Donald Trump

Trump Is Still Losing His Own Trade War

The president’s tentative deal with China is not a winner.

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A trade deal with China could finally be here! It's a good one, too, according to President Donald Trump, who said last week, "So, we just made what, I guess, is one of the biggest deals that's been made in a long time, with China." He added, "If you look at the deal, the deal is so incredible. The deal is a great deal." Then we learned that there isn't actually a real deal yet, just a tentative proposal. It's also far from the comprehensive deal that Trump once promised.

Either way, one must ask: Was it worth it?

The president is understandably eager to make the case for his tariff strategy. Yet, objectively, the deal is at best a mini-deal. At worst, it's a joke that pretty much fails to accomplish the goals Trump was trying to achieve. Most noticeably, it fails to get a commitment from the Chinese government to give up its protectionist and authoritarian grip on its economy. It's also unclear as to whether the deal will succeed in forcing China to stop asking foreign companies to hand over trade secrets. And China will undoubtedly continue to use its state-owned enterprises to artificially direct resources toward—and subsidize—favored industries.

Worst of all, the deal would actually reinforce these Chinese behaviors. For instance, the deal in question would require that China use its state-owned enterprises to buy $40 billion to $50 billion worth of American agricultural products annually—instead of the roughly $20 billion it bought previously. That's no victory. That's a concession China already agreed to more than two years ago. And that's pursuing the very sort of top-down, government-directed policy Trump claimed he wanted to change in the first place.

Unfortunately, thanks to a profound misunderstanding about the value of exports, the president may receive some praise for getting China to commit to buying more U.S. soybeans. While it may be very counter-intuitive to most people, economists understand that exports are valuable goods that we give up in exchange for imports; exports themselves are costs, rather than benefits.

Think about it this way: When you go to work in the morning, you export your services to your boss in exchange for wages, which, in this illustration, are an import. Even if you love working and derive value from it, for the most part you export your work in exchange for your wages and the goods and services that you can then buy with them. Imports, and the consumption they allow, are the goal of trade—not exports. As George Mason University's Donald Boudreaux notes, "What is true at the level of the household is here true at the level of the national economy: the goods and services that Americans export to foreigners are the costs that we willingly incur in order to be able to import into our country the goods and services that we receive from foreigners in exchange."

It's hard to jump for joy at the opportunity cost of Trump's strategy. After almost four years of lavish rhetoric against China, tariffs all over the place, manufacturing slowdowns, and rampant uncertainty, Trump got China to agree to very few concessions. Meanwhile, the United States will maintain those punishing tariffs on roughly $360 billion worth of imports. This means the supply chain will continue to be disrupted at the expense of American companies and consumers.

Moreover, Daniel Mitchell of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity highlights another opportunity cost of the Trump strategy that's often ignored by commentators. He writes, "Just imagine, by contrast, where we would be if Trump had joined with our allies and used the World Trade Organization to go after China's mercantilist policies. We'd be in much better shape today." If you don't buy it, look at the reduction in tariffs China agreed to for many other countries while simultaneously increasing tariffs on American exports. And take note of the many trade deals our trading partners have implemented with one another since the beginning of this trade war.

In light of all that, you can't seriously see the trade war, even one that ends up with this mini-deal, as a win for the United States.

COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM

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  1. Lol. TLDR? Can we only have articles about this when there’s some actual news?

    I get it, Orange Man Bad! And here’s some economist/political scientist/presidential historian/ pollster/ blah blah blah that also thinks Orange Man Bad!

    It’s news I tell ya!

    1. Lol, TLDR: I am too stoopid to understand the message, let alone rebut it, so I will just say somethin stoopid and insult the author.

      1. Alphabet misspells stupid while predictably defending Reason writers.

      2. Meanwhile, all I said is that you, er, I mean the author, misused the word objectively, and you called me stupid. While calling me out for insulting her.

        Is pointing out the misuse of a word a bigger insult than calling someone stupid?

        Only if you’re stupid.

        1. Religious fanatics tend to be a bit irrational

        2. ^ baseless blowhard bickering based on bitter butthurt

          1. “Baselesss………… based on………”

            Haha. Ok.

            1. It’s almost like he’s stupid or something?

              1. While I alliterate, you just litter hate.

                1. But you also said something was baseless, then described what it’s based on.

                  Try to alliterate without contradicting yourself and you’ll come across less like a joke.

        3. Misuse of pronouns is violence. So, there’s that to consider.

          Haha

      3. He is right in his criticism. These articles always ignore the costs of IP theft and trade barriers instilled by China as if those costs dont exist. They generally look at small sectors of trade and negative effects predicted by models and not actual analysis. I hope I dont have to tell you that economic models are worse than even climate models. Basically these articles are opinion articles without basis in real world analysis. Just like the tariffs are taxes articles which fail to point out any inflationary signals and deny the fact that IP theft is also a tax based on their wide definition. These articles are akin to freshman level econ papers.

        1. It’s so funny that these are almnost the only aspects I hear discussed on John Bachelor’s program on WABC, yet they’re not even mentioned in this article. Of course on Bachelor it’s always about how the Chinese regime can’t be trusted to keep the bargain, and now about how they say they’re going to suck in all IT business and all its data. But why can’t we get a fair analysis of these points from a libertarian perspective somewhere, like…uh…here?

    2. “It’s hard to jump for joy at the opportunity cost of Trump’s strategy.”

      Hard hitting shit right there.

    3. “I get it, Orange Man Bad!”

      Orange Man bad?!? He BAD, all right! He SOOO BAD, He be GOOD! He be GREAT! He Make America Great Again!

      We KNOW He can Make America Great Again, because, as a bad-ass businessman, He Made Himself and His Family Great Again! He Pussy Grabber in Chief!

      See The Atlantic article by using the below search-string in quotes:
      “The Many Scandals of Donald Trump: A Cheat Sheet”

      He pussy-grab His creditors in 7 bankruptcies, His illegal sub-human workers ripped off of pay on His building projects, and His “students” in His fake Get-Rich-like-Me reality schools, and so on. So, He has a GREAT record of ripping others off! So SURELY He can rip off other nations, other ethnic groups, etc., in trade wars and border wars, for the benefit of ALL of us!!!

      All Hail to THE Pussy Grabber in Chief!!!

      Most of all, HAIL the Chief, for having revoked karma! What comes around, will no longer go around!!! The Donald has figured out that all of the un-Americans are SOOO stupid, that we can pussy-grab them all day, every day, and they will NEVER think of pussy-grabbing us right back!

      Orange Man Bad-Ass Pussy-Grabber all right!

      1. More nonsense from the shit eater.

  2. Seriously, the name of the publication is “Reason”. Either change the name to “Bloviation” or stop publishing this shit.

    1. “Yet, objectively, the deal is at best a mini-deal.”

      Someone doesn’t know what “objectively” means, because “ the deal is at best a mini-deal.” Is not an object statement.

      1. This is a rebuttal to the misuse of the word “objectively” alphabet.

    2. Not sure why Trump apologists spends so much time on a website that regularly offends them by daring to report on Trump.

      1. Sorry my point went over your head Little Jeffy 2.

      2. Reason hasn’t yet jumped on board the “deplatforming” movement, so for now its comment section is still a free speech zone. Why not take advantage of it?

    3. Still attacking the messenger and not the message.

      One can only presume the message is quite fine.

  3. “Just imagine, by contrast, where we would be if Trump had joined with our allies and used the World Trade Organization to go after China’s mercantilist policies. We’d be in much better shape today.”

    This is “Reason”. Cuz it is known to be true.

    1. China has been in the WTO for how many years now? How often have they cowered at the risk of a stern WTO letter to them? They still blatantly steal IP and ignore copyright. It is laughable that this is the preferred solution to Reason.

      When will Reason learn about game theory and the fact that it is very applicable to trade theory. That tit for tat is a legitimate game theory strategy and is in fact the leading strategy used in AI competitions on game theory.

      1. They blatantly ignore copyright? Almost as if copyright were just a figment of statute that they aren’t required to honor? Say, do we (here meaning the USA) follow all the rules of treaties we didn’t sign?

    2. Can’t attack the message? Insult the messenger.

  4. You know who else lost his own war?

    1. Alexander The Great in Afghanistan?

    2. King Philip?

    3. Agamemnon?

    4. “You know who else lost his own war?”

      Not W. Achieved all his goals in the first six weeks. Oops, except for one, but it still got done, after he left office. Yep, winners all around for that one.

    5. Not me! Found it behind the couch this morning.

  5. Not a single comment even tries to rebut the article. All you clowns know how to do is throw insults, and pretty poor ones at that.

    Do any of you have any actual thoughts other than “Trump beat Hillary and is my hero and can do no wrong”?

    Maybe learn some actual Economics before knocking it. Try Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt.

    Or just keep insulting people because you don’t know what else to do when your hero doesn’t quite live up to his promises.

    1. I get it. You don’t care that “reason” is no longer the underlying focus of this opinionated drivel.

      And me pointing out that this “article” is opinionated drivel is a rebuttal.

      1. You could get maybe a tad more specific in your rebuttal.

        1. So you don’t know what objectively means either Little Jeffy 2?

          1. Grammar nazi is hardly the stuff of dreams.

            1. And knowing the definition of words isn’t grammar.

    2. I mean, if “Daniel Mitchell of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity” says it, that’s a good “reason” for me to believe it!

    3. Dogma!
      Repent ye sinners,
      The econapocalypse is nigh!

    4. You want a rebuttal?

      This isn’t a metaphoric trade “war”. It’s a terrifyingly literal trade war.

      Trade, for China, is war by other means. They subsidize key industries to induce foes to allow parts of their industrial infrastructure to be taken over by the Chinese. At that point the foe no longer dares oppose China, because China can crash their economy any time they want. In addition to things like selling routers and phone infrastructure with built in spyware.

      You can see this in miniature in the way multi-national companies are upholding China in the Hong Kong protests: They’ve allowed themselves to become dependent on China, and risk horrible consequences if China gets pissed off at them. What would be left of Apple, for instance, if China shut down all their production lines? So Apple bans not just an app the HK protesters use, they ban a news service that is favorable to the protesters.

      Our feckless leaders sort of understood this, but didn’t care, because China is free with the money. Trump cares. He’s trying to get our economy disentangled from the Chinese, so that we don’t have to warp our foreign policy to please them, so that we aren’t mortally dependent on our good will.

      This is literally a trade war, a defensive one, and we’re going to take casualties in the process of freeing ourselves of China’s deadly embrace. Hopefully they’ll just be minor financial casualties. But you’re not losing a war just because you take casualties.

      1. No no, reason is pretty clear here. China has no negative externalities in their trade policies.

      2. We have a standard of living at 6 times per capita, compared to the Chinese, and we are cowering in fear? WTF?!?! Fear, STUPID and IGNORANT fear, is the enemy, not the Chinese!

        So they don’t play by the exact rules that we’d like them to play by. When you are 15 and your little brother is 5, when you play chess with him, you give up your rook or queen (handicap yourself a wee tad) to let him catch up with your chess skills… If you treasure long-term peace in the family, that is… If you want little brother to get along with you when you are 30 and he is 20, and so on. Or, when you play golf with a business partner, and he sucks at golf, you cut him a few breaks. It’s called “getting along with others”. Do YOU want a shooting war with China? It’s where we’re headed, if The Donald doesn’t stop, and Congress doesn’t take back the powers that belong to Congress!

        Sometimes we need to have the humility to acknowledge that we cannot control others… We can only control ourselves!
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_China
        GDP per capita
        Increase $10,153 (nominal; 2019 est.)
        USA GDP per capita : 59,531.66 USD (2017)
        We are about 6 times as wealthy as they are!!! HOW MUCH MORE per-capita wealth do YOU want to have, compared to the Chinese, before you are willing to be a wee tad less greedy, nationalistic, and selfish? Maybe we should FIGHT a little less, and COOPERATE a wee tad more? And NOT try always to tell others what to do and not do? Be a little less Trump-ish, in other words? I think more cooperation and less competition would be in order here! Trump is flushing the world economy down the crapper, if there’s no stop to the trade wars!

        Really now… HOW MUCH more wealthy, per capita, are we going to have to be, before you’d consent to being more graceful, and not insisting that they play precisely by our rules?

        Treat others like enemies and potential enemies, and you make enemies. Treat them like friends, and you make friends. Trump seems hell-bent on making as many enemies as possible!

        1. I notice you’re not refuting my point that we’ve allowed China to take over critical parts of our industrial infrastructure. We don’t mine rare earths, for instance. Massive amounts of our electronics are outsourced to China, not just assembly, which could be brought home relatively quickly, but the actual production of them. Some of these things we’re losing the knowledge of how do do, for lack of actually doing them ourselves.

          Apple really IS dependent enough on China that, when China says jump, Apple asks how high. They really did block even a news app that China disapproved of.

          You’re not disputing my facts, you’re just claiming that China’s smaller economy somehow means that it doesn’t matter if we’re dependent on them for key parts of our industry.

          1. If we should be shitting our pants over the things you mention, they should be shitting their pants over their relative lack of food security, having to buy pork for example, from other nations like the USA.

            If we are mutually interdependent, we might be less likely to start shooting at each other! Do you have a problem with that? Are shooting wars good for the benefit to the nation’s genes and glory, or some such?

            1. So they don’t play by the exact rules that we’d like them to play by

              Um, that is a remarkable benign interpretation of Red China’s serial lying, serial cheating, and serial theft of American IP. Not playing by the exact rules? Um no….Red China deliberately and maliciously breaks rules to their advantage.

              To his credit, POTUS Trump has said: Enough!

              1. “..serial theft of American IP…”
                Did you see Chinese Corporations putting guns to American heads here, to perform this theft?
                If Being and-or Ford Motors releases their IP to China (or a Chinese corporation) as part of a swap to get Chinese labor and materials, then it is Ford’s IP and Boeing’s IP. Not yours, not Trump’s, and it shouldn’t belong to the USA collective hive either! If YOU want to provide a better deal than the Chinese Corporations, and provide 10,000 laborers for Ford, WITHOUT demanding IP rights, AND you can give Ford a better “value proposition”, by all means, please do! That’s the free market at work!

                Also, I note, you never… Trade warriors never… Answer my question about, “HOW MUCH MORE per capita, do we Americas need to make, compared to the Chinese, before we will cut them a break”? 100, 200 times? Since 6 isn’t good enough? Do they need to all become our personal slaves before we will be content? Don’t you suspect that perpetual humiliation of others might eventual lead to shooting wars? Or are you a warmonger?

                1. “If Being and-or Ford Motors releases their IP to China”

                  He was talking about actual “theft”. China is big into industrial espionage.

                  1. Correct Brett. Clearly, SQRLSY did not see the Reading Is Fundamental commercials from the 70’s. 🙂

                    1. As if the USA corporations (and USA Government Almighty) were virgin and pure about spying and secrets-grabbing…

                      Also, I note, you never… Trade warriors never… Answer my question about, “HOW MUCH MORE per capita, do we Americas need to make, compared to the Chinese, before we will cut them a break”? 100, 200 times? Since 6 isn’t good enough? Do they need to all become our personal slaves before we will be content? Don’t you suspect that perpetual humiliation of others might eventual lead to shooting wars? Or are you a warmonger?

                      Ball’s in your court! I bet you won’t answer it, just like usual!

                    2. ““HOW MUCH MORE per capita, do we Americas need to make, compared to the Chinese, before we will cut them a break”?”

                      They’re a communist dictatorship. If we were infinitely wealthy and they were kicking apart logs to look for grubs, we shouldn’t cut them a break. Unless by “cut them a break” you meant building them lamp posts so that we could hang their rulers from them.

                    3. This here, right above, is why we have wars! Total greed and total lack of mercy! No matter HOW dirt-poor someone is, compared to HOW utterly wealthy we are, we will NOT help them!

                      https://due.com/blog/gandhis-seven-deadly-sins/
                      “Seven deadly sins

                      Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Science without humanity, Knowledge without character, Politics without principle, Commerce without morality, Worship without sacrifice.”

                      – Mahatma Gandhi (7 deadly sins that lead to violence)

                      Notice “Wealth without work”… I am wealthy, and you are not, and so, I’m not going to work very hard any more, to produce goods and services, I have plenty for myself… But I am gonna work my ASS off, to make SURE that YOU stay poor!

                      And we wonder why we have so many wars…

                    4. “This here, right above, is why we have wars! Total greed and total lack of mercy! ”

                      Mercy for communist dictators is lack of mercy for their victims.

                2. But therein lies the problem: This looks like one of those cases wherein what’s good for the individual isn’t good for society as a whole. I wouldn’t take such a tradeoff very seriously in most cases, but having the current example of this Hong Kong business has thrown it very hard in my face.

                  I used to laugh at my friend Bob’s nationalist-mercantilist thinking, and at the trilogy he wrote about an alternate world in which, among other things, one society weakened another by undercutting their business and getting them to borrow to buy imports from them, because in the long run that’s just silly. But the example discussed here may be the exceptional case wherein he’d be right. I’d like to know more and get some objective and knowledgeable analysis.

            2. Indeed, they would be shitting their pants over their lack of food security, if they didn’t have enough governments already compromised to be sure they’ll be able to buy the food somewhere.

              China is ripe for revolution, but too many western governments have been purchased by them for the unity necessary to give their house of cards the needed push.

        2. You’re the only one cowering here by saying we need to go back to the abusive practices of china with no retaliation.

        3. “Cowering in fear……” who’s doing that?

          And China is not 5. Worst. Analogies. Ever.

          Haha.

      3. What an idiotic take.

        Trump certainly never made it his goal to sever American businesses from their increasing economic participation in China. At the top of his agenda have always been changes to China’s management of its economy that would ease entry for American businesses into Chinese markets, making them more reliant on those consumers, not less, and thereby more beholden to China’s “soft power.” Of course, he is nowhere near getting those concessions, much less an enforcement mechanism to support them.

        If it were Trump’s goal to force the severance you extoll here, that promise could only come at the cost of major disruption of the American economy. Which, as you should well understand, is something Trump neither has the courage nor the interest in doing, since it would almost certainly doom his re-election chances.

        All you’re doing is reaching for some topic that’s been in the headlines to make yet another apology for a bumbling, incompetent president, even though this most recent defense of your surely contradicts others you’ve offered in the past.

        1. Yeah Simon, we get it. Orange Man Bad. You’re a one-trick pony.

          1. Meanwhile, waving off every criticism as “Orange Man Bad” isn’t a tiresome admission that you have no rebuttal, at all…

            1. There is plenty to criticize POTUS Trump for. This ain’t one. I am basing my comment on your past post history. I won’t say that you have TDS, but you seem to share many of the same characteristics.

              1. There is plenty to criticize POTUS Trump for. This ain’t one.

                This is not an argument.

                I am basing my comment on your past post history. I won’t say that you have TDS, but you seem to share many of the same characteristics.

                Waving arguments off as just examples of “TDS” is just intellectually lazy. Not that I expect better from Reason commenters. But still.

        2. I like how you posted a preamble of your post so we could skip over the rest.

          1. I certainly wouldn’t want to challenge you to think for yourself, Jesse. I know it doesn’t come easily to you.

      4. ” In addition to things like selling routers and phone infrastructure with built in spyware.”

        Whereas noble and pure United States of America would never ever even consider such a thing. (Gosh, I hope nobody remembers that the Clipper chip was ever a thing.)

        1. Are you kidding? Of course we would… If we were still building routers, rather than buying them from China.

    5. I mean other than her entire premise of exports being a direct exchange for imports, and leaving the actual compensation for those goods out of her “equation”, being incredibly flawed and barely worth acknowledging…sure there’s a lot of good meat in there to discuss.

    6. There is not much time rebut as it is all opinion based in freshman level econimic theory.

      1. Please edumacate us all about “econimic theory”, Oh Wise One!

        Is there any more to it than “Orange One Wonderful”?

        1. I’ve posted often on it, you seem to ignore the posts. Probably due to lack of talk about shit.

          1. I’ve seen your blatherings, but you never explain away, the below:

            If trade wars are good, every on of the 50 states in the USA should declare trade wars on every other state… And then county on county, city on city, and finally, SQRLSY One’s household should trade with NO ONE… Good jobs ONLY for residents of SQRLSY One’s household!!! No one else DESERVES to trade with me!!! I will do my own iron ore mining, smelting, tool manufacture, food growing, cloth weaving, home dentistry, you name it… It is actually a straight-line ticket to utter poverty!!!

            We all good ‘muricans, that them over thar peoples non-‘muricans, hurr-grr tribalism, us good, them bad, is about all I ever hear in response, from the Nationalism-Sadism tribe! All must be nationalistic and sadistic… All (here AND abroad) must SUFFER for the sake of ‘Murica and the ‘Murican balance of trade!

    7. Because we’re looking for knowledge and not getting it. This is like engaging a mechanic to evaluate a used car for you, and the mechanic takes a peek under the hood and says, “Forget it. There’s dirt on the air filter cover, and you know what that means, right?”

    8. Not my hero, but I do know this: the gloom and doom predictions of the economy and stock market tanking because of tariffs has not materialized, and the cost increase to the consumer has been exaggerated. Haven’t even noticed it myself, but I’m sure there are plenty of sob stories about folks with starving children literally goin’ to the poorhouse cuz of this.

      “EVERYTHING IS SO TERRIBLE AND UNFAIR!!!!! “

      Haha.

      1. Tens of thousands (if not more) are living at reduced standards of living, here and abroad, including those who have lost their jobs, all due to needless trade wars. Please get back to us after YOU have lost YOUR job because of the trade wars! It COULD happen to YOU!

        (I hope that we will not all be as needlessly cavalier as you, and say “haha”, but, beware… What come around, goes around.)

  6. No one wins a trade war.

    There are survivors.

    1. China has been engaging in a trade war with America since WWII. They have stolen IP, used unethical and frankly fraudulent banking practices to weaponize commerce against US companies, outright committed espionage in our businesses and our universities, bribed US politicians and even had spies enlist in the military. We have lost tens of thousands of good paying jobs and hundreds of businesses have gone out of business due to this era of Chinese plundering of our economy. We need to cease all trade with China that continues this set of circumstances.

      1. Nonsense. You want to punish US consumers for what China does.

        If they’re doing specific things, deal with those specific things. What you’re proposing is the equivalent of carpet-bombing an entire country including civilian areas because of an attack from that country’s military.

  7. “Either way, one must ask: Was it worth it?”

    I’m not sure that’s true–unless you want Trump to change his mind and keep the trade war raging.

    If Trump needs the votes of rust belt swing voters in order to win in 2020 like he did in 2016, and you convince them that nothing was won in the trade war–then Trump will likely escalate the trade war again–at least until the election is over.

    Incidentally, because the mission was not accomplished in Iraq until they had American style democracy along with peace and security was not a good reason for George W. Bush to withdraw troops from Iraq. That kind of sunken cost fallacy was a good reason for Bush to keep the occupation raging. It isn’t over until we give up, right?

    I have a tremendous amount of respect for Veronique De Rugy, and I know she’s at least as familiar with the sunken cost fallacy as I am. However, it’s one of the great ironies of economics that markets (and market signals) often make foolish people behave as if they possessed knowledge that they don’t posses. It’s that kind of irony that always leaves me wondering if economists are as quick to account for the irrational thinking of average people like they should–especially when we’re talking about the voters.

    There’s an old economist’s joke about a student walking across campus with his economics professor at the University of Chicago.

    The student says, “Look professor, there’s a $100 laying in the middle of the sidewalk!”

    The professor replies, “Don’t even bother picking it up. That’s not a $100 bill”.

    The student asks, “How do you know that?”

    And the professor responds, “Because if it were worth $100, no one would have just dropped it”.

    Voters shouldn’t be susceptible to sunken cost fallacies, but they are, and when rust belt swing voters are in the throes of a sunken cost fallacy, they don’t think to themselves, “Gee, if we didn’t obtain the objectives of Trump’s trade war, then we should just give up and surrender”. No, they think, “We don’t lose the trade war until or unless Trump surrenders”. And Trump knows that.

    The sad truth is that if Trump doesn’t unwind this trade war with China and loses come 2020, it is highly unlikely that Biden, Sanders, or Warren will make nice with China on free trade principles either. They want free trade with China even less than they want free trade within America.

    The sad truth is that if Trump doesn’t manage to end this trade war and loses in 2020, the trade war with China may not end for another four or eight years at the earliest. So, if you want the trade war to continue indefinitely, by all means, try to persuade your fellow Americans that we haven’t won anything from it.

    I’d rather see the trade war come to an end than gloat. There will be plenty of time for gloating after the trade war is over.

    1. Self important fat boy speaks, film at eleven! Fat boy wants more cheap workers, and folks to abuse, he’s entitled.

      1. “Fat boy wants more cheap workers”

        Labor is a resource, and having more of a resource available at lower costs is better for the economy.

        Do you imagine that it’s bad for the economy to have more oil available at lower cost? Labor is an input like oil only even more basic than oil.

        1. It’s not good for the part of the economy that’s supplying that labor.

        2. “Labor is a resource, and having more of a resource available at lower costs is better for the economy”

          Unless there’s an oversupply.

        3. Hilarious, but as I expect not for those fat boy would abuse.

        4. That’s what Egypt said

  8. The good doctor (sigh….another hectoring PhD) makes the case the deal is a bad deal, among other things. Objectively speaking, we don’t have anything yet, and the status quo has not changed one iota. The tariffs that were there, remain in place.

    What has changed is China coming to a table with an offer which has yet to be reviewed, accepted, or rejected.

    I would love to read what Doctor de Rugy’s alternative to what POTUS Trump is doing. What does Doctor de Rugy recommend to change China’s serial lying, serial cheating and serial theft of American IP? Because in reading her articles, she appears to advocate laying back and enjoying the rape – an odd strategy coming from a woman.

    This trade war is about China’s malign behavior. The trade war ends when China decides to end their malign behavior. If we can do that in 2 years – great. But if it takes 20 years, I am good with that as well. Brett (above) is right. This is a trade war and in wars, there are casualties. Thusfar, the casualties are way more on China’s side than ours. We can live with the pain, presently.

    For the naysayers…tell us: What realistic alternative do you offer? I bet the sound of crickets will be deafening.

    1. Should Trump win, he will continue, likely with significant resistance from a bought and paid for Congress, to attempt to disentangle our economy from China’s. Try to restart the parts of our industry we’ve stupidly allowed China to take over.

      Look for an effort to clear regulatory barriers to rare earth mining in the US, for instance. We’ve got rare earths, we don’t have to be utterly reliant on China for them.

      OTOH, if Trump loses, the Democrats are going to go all in on making us even more dependent on China. And the eventual fight will get even uglier.

      1. Brett, last year, Japan made a monster discovery in the Pacific of a tremendously huge cache of rare earths. Extraction will be a bitch, but it is do-able. Probably a year from ‘Go’. Our dependency on China for rare earths is pretty much over.

        You touched on an interesting aspect I have not seen much comment about. Just how much money is China dumping into our political system to buy off Congress?

        1. Go ask the Clintons, Obama’s, or Feinstein.

        2. “Rare earths” aren’t actually “rare”, as such. We mined them here in the US as recently as 1990, and we used to be a major world supplier of them. Mining them is just somewhat dirty, and it’s hard to be competitive in a country with stringent environmental standards, when you’re competing with a country that mines them with child labor and doesn’t care who gets poisoned in the process.

          “Just how much money is China dumping into our political system to buy off Congress?”

          Biden, for one, by way of his son. An interesting partial list.

          1. Brett…an interesting list indeed. I thought ‘Daily Beast’ was fringe, but hey, they laid this one out (the partial list). A lot of those guys would just ‘skate under the radar’, I suspect. Pretty smart move on China’s part to look for people like this.

    2. No one disagrees that action against China was needed. People just question whether Trump’s go-it-alone, tariff-heavy strategy has proven successful, or ever could have been expected to be successful. It has not, and it never was going to be.

      Obama laid out the plan for isolating China: the TPP would have created a powerful economic bloc with leverage over China. Multilateral trade agreements, the WTO, etc. – that’s how you get China to make meaningful concessions. Tit-for-tat tariffs don’t work, and they have never in history worked.

      I don’t know what your basis for saying that China is hurting worse than we are is – apart from our idiot-in-chief’s say-so – but in any event it reflects an important misunderstanding of what our respective “red lines” are. China isn’t in recession. Its “pain” in the current trade war stems primarily from the fact that they have set a course predicated upon a rate of economic growth that they are slipping from, but an economic slowdown is not a “red line” for them. For them, the “red line” is economic mismanagement sufficient to support an uprising within the Party to oust Xi. As long as Xi is able to project power and support the claim that he’s the best man to manage the trade war, he stays in power, and China stays the course.

      For the U.S., the “red line” is recession. If our economy begins to contract and meaningful numbers of people start losing their jobs, they’re not going to just take it on the chin like good nationalists. They’re going to vote politicians out. And that will get them to act.

      Unfortunately, China knows this. They know that we’ll hit our “red line” long before they will. So they can, and are, waiting. Like many world leaders are now doing, Trump’s re-election prospects are sufficiently uncertain that no one is interested in making meaningful concessions and are happy to let Trump flail in front of the American media.

      1. Do.You.Have.A.Realistic.Aletrnative….?

        I suspect not.

        1. The alternative was out there, in the world, ready to go, when Trump came into office. He canned it in order to favor his go-it-alone approach. And look where it’s gotten us? Re-hashed “promises” to buy agricultural product that probably won’t even be kept.

          1. Ah yes, Simon. Your alternative is to lay back, enjoy the rape, and sprinkle in some TPP, which did very little to protect our sovereignty or IP.

            As I asked: Do you have a realistic alternative?

            It appears that you do not. Have a great day.

            1. As I asked: Do you have a realistic alternative?

              To what? To magically wishing that we’ll get everything we want, if we just destroy our economy less quickly than we can destroy China’s?

              When were you offering a “realistic” alternative?

              As I’ve said, there’s global, multilateral interest in curbing some of China’s trade practices. The wise global leader leans on that international consensus – by building on TPP, NAFTA, WTO, or other multilateral frameworks, or by creating a new one – in order to get China to get in line. And you know part of how I know that? That’s what China is doing, in order to isolate us.

              Unilateral tariffs will not work, and are not working, and you can’t just wave that off by saying that you are willing to sacrifice twenty years of economic productivity and trade in order to get China to budge. Twenty years of shooting ourselves in the foot is not going to buy us leverage over China, particularly when China isn’t as stupid as Trump is.

              1. “If we just destroy our economy”?

                Haha. Drama queen.

                1. Atlas himself is 100% on-board with “American casualties” in service of this trade war – 20 years’ worth. How about you?

                  1. Good job SimonP! Fight the good fight!

                    You, sad to say, are casting pearls before swine, with the conservatards on these pages, who will NEVER change their Trump-adoring ways!

                    But at least we can try to educate the occasionally-passing-through readers, as to the fact that there ARE smart, well-informed libertarians (or people who value individual freedom) out there, and that we do NOT all try and line up to fellate The Donald!

      2. Lol. TPP was an utter joke.

        1. Make your case.

        2. “Lol. TPP was an utter joke.”

          Do you recall the awesome enchanter named “Tim”, in “Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail”? The one who could “summon fire without flint or tinder”? Well, you remind me of Tim… You are an enchanter who can summon persuasion without facts or logic!

          So I discussed your awesome talents with some dear personal friends on the Reason staff… Accordingly…

          Reason staff has asked me to convey the following message to you:

          Hi Fantastically Talented Author:

          Obviously, you are a silver-tongued orator, and you also know how to translate your spectacular talents to the written word! We at Reason have need for writers like you, who have near-magical persuasive powers, without having to write at great, tedious length, or resorting to boring facts and citations.

          At Reason, we pay above-market-band salaries to permanent staff, or above-market-band per-word-based fees to freelancers, at your choice. To both permanent staff, and to free-lancers, we provide excellent health, dental, and vision benefits. We also provide FREE unlimited access to nubile young groupies, although we do firmly stipulate that persuasion, not coercion, MUST be applied when taking advantage of said nubile young groupies.

          Please send your resume, and another sample of your writings, along with your salary or fee demands, to ReasonNeedsBrilliantlyPersuasiveWriters@Reason.com .

          Thank You! -Reason Staff

          Jesse, have you applied yet? Get going… You’re sitting on a GOLD MINE!

  9. Either way, one must ask: Was it worth it?

    No, one need not ask. “Trump said some shit so I must respond” is not a valid argument. Trump’s always saying some shit, it’s what he does. He’s a troll, stop feeding him.

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  11. Most noticeably, it fails to get a commitment from the Chinese government to give up its protectionist and authoritarian grip on its economy.

    Also, it doesn’t cure cancer.

    I don’t know what’s in this deal, but just from reading that I can discount Ms. de Rugy’s evaluation. What could ever get the Chinese government to give up its #1 (and practically only) asset?

    1. At least we’re finally admitting that China does in fact have a massively protectionist and authoritarian grip on their economy. Baby steps.

      1. Our problem isn’t that they have a massively protectionist and authoritarian grip on their own economy. Our problem is that, to much too large an extent, we’ve allowed them to gain a grip on OUR economy.

        1. This is true.

        2. +1 NBA apology and Blizzard tournament player ban.

        3. Our problem is that, to much too large an extent, we’ve allowed them to gain a grip on OUR economy, government, infrastructure, education system…

          FIFY

      2. Reminds me of Jim Rogers talking up China for business (his kids learning Mandarin) and Ed Crane writing a story headlined, “Surprise! China is Still Communist”

  12. China is blocking the U.S. biotech realistic mock meats from entering their markets. China is home of the world’s largest mock meat consumers.

    1. Wheat gluten is big in China because it is traditional, and it is cheap. They are probably not a serious market for our expensive faux meat products.

    2. Our faux meat products are, currently, more expensive than meat. The “faux meat” products that are popular in China are more in the nature of meat substitutes, not meant to actually be mistaken for meat. They’re what you eat instead of meat because you couldn’t afford the meat.

  13. I would take Reason’s commentary on the trade war with China a great deal more seriously if any of the Reason writers would acknowledge that the trade war existed for decades before Trump entered the White House. Trump did not initiate the trade war, he simply decided it might be a good idea to fight back.

    Is his manner of doing so above reproach? Of course not. But the assertions that all would be rainbows and sunshine if he would just play doormat have a strong odor of bovine excreta.

  14. STILL LOSING?!? Good God woman, I was sure he’d have turned it around since the last time you reported on this. Yesterday, right? Well, let us know tomorrow how it’s going.

  15. “So incredible”

    Sure it is. They are going to buy stuff they want anyway and planned increases in tariffs will not go into effect. Victory!

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