Free Trade

The Next Coronavirus Stimulus Package Should Also Repeal Tariffs

Abolishing tariffs would have short- and long-term benefits for the economy.


Members of Congress and the Trump administration are negotiating plans for another round of economic stimulus as the COVID-19 pandemic continues unabated. But before dropping more cash into Americans' bank accounts or bailing out businesses, the federal government should drop the costly tariffs it has imposed since 2018.

Abolishing those tariffs would have both short- and long-term benefits for the economy, argues Ryan Young, a senior fellow with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank. In a new paper he's authored, Young highlights the costs of the trade barriers erected by the Trump administration. He says repealing the tariffs, which have cost about half a percentage point of economic growth per year, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office, should be common sense.

A trade war might a "luxury good that we can afford during a boom," Young says, but "not when we have double-digit unemployment and we're looking for ways to stimulate the economy without government spending."

To be sure, this is another case of using the coronavirus pandemic to advocate for the policies you always wanted in the first place. But it's true that Trump's tariff policies have never made much economic sense—Americans are paying for them, and they have so far not forced China to change its behavior on the world stage. It would be a good idea to end the trade war even if the United States weren't diving into a serious recession.

It should be a no-brainer. Young says the bare minimum the administration should do is lift tariffs on health care goods and other items that are essential to fighting COVID-19. But the Trump administration has actually considering raising even more barriers to imports of crucial health care goods by pushing for a so-called "Buy American" policy that would put more regulations between the pandemic-stricken health care system and the supplies it needs.

The White House has quietly admitted that its tariff policies are hurting Americans, but it hasn't done enough yet to undo the damage. In April, the Trump administration set up a process to grant three-month deferrals to some American businesses burdened by the tariffs. But those deferrals fail to recognize the long-term effects of the pandemic or the seriousness of the economic downturn it has caused. Additionally, the executive order creating the deferral process forbade giving breaks to certain tariffs and effectively applies to only about half of all U.S. tariffs.

Unfortunately, Congress has more or less abandoned its never-all-that-serious campaign to recapture the authority over trade and tariffs. It is unlikely that significant tariff relief will be part of the next stimulus bill, even though it would be an obvious and easy boost for the economy.

The best we can hope right now is that the administration won't impose additional trade barriers while the country is being battered by COVID-19.

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  1. The Next Coronavirus Stimulus Package Should Also Repeal Tariffs

    My Next Mai Tai Should Also Repeal Tariffs.
    My Next Oil Change Should Also Repeal Tariffs.
    MY Next English Muffin Should Also Repeal Tariffs.
    ...and so on.

    1. "You leave Slave Emperor Xi alone!"

  2. I am sure a Biden administration will do everything libertarians want. I can't wait for the articles praising him here.

    1. Biden currently has more billionaire donors than Drumpf, and Koch / Reason libertarianism is about helping billionaires. So yeah, this site should be praising him.


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    2. In fact, Biden has come out as an ardent protectionist. And for good reason.

      Unfortunately for Trump, Biden's puppeteers identified the vulnerability that cost Hillary the election. He is now all for tariffs and punishing china hard. On top of that, he wants it much easier for Unions to organize in every state of the union. He has essentially outbid Trump for the rust belt blue collar vote. It remains to be seen whether Biden's Union Pumping will win out against Trump's immigration stances.

      1. "You can count on Beijing Biden to hit China really hard! Trust us!"

    1. So what now? Write in MacAfee?

    2. So she's fine with me staging a protest in front of her house and spray painting BLM everywhere?

    3. She's not entirely wrong. Obviously using coercion to force someone to be anti-racist would be wrong. So what is a proper way to oppose racism within a libertarian framework? Individuals could of course conduct themselves as anti-racists, and that's great. But individuals could also attempt to persuade others to act in a more anti-racist fashion - again, without engaging in coercion. That is what I think she is doing here. Unless there is some other backstory to this where she really is demanding coercive action of some sort.

      1. It is not enough to be passively not racist, we must be actively anti-racist.

        #BlackLivesMatter #VoteGold

        Maybe like usual you didnt click the link. She is e entirely wrong.

        1) the word must implies coercion. It is not libertarian to force morals on others (why you're not a libertarian). It is sufficient to discuss and teach, but not enforce. Simply switching the word should is almost defensible if she had... but...

        2) Anti racism is built on critical theory that forces the idea that all dominant culture actions are inherently racist, or systemic, which is false. The very fact she called for this phrasing shows she is wrong.

        The following situation is directly from one of the texts on critical race theory that anti racism draws from.

        If a white person enters a story as the same time as a black person, 2 situations can unfold.

        A) white person is helped first because the clerk makes a racist assumption of who is more likely to buy something.

        B) the black person is helped first because the clerk wants him to leave the store more quickly.

        This is from critical theory texts.

        I'm not even shocked you seem to support this type of bullshit.

        1. 1) the word must implies coercion.

          It could mean coercion but it does not necessarily mean coercion. Here is an example:

          If I say "I must mow the lawn today", it *could* mean that someone is holding a gun to my head and forcing me to mow the lawn, or it could also mean that I am voluntarily placing an obligation on myself of a high priority to tend to my lawn before the size of the grass becomes even a bigger problem than it is currently. If you are interpreting the word "must" as necessarily meaning "coercion" then you are hanging your hat on a very thin reed there.

          Here is a line from Trump's Mount Rushmore speech:

          "A nation must care for its own citizens first. "

          Should this line be interpreted as Trump coercively imposing cradle-to-grave socialism on everyone? Or should this line be interpreted as I interpreted the mowing grass example?

          2) Anti racism is built on critical theory that forces the idea that all dominant culture actions are inherently racist, or systemic, which is false.

          So every person who uses the word "anti-racism" is a critical race theory who buys into all of its assumptions? What if I simply want a noun that plainly describes the concept of "in opposition to racism"? What is the right-wing-approved word for that? This is a bit silly.

          1. She didnt use the word I in her usage of must, she used the word we.

            I'm sorry you fall for this trope time after time.

            So every person who uses the word “anti-racism” is a critical race theory who buys into all of its assumptions?

            No, there are plenty of useful idiots. This doesnt disabuse them of ignorance of what they support.

            It is on the individual to educate themselves, not blindly follow a message without investigation. I understand you struggle with this concept but it isnt hard.

            Just like the Womans March collapsed after people began realizing how bad shit racist and anti semetic the founders were. Blind support is still culpable support.

            1. No, there are plenty of useful idiots. This doesnt disabuse them of ignorance of what they support.

              Jesse, this is completely ridiculous even by your standards. The word "anti-racism" in and of itself does not signal support for some specific critical race theory. It is a noun that summarizes the concept of "opposition to racism".

              You are straining to find reasons to be opposed to her statement with this insane level of grammar policing.

              1. Lying Jeffy thinks choice of words doesn’t matter because he doesn’t mind changing their meanings.

                1. It was an innocuous choice for a word to represent a simple concept that Jesse and you are straining to find sinister meaning in.

                  1. Here’s Lying Jeffy pretending that three other commentators here, and most of the people responding on Twitter, hadn’t already agreed with Jesse and I’d perspective.

                    1. Well, you are right that I didn't read the entire Twitter thread.

                      So it's more than just you and Jesse who are straining to find sinister intent in an innocuous word choice. What does that change precisely?

                      That you and a bunch of other people have bought into the "dog whistle" hypothesis just as much as those on the left has done?

                    2. “sinister”
                      “innocuous word choice.”

                      You just can’t help yourself.

          2. Lying Jeffy doesn’t understand the difference between “I must” when discussing his lawn vs “We must” when running for the top executive of the federal government.

            Or he does understand the difference, and is being dishonest again.

            1. "I must" vs. "we must" doesn't change anything with respect to the meaning of the word "must" that I discussed above.

              Sure, "we must" could mean "I will hold a gun to everyone's head", or "we must" could mean "we ought to make this item a higher priority voluntarily".

              When Trump said “A nation must care for its own citizens first.”, was he using the coercive version of "must"? Or the non-coercive version? How can you tell?

              1. Lying Jeffy is doubling down on his stupidity.

                1. You are notably not answering my question, and now you've skipped to the 'nothing but insults' phase of our little discussion.

                  But, let me try one more time:

                  When Trump said “A nation must care for its own citizens first.”, was he using the coercive version of “must”? Or the non-coercive version? How can you tell?

                  1. I don’t know when he said it or what context it was in.

                    This is a game you play where you try to make it about Trump and have me criticize him so you can get a chubby. So fuck off with your question. Nobody owes you shit here, despite how much you cry about it.

                    1. It is from Trump's Mount Rushmore speech.

                      Here is the full paragraph:

                      We remember that governments exist to protect the safety and happiness of their own people. A nation must care for its own citizens first. We must take care of America first. It’s time.


                      Now can you answer the question?

                    2. Lying Jeffy still thinks I owe him an answer to his stupid question so he can get a chubby.

                      Can you even see it over that fat gut?

                    3. So let me guess, since you won't answer:

                      You don't think it was appropriate that Trump used such collectivizing language in his speech, but you won't say so publicly, because not indulging my desire to see Trump criticized is more important to you than honestly criticizing Trump when he deserves it.

                      Does that about sum it up?

                      Please, feel free to correct me if I've gotten something wrong here.

                    4. I won’t answer because you deserve derision and not serious discussion.

                      You have proven who you are, and I will treat you accordingly. And since you don’t believe me (and many others here, but just call us all Trump suckers so you can avoid self reflection) when I say your arguments are disingenuous, you will continue to post the same shit. And no one will engage you in a serious discussion. And you’ll continue to post the same shit. And people will call you a liar. And you’ll continue to post the same shit. And into infinity.

                      Newsflash Lying Jeffy: I didn’t watch Trumps speech at Mt Rushmore, and I don’t intend to, because it’s not important. No matter how much you cry. It has absolutely fuck all to do with if a Libertarian presidential candidate should be taken seriously. And if the libertarian candidate for president says we must do something, that I think is bullshit and collectivist, I’m gonna call her on it.

                    5. The operative word here isn't "must". It is what follows. Care" is an entirely subjective word and doesn't even suggest a personal or aggregated duty to any or any specific action. In your world, care means giving a kid a pony, a government pony grant, and a guaranteed outcome. In mine, it means making sure the kid has the basics, holding his parents responsible, and then getting the hell out of his way to succeed or fail and live with the consequences. In someone else's world, it could mean simply having empathy. When I say we must care for the children, it is a measure of humanity and at least in my case also means being against ripping them to shreds, which is a much more objectively higher standard of care than giving them a pony if they were lucky enough to not be killed by YOUR care.

                      This isn't the case with her tweet. If the word "actively" doesn't impart a duty to act and "anti-racist" isn't a specific [though conveniently vague] duty for you, then hashtag BLM should surely indicate her switch to wokeness, bandwagon, and an alignment to a decidedly non-libertarian organization. This is not far from a platform plank that suggests libertarians must mentally align themselves with.

      2. Red flag there... "anti-racist."

        In practice, the word appears to mean "racism, just directed at different people than before."

        That doesn't solve the problem... it validates and perpetuates it.

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    5. I thought the Libertarian Party was not just passively anti-coercion, but actively committed to anti-coercion.

      When did it start demanding a state theocracy to drive out sin from our hearts?

  3. the next stimulus package should make my city allow me to build a fence on my own property /end rant

    1. And get Mexico to pay for it?

      1. More concerned about rioters than immigrants...but the former have less money. Maybe I'll just threaten to sic the rioters on the city's precious public art sculptures if my demands aren't met

    2. Bingo. While we rail against tariffs on a cheating, oppressive country, and having to wear a mask, we quietly submit to being made to pay a permit to improve our own homes and obtain a license to conduct our trade.

  4. "Abolishing tariffs would have short- and long-term benefits for the economy."

    Specifically, it would have tremendous benefits for Charles Koch, the self-made billionaire who funds Mr. Koch's fortune has been nearly obliterated by Drumpf's high-tariff / low-immigration policies, collapsing to a pathetic $51,000,000,000 — which leaves him outside the top 20 richest people on the planet.

    This. Is. Not. Normal.


    1. You really have this weird thing for stimulating Koch.

    2. My heart bleeds

  5. Abolishing tariffs would certainly be better "stimulus" than just putting the money printer onto overdrive. But that wouldn't allow Trump to put his name on a big fat check that's mailed to everyone as free re-election campaigning.

    1. So you are unaware the first plan trump and conservatives put forward was a payroll tax and not spending?

  6. The next Coronavirus Stimulus Package should also include millions and billions of dollars for the ruling elites lording over us.
    After all, corruption isn't free.

  7. The Next Coronavirus Stimulus Package Should Never Happen
    There is no money, only debt and eventually economic collapse.

  8. "The Next Coronavirus Stimulus Package Should..."

    Die in committee. Now go wash you mouth out with soap.

  9. I could support the elimination tariffs but I would have to have the US tariffs tagged to the tariffs that country charges to import US products.

  10. Good idea. Can we have it repeal the other guy's tariffs and restrictions also?

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  12. Stop attaching unrelated issues to bills. Repealing tariffs should be it's own bill. And do it right...repeal tariff's on free market trade partners who do not impose tariffs on OUR goods.
    And let's do away with these insane subsidies to Big Ag.

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