coming on the heels of last week's signaling of a potential currency war between the U.S. and China, has only added to what's already been a jittery year for businesses. As bad as Trump's tariffs might be for the economy, what's possibly worse is the uncertainty created by, for example, announcing new tariffs that will take effect on September 1 and then announcing that some of those tariffs would be delayed until mid-December for what appear to be entirely arbitrary and politically motivated reasons.

Combine that with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross's admission this week that the tariff costs are indeed being paid by Americans, and it's now painfully obvious that the White House has been conducting this trade war with little long-term strategy.

No wonder businesses are hesitant to do much. "Their paralyzing uncertainty is driven by the president's veering from one position to another," writes Michael Strain, director of economic policy studies at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. "Businesses seem increasingly convinced that he doesn't understand the basics of international economics."

To be sure, there are other factors causing the American economy to slow. Germany, a major trading partner and global economic driver, is tilting towards recession. Despite a cavalier attitude about it in Washington, D.C., there is growing evidence that the $22 trillion national debt weighs down economic growth. But the trade war is a self-inflicted wound that could be cured with a simple reversal of executive action.

Even White House officials admit that Trump's trade policies are the primary driver of the current volatility—but, unfortunately for many American businesses, the president and his top economic advisor don't share that opinion.

As the trade war saps money out of the economy in the form of taxes and weighs down economic growth by reducing investment, there's an important political feedback mechanism being triggered: a slowing economy and fears of a recession are bad news for an unpopular president a little more than a year away from an election.

That's why this week feels like an inflection point in the trade war. Will the Trump administration press onward with policies that seem to be hurting not only businesses and consumers, but also the president himself? Axios's Jonathan Swan reports Thursday that Trump's campaign team "is worried about polling data from Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, amid the economic signals."

Public polls suggest they are right to worry. A May poll of voters in Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin by Quinnipiac University found that only 39 percent of voters in those states approved of Trump's handling of trade while 53 percent disapproved. That was despite 71 percent of voters saying the economy was "good" or "excellent." If the economy falters, it's fair to bet that opinions of the trade war will fall further—and the three months since that poll was taken have not provided Trump with any demonstrable victories on the trade front.

In Wisconsin, Shekoski thinks Trump is not seeing the whole picture. Smaller businesses, he says, have been "caught in the undertow" of the tariffs when they have little to gain from the president's trade policies.

"The indirect costs are just enormous," Shekoski says.

So if you want to understand how President Donald Trump's trade war is acting as a drag on the economy and sabotaging his own chances for re-election, well, you can just keep on looking at businesses like the one Paul Shekoski runs in southern Wisconsin.

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  1. Voters and Business Owners Know the Trade War Should Be Abandoned. Does Trump?

    As a voter and business owner, I don’t want Trump to stop.

    Poor Eric Boehm.

    1. 1798…You and me both = As a voter, I don’t want Trump to stop.

      It is time to put an end to this. We can either fight this battle now while we have a very good chance of prevailing, or do nothing and we have no fucking hope of going up against China later.

      Really, when you get down to it….it is now or never. I choose now.

      1. What battle?

        1. Something about IP.

          The real IP owners, liberals in the USA, wanted the US to join the TPP and set the rules for the entire Pacific Rim on IP protection that China would have to adopt later. 18,000 tariffs on US products would have been eliminated.

          But the Orange Buffoon didn’t want to give Obama a trade victory and here we are three years later with our thumb up our ass.

          1. I’m hoping for a response better than “something,” which is why I asked. It appears to be a mishmash conflation of things, and I’d like them to be laid out so that shoddy thinking can be addressed more thoroughly.

          2. Where the h*ll did you get your info from? How old are you anyway? I am 70 years old and I remember the time when the US was the most prosperous nation on earth! We had tariffs on almost all countries importing into the US! All of the other countries also had tariffs. We exported goods many times over then what we imported! The country was expanding, jobs in factories were so abundant that there were not enough people to fill the vacancies! Wages were high, 20 years in and then retire with a COMPANY paid pension! The tariffs set by the US on foreign goods served multiple purposes. It protected the US worker from cheaper foreign made goods. Those foreign products were on the store shelves with the same sticker price as US made goods. Americans chose to buy US made because the quality was better. With the globalists pushing free trade, it became cheaper for manufacturing to move to China, Mexico, and any other 3rd world country. The labor was disgustingly cheap, there were no longer any tariffs to pay, so the US lost it’s manufacturing base and jobs quickly dried up. China and other countries in the European Union STILL had tariffs on US made goods. 40% and higher! The consumers in those countries could not afford to buy US made goods because of the tariffs. In the mean time the US had little or no tariffs which made it a windfall for overseas manufacturers. Trump is leveling the playing field. By implementing tariffs equal to what the Chinese are charging, it is nom longer profitable for US manufacturers to stay away. They are now in the process of moving back to the US to produce their product, providing even more jobs. When this is all done, the Chinese consumer will be able to buy US made goods which means over a billion potential customers! The news media is fearmongering! They know exactly what they are doing! They hate Trump and are putting him in the least possible light! Quit allowing the news media to control you r mind!

            1. I am 70 years old

              It’s a shame that you never found time to study economics.

              It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a ‘dismal science.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance.
              – Murray Rothbard

          3. Fuck off Kiddie Raper.

    2. It has been well established on here that you are a total idiot. So your worship of Trump, and being a butthurt bitchbaby every time someone criticizes his idiotic trade war, is more proof that Eric Boehm is correct.

      Wait, business owner? What business are you in? I am so intrigued.

      1. LovesConMen1789 is from Georgia so he probably sells boiled peanuts from the side of the road on Route 41.

        1. I was gonna guess selling MAGA hats to his high school classmates.

          1. Chipper is on the same side as Kiddie Raper. Maybe you two can swap child porn.

        2. Poor trolls. So upset and hoping for more bridge food.

      2. Chipper….serious question. I am not being facetious.

        What alternative do you offer to change the behavior of the Red Chinese; namely, stopping the serial lying, cheating and stealing?

        If you are Ok with the status quo, then please clearly say so.

        1. You don’t slap a 25% tariff on an iPhone when 99% of the cost is incurred in the West before it gets to final assembly in China.

          Lucky for now that tariff was delayed past September.

        2. Can you be more specific? What lying, cheating, and stealing are you referring to?

          1. Oh fuck off, Chippy. This has been explained in these boards so many times even an imbecile like you has to remember them. I, myself have provided extensive explanations more that once in the past week.

            You never manage to make logical arguments so your apparent stategy is to wear people out explaining things to you the 50th time so you can “win” when they give explaining the same things over and over again.

            Trying to debate with you is like debating with a 4 year old.
            “But why”, “But Why”, “But Why”, on and on and on.

            1. AFAIK, this Atlas_Shrugged character appeared recently. So I wanted to know about his position, not what the peanut gallery here collectively prattles on about. And I don’t ever recall debating about China with you, or even debating you at all.

          2. OK a$$whole! You know about free trade. Do you know what that means?? Free trade means what it says, NO TARIFFS on either side! Are you following me? The US has been paying tariffs on US made goods imported into China to the tune of 40% or more! The US has not been charging China any tariffs! Do you think that is fair? So, the Chinese consumer cannot afford to buy US made goods because of the high tariffs. The US had no tariffs on Chinese made goods so they were cheaper then US made goods in the stores! Look at any product in any store and see where it was made. CHINA!!! Now, with Trump imposing the same tariffs on Chinese made goods, the American made goods will be cheaper in our stores and we will be able to afford them, putting more Americans to work! When Trump is done, the Chinese consumers will be able to afford US made goods and manufacturing in this country will skyrocket! Manufacturing jobs are already at an 18 year high, Companies are already moving back to this country providing even more jobs! The news media will not report it that way because then they will have to make Trump look good and they can’t have that.

            1. It’s odd to me that libertarian dogma apparently demands that the US government implement policy that discourages domestic production and encourages foreign manufacturing, especially when the nations that we’re becoming ever more dependent on for manufacturing, China and Mexico, are to varying extent openly hostile to the US.

              I’d be interested in seeing stats tracking the growth of welfare consumption since the introduction of NAFTA and China being granted most favored nation status.

              Domestic labor is further discouraged not just by the higher cost of living in the US, but also by policies such as income and payroll taxes, which function as nationwide domestic tariffs. It is entirely logical, if US policy is directed at the well being of its general population, to offset those internal tariffs through tariffs on imports.

              1. Yes. Taxes are a nationwide tariff. They are far more destructive to the US economy than tariffs on a despicable authoritarian country.

                Yet Reason wants us to believe that it is more important that China get theirs than the American taxpayer.

                This is not a libertarian magazine, it is a koch mouthpiece.

      3. It has been well established on here that you are a total idiot.

        Really? How? Your wisdom and insight into any situation is to just reflexively bash anyone who disagrees with your shallow, oft-libertine café Marxist apologia as someone totally in the bag for Trump, like there can only be two highly reductive approaches to anything. Pretty much all I see from you is shallow, snobby, snooty, elitist smearing of those outside your urbane, arrogant bubble. You even go so far as to tag in a known insidious, one track, lying troll for another snooty elitist celebration of your prejudices against those awful people in Georgia and their boiled peanuts. Really? What the fuck is wrong with you?

        1. Eunuch gonna eunuch

    3. God you’re such a pathetic lackey.

      1. He is an embarrassment to real lackeys like John.

        1. Good to see you agree with your sock puppet Kiddie Raper.

      2. New troll has so much to say like similar socks before it.

    4. When your CUSTOMER is charged a sales tax, how do YOU you actually pay it … and how do you reimburse your customer?

      No REAL business owner would claim higher costs do not increase prices. So a What’s your business, a paper route or a shoe shine stand?

      When I get an oil change on my Chevy, prove that GM pays it

      WHERE did you learn that costs move UP the distribution chain — from consumer to manufacture, — when every economist, in the history of the profession, has said DOWN the distribution chain?

      WHY would you stand by Trump, if he shot someone to death, on Times Square in broad daylight?

      1. Fuck off, hihn

      2. Hihnfaggot is off his meds again.

      3. And then theres Hihn.

  2. Just once, I would like to see Reason columnists offer up a workable alternative, instead of carping from the sidelines. Their failure to offer an alternative is a sign of intellectual weakness and laziness. Yeah, we are looking at you, Mr. Boehm.

    For DECADES, China has serially lied, serially cheating, serially stolen American IP. Yes, for decades. This is not fair trade, this is theft, pure and simple. For decades, politicians did nothing. Nothing but enable that bad Red Chinese behavior, that is.

    Now we have a POTUS who sees things for what they are, and is acting upon it to put an end to it. Of course, the ideological purists will howl….but no one lives in their sterile world. Meanwhile, the rest of us on planet Earth with functioning synapses and rational brains are watching what POTUS Trump is doing and saying under our collective breath, “It is about fucking time somebody did something to stop this shit”.

    For the life of me, I really don’t understand what the problem is with using tariffs to effect a change in bad behavior. Because that is what this is all about: Stopping China bad behavior (lying, cheating, stealing). Simply put, we need to increase the pain to China until they decide that the cost in changing their behavior is less than the cost of serial and habitual lying, cheating, and stealing.

    If anyone has a better alternative to effect a change in Red Chinese behavior: Name it.

    1. The better alternative is free trade, as Reason has rightfully been saying all along. All else being equal, a wealthier Chinese populace will be harder to oppress than a poorer one. That’s the answer.

      1. Well Brian…Thanks for the serious response. I happen to think you are correct. Free trade is unquestionably a better alternative. I want you to know that I completely agree with that. However, free trade is 100% dependent on a transparent exchange of value for value, following established rules both parties agreed upon.

        Therein lies the problem. China’s habitual and serial lying, cheating and stealing undermines the essential things needed for free trade. Therefore, our trade with China, currently, is not free trade.

        So I now put the question to you: What alternative do you offer to change the behavior of the Red Chinese; namely, stopping the serial lying, cheating and stealing?

        1. free trade is 100% dependent on a transparent exchange of value for value, following established rules both parties agreed upon.

          Actually it’s not. Indeed, this statement is trivially false.

          Retail stores suffer from shoplifting, commonly included in a category called “shrinkage.” This additional cost is baked into prices, and some attempts are made to reduce it, but it’s also just treated as a cost of doing business. Retailers don’t close up shop due to it (unless they are losing so much money from it they decide to relocate) nor do they keep hiring security until they eliminate all of it. Like every economic decision, trade-offs come into play. If the marginal value of hiring more security exceeds what is gained through reduction of shoplifting, the decision is to live with that level of shoplifting. It doesn’t mean the shoplifting is desirable, just that it’s better than the alternatives.

          Your solution is to burn down the store to prevent shoplifting. You are a moron.

          1. Your solution is to burn down the store to prevent shoplifting. You are a moron.

            I just realized a a problem with my analogy. I will correct it here:

            Your solution is to burn down some else’s store because of shoplifting. You are a moron and an asshole.

            1. Seconded.

              1. So, your solution to Mafia enforcers stealing from folks in the neighborhood with a protection racket is to stand on the corner and encourage everyone to experience free trade in the insurance business?

                And that is the best you’ve got?

                Oh and here comes Jeffy with his “implicit assumption that the state should substitute its moral judgment for that of the citizens” that clearly means that the police should absolutely not interfere in the “free trade” the mafia engages in.

                What a bunch of idiots.

                1. So, your solution to Mafia enforcers stealing from folks in the neighborhood with a protection racket is to stand on the corner and encourage everyone to experience free trade in the insurance business

                  WTF are you talking about? Who is supposed to be who in this scenario?

                  Sorry to break it to you, but the Mafia faced by Americans ain’t the Chinese people or Chinese state, it’s American governments.

                2. What in the fuck are you even talking about. What Mafia enforcers?

          2. BLPoG…Upon what is free trade based, if not an exchange of value for value, transparency, and agreed upon rules? This should be interesting.

            Secondarily, take up the challenge: What alternative do you offer to change the behavior of the Red Chinese; namely, stopping the serial lying, cheating and stealing?

            So….go on. Educate me. Tell Reason Readership your alternative.

            1. “Free trade” is international trade without restriction by the state. Full stop.

              It can be further qualified directionally; that is, unilateral, bilateral, multi-lateral, depending on who is enacting (or not) the restriction.

              I think you are anthropomorphizing states and conferring the agency of individual actors’ into bundles of “trades” between states, which is not remotely an accurate view of reality, but does exist somewhere in the proximity of the zero-sum attitude toward international trade debunked by economists over two centuries ago.

              Trade between any rational actors is based on consensual exchange. If a party outside the trade interferes by lying/cheating/stealing, the fault is generally not laid on one of the intended partners (abstracting certain cases of negligence and the like).

              If a party involved in the trade lies/cheats/steals, that is to say, engages in fraud, or breaches “agreed upon rules,” then certainly the injured party has cause to seek recompense; there are a lot of ways societies handle that situation. At the end of the day though, it is the injured party that has that claim, NOT YOU.

              You claim that it is YOUR decision to make, and that you are justified in interfering in others’ trades preventing them from exchanging value for value, and making them operate under YOUR rules. YOU are the external bad actor in this situation, denying others’ agency and denying their consensual activity. YOU are the liar/cheater/thief, despite your protestations to nobility.

              As to this:

              What alternative do you offer to change the behavior of the Red Chinese; namely, stopping the serial lying, cheating and stealing?

              As I stated before, if the cure is worse than the disease, live with the disease. I could go on about alternative long-term strategies, how some might be efficacious, the implications of cheap electronics, communication, and encryption technologies, how that might impact internal Chinese politics, etc., but by and large the primary strategy, in terms of action, is to engage in unilateral free trade and to continue to grow and prosper. You clearly subscribe to the “we must do something” theory of problem solving. That puts in good company with that “for the children” guy also commenting on this post.

              I have to say, I laughed at reading them called, in what I perceive to be a serious characterization, the “Red Chinese.” I call them that sometimes as a joke, or very occasionally to distinguish from Taiwan, but the idea that they are “red” in any meaningful sense is laughable. They are certainly authoritarian, often totalitarian, but their political order is not meaningfully connected to communism.

      2. “a wealthier Chinese populace will be harder to oppress than a poorer one.”

        We’ll see how that works out for Hong Kong.
        Additionally, I don’t really want to the US government to prioritize Chinese citizens over Americans when making policy.

      3. The better alternative is free trade, as Reason has rightfully been saying all along. All else being equal, a wealthier Chinese populace will be harder to oppress than a poorer one. That’s the answer

        But a poorer, more indebted, increasingly hopeless US population will be increasingly angry, causing political instability in the US. Seems like a bad trade to me.

    2. The problem here is the implicit assumption that the state should substitute its moral judgment for that of the citizens.

      Where is the limiting principle for this belief?

      Suppose I as an American citizen want to buy widgets from Venezuela. Should the state rightly slap tariffs on my purchase in order to ‘correct’ my behavior, because Venezuela is socialist?

      Suppose I want to buy widgets from Israel. Should the state slap tariffs on my purchase in order to ‘correct’ my behavior, because of Israel’s mistreatment of Palestinians?

      Suppose I want to buy widgets from Turkey. Should the state slap tariffs on my purchase in order to ‘correct’ my behavior, because of Turkey’s poor treatment of the Kurds?

      How far do you want to go to have the state step in to the role of national moral scold in trying to ‘correct’ the behavior of free people?

      1. chem….I’ve yet to read your response to this question (which I have put directly to you in the past): What alternative do you offer to change the behavior of the Red Chinese; namely, stopping the serial lying, cheating and stealing?

        I reject your premise: the State is making a moral judgment.

        Looking forward to reading your workable alternative, chem.

        1. I reject your premise: the State is making a moral judgment.

          But the state IS making a moral judgment if it is imposing tariffs for the purposes of changing citizens’ behavior. How is it not?

          What alternative do you offer to change the behavior of the Red Chinese; namely, stopping the serial lying, cheating and stealing?

          Individual action. Don’t want to support the Chinese government? Then don’t buy from Chinese firms.

          “But I’m just one person! My small contribution won’t make much of a difference!”

          Well, then you should persuade others to follow your lead. There seems to be plenty of support for your idea.

          “But that’s hard!”

          Yeah, it is hard. Persuasion is difficult.

          “Wouldn’t it just be easier for the state to force everyone to pay a tax if they want to buy from China, as a way to change their behavior?”

          Yeah it would be easier. And more authoritarian.

          1. chem….So in other words, you have no workable alternative. I figured as much. Just libertarian ideology.

            Listen, if you want to live in a perfect libertarian theoretical world, that is wonderful. Meanwhile, back here on planet Earth, we have to deal with a concept called objective reality. Red Chinese malign behavior (serial lying, cheating, theft) has cost our nation dearly (economically, diplomatically, politically, militarily – not just trade). This has been going on for decades, enabled by politicians of both parties.

            We tried your way (just let individuals do a personal boycott of everything Chinese) in a ‘real world’ test for the last three decades. Guess what chem….time is up. Pencils down. The test results are in.

            chem’s method to change Red Chinese behavior Grade: F…as in it has totally fucking failed, and Red Chinese behavior of serial and habitual lying, cheating and stealing continue unabated. That is the thing we call objective reality. 🙁

            So I ask you again: What workable alternative do you propose?

            1. Dude. We don’t agree with the premise.

              Punishing the Chinese isn’t one of my goals. You forcing me to choose the form of the destroyer and join in on a national mission I disagree with doesn’t help.

              Why don’t you instruct me on the best way for us to collectively rape some babies?

              1. Murray….I don’t think I can help you with that baby thing.

              2. “Why don’t you instruct me on the best way for us to collectively rape some babies?”

                Sure.
                Continue the ante-Trump status quo economic relationship with China.

            2. .So in other words, you have no workable alternative. I figured as much. Just libertarian ideology.

              If by “workable alternative” you mean “a government program initiating force against those who disagree”, then no, I don’t have one of those, and proudly so.

              But, hey, let’s try things your way. How far should the government’s virtue signaling via tariffs go? Should the government slap tariffs on me if I want to do business with merchants in Venezuela, or Turkey, or Israel? If not, why not?

              What is your limiting principle on the validity of tariffs?

          2. “Well, then you should persuade others to follow your lead.”

            You mean by… like maybe… running for office? And then implementing your policies?

            1. Crazy talk!

        2. Do you think you are a libertarian? Or do you just like harassing libertarians for actually believing in individual rights?

          You keep cheering on national collective action that your fellow American individuals clearly disagree with because “something has to be done” and “I know better than you what is good for you. ”

          ^that’s how fascists and socialists solve problems. That’s not how libertarians do. You hate the Chinese so goddamn much? You stop buying from them then.

          Leave the rest of us the fuck alone.

          1. Murray….To be precise about it, it is foreign policy action that I am advocating for. Maybe it is me, but isn’t foreign policy an article II exercise of executive power, as laid out in our Constitution? You tell me.

            I have never encountered a ‘perfect’ libertarian. Never once. In fact, I thought that libertarians came in all ‘ideological shapes and sizes’. Perhaps where we part ways (and I don’t know this is the case) is I am apparently more willing to bend (not break) on the degree of purity of ideology in the conduct of governmental affairs.

            It was not my intent to harass anyone. It IS my intent to engage in vigorous and lively debate, and make myself think through what I advocate.

            1. Yeah. Foreign policy is certainly constitutional. It doesn’t make all foreign policy decisions right.

              I realize the original framers thought we’d find the entire government on duties. Thankfully, we’ve learned more about economics in the past 200+ years.

              You want a war. You realize it will be a costly war, but you think it’s worth it. The worst part is, we are all getting drafted into this one. There is no volunteer army for tariffs.

              So thanks for supporting drafting me into your war I disagree with. It’s fun.

              1. And thank you for supporting decades of American industry being shit on because you won’t back up your country.

                See how that works?

                1. Did you get shit on lord of shit?

                  Cause I did not. Feel free to share.

              2. “I realize the original framers thought we’d find the entire government on duties. Thankfully, we’ve learned more about economics in the past 200+ years.”

                And how exactly is a regime of income taxes, sales taxes, and idiotic taxes of every other sort better? Taxes provide incentives or disincentives. A tariff provides and incentive to manufacture locally… Incidentally an income tax provides a DISincentive for local business activity.

                If we need to collect X number of dollars, explain to me how using a tax that discourages economic activity is “better” than one that encourages it?

                As usual for people like you, you have no valid response. Tariffs are taxes like any other. They have repercussions as all taxes do. The thing is, in the grand scheme of things, tariffs are probably one of the best forms of taxation. Far better than income taxes anyway.

      2. “Suppose I as an American citizen want to buy widgets from Venezuela”

        YOU ARE NOT AMERICAN. You are Canadian. Stay the fuck out of American business, and keep your peso friends away from our kids.

    3. For DECADES, China has serially lied, serially cheating, serially stolen American IP. Yes, for decades. This is not fair trade, this is theft, pure and simple. For decades, politicians did nothing. Nothing but enable that bad Red Chinese behavior, that is.

      For the life of me, I really don’t understand what the problem is with using tariffs to effect a change in bad behavior. Because that is what this is all about: Stopping China bad behavior (lying, cheating, stealing). Simply put, we need to increase the pain to China until they decide that the cost in changing their behavior is less than the cost of serial and habitual lying, cheating, and stealing.

      Three problems:

      1. Putting aside the fact that libertarians are not assumed to be IP supporters, you’re assuming that this game-theoretic strategy can actually work. It’s the same mental behavior as those who shout “do something” for any perceived ill; doing “something” is not guaranteed, or even necessarily likely, to be effective. The evidence suggests, strongly, that causing “pain” to China will have little bearing on their respect for IP and the like.

      2. Even if this strategy “worked” in that it got China to capitulate and properly enforce related law – not just agree to do so, mind you, but actually do so in an effective way – it is not clear that the cost incurred would outweigh benefits. It very likely would not, but since it’s a fantasy to assume it would “work” it’s sort of a moot point anyway.

      3. You presume that it is just (or legitimate, or however you want to phrase it) for the government to restrict voluntary exchange between consenting adults, and you want to increase the size and power of the state. That is as anti-liberty as it gets.

      That’s not even getting in to the other, less sophisticated errors made by supporters of these tariffs, even here in the comments of Reason. It’s pretty clear to me that most of the supporters have a conception of the economics of trade that is over 200 years out of date and that they also believe in central planning of the economy, so long as it’s their preferred plan. Meanwhile, you all act like those of us who support free trade are ignorant of the strategy considerations in these policies, rather than having looked at certain managed trade strategies, examined the economic and public choice considerations, and found them to be wholly deficient in promoting liberty or prosperity.

      In summation, fuck off, slaver.

      1. Nicely done.

        1. Total Bullshit, but nicely presented.

          1. How, exactly, is it bullshit?

            Most advocates of tariffs don’t actually employ the strategy angle, instead relying entirely on faulty economics. I’m being generous and assuming you support them for reasons of strategy. The burden is then on you to show that the expected value of the outcome is higher than the alternative (excluding the statist considerations, which fail on liberty grounds every damn time). That is a difficult thing for you to demonstrate, because it requires something that has a low probability of success and large cost to work out better than the alternative, present course. It requires the gains to be very substantially more than the losses from present malfeasance – indeed, likely orders of magnitude more due to the probabilities involved. Given that the net long-term, society-wide economic effects of things like IP piracy are unclear (as opposed to the short-term harm to individuals and specific firms), it’s not a sure thing that “gains” would even have a positive sign.

            The burden of proof for those advocating tariffs-as-temporary-tactic-in-long-term-strategy-of-fair-play is fucking enormous.

            1. How, exactly, is it bullshit?

              Oh come now, you know the answer. Whenever the magic words “national security” are invoked, we all must sacrifice our liberty for the sake of the health of the state. It doesn’t matter if the magic words are chanted for steel tariffs on fkn CANADA for Christ’s sake. “National Security” is all that is required to be invoked.

              1. Fuck off you Canadian pedophile.

    4. Tell us — oh, disgrace to Ayn Rand — when a consumer is charged a sales tax, how is that REALLY paid by the manufacturer.

      Their failure to offer an alternative is a sign of intellectual weakness and laziness. Yeah, we are looking at you, Mr. Boehm.

      And I’m looking at you, brainless one.

      For the life of me, I really don’t understand what the problem is with using tariffs to effect a change in bad behavior

      The problem — oh, disgrace to Ayn Rand is — is that you want the end-uset to pay for “bad behavior” by somebody else.

      I am NOT blaming you. since even our President is as stupid.
      But, just a suggestion, instea

      1. But, just a suggestion, instead of emulating James Taggart, consider emulating his sister

        1. You should really enter hospice.

      2. Tell us — oh, disgrace to Ayn Rand — when a consumer is charged a sales tax, how is that REALLY paid by the manufacturer.

        Standard economics says that it’s split between consumer and manufacturer.

        Of course, consumers should pay a lot more in taxes, given our current budget deficit.

  3. Trump can give the stock market a shot in the arm by simply removing the tariffs he’s added. IF the markets aren’t heading back north by Christmas, I expect Trump to do exactly that. His path to reelection is a strong economy. I think he cares a lot more about reelection than he cares about a trade war with China.

    Will Xi be forced to blink before Christmas?

    1. Leo….This is going to be a long, protracted, tough slog. We should have no illusions about this. China has the second largest economy in the world, 1.7B people, and a decent military. They are not a pushover by any means. They will not blink before Hannukah. 🙂

      There is no withdrawing tariffs without an agreement that puts an end to China’s serial lying, cheating and stealing. This is going to take years.

      POTUS Trump does not sound like a man in a hurry to make a deal. He said as much last evening in NH. My fear is an increasingly desperate China will strike out militarily as they start to see their economy really get hurt. As in, they move on Taiwan.

      1. POTUS Trump does not sound like a man in a hurry to make a deal.

        You’re correct. But we’re still almost a year and a half from the election. Trump will get more desperate if the Dow is still stagnant heading into 2020. Mark my words.

        Assuming Xi doesn’t blink before then, the question is does a desperate Trump continue doubling down or concede something?

        1. Problem is that he has two idiots, Ross and Navarro, leading the way and Trump thinks he is dealing with a Bronx flooring contractor with China.

          He is in over his ugly head.

      2. “As in, they move on Taiwan.”
        – – Perhaps. Might be more likely they enable/encourage the Norks’ provocations. Doing so doesn’t commit their forces to anything while it potentially ties up US assets. Taiwan would require greater attention and resources while also drawing scrutiny and ire from theater and international partners.

        1. Nom….Agreed. China could encourage their ally, NK, to make trouble. Might be tougher for NK, as I don’t think military readiness has declined all that much in South Korea.

      3. China seems smart enough to recognize that it need merely wait out another year or so of Trump and the slack-jawed, bigoted minority that supports Trump.

      4. So … why is Trump getting his ass kicked, by virtually every foreign leader he attack. Unaware that a “deal” requires a win-win by both sides. Why would anyone make a deal with nothing to gain?

        And “getting tougher” is called bullying.

        1. Yes, you are an expert at trying to bully everyone.

        2. ” Unaware that a “deal” requires a win-win by both sides. ”

          This is the entire problem… Previous US leaders gave away all our bargaining chips to foreign nations, not demanding that the deals be good for us… So now Trump has to threaten to take back what previous idiots gave away for free. Allowing somebody (China) to keep something instead of taking something away is a win for them… Because the alternative is a massive recession that their economy would NOT handle well.

    2. So your preference is short term gain over long term balancing of trade. Got it.

      1. I’m talking about the election. Wouldn’t you trade a short-term Trump reelection over Kamala Harris for long-term “balancing of trade?” I would. And I’m not a Trump supporter by any means.

        1. I am disgusted with how low libertarianism has fallen. Instead of high moral purpose, it is just all about what can I get, don’t make my new X-Box more expensive, and who cares about the future.

          Maybe it because you are so self-centered you can’t worry about the future of children and grandchildren or maybe it is because your tiny little shrivelled dicks don’t work any more and you won’t have children. Whatever it is, you will get no respect from me.

          As I have explained MANY times before, with plenty of examples, trade with China is not just about economics, it is also about national security. It is necessary to consider the big picture, not just the ‘how will this effect ME today!”

          GROW UP!

          1. Ok then. If that’s your position then debate it in Congress and pass it the right way. If you have the moral high ground here, why do it by executive fiat?

            1. “then debate it in Congress and pass it the right way.”

              What specifically is Trump doing that is un Constitutional?

            2. Because our congress is filled with so many anti-America traitors and sold out assholes it won’t pass?

              Democracy is a bullshit form of government… As is every form of government really. The truth is if we had intelligent, competent, well meaning people in congress we could be KILLING it right now on 1,000 issues. But we don’t. We have morons and traitors.

              Given that the assholes created the imperial presidency, I’m not really going to bitch when somebody trying to do something decent uses those powers. All forms of government are transient. We’re going to need a revolution someday to set America right again. This version of America is DONE. So if we can get a dead cat bounce out of using excessive powers to fix things for a minute, that’s fine by me.

              It might not be high minded or principled to say such things… But it is living in reality!

          2. Moral pointers from a guy who snuggles with white supremacists?

            Carry on, clingers. Not for much longer, though.

          3. trade with China is not just about economics, it is also about national security.

            You seem to me more like a neoconservative, not a libertarian.

            1. Now, now, are you really so ignorant as to NOT appreciate how tariffs can prevent a nuclear assault by China

              Simply levy tariffs on missiles, bombers and warships.
              This is NOT rocket science. Err, not THAT kind of rocket science …

          4. As I have explained MANY times before,

            Who gives a fuck?

            Whatever it is, you will get no respect from me.

            We don’t WANT any respect from your ilk of brainless right-winger.

            Or, tell us how tariffs will preclude a military attack by China.
            Did you you see that N Korea justed a low-level missile, described as difficult to stop, by our own people? Thea sam N, Korea tat Trump said he had already denuclearized … well over a year ago?

            Please, we ge enough hysterics from the White House.

          5. and who cares about the future.

            YOUR conception of what the future ought to look like is not the same as MY conception of what the future ought to look like, nor anyone else’s. So why should you, or me, or anyone else dictate how people ought to arrange their lives for the future?

            And no serious person believes Trump’s tariffs have any meaningful connection to national security. These would be the same tariffs he applied to steel from CANADA, right? Yeah right, it’s totes about national security. That was just the mere pretext for him to abuse his executive authority.

            1. “These would be the same tariffs he applied to steel from CANADA, right? ”

              Canada is YOUR country.

            2. “YOUR conception of what the future ought to look like is not the same as MY conception of what the future ought to look like, nor anyone else’s. So why should you, or me, or anyone else dictate how people ought to arrange their lives for the future?”

              Because in THE REAL WORLD, somebodies ideas about how the future should be WILL happen. All of politics, and just life really, is about people fighting to ensure their vision of the future comes to pass.

      2. I should mention that so far in 1.5 years, Trump hasn’t moved the needle in the direction of more “balanced trade.”

        Also, the goal should be free trade, not balanced trade. I absolutely do not understand this obsession with trade deficits (assuming that’s what you mean by balance).

        1. If only your claims were convincing,

        2. People who claim trade deficits don’t matter are morons. That belief requires completely ignoring multiple VERY important points.

          Namely who owns assets, and the effects that things like fiat money have had on the theories behind free trade.

          1. If you ignore WHO owns assets… That is ludicrous. If you run in the red on trade long term, that means people in the net exporter country must invest their dollars into our nation… The fact is that foreign nationals owning trillions and trillions in assets inside your country IS different than actual citizens owning those assets. The future income from those assets goes to the pockets of a foreigner for one, and is less likely to be spent into the local economy. Additionally foreigners are not likely to give a shit, outside of making their money, about society in your nation. There are a lot of sub issues one can rant about, but the short version is that if you run in the red long enough you are constantly trading your net worth (assets) for current consumption… To an individual this would be selling off personal belongings to drink at the bar too often. Technically the money isn’t turning into air, but the fact that you have less and the bar owner is endlessly stacking up more… Eventually it starts to matter.

          2. Perpetual trade deficits LITERALLY could not have existed in the days of hard money, which is why those theorists didn’t address it as a perpetual thing. It was transient and self correcting in the world as it existed in the 1700s and 1800s.

          In a world with real currency, and not fiat, you would LITERALLY PHYSICALLY run out of money to import items if you were not productive enough as a nation… Which would in turn automatically lower your wages until you were more competitive again, and automatically balance out the trade. Obfuscating everything with fiat currency doesn’t allow this natural balancing to happen, which enables long term systemic deficits to continue and ultimately impoverish nations.

          There are a ton more flaws with simplistic classical free trade theory… But those are the 2 biggest. Consider welfare state, tax payers subsidizing imports by paying for welfare for those put out of work by cheap foreign labor (AKA is it ACTUALLY cheaper once these costs are factored in), on and on.

      3. balancing of trade

        So I take it your understanding of trade is over 200 years out of date? Tell me, do you also support the theory of phlogiston?

        1. How much are you worth?
          Just curious

    3. Trump can give the stock market a shot in the arm by simply removing the tariffs he’s added.

      The stock markets are rattled by uncertainty, not by tariffs. If we had a stable tariff regime, stock markets might well do better, since that would both encourage domestic manufacturing and reduce the deficit.

      1. Yup. These fags never like to explain how income taxes, which discourage domestic business activity, are SOMEHOW better than tariffs… I get that a tax is a tax is a tax… But they have their own unique ways they tilt the market. Seems to me income taxes effects are far less positive than the realistic effects of tariffs.

  4. Trump, a self-described great deal maker, has seen nothing but failure after 2.5 years of bungling negotiations in trade pacts.

    His worthless anti-free trade Mexico/Canada deal won’t be voted on in an election year so this supposed tough talk with China is nothing but self-aggrandizing masturbation.

    1. Should America do anything about China’s theft of IP? How about their obvious ambitions of Empire? How about their bullying of Asian neighbors?

      I get that you hate Trump, so “he must be denounced”, but do you have any positive suggestions?

      1. Yes. Posted above.

        The real IP owners, liberals in the USA, wanted the US to join the TPP and set the rules for the entire Pacific Rim on IP protection that China would have to adopt later. 18,000 tariffs on US products would have been eliminated.

        But the Orange Buffoon didn’t want to give Obama a trade victory and here we are three years later with our thumb up our ass.

        The TPP did not initially include China but it was our version of Belt and Road. We set the rules for the entire Asian region and force China to comply or sacrifice trade in their own geography.

        1. LOL. “The real IP owners, liberals in the USA”

          You need to pull that plug out and take a healthy, steaming dump to clear your mind.

          1. Who pushes hardest for IP protection? Software (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Salesforce, etc), science/biotech, and Hollywood.

            All dominated by liberals.

            Conservatives suck at such complex businesses. You are lucky to queef out a Chik-Fil-A.

            1. Fuck off child rapist. You have no business even being here.

  5. Is Trump asking for anything that is unfair?

    1. He is asking Emperor Xi to lose face.

      While that isn’t unfair, it’s probably an unreasonable request.

      1. True. Saving face is quite important in Asis, China in particular.

        So, the geniuses at State Dept need to come up with a way for Xi to play fair and still look like a winner.

        1. First, I’m not sure Trump is capable of that. I think the trade negotiators already tried to do that, and Trump just . . . can’t let people save face. He gets on Twitter and in front of the bully pulpit and he speaks his mind. All indications are that the Chinese have given up on negotiating with Trump. They’re hoping they have someone else to negotiate with come November 2020, and they know as well as I do that the Democrat field is more hostile to them than Trump. They don’t think Trump is capable of creating a situation in which they can’t save face.

          Incidentally, yeah, losing face and losing the mandate of heaven are intertwined in Chinese history and culture. The mandate of heaven meant that you were supposed to be the emperor, but when bad things happen to you to make you lose face, that also means that you’ve lost the mandate of heaven, and the people have the right, if not the duty, to overthrow the emperor or at least demand a new one.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandate_of_Heaven

          You may think these ideas within a religious context have gone out of style, but it’s much like “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”. Because they’ve been stripped of their religious context doesn’t mean they aren’t still the operative dynamics in the culture. Emperor Xi might rather suffer economic decline rather than lose face by capitulating to protesters in Hong Kong or the demands of any American president–for that reason.

          Second, for that reason, I think we’re making a mistake by pretending that this is all about Trump. If Trump offered Emperor Xi everything he wanted and more, I’m not sure Emperor Xi would agree to drop his tariffs at this point. If that’s the case, then feel free to blame Trump for getting us into this mess, but he may not be the reason we can’t get out of it. If Emperor Xi wouldn’t end the tariffs at this point no matter what Trump did, then why talk about this as if Trump were the only thing standing between us and trade with China?

          1. I agree that “Trump can’t do that”. He seems incapable of diplomatically resisting the urge to rub it in.

            Sad.

          2. Xi, and the Chinese will gladly make an agreement to stop doing all the unacceptable things they have been doing.

            So long as there are no enforcement mechanisms.

            They’ll say yes to pretty much anything.

            But nothing that can actually be enforced.

            1. So, in that sense our choices are indeed either capitulate or adapt to the new normal.

              I’ll take the new normal. In the long run we can sustain it better than the Chinese.

        2. +1,000

    2. He is asking for US consumers to pay more tariffs. That seems unfair to me, insomuch as there hasn’t been any debate by Congress (who is supposed to pass tariffs). Instead we get trade policy decreed from on high, by Tweet, all in the name of some farcical national security risk.

      1. The question was understood to be about whether Trump was asking the Chinese government for anything that was unfair.

        And the correct answer is “no”.

        I think you’d need to willfully misunderstand the question to come up with an answer about American consumers.

        1. I was being facetious of course. But it is unfair for Trump to force me to bankroll his poker game with Xi (to borrow your analogy.)

          1. There isn’t even a sarcasm font, much less a facetious one.

      2. Leo…Trade policy is foreign policy. That falls squarely under Article II powers. I thought MJBinAL made the clearest statements I’ve read about this all week long. Let me try to paraphrase the essence of the idea(s) as I understand them.

        The Red Chinese do not see economic policy in isolation. It is one part (or a modality) of an integrated whole: moral, political, social, economic, media, diplomatic, military. Westerners typically compartmentalize these things. And that has been our downfall. We must see it is they see it, and engage them effectively across all modalities.

        For the US, tariffs are the tool POTUS Trump is using in order to engage Red China across all modalities, and to effect a change in behavior. To me, this is not so much about the money as it is about upholding the idea that free trade (and all other trade, for that matter) involves an exchange of value for value, is transparent, and occurs within agreed upon rules. THIS is the idea that is being fought for. And for the life of me, is there anything more libertarian that those ideas?

        1. Article 1, section 8:
          The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises…
          To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations

          Even IF tariffs are a good idea (they aren’t) then we should at least be afforded public debate.

      3. He is asking for US consumers to pay more tariffs. That seems unfair to me, insomuch as there hasn’t been any debate by Congress (who is supposed to pass tariffs).

        Congress delegated this authority to the president. They can reverse that decision any time they like.

        And as long as there is a budget deficit, it seems eminently fair to me to raise taxes/tariffs on current voters/consumers until it is paid for; what is unfair is to let current voters/consumers push these deficits off onto their children as part of an inherited national debt.

  6. Last week, I pointed out that the U.S. Treasury took in $63 billion from tariffs over the 12 months ending June 2019. Over the course of ten years, that’s $630 billion our politicians can use to float more debt and finance spending on their constituents–today. Regardless of whomever wins the next election, if Trump doesn’t manage to get the Chinese to capitulate before his reelection, the next president will have little political incentive to turn off that money spigot. Yeah, there are all sorts of great reasons for trade with China, but there’s little reason to believe that any of the Democratic candidates care more about capitalism and trade than they do about spending somewhere just south of $630 billion on environmental and social programs and to get themselves reelected. We better hope Trump comes around on trade with China because if a Democrat gets elected, we might as well abandon all hope.

    Meanwhile, is there anything about what’s happening in Hong Kong right now that should make a reasonable person expect that Emperor Xi will capitulate to the United States? Xi would risk rebellion spreading (and potentially losing the mandate of heaven) rather than appear to have capitulated on something as small as an unpopular politician in Hong Kong. Given that fact, why should anyone believe he will capitulate to Trump–or any other Democrat president in the future?

    Emperor Xi might prefer to suffer the negative consequences of tariffs–rather than appear to have capitulated to the United States–even if Trump withdrew all of his major demands. Little doubt in my mind but that Trump screwed the pooch on this one, but I hope I’m wrong about that. However, at this point, we might be guilty of falling for a sunk costs fallacy (in terms of the politics) if we’re obsessing about China. In fact, if no one can rescue that situation from Xi’s iron fist, we might have more success from a political perspective if we looked at opening up trade with Canada, Mexico, the UK, and South America.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost

    1. “Yeah, there are all sorts of great reasons for trade with China”

      Ok.
      Are there any drawbacks?

      1. For people who can’t compete with Chinese products, yes. And thank Jesus for that. If it weren’t for trade, how else would keep the union scumbag population down?

        1. Right.
          Trade with China uber alles.
          Dogma must be maintained no matter the real world.
          Everything has positives and negatives, but you believe in absolute good.
          How faithful

          1. I’m very clear about the downsides of trade–for people who should suffer the downsides.

            Maybe you’d like to tell me about the downsides of trade yourself?
            I’m all ears.

            1. P.S.

              “Capitalism […] is by nature a form or method of economic change and not only never is but never can be stationary. […] The fundamental impulse that sets and keeps the capitalist engine in motion comes from the new consumers’ goods, the new methods of production or transportation, the new markets, the new forms of industrial organization that capitalist enterprise creates.

              […] The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop and factory to such concerns as U.S. Steel illustrate the process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. It is what capitalism consists in and what every capitalist concern has got to live in.

              [… Capitalism requires] the perennial gale of Creative Destruction.[2]

              —-Joseph Schumpeter

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_destruction#Association_with_Joseph_Schumpeter

              Like Thatcher, I’m glad when an inefficient enterprise is put out of our misery. When losers lose because they can’t compete, that is as it should be. When the government colludes with industry and/or unions to prevent consumers from making choices for themselves, it’s indefensible from any perspective–save rent seeking and union style, democratic socialism.

              Fuck that noise.

              I suppose someone might argue that there are sometimes security considerations–like the issues with Huawei and Kaspersky–but anyone who thinks China is greater threat to the U.S. because their economy depends on their trade relationship with the U.S. is a fucking idiot.

        2. For people who can’t compete with Chinese products, yes.

          I.e., for law abiding American companies that actually comply with tax, labor, and workplace safety regulations? Yeah, those can’t compete. And the law abiding American workers they don’t hire then go on US welfare and disability programs paid for by law abiding American citizens.

          1. We should cut those welfare benefits for everyone who isn’t disabled.

            And being unemployed isn’t a disability.

            1. Q: What sort of mind justifies central planning as a legitimate response to more people on welfare?

              A: A socialist.

              1. Fuck off, Ken.
                You’re promoting central planning, you just give it a euphemism.
                Status quo ante Trump was, still largely is, absolutely central planning of the economy meant to (often explicitly) favor Chinese and US white collar prosperity at the expense of all other Americans.
                Why should everyone subsidize your preferences through a tax and regulatory regime that discourages domestic labor and incentivizes foreign production through sweetheart trade policy?
                Your approach here completely justifies the “I got mine, fuck the rest of you” stereotype given to libertarians.
                Why shouldn’t someone who reads such an attitude say “fuck it, I’ll just take what that old bastard has”?
                You’re explicitly arguing that the US policy should pick the Chinese to win and a segment of Americans to lose.
                Further, multinational corporations are defined by central planning. Your opposition to the concept isn’t a principle, it’s a red herring.

                1. You are writing this on a multinational corporation manufactured device. It is communicated by a multinational network. The entertainment you enjoy, the food you eat, is all multinational. . You pay for that. You are also payed because of it.

                  Is capitalism that difficult to understand?

                  It is not central planned. As soon as you do that it collapses.

                  Always focus on the individual.

  7. I expect the trade war to end in roughly 18 months.

    Gun nuts, anti-abortion absolutists, evangelical slack-jaws, white nationalists, and other bigots hardest hit.

    1. Which of the Democrat candidates do you expect like trade with China better than Trump?

      Bernie Sanders?

      Liz Warren?

      . . . or are you just being a stupid asshole again?

      1. They both suck but you knew that.

        Obama was the best on trade of any recent POTUS. Maybe Biden will pick his policies up.

        1. Obama killed both the Colombian and South Korean trade deals–and remade them only after new deals were okayed by the UAW. Rewriting trade deals so that they’re okay with the UAW may be better than Sanders, Trump, or Warren, but it isn’t better than Biden. Biden is a dyed-in-the-wool union man.

          https://www.politico.com/story/2019/04/24/joe-biden-unions-2020-1289642

          There is no good reason to believe that Joe Biden will save trade with China.

          1. After the Obama administration renegotiated the agreement:

            “The deal was supported by Ford Motor Company, as well as the United Auto Workers, both of which had previously opposed the agreement. Remarking on the UAW’s support, an Obama administration official was quoted as saying, “It has been a long time since a union supported a trade agreement” and thus the administration hopes for a “big, broad bipartisan vote” in the U.S. Congress in 2011.[16]

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States%E2%80%93Korea_Free_Trade_Agreement#2008%E2%80%9311

            International trade is okay with me so long as it’s okay with the UAW? That is not an excellent example of a free trade president, and if Biden, Sanders, or Warren compare either no better or worse, then trade is not a good reason to vote for a Democrat–not even against Trump.

    2. I expect the trade war to end in roughly 18 months.

      Interesting belief. Which of the Democratic candidates do you expect to win?

    3. Not really a reply to the 18 months comment.

      Since the bogus national security issue was brought up above.

      I would expect a war war with China to be over in about 18 minutes.

      It would really depend on who struck first and hardest so the first 18 minutes would determine the outcome. But why would either side do that?

      In answer to some of the above comments. Yes I would be fine with things as they were before this stupid trade war. I have no problem with renegotiating treaties but this is not the way to achieve it. I hear the usual crap now about China Bad. The government there is not good but I have heard crap like this before and it never leads to a good outcome.

      Always focus on the individual.

  8. Listening to partisan Democrats criticize Trump on trade is the sound of one hand farting.

    1. Andrew Yang is interesting

  9. By “abandoned” you mean “surrendered”, right?

  10. A trade war is, in the end, just like any other war. And the following African proverb illuminates it quite well:

    “When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”

  11. #MAGA

    Thanks Trump for putting America first and trying to get us free trade. Since all our trading partners refused, I thank you for trying to get lower trade restrictions that will help US business for decades.

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  13. Voters and business owners also “know” that we should have trillion dollar deficits. That’s because voters and business owners will vote for anything that makes stuff cheaper, increases their incomes, and lowers their taxes.

    If we had a free market and limited government, those choices would lead to the right outcome: free trade etc. But in the context of a regulatory social welfare state, that kind of voting leads to disaster.

  14. Why did we elect this President again? Oh right, it was the racism.

  15. What was so funny about the “free” trade deal of the past is that it was just like everything else being “face-valued” as “free” — it was subsidized to the teeth by U.S. taxpayers.

    It would be nice to repeal all foreign subsidizing (UPU, Treasury Bond Loans, and Customs enforcement) but since that isn’t happening at least a Tariff large enough to cover the “subsidizing”.

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