Free Trade

Josh Hawley Wants to Make the Supply Chain Crisis Permanent

If the power to his house went out during a storm, one assumes Hawley would declare electricity to be a mistake and demand that homes be lit with candles.


Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) has a plan to address the current supply chain issues bedeviling the American economy.

He wants to make them permanent.

In an op-ed for The New York Times published Friday, Hawley uses the temporary supply chain problems as an excuse to push for a permanent expansion of federal power over the affairs of private businesses. We must "fundamentally restructure our country's trade policy," Hawley demands, and that means injecting both the Pentagon and Commerce Department bureaucrats into companies' purchasing decisions. Under the terms of a bill that Hawley is proposing, any product determined to be "critical for our national security and essential for the protection of our industrial base" would have to have at least 50 percent of its value made in the United States.

Why is it necessary for the government to get significantly more involved in the system of global trade that's allowed Americans to enjoy unparalleled prosperity in recent years? Because "the global pandemic has exposed this system for what it is—a failure," Hawley writes.

One must assume that if the lights in his home went out due to a storm, Hawley would respond by declaring electricity to be a mistake and demanding that the government require homes to be lit with candles and gas lamps. After all, what is the electrical grid but a complicated supply chain that leaves Americans woefully dependent on production and distribution systems (power plants, substations, and lines) that they do not fully control? Better to produce your own lighting, right? If that means you have to live without television or the internet, well, those are just the trade-offs required to achieve self-sufficiency.

A storm—or a pandemic—can create temporary problems in the highly complex systems that run so much of the modern world. That's hardly a reason to abandon them. If Hawley is imagining a world in which the United States is wholly self-sufficient, then he's asking you to accept a scenario in which the United States is significantly poorer than it is today.

"The supply chain for an Apple iPhone crosses an international border more than 600 times, and if it didn't, you probably wouldn't have one—it would be too expensive," writes Mario Loyola, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, in an op-ed for National Review that does a much better job than Hawley's of outlining the true culprits of the supply chain nightmare.

Regardless of where you assign the blame, there's no arguing with this bigger point: Trade makes things like iPhones and modern automobiles possible. Hawley's proposal would involve a massive disruption of supply chains, far worse and longer-lasting than the one we're currently experiencing. Mandating that at least 50 percent of all vital products be made in the United States would mean that many of those products would simply not be available anymore—not because they are sitting on a ship somewhere, but because the federal government is literally prohibiting their import.

"Like the problem of jobs going offshore," writes Loyola, "the supply-chain crisis is not caused by globalization. The culprit is an uncompetitive level of regulation and taxation, and protectionism only makes that problem infinitely worse."

More government is hardly the solution to the supply chain logjam. Indeed, government meddling in the economy is one of the reasons why this mess exists in the first place. One of the acute bottlenecks that's causing problems right now is a shortage of truck chassis—a special type of truck trailer made for hauling shipping containers. Since 2018, tariffs on imported truck chassis have increased by more than 200 percent, effectively tripling the cost of buying one. Those tariffs were supposed to do exactly what Hawley wants to see happen: encourage more domestic manufacturing. Instead, they've just caused shortages.

Hawley says the supply chain crisis is the result of "a crisis of production." Wrong again. American manufacturing is stronger than it has ever been, in part because outsourcing low-level production has allowed companies here to focus on higher-value goods (which means higher wages for the people who make and sell them). The true cause of the current mess is a disconnect between supply and demand—supplies have been constrained by a number of pandemic-related issues like temporarily closed factories and worker shortages, while demand has shifted in unexpected ways.

Hawley's proposal would only exaggerate this disconnect by further constraining supplies. He says that he wants to apply the same "Made in America" rules that already govern federal procurement "to the entire commercial market."

What's the main effect of those federal procurement rules? More expensive goods and fewer choices. Sure, sounds like exactly what the country needs right now!

Or Hawley could take a look at how U.S.-based supply chains are faring during the current mess. If his thesis is correct, then items that are already mostly produced domestically should be exempt from the problems with foreign supply chains, right? Except, no, that's not true. As Scott Lincicome, a senior fellow with the Cato Institute, points out, the vast majority of food consumed in the United States is grown, raised, and otherwise produced here. And yet Americans are seeing higher prices and supply issues at the grocery store too.

"That a mostly‐​domestic U.S. food supply chain hasn't protected American consumers from recent shortages and price increases is unsurprising," Lincicome writes. "For starters, many of the same things that stress global supply chains—COVID-19 outbreaks; supply‐​demand imbalances; labor shortages in the trucking and warehousing industries; misguided trade, transportation, and immigration policies; etc.—stress domestic ones too."

Hawley's proposal, therefore, would be ineffective at best. At worst, it would impose new barriers between producers and consumers, beef up the regulatory power of the federal government, and arbitrarily ban products that Americans would otherwise choose to purchase. Hawley's ideas won't resolve the supply chain problems plaguing America; they would make empty store shelves the new normal.

NEXT: She Tried To Report Sexual Harassment in Jail. After Her Suicide, the Guard Was Convicted of Assaulting Four Other Women.

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  1. Maybe he’s just joshing around.

    1. I hawley think this is time for puns.

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      2. You'd think he was the other half of The Smoot-___what___ Bill that became The Smoot-___what___ Tariff Act. And this failed to raise revenue for the Federal Government after the ___what___Depression? The ___what___Depression?

        1. Hawleyng out the smooty jokes I see…

          1. Smoot wants to ontrol Free-Market Smut, and under Rule #34, that means everything!

    2. Team Hawley should order the Department of Homeland Climate Security to buy the United Nations Environment Program, and send in the Marines to enforce Robert's Rules of Order at COP26 Glasgow.

      If they don't , the New Green Deal will

      1. Gotta admit I don't get the joke but at least the writer uses old school capitalization.

  2. You'd think that even the brain-dead Biden admin would look around at the real world and think "HOLY SHIT WHAT HAVE WE DONE" instead of "HOLD MY BEER".

    1. Oh, the Biden admin knows what's going on.

      Josh Hawley, on the other hand, is a REPUBLICAN.

      1. Great point. More evidence that asshats are not defined by a single political party.

  3. I have an idea. How about businesses starting a class action suit against the state of California or any other state who's environmental polices and automotive regulations are damaging the supply chain. These policies are clearly hurting many people and businesses across the nation. The supply chain issues are completely artificial.

    1. Not sure how commerce clause does not come into play with this.

  4. Why the hell do people keep calling this guy a conservative? He's an Elizabeth Warren clone. He wants to be king of the economy.

    1. ^^^THIS

      But it's not surprising, really. Many conservatives have remained free market, but a new wing of Republicans have adopted strong protectionism because it plays with the xenophobic portions of their base.

      Here's hoping that remains on the fringe, but with people like Tucker Carlson demonizing the free market because it's not winning his side elections any more AND a lot of the US business base has thrown their weight behind the Democrats for various dumb reasons... I suspect this plague will spread like COVID19 at a "safe" Democrat funding event.

    2. Conservative is starting to get disemboweled in its meaning just like liberal before it.

      He is a social conservative, in the traditional sense. But yeah he's Elizabeth Warren in still-a-pants-suit when it comes to economic policy.

      Reagan got Democrats to vote Republican and for smaller government. Trump got Democrats, in too small a number to win national elections, to undermine the only major political party for economic liberty.

      1. "...Trump got Democrats, in too small a number to win national elections, to undermine the only major political party for economic liberty."

        Stuff your TDS up your ass, shit-pile; your head's asking for company.
        And then, fuck off and die.

        1. "Stuff your TDS up your ass, shit-pile; your head's asking for company.
          And then, fuck off and die."...........................

          You presentation of facts, and your convincing outlining of your reasoning and logic are superb. Yes, you have convinced me to worship Trump and figuratively and ideologically lick his boots and kiss his ass. MAGA for ever!

          1. I enjoyed your retort. However, I'm confused by the original comment. Is rreally actually saying the Dems are for "economic liberty?" Because anybody stating that is absolutely f***ing high.

            1. No, I was talking about Trump's effect on the Republicans. I.e., Reagan got "Reagan Democrats" to vote Republican.

              Trump got something else.

              The individuals I was referring to are the anti-free trade, anti-business, pro-union, Jane-Fonda's-foreign-policy Trumpkins who are the only discrete voting bloc that Trump drew to the Republican party that wasn't already there (while driving away countless others). They are political cancer, and dead ringers for the stupid, white, performatively-blue-collar Democrats of recent memory, because that's what they were until five minutes ago, just like Trump. To the extent that group is mad about the other identitarians (Democrats all) being mad at them for their racism, they're stuck in the Republican coalition.

              But that doesn't mean Republicans should be letting those retards set policy. Which they unfortunately are, to the extent we've got a sitting senator railing against the "evil corporations" and advocating central planning here.

          2. Stuff your TDS up your ass, shit-pile; your head's asking for company.
            And then, fuck off and die.

      2. rreally, the term "conservative" hasn't meant anything concrete since Barry Goldwater conservatives were driven out of the Republican Party. The Goldwater wing actually wanted to conserve our system of government as laid out by our constitution.

        The rreal division is free markets under a uniform rule of law v. a mercantile oligarchy. Hawley is probably just trying to line up on the side of the big money, knowing he can get some of it.

        1. Behold the one time party of less government and pro business being transformed into an autocratic leaning control freak party. Witness DeSantis tangling in very control freak ways with businesses large and small in Florida.

          1. Behold the TDS-addled piece of shit whining!
            Fuck off and die.

    3. He's an authoritarian fuckhead who needs to die in a grease fire.

      So yeah, a Warren clone.

    4. America’s Father-In-Law

      1. Nah. He doesn't do the gun-cleaning ritual. He has minions for that purpose.

    5. Liberals are people who need power over you for the collective good.

      Conservatives are people who need power over you for your own good.

  5. Does anybody know if Josh Hawley is related to the Hawley of "Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act" infamy?

    1. Anyone? Anyone? They are NOT related.

      1. Watch you talkin' bout, Willis?

        1. "Bueller?...Bueller?" (See YouTube link above.)

      2. something d-o-o economics?

  6. A...pandemic...can create temporary problems in the highly complex systems that run so much of the modern world.

    That's not what happened. Governments' responses to the pandemic caused the temporary problems and are now a threat to turn them into permanent ones.

    1. A very important nuance that is deliberately being misrepresented across the board...

      1. Yes, it was government's hysterical responses to last season's flu that caused the problems.

        1. Yes, the flu that cost some 630,000 and counting fatalities.

          1. I'm confident those numbers are based on factual cases and not inflated in any way. I mean, I just say that because as a first responder I saw almost EVERY case labeled "COVID related" regardless of medical condition or actual cause of death (e.g. heart attacks were "COVID related.")

          2. "Yes, the flu that cost some 630,000 and counting fatalities."

            And chicken little shit-bags like you figured knee-capping the world's economy was a good response.
            Fuck off and die.

    2. It had nothing to do with the pandemic.

      It’s California’s port union rules that prevent working more than 8 hours a day.

      It’s California’s restrictive environment for independent truck drivers, who are half of the haulers of containers.

      It’s California’s labor laws, that treat anyone who wants to work in the “gig economy” as a unionized full-time employee, removing any incentive for those Uber/Lyft/Jackrabbit workers to get an extra job working part-time on the docks.

      The only policy related to the pandemic is California’s vaccine mandates that convince healthy, younger people to stay home and play video games, instead of taking jobs at the ports and in independent trucking.

  7. Fuck Josh Hawley

    How about fighting to end governments ability to shutdown businesses, violating the Americans people right to earn an honest living.

    1. No, silly. The solution to government created problems is always more government.

      1. We just weren't governmenting hard enough before

    2. "Shutdown" is a noun. You want to describe the action, it's "shut down". Same with "set up" and a bunch of other verb phrases that people have been leaving the space out of lately.

      1. But how do I write it in German? That was what I asked.

        1. Schleissung.

          1. My glasses need a new prescription. I thought you wrote Schei§en. Well, it's that too. 😉

      2. I can never remember, is it Josh Hawley or Eric Swallwell who looks like a frat boy-turned-pedophile and a greasy snake? At any rate, there's not much difference between them, they both lurv them some Big Government.

        1. Josh Hawley's hair looks like Butthead's on Beavis and Butthead. Eric Swalwell looks like the stereotypical "Soy Boy" with a Ken Doll haircut. I wouldn't entrust either of them with a goldfish, let alone children.

          1. I'd love your commentary on Trump's hair do.

            1. I'd love you to fuck off and die.

            2. Him and Boris Johnson must have the same barber stylist. And again, no goldfish for either of them.

          1. Republican is as Republican does. Their mascot needs to be a Jellyfish or similar amorphous invertebrate.

    3. Fuck Be Unto Josh Hawley!

      Let's Go, Holly! (Robinson-Pee, preferably. Gr-r-r-r-rowl!!)

      1. Robinson-Peet, that is. No, I'm not quite as freaky as Russia said The Donald was. 🙂

  8. "Under the terms of a bill that Hawley is proposing, any product determined to be "critical for our national security and essential for the protection of our industrial base" would have to have at least 50 percent of its value made in the United States."

    Most excellent!
    Only US oil, and no Communist Chinese solar panels.

    1. And 'oil' is bad because????????? Oh let me guess; your leftard wanna-be gov-gods/kings said it is? Bow down to those gov-gods for only gov-gods command the weather. Which ironically kills far fewer people than it did before solar panels ever existed BECAUSE oil produced enough wealth for people to protect themselves from the elements of nature.

      1. ?
        First time I've seen LTBF called a "leftard".

        1. Ya; He was probably speaking sarcastically; but I missed that on first pass 🙂

      2. Alright alright alright sheesh we will import Saudi oil then. Happy?

        1. I missed the whole foreign trade restriction point on this one and went right into the Climate Change hoax seeing oil & solar panels in the same sentence.

          There is NO security when the USA is entirely pimped-out/reliant on Saudi oil. A 50% refinery industry will sustain that self-reliance infrastructure.

          As-in; it would put the USA at an extremely high-risk situation to shut down all their power plants and start relying on a foreign country for all it's power.

          Josh Hawley has a point in the name of Self Defense. Frankly; The details are but a minor discussion of federal power at this point. Being Constitutional is my biggest concern for the USA at this point as so many things are in complete violation of the very definition of the USA.

  9. The USA doesn't need to be more than 50% reliant on foreign nations. Josh Hawley is correct and he has the Constitutional Authority for his bill (which says a lot in this Nazi-Riddled nation). It is not safe for the USA to be pawns of other tyrannical "King Dictated" nations.

    However; Any sensible person knows the only reason the USA is more than 50% reliant on foreign nations is because of the Nazi's (National Socialists) INSIDE the USA.

    Trump had a far better approach of ending foreign subsidies; cutting Nazi-Law and building a stronger dollar not inflated to keep up with China's cruddy slave labor products.

    1. Jesus, and I thought your responses to me were retarded. Go find a youtube video about Econ 101, skip to the "comparative advantage" chapter marker.

      You have my permission to take cat video breaks as your attention invariably wavers.

      1. Holy cow, I thought your responses were those of a TDS-addled asshole!
        And I was right!
        Watch all the cute kitty vids you please; an IQ as fucked as yours is never going to improve.

        1. With all due respect, Trump worshipers are the ones withTrump Derangement Syndrome. All Hail the Orange Demigod!

          1. With all DUE respect (none):
            Fuck off and die

      2. Speaking for myself, I understand comparative advantage fully. What I don't buy is that Saudi Arabia has some comparative advantage over the U.S. on oil.

        The North American Continental Shelf has enough petroleum and shale oil to last at least hundreds of years at current rates of consumption, so we're close enough to the oil.

        Also, we have personnel who can wildcat and strike oil, so it is not a matter of labor shortages there, aside from the present one all sectors experiencing worldwide, because of stimulus checks and other welfare programs paying people to sit at home and just exist. Also, unlike The Saudi Royal Family, U.S. oil companies didn't give assistance to Al-Qaeda, who then murdered 2988 human beings on our shores on 9/11/2001.

        We have no valid comparison between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. in terms of military or comparative advantages of oil possession. So "Drill, Baby, Drill!"

        1. "What I don't buy is that Saudi Arabia has some comparative advantage over the U.S. on oil."

          Saudi oil is low in sulfur so refining is cheap. Heavy oil from Canada or Venezuela is more costly to refine.

        2. Comparative advantage =/= absolute advantage. Even if the U.S. can make more, cheaper, better oil than Saudi Arabia there are infinite trade configurations where Saudi Arabia still has the comparative advantage to produce oil instead of something else, which another market makes.

          Shame on you for claiming you understand comparative advantage when you plainly do not.

          1. If we drill for our own, there's no cost of shipping it from overseas. That's comparatively advantageous, so, yeah? I do understand comparative advantage.

            Let the Saudis offer sand for Silicon chips and then (maybe) we can speak of Saudi Arabia having comparative advantage. 'Course, it takes free minds to understand that and, of course, Saudi Arabia has a shortage of those.

            1. When you're wrong, double down, huh?

              If we drill for our own, we are using various resources. People. Machines. Time. Money. Comparative advantage is the result of a theoretical equation that compares those available capacities across relevant trading markets and determines which market should specialize in what. A market that essentially only has oil, people, and the technology to extract it is almost always going to have the comparative advantage in oil as compared to a country that has the capacity to make virtually everything else. Because those markets can trade with each other.

              Continued shame on your lying, and evidently ignorant ass.

      3. How much of that comparative advantage is due to the intentional hobbling by the redistributive leftists in the US?

        1. Excellent point. The only 5hing that keeps us from being an up-ender of the world petroleum market is an environmentalist movement that fights every new oil well, refinery, or offshore platform tooth and nail, even with the most stringent of safeguards against harking wildlife. A snail darter or a spotted owl takes precedence over energy for humans and over undercutting Islamic terror and tyranny footed by OPEC oil.

        2. None, probably. Saudi Arabia's comparative advantage in the only marketable thing they have is predominately a function of their own economic dysfunction.

  10. The red flag for this particular psychotic Trumpkin was probably all that creepy Teddy Roosevelt biography/hero worship.

    This is a progressive. He would have been a democrat, but racist progressive white people are offended that the other progressives are mad at them right now for the whole racism thing. They still want trade barriers and government control over your life, just of a different flavor.

    Come vote against them in Republican primaries.

    1. Never-mind Trump dropped MASSIVE amounts of trade barriers domestically. Like EPA barriers, Paris Accord barriers, etc, etc, etc..

      Surely; Giving foreign nations SUBSIDIZED trade deals is better than any amount of free domestic trading.... /s

      Heck; Next up we can talk about USA citizens "free-trading" with China Armed forces to help take-over the USA. Can't have USA government stopping treasonous traders in the name of 'freedom' and barriers created for National Defense.

      Article I, Section 8, Clause 3
      The Congress shall have Power To...regulate Commerce with foreign Nations....

      1. Your definition of trade barriers is about as accurate as your definition of human life, VARIABLE capitalization GUY.

        And just for your own edification, go take a look at how much of the Trump Administration's rulemaking efforts (yknow, the only things that could have affected EPA) are still on the books, one short year into the Biden presidency. Hint: not much. The Trump Administration was incompetence personified.

        Choosing personality over competence is bad enough, but the really messed up part is your and the Trump brigade's apparent demand that the personality be bad.

        1. You don't think 'limiting' exactly what can be traded domestically to the point of stomping out an entire energy sector isn't a "trade" barrier???

          Personality? That's all you've got in defense... The 'mean tweets' cry? And topped off with a topping of "Not good enough"? Heck; at this point anything Not-Nazi is a speckle of sunshine.

        2. "Choosing personality over competence is bad enough, but the really messed up part is your and the Trump brigade's apparent demand that the personality be bad."

          Stuff your TDS up your ass - your head's looking for company.

    2. "The red flag for this particular psychotic Trumpkin"

      ^That is the red-flag for TDS-addled assholes, inventing new lies about Trump constantly
      Fuck off and die, shit-pile

    3. Trump did offer to drop ALL trade barriers if others did the same.

      1. And his budget proposals cut 10% from every agency except the military and nasa. What congress passed though...

  11. Nearly 21 months ago, we turned over vast portions of our economy to the arbitrary control of a pile of tin-pot-dictator wannabes; we turned a (largely( market driven economy into a 'planned' economy, and even now the same lefty ignoramuses are 'planning' how to reopen that market.
    I certainly wasn't alone in predicting a disastrous outcome from that power-grab, and none of those who did so were wrong: We got the results of a 'planned' economy, and unless we get those bastards' mitts off of the economy, it is not going to get better.
    Want empty containers where they aren't needed? Let Newsom and the other assholes dictate who can stay open and who must close, and what stuff you MUST buy; presto! Long-lasting grief.

    1. ^THIS EXACTLY --- Nazi-Planned economy = a poor nation.

  12. Like the problem of jobs going offshore," writes Loyola, "the supply-chain crisis is not caused by globalization. The culprit is an uncompetitive level of regulation and taxation, and protectionism only makes that problem infinitely worse

    FFS. It is absolutely caused by globalization. Maybe the benefits of globalization outweigh the costs. Maybe there are costs associated with reversing globalization and this sort of R-wing socialist central planning.

    This inability to look at reality if there is an ideological reason to jerk knees is really moronic and toolish.

    1. Neocons should give peace a chance.
      Protectionists should give free trade a chance.
      Democrats should give free markets a chance.

      And look up comparative advantage while they're at it.

    2. "FFS. It is absolutely caused by globalization."


    3. You're using their framing of "globalization" the way socialists use the word "capitalism."

      Saying changes in the job market are caused by globalization is like saying war is caused by gravity.

      And as ever, populist appeals to halting it are transparent lies.

      The die is cast. We live on a planet with billions of other people, with whom trade and communication is increasingly without frictional costs. The Josh Hawleys of the world, to the extent we are fool enough to give them political power, will reward only their cronies until economic reality inevitably destroys the government fiefdoms they create where industries once lay.

      Oh, and my rant aside, Loyola is absolutely correct about the supply chain crisis not being caused by [the availability of international trade]. Your argument in a box was meant for "job offshoring" which is the usual pablum they put in that spot - but that at least has a relationship to being outcompeted by foreign firms.

      1. I disagree virtually 100% with Hawley and all the Trumpist R's. FFS I just called then central planners.

        But the most obvious element of the supply chain crisis is that what has broken are the sheer number and length of the transportation elements of that chain. The only production problems in that crisis are supplies needed as input that aren't making it to those places (eg semiconductor packaging from Malaysia going to Taiwan and then going to car manufacturers everywhere).

        You cannot simply wish away that necessary element of globalization. You cannot substitute a counterfactual libertarian ideology in place of that reality. Globalization requires very long logistics chains. When those break, it has big consequences. Just as those long chains also require a particular structure of subsidies to particular (mobile fossil fuel) forms of energy used in transportation. And distortions in the cost of capital that favor globalized multinationals at the expense of smaller local. Those latter two haven't even broken - yet.

        1. My point is that "globalization" is a stupid and inapplicable narrative. What you just described is endemic to an economy as complex as the U.S., it's not specific to international sea ports, which is what commentators are mostly pointing to. In short, supply chain shocks = shortages and prices up.

          You're blaming a condition for something that applies in its absence.

          The more specific point the article was raising, that you objected to, was saying that more of the problem is owing to destructive government regulation, rather than the mere fact of international trade, which is presumably what the people bitching about globalization would halt. And that specific point is correct, the choke point in the supply chain issues that has been at international ports, and this is predominately because international ports are ridiculously, destructively regulated. The Jones Act is generally the most appallingly stupid feature of shipping economic policy to trot out, so look that up if you're not familiar.

          1. "My point is that "globalization" is a stupid and inapplicable narrative. What you just described is endemic to an economy as complex as the U.S.,"

            Free markets over any boundaries, aid prosperity, everywhere and always.

          2. The supply chain problems are pretty much everywhere on Earth.

            It is globalization however you want to define it. And specifically the way globalization (actual production and distribution) has failed to recover from the pandemic.

            It ain't the Jones Act.

            1. "...And specifically the way globalization (actual production and distribution) has failed to recover from the pandemic."

              'Is still a planned economy as promoted by PANIC-stricken assholes like JFree, and won't recover until we get the tin-pot-dictator wannabes mitts off the economy.'
              Stuff your PANIC flag up your ass and sit on it.

    4. Most of our stuff is sitting just off the shore of Los Angeles or in an open field at the Port of LA/LB. The world did its job. We have a domestic problem getting the goods from our territorial waters into consumer's hands. If the stuff was made in Los Angeles instead of being imported, we would still have the exact same problem getting it out to consumers.

      There are some exceptions, such as semiconductors where we actually have a hard time getting enough of it. But it should be noted that we do make semiconductors here, so it isn't like we are totally helpless without imports. The problem with the semiconductor industry is that almost all the expense is in the facilities. Once you have a facility up and operating, you might as well have it run 24x7, regardless of the price you can get. This will ALWAYS result in boom and bust cycles. If semiconductors were made domestically, we would still have the exact same problem: the sophisticated consumer electronics companies have locked down supply for cell phones, laptops, game consoles, GPUs, etc. while the auto companies cancelled their contracts at the beginning of the beginning of the pandemic. Whether the chips come from Taiwan or the US, the problem remains that there aren't enough of them. By the way, Tesla was able to make more cars than ever last quarter because they were willing to make the effort to certify whatever parts they could get their hands on, rather than running whining to the government when the particular part they wanted to use went out of stock.

  13. As does Biden, threatening to fire a third of the workforce.

    1. Ya; but who cares if the Nazi-Government bullies USA citizens...
      It's only a 'foul' when the Nazi-Government bullies Nazi-Nations...

      Oh wait; which country are we living in again?
      Why MAGA; was an awesome slogan for USA citizens.. Too bad there are so many cheerleaders for a Nazi-Nation invasion.

  14. Good grief. I'm the last one to defend Hawley on anything - but for a magazine that just unironically ran a mast head story declaring facebook and the news media to be founded on intentional misunderstanding and distortion of information - this is pretty rich.

    A supply chain incapable of dealing with critical externalities is not a supply chain. This "vibrant economy" you are so proud of grinds to a halt and dies in months without chips and semiconductors that we simply do. not. make. here. Do you know you *does* make them? Taiwan. You remember Taiwan, right? That little island of the coast of China? Chiang Kai-shek? Chinese Civil War. The island that China claims is *not* an independent nation, but a chinese territory? The one that they have been sending jet fighters into contested air space? That one?

    And China. You've heard of them, im sure. Not big on free markets, and flexing at the moment? Owns PAX? That little chinese company in Florida that the FBI raided this week because it very likely used its super popular POS Systems to initiate state sponsored DDOS attacks from within US Borders?

    Supply chain will never, ever be free of political consequences and overtones. Ever. What will we do when China tries to annex Taiwan? We'll go to war, but guess what we wont be getting any more. Its a lot more than "consumer goods". We wont be getting the components to build or repair industrial equipment, vehicles, critical medical devices, critical infrastructure equipment that runs the power grid, and the internet, and literally everything else our society depends on.

    Go find an economist, or hell, ask an engineer, or a technician, or a city planner ... or a business owner, or anyone with a functioning brain cell. You do not ever trust anything critical to a long *domestic* supply chain - to say nothing of a global, international supply chain - especially one that is dominated (physically, and geographically) by an anti-free market power. There is a word for that - STUPID.

    Hawley's an idiot, and his "plan" is ham fisted - but the stuff we're talking about here is not PS5's, and big screen TV's. These are the components that drive what manufacturing processes that remain here, that drive the machines that make my business (and virtually all others ) **POSSIBLE**.

    And remember - it takes the better part of a decade to get a semiconductor plant built, and into anything approaching full yield production - and that's *after* they are designed, and all of the required infrastructure is in place... assuming you can get all the components you need to build and maintain the labs and fabs needed... you know - the ones that Taiwan Semiconductor makes almost 20% of? The ones that every *other* chip maker also relies on not only to run their equipment, but to **make their products**.

    Grow up. Even Milton Friedman acknowledged that even functional "free markets" make supply chains *efficient* not *resilient* - and really, if you think our global marketplace is remotely free, or fair, or transparent, you are an idiot.

    1. No, it is a result of everyone allowing the governments to take over the economies for the last two years.
      But thanks for the smokescreen.

    2. Even for its stated purpose, the plan is poorly designed. It doesn't matter whether stuff is made in the US, it only matters if we are overly reliant on a single country. A policy that no more than 30% of critical materials should come from any single country (including the US, which after all did shut down last year when much of Asia was able to remain operational) would do much more to help improve robustness than a policy of mandated on-shoring.

      That being said, both policies would merely be a bandaid to reduce the impact when disruption does occur. A policy that truly prevented supply disruption would have the government pay critical infrastructure companies to idle their equipment, with a painful, but reasonable fee to put the equipment back into service. If such capacity is spread across the world, then whether the problem is China attacking Taiwan, a fire in Japan, or a hurricane hitting New York, mothballed equipment can be quickly activated and workers put on overtime to backfill any lost capacity.

      Personally, I don't have any faith that the government wouldn't screw it up if it tried to do this. But, if it mandated such idled capacity in its own supply contracts and allowed companies to immediately deduct idled capital assets, it would encourage a more robust supply chain without getting the government's tendrils too deep into the economy.

      1. "...A policy that no more than 30% of critical materials should come from any single country (including the US, which after all did shut down last year when much of Asia was able to remain operational) would do much more to help improve robustness than a policy of mandated on-shoring..."

        So some good, old political planning and control of the economy is what we need? Are you just socialist or an out-and-out commie?
        Were you alive in 1989? If not, you need to do some reading.

  15. Why doesn't Reason do a piece on the real cause of the supply chain crisis -- the new California pollution limits that prohibit 80% of the large trucks in America from entering California. That's why all those container ships are sitting off Los Angeles and Long Beach.

    1. Newsom knee-capping the 5th largest economy in the world didn't help, let alone allowing him to 'plan' who was required to close and now 'planning' the reopening.
      Yep, CA is not alone, but for the last 21 months we've had a "planned' economy, 'planned' by an econ-ignoramus.
      'Planned' economies do NOT work and this was the predictable and predicted result of allowing tin-pot-dictator wanna-bes that much power: they fucked it up.

    2. Horseshit. It is not the pollution limits that are preventing the tens of thousands of additional trucks from getting on LA highways to go to those ports to pick up containers. Even if there were tens of thousands of trucks available to clog those highways, their entrance would simply create the mother of all traffic jams and LA would shut down (with a ton of smog sending everyone to hospital - not that that's a bad thing).

      What the pandemic proved is that trucking works well for the flexibility of moving one container from place X to place Y instead of place Z. But it sucks when the problem is that you have to move 1000 containers rather than one container.

      Now maybe you want to blame 40 years of government focusing on highways rather than freight rail - but I doubt you really want to go there.

      1. So you're claiming that the last 80 years are a lie but more choo-choo would have saved us? I'm not buying it.

        1. It's easy to see what the Port of Los Angeles itself says about its supply chain.

          About 35% of intermodal containers utilize the Port’s rail network
          This superficially seems really freaking low for a port that is not primarily serving southern CA freight (where trucks are far more flexible) - esp when

          The average train is made up of 30 double-stack cars, eliminating approximately 400 truck trips and related air pollution on each run while optimizing the movement of cargo
          If one train equates to 400 trucks - at a location where there is always tons of containers to pick up - then something structural is massively favoring trucks and/or disfavoring rail.

          The network operates 24/7 and links to the Alameda Corridor, a dedicated rail expressway that connects the docks to the transcontinental rail system
          So let me get this - that network also has operated 24/7 for awhile. And if you look at Alameda Corridor - the train volume was lower in 2019 than in 2000. Obviously it dropped in 2020/2021 - but it was tilted long before then. And obviously it cant seem to ramp up 'new' train volume to recover from the 2020/2021 decline even if each train trip can save 400 truck trips.

          1. "If one train equates to 400 trucks - at a location where there is always tons of containers to pick up - then something structural is massively favoring trucks and/or disfavoring rail."

            Yeah, it's called 'real estate'; ain't enough room to get more rails in there, you stupid sumbitch.

      2. Lies.

        California's emission restrictions demand all trucks be low emission and no older than 2016 models. That's why every container going out of California needs two trucks and two drivers, adding to the labor shortage. One low emission truck must take the container from the port to the Nevada border, where any normal big rig can then pick it up. That's also why they're running out of storage space, because they're requiring two chassis, which as the article states are limited, for one container to get out of California. And the shipping yards cannot get chassis in fast enough to clear their storage space to allow new containers to be offloaded.

        Youve also got the ab85 or whatever law cali passed requiring all independent contractors to become full time employees. It didn't just screw Uber drivers, it really screwed the truckers. That basically removed the majority of owner+operator drivers from Cali (assuming they own/can afford a low emission rig as well) who made up nearly 50% of the truck driver workforce prior to the law.

        And finally you've got the port workers union refusing any increases in operating hours or output because it wasn't collectively bargained.

      3. Lol, you clearly no dick about freight rail in the US. It is all privately owned. The closest thing to .gov rail in american is Amtrak that runs almost entirely on private rail and still looses billions of dollars a year. Right now BNSF has miles of idled engines in Gillette WY because Brandon fucked the coal industry on day one. No they cant be used in ports because union rules. Every bit of this cluster is due to Dems and their allies the goonions.

        1. "...because Brandon fucked the coal industry on day one..."

          Pretty sure you meant Biden.

  16. The Titans of Industry have decided that an optimal trade and logistics policy is to keep putting as much manufacturing as possible under the control of the Communist Chinese and concentrate 34% of seaborne import capability in the LA/Long Beach port complex.

    Hawley is dumb, but I don't see the wisdom of the Titans' manufacturing and logistics policies either.

    1. The companies are just reacting to the insanity dictated by government. At some point minimum wage + mandatory benefits + paying for unproductive idleness outweighs the costs of freight. Additionally there aren't too many places to put a high volume port that wouldn't require massive investment.

      1. Very few of big corporate's Top. Men. bother to question the long term viability of short term nickle-squeezing.

    2. Isee what what you are saying and I, of course, support freer trade abroad and deregulation, less taxation, and no subsidy of incompetance at home, so that we can get back to being an economic powerhouse.

    3. "Hawley is dumb, but I don't see the wisdom of the Titans' manufacturing and logistics policies either."

      They are doing their jobs, trying to make a profit for the owners, and now operating in the 'planned economy' which we allowed the tin-pot-dictators to take over 20-some months ago.

  17. As we watch woke liberals destroy America, Reason spends a lot of time blaming Trump and telling us the problem is Republicans.

  18. Such an ignorant bias article. How could anybody be against making America more self sufficient and independent? If Hawleys electricity went out than I would assume he would have a generator to ensure he had electricity. Not that he would think electric was bad and we need to do away with it.
    We need self sufficiency in America. We needed that pipeline that Biden stopped. We need to not be dependent on other countries. This pandemic has made that more than obvious.
    If you want to see wages go up and more jobs available and Americans prosper than we need to start buying and selling right here in America.
    Hawley is on the money with this one.
    Biden’s plan to build back better sucks so far.
    Inflation is at the highest it’s been in 15 years. Gas prices are at the highest they’ve been in over 7 years. And no matter what anybody thinks, the president is responsible for it because of the decisions he’s made during this pandemic. Can anybody really say we are better than we was 2 years ago?
    “REASON” you’re a joke with your assumptions in this article.

    1. "We need self sufficiency in America. We needed that pipeline that Biden stopped. We need to not be dependent on other countries."

      Canada is another country. Fostering dependence on foreign oil is not self sufficiency.

    2. "Such an ignorant bias article. How could anybody be against making America more self sufficient and independent?"

      Autarchy doesn't work for a variety of reasons, not least because it requires government intervention.
      Were you alive in 1989? Did you learn anything?

  19. Self-sufficiency is a good thing, but not to the detriment of core competancies and not to the detriment of free trade between partners that equaooy respect freedom.

    For example, because of the nature of the climate in the U.S., it would be an enormous failure and waste of time, land, and energy for the U.S. to attempt to grow bananas, coconuts, coffee, and other crops that grow best in tropical areas.

    And to insist, as Josh Hawley does, that 50 percent of these crops come from the U.S. would deprive the U.S. of Potassium from bananas for strength and sanity, as well as coconut for the local bakery's German Chocolate Cake, or eye-opening coffee and the jobs provided by Starbucks. All of these items would be more scarce, more expensive, and U.S. Citizens would have less capital for spending or investing in other things. We would all be worse off as a result.

    1. Qually, that is. Maybe some nation could make me a pair of cheaper prescription glasses. Or better yet, get a set of readers under the prescription wire entirely.

    2. "Self-sufficiency is a good thing,"

      It's necessary if America is to engage in an arms race with another power. Reliance on foreign manufacturing all but guarantees the race will be lost. The three sisters - corn beans and squash - sustained Americans for centuries. It's the least of our worries.

    3. Plus it makes countries less likely to stay at peace. Free trading partners don't want war or even a little instability. It's jus' game theory.

      I suppose an isolationist America with a cult leader as head of state could always simply invade tropical countries. Such sweet, orange-scented breathing room.

      1. You know the "elites" who "knew" said the same thing right before WWI right?

  20. Some may be tempted to believe it's a good thing that Republicans have all but given up even the pretense of free market ideology. Looks like progs won. Government should meddle in trade and business until we get the social outcomes we want!

    And yes, that's all very good in theory, and good riddance to free-market horseshit that was only ever a slogan anyway.

    But don't be too happy about it. Republicans who don't even pretend to care about free trade and free markets are extremely dangerous. There's a name for right-wing reactionaries who want top-down control of the economy, and it rhymes with pus-filled cyst.

    1. Someday Tony; If you ?EVER? decide for yourself to stop compulsively being a ..Racist.. Slaver. You might figure out it's been YOU (your mentality) all along who is the person you dislike the most and that your compulsive self-ensured projection has been the culprit all along.

      "White People", going from against "free-market" to blaming Republicans for not being "foreign market free"... Your prejudice bigotry is on full display.

    2. No libertarian who knows Hawley is happy about him. Any happiness you think libertarians have is pure projection.

      1. Were there libertarians referred to in my post? Oh, there they are, under some bus tracks. Since it was Hawley who put you there, I suppose you could be grateful that at least it's not a death camp.

    3. "Some may be tempted to believe it's a good thing that Republicans have all but given up even the pretense of free market ideology."

      Some may be tempted to assume shitstain is other than a lying pile of lefty shit.
      It's not true.
      Fuck off and die, shitstain.

      1. Dude, you are way too obsessed with excrement.

        1. Asshole, you are far to stupid to post. Fuck off and die.

  21. Sorry need some actual experience in the corporate world to weigh in on this.

    1. The deindustrialization of America is a fact. I've spent about 30 years in various corporate positions including finance, operations, have developed manufacturing strategy for a major digital communications company, a printer manufacturer, and for medical devices. Direct labor in any discrete manufacturing is less than 8 or 9% of product cost, the key driver isn't direct labor but overhead. Cost accounting methods used (even "activity based") usually have a bias to off shoring. When you add up the logistic expenses, communication issues and such the "cost savings" for labor evaporates. But corporate leaders are always chasing "cutting labor costs.
    2. Losing manufacturing has gutted small town America. Dollar stores with cheap Chinese goods but no good paying jobs. I realize this plays to cosmo woke "libertarians" who want these people destroyed.
    3. Balance of can't run massive trade deficits forever. You will eventually lose your reserve currency.
    4. It benefits massive govt deficit spending (you need a place to offshore inflation if your printing money as a way to pay for big govt). Who does this really benefit? The war state, the welfare state and enriches the well connected public sector elites. Is this something as a libertarian you claim to be would support?

    I'm betting you live in NYC or DC or some woke trade is a great thing. But it demands both sides don't subsidize their products, charge tariffs and most importantly don't peg one currency to the other...

  22. oh and chain issues are driven by the Fed's printing press...if you don't get that you really shouldn't be opining on this subject or maybe get your dream gig at Salon, Slate, or the NYT..

    1. How does that work exactly? People can't buy stuff because they have too much cash?

      1. LMAO....... Leave it to Tony to ask "how does that work exactly" EXACTLY as "how that works" is currently going on.

      2. Seems shitstain is a e-lit major who assumes a clever turn of phrase is sufficient to make a point, hoping, of course, that those reading his bullshit are as ignorant of logic as is he.
        Sort of like turd, hoping a lie or some trivializing phrase makes the facts disappear.

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