Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

How Trump's Tariffs Will Harm National Security

Imports improve the economy and benefit the country.

American motorists have never had it so good. Cars and trucks are better than ever, and their prices have barely risen in this century. A host of automakers here and abroad compete fiercely to satisfy every whim a driver could have.

And I do mean every whim. The Subaru Ascent SUV offers eight seats but 19 cup holders. Last year, The Wall Street Journal reports, Ford filed a patent application for "a gyroscopic cup holder to keep a drink upright while accelerating, braking or 'while the vehicle travels upward at an incline.'"

These developments are more remarkable when you consider that the first car with built-in cup holders didn't arrive until 1983. Until then, vehicles were only slightly less austere than a stagecoach.

Today's cars also feature other innovations that even the Jetsons could not have imagined—backup cameras, navigation devices, air bags, collision avoidance systems, TVs, and much more. Anything people desire, it's safe to say, automakers are either providing or figuring out how to provide.

But it appears drivers are about to be banished from this asphalt Eden. The Trump administration has begun an investigation to determine whether imported passenger vehicles undermine national security. It argues that when Toyota or Volkswagen sells you a car that was built abroad, it puts Americans at risk.

Wrong. In the first place, we don't require a domestic supply of RAV4s to fight the next wars. In the second, we don't go begging our enemies for shipments of passenger sedans and crossovers. We buy them from our allies, who have a stake in our well-being.

The only way Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross can treat auto imports as a national security matter is to claim that they damage our economy. "Without a strong economy," he claims, "you can't have a strong national security."

Oh? The Soviet Union was a superpower even though it was notorious for making shoddy consumer goods—and never enough of them. North Korea, which suffers chronic food shortages and a miserably low standard of living, presents a serious military threat to South Korea, Japan, and even the U.S., which are economic giants by comparison.

But the bigger flaw in Ross' argument is the assumption that imports harm the economy. In fact, they enlarge it and invigorate it while improving the welfare of consumers and businesses. A nation that produced everything for itself would be a materially poor one.

International trade lets us acquire more goods and services at lower costs. It makes the nation wealthier, which makes it possible to invest more in the military, intelligence agencies, and other institutions that protect us from enemies foreign and domestic.

Slapping foreign-made autos with a 25 percent tariff, which is what the administration has in mind, would only impoverish us. It would raise the price of cars and trucks—not just imports but also domestic ones. If the price of a German car were to jump, makers of comparable American models would be free to raise their own prices without fear.

Trump's tariffs would undoubtedly be passed on to consumers. A new RAV4, which currently goes for about $25,000, would probably go for about $31,000. Luxury cars would get an even bigger increase. An Audi A6 sedan's price, now around $50,000, would jump by about $12,000.

It's not just new cars that would get more expensive. Used cars would suddenly be in greater demand, pushing their prices up too.

That's not counting the effects of the duties the administration has imposed on imported steel and aluminum, which will raise the cost of passenger vehicles made in this country. It's no tonic for the economy to punish consumers in this way.

Motorists who need to replace their wheels would feel the pain, and so would companies that buy or lease vehicles. But the suffering would not be confined to them.

If consumers spend more on cars, they will have less to spend on other needs. What Ford and General Motors hope to gain, Target and McDonald's stand to lose. Any jobs added in the auto industry will be matched by layoffs in other sectors.

It makes no sense to dole out such pain to our trade partners and military allies. The national security pretext is based on a gross misunderstanding of economics and a myopic disdain for geopolitics.

The administration makes international trade policy as if we don't have friends. At the rate it's going, we won't.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • sarcasmic||

    Way to light the John signal.

  • Kongming||

    I'm looking forward to his daily lesson to us rubes about the number of dimensions to Trump's chess game here that we're all to stupid to understand. I think we are up to 37 dimensions at last count.

  • sarcasmic||

    A nation that produced everything for itself would be a materially poor one.

    There is a word for self-sufficiency. Poverty. Show me someone who makes all their own clothes and grows all their own food and I'll show you someone who lives a miserable existence.

    What applies to micro also applies to macro. A self-sufficient nation, as in a nation that does not engage in trade, is a nation of people living in misery.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Yep, its kind of weird how the anti-free-traders adhere to a Juche-like mindset.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Anything people desire, it's safe to say, automakers are either providing or figuring out how to provide."

    When I was 19, I had a convertible '64 Plymouth Fury.

    http://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2.....06c45d.jpg

    383 commando, all stock. It was back in the '80s--I earned enough to buy it working over half a summer. I rebuilt and perfected it--using tools my grandfather could have had when he was 19.

    There are few cars built today that will still be desired 50 years from now--not even if aftermarket self-driving kits become cheap and easy to install. And that's because the cars built today suck in terms of aesthetics, drivability, customization, and fun.

    They don't make 'em like they used to.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Hmmm. As the former owner of a 1967 Mustang with a 289, I must mostly disagree. That car, also beloved by many, was basically a hunk of shit. Cars today are far superior in drivability, reliability and heck, just about everything. I think they are better looking too, though there is less individuality to the designs.

    As for me, I couldn't wait to get rid of that damn car, and am grateful they don't make 'em like they used to.

    Plus, there are PLENTY of people modding modern cars, though you are correct that something more than stone age tools are required.

  • sarcasmic||

    Yesterday as I was walking through the parking lot at the grocery store someone was parking their '68 SS. Beautiful paint job. Lovely rumble. Noxious fumes. Smelled worse than my lawn mower.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Reliability?

    To a certain extent.

    Part of the reliability factor is the ability to do your own maintenance and repairs.

    People may mod their cars today, but that's a far cry from saying anyone will still find them desirable 30 years from now. A highly modified tuner car is another hunk of metal 10 years from now--not a '67 Mustang.

  • sarcasmic||

    Part of the reliability factor is the ability to do your own maintenance and repairs.

    A mechanically inept person like myself would much rather have a more modern vehicle. My '05 Outback has 215K miles on it and it runs like a top. Doesn't need constant maintenance. Just turn the key and go.

  • Ken Shultz||

    A mechanically inept person like yourself could rebuild the carburetor on a '64 Plymouth Fury. It's easier than putting together furniture from Ikea.

    I went to a local fair up near where my brother built a cabin in Utah. All the farmers rode their tractors into town--some of them went back to the 1930s. None of them were newer than the 1950s. I'm sure new tractors have plenty of new features. The old tractors have the feature of being so simple to work on, a farmer can figure out how to fix it himself--and still use the same tractor his great-grandfather was using 90 years ago. No new features have been sufficient to justify an upgrade in all that time. Used, old tractors are had to find--because they still work and cost the people who own them nothing to buy.

  • sarcasmic||

    I don't want a car that needs constant maintenance. So what if I could do the work myself? I don't want to have to work on the damn thing on the side of the road. I'd rather keep on driving.

  • Ken Shultz||

    All machines with moving parts require maintenance.

    There are numerous reasons to do those jobs yourself. It can be to save money. It can be for pleasure and fun. It can be for a sense of self-sufficiency.

    I do all the work on my own motorcycle, in addition to other reasons, because my life can depend on things like whether a certain bolt was torqued properly. In other words, if my life depends on it being done right, then I'm not taking some mechanic's word for it. I'll just do it myself and ride with confidence--to anywhere, including across Death Valley through the middle of nowhere.

  • sarcasmic||

    All machines with moving parts require maintenance.

    There is a difference between maintenance and constant maintenance.

    Older cars need lots of work to keep them running just right. Newer cars do not.

    I'm sure that the guy I saw parking his '68 SS works on the thing at least once a month if not more often. The guy likely enjoys that. I don't.

    That's all I'm saying.

  • Cy||

    Collecting classic tractors is a thing in rural america. Most of those farmers can't drive their modern tractors into town because they wouldn't fit on most roads and are hazardous around people who aren't familiar with what it's like to operate one. You're being nostalgic.

    If you want to have the old vs new argument about cars/tractors you should be having it about the software that the companies patent and force people to use. You can buy the car, but you can't run it without the proprietary software that in many professional cases you suddenly need to pay to keep updated.

  • Ken Shultz||

    These tractors were still being used.

    These were relatively small farms, farmed by rural Mormons, who work the small farms their ancestors pioneered in the 19th century.

    For their intended use (small farms), those tractors are still functioning, still being used, and more than adequate.

    Yeah, some people collect old tractors, but old tractors are still being used on small family farms all over the country.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The model 1911 is an amazing gun. It was the standard issue gun in the military from 1911 to 1986. Until the Glocks became more reliable in the 1990s and offered a larger capacity, it was still arguably the best sidearm you could have--for eighty years. Some people still swear by them, and their simplicity is part of the draw. You can take 'em apart, rebuild them yourself, easy, reliable, 110 year-old technology.

    The Piper Cub is one hell of an airplane. If you want to take off from anywhere, land anywhere, use simple controls, it's still the airplane to beat. Their technology hasn't changed since the 1930, and their simplicity is part of the appeal. The liability for selling a pre-built airplane can cost two or three times the price of its manufacture. Piper Cubs are so easy to put together, you can build it yourself.

    One of the features of an excellent piece of technology is the difficulty in improving its simple design.

  • Rhywun||

    So the latest whiz-bang technology isn't always and everywhere the greatest thing. I'll have to remember that for the next "TRAINZ hurr durr 19th century technology" article.

  • Ken Shultz||

    There's something to say for technologies that are still embraced by their intended users decades and decades after their introduction. This is the way markets, science, and technology work.

    Markets tend to flock to the best solutions in terms of their effectiveness and economy. If the market chooses an old solution, shouldn't only socialists quibble with that?

    Science is the process of eliminating explanations through scrutiny. The ones that survive scrutiny are the ones science considers most likely to be true.

    Technology works the same way. Technologies that survive competition for a hundred years tend to do so because they have advantages new contenders couldn't offer.

    Because a technology is a hundred years old doesn't make it a likely candidate for obsolescence to me. If a technology has survived a hundred years of innovation, then its incumbent on those who want to invest in something new to demonstrate why the new technology is better than the old one.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Dude, I think you overstate it on 1911s. I have three, and they are a finicky and temperamental gun IMHO. I don't even think they were the best of the era (Browning Hi-Power), though yes, for the time, they were a very good design.

    I love shooting them, as the trigger is magnificent, and the weight feels good, but again here its nostalgia not practicality that drives their continued popularity. That, and a certain fetishization of the 45ACP round.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Its hard to do much more than change the oil on most modern cars (though light bulbs surprisingly easy), so yeah, if you enjoy doing your own maintenance, they aren't great.

    Even with that, however, they are far far more reliable than older cars, not to mention overall quality etc.

    As far as 50 years from now: Most people have fond-ish memories of their first car or two. This is normal nostalgia. I don't think cars from the past are anything special. I view it as a 100% certainty that 50 years from now, people will be fondly remembering that first car, whatever it is. I agree they won't be desired as collectors items as much, but I think thats more due to excessive baby boomer nostalgia. I admit I don't get it. It makes as much sense as nostalgia for rotary phones and TRS-80 PCs.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    My first car was a 1993 Ford Tempo with over 100k miles. Total piece of shit and, yeah, nothing but fond memories of it.

  • sarcasmic||

    You have fond memories of yours? Not me. Fuel pump shit the bed every year like clockwork. Died on the spot. Gas gauge didn't work. Had to reset the trip timer every time I filled the tank. Hated that car.

  • sarcasmic||

    Radio didn't work either. Had a boom box on the passenger seat. Grinding my teeth at the memory. Arg. No fondness whatsoever.

  • sarcasmic||

    I have no fondness for my first car. Ford Tempo. No fucking thanks.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If there's a design being built today that people will still find attractive 50 years from now, it might only be a Jeep--the models based on the CJ, the essentials of which were designed in the 1940s.

    When people find cars aesthetically pleasing these days, it generally seems to be in reference to the interior. It's hard to imagine any new models surviving because of the aesthetics of their exterior today.

    I can't think of any exceptions, but I'll allow for the possibility. Even the Mini Cooper, the VW Bug, etc. are mimicking old designs.

    If cars are valued for their cheapness and utility, then that's what it is. No one will be listening to today's pop music 50 years from now either. People will still be watching performances composed by Puccini, Wagner, and Verdi.

    I might suggest that science, markets, evolution, and aesthetics may function in a similar manner: The things that are truest are the things that survive the most and best scrutiny. If people are still seeking out the '32 Ford Coupe 80 years later, then that design has survived a tremendous amount of scrutiny.

  • Rhywun||

    I can't tell the make of any modern car by looking at it - they all look alike to me. It was easier when I was little kid.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Heh, well I think what people will value in 50 to 100 years is maddeningly unpredictable. How many artists died in poor obscurity only to be discovered after death ? Plenty. We'll see the same with cars, music etc.If we could travel to the future and hear what they like, we'd probably be in shock. "Wait, Lady Fucking Gaga ? What is WITH you people !".

    I'll lay down an exception marker though, on modern art. Abstract art will not stand the test of time, and future generations will marvel at our desire to put up art that could have been created by a chimpanzee.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Wait, Lady Fucking Gaga ? What is WITH you people !"

    People will be playing Poker Face and Bad Romance for at least a century.

  • Cy||

    There are arguments to be made about old vs new. I don't think they're tech based. Most of them are software/legal or regulation/emissions based. The older tech gets grandfathered in or just doesn't have to be ran by computers.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Part of the reliability factor is the ability to do your own maintenance and repairs.

    I think what you're talking about here isn't so much reliability as maintainability. When I think of reliability I think of something I don't have to do my own maintenance (or pay someone else to do it for me) because it doesn't break down very often in the first place. As for basic things like changing the oil, or rotating the tires, etc. I don't think modern cars are any more difficult to do that on than older ones. Major repairs are certainly easier on older cars without all the electronics. But, modern cars don't need major repairs as often as old cars, which makes them more reliable, but not as maintainable.

    People may mod their cars today, but that's a far cry from saying anyone will still find them desirable 30 years from now.

    You're probably right about that, with a few exceptions. Exotic sports cars will probably still be desirable 30 years from now, and some non-exotic sports cars like the Corvette may be, just as there's some cars from 30 years ago (1988) that are fairly desirable. But I highly doubt anyone in 2048 is going to be willing to pay several times the current sticker price for a 2018 Honda Accord.

  • Ken Shultz||

    When I take my motorcycle out into the middle of nowhere (which I do every chance I get), I do so because 1) I have a lot of faith in it not breaking down since I do my own maintenance and 2) I have a lot of faith in my ability to fix whatever breaks down myself.

    There's a road I ride down every summer. It has a sign at the beginning that reads, "No services for 85 miles". There is no cell service in the area. In all the times I've ridden down that road, I've never seen anybody ride by in either direction.

    Maybe there's a cop that rides that road once a day. Maybe someone would pull over to help a sweaty biker. I don't know. Maybe not. I know that if I broke down halfway there, I'd have a 40 mile walk. I ride down that road anyway because my bike is reliable.

    I think it's reliable because I've done the maintenance myself, and I know I can fix whatever is wrong with it.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I'm sure your bike is plenty reliable, as are a lot of the older cars we're talking about. I don't mean to imply that they're constantly breaking down every 50 miles or anything like that. But, it used to be that a car making it past 100,000 miles without any break downs was an accomplishment. Now, the world is full of of cars from the early aughts with 250,000+ miles on them that have never had anything besides basic maintenance done to them. So basically in the last 50 years cars have gone from high reliability to extremely high reliability. Although I agree that there's something to be said for being able to do any repairs that need to be made yourself. When the zombie apocalypse hits those will be the cars that will still be running after a couple of years (assuming you can still find gasoline).

  • Brett Bellmore||

    And it's a darned good thing that the newer cars are still running well at 250,000 miles, because new cars are now so expensive that most of the population is now forced to buy used cars. The median driver can't afford a new car.

    That's the tradeoff: High reliability, high mileage cars that most people can't afford.

    But at least when you buy a car with 100K miles on it, it's got another 100-200 thousand miles left in it, if you take care of it. That's actually not bad.

  • Sir Chips Alot||

    cool. so every time you ride you tow a trailer with all your tools and spare parts?

  • Sir Chips Alot||

    cool. so every time you ride you tow a trailer with all your tools and spare parts?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Cars today are far superior in drivability, reliability and heck, just about everything.

    A lot of people fetishize classic cars. Probably because it takes them back to their youth before they got old, bitter, and cynical. My father-in-law used to rebuild old muscle cars, and my wife got her love of old muscle cars from him, but even they both recognize that modern cars are much better to actually drive thanks to modern safety features, brakes, suspension, handling, etc. etc.

    But damn, are some of those old muscle cars great to look at it and hear.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Modern cars are much better to actually drive thanks to modern safety features, brakes, suspension, handling, etc. etc."

    All of those things can be improved on old cars, often without much in the way of expense.

    The fetish people are the ones who want everything original no matter the improvement in performance associated with replacing the original parts. Even so, the aesthetics (authenticity being one aspect of that) are part of what I'm talking about when I say that it's hard to imagine the new cars of today being desirable in the future.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    All of those things can be improved on old cars, often without much in the way of expense.

    Quite true, they're called "resto-mods." Of course, replacing the original engine with a modern engine means you probably won't be able to work on it yourself unless you happen to be an expert mechanic.

    FWIW, my father-in-law was one of those "all original or nothing" fetishists. When he re-built old muscle cars he did VIN matching, original paint colors, everything exactly the way it was when it rolled off the assembly line in 1960 whatever. Although part of that fetishization has to do with the fact that people will pay a shitload more at auction for all originals.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I think what they miss is that classic cars looked different from each other, instead of being virtually identical aerodynamic lozenge shapes.

    As a mechanical engineer working for an automotive supplier, I understand the reasons that the cars all look so much alike. CAFE standards are forcing it, there are only so many shapes that have low enough wind resistance while still having adequate interior volume. All the cars are being forced into the same corner of the design envelope.

    If you relaxed CAFE a bit, so that the cars didn't have to all look alike, you could have some lovely vehicles that had great performance, and ran well.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Never had a car better than my 65 GTO.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    Drumpf's entire presidency is harmful to national security, so it's not surprising he'd manage to take a boring issue like tariffs and use it to weaken the United States. He's doing exactly what Putin told him to.

    #TrumpRussia
    #ItsMuellerTime
    #StillWithHer

  • sarcasmic||

    He's doing exactly what Putin told him to.

    Thanks for the laugh! I needed one.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    #Putin'sCockHolster

  • Lucius Fergeson||

    I refuse to believe that people are this dumb to believe a blatant conspiracy theory like this, just like I refuse to believe people are dumb enough to think tarrifs are good for the economy.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I suppose people are sick of hearing that there's a difference between tariffs that are announced ahead of negotiations and tariffs that are actually implemented. I suppose I'm sick of seeing them treated the same.

    Over the next few weeks, I believe we have trade negotiations scheduled with all parties that would be subject to these tariffs, including the Europeans. I don't like the plays our quarterback is calling on trade anymore than the next free market capitalist, but let's wait for the ball to be snapped before we call the pass incomplete.

    For the sake of the country, I hope Trump is wildly successful in his negotiations with the Europeans, the Chinese, and the North Koreans. For the sake of my sanity, I hope my fellow libertarians stop treating every one of Trump's public releases about what he's going to do is so and so doesn't do this, that, and the other as if they were past events or written in stone.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    The media seems incapable of differentiating between Trump's belligerent opening positions and final results.

  • Iheartskeet||

    I think you are 100% correct on this, however there a quite on this very board that are against free trade in principle and would be pleased as punch if the proposed tariffs and more came to pass as actual policy. I think thats where a lot of disagreement is.

    Sample argument: since we don't have 100% free trade now, all tarriffs and anti-trade measure are valid. Wait for it in 5,4,3,...

  • Homple||

    They've never been able to tell the difference between legal and illegal immigrants, either.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    That's no problem that (largely) open borders will not solve.

  • Benitacanova||

    Open borders would cure tariffs too. Let's imagine there's no countries. It's not so easy if you try. Unless you're delusional or smoking yoko.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    "The national security pretext is based on a gross misunderstanding of economics and a myopic disdain for geopolitics."

    Incorrect. The pretext is all about finding a way for Trump to bypass the legislature. National security allows him to use the Trade Act of 1974 to impose tariffs on his own. Yet another glowing result of Congress ceding its power to the Executive.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    This.

    But pointing that out doesn't allow for Chapman to put all of the blame on Trump.

  • JoeBlow123||

    "We buy them from our allies, who have a stake in our well-being."

    What about the stuff we buy from the Chinese, who are totalitarian assholes?

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    When was the last time you saw an automobile imported from China in the US?

    But China most certainly has a stake in our well-being because we engage with them in trade. Thus the famous saying, "when goods don't cross borders, armies will." If the US economy were to tank due to any reason, the Chinese economy stands to lose mightily or they would be forced to provide massive amounts of stimulus spending like they did in 2008 do gobble up all of that lost demand. Either way, China needs the US and the US needs China.

  • sarcasmic||

    When was the last time you saw an automobile imported from China in the US?

    There was an episode of Top Gear where they went to China and drove Chinese cars.

    Talk about junk...

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I remember that episode. That and the "did the communists ever build a good car" episode were two of the better ones they did.

  • Homple||

    "Thus the famous saying, "when goods don't cross borders, armies will."

    Yeah, that worked fine in 1914.

  • Sir Chips Alot||

    I just saw one the other day. The Cadillac CT6 hybrid.

  • Benitacanova||

    Chinese cars are coming fast. Jap cars were junk too. Then they weren't. Then they built factories in the u.s. and now we work for them. And that is somehow called progress.

  • JoeBlow123||

    "But China most certainly has a stake in our well-being because we engage with them in trade. Thus the famous saying, "when goods don't cross borders, armies will.""

    Baloney, this has been debunked already. The world engaged in more "free trade" before WWI and it did not stop WWI. Trade by us and Taiwan with China will not stop China from invading Taiwan if they declare independence.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    We buy them from our allies, who have a stake in our well-being.

    And our allies, if they are rational actors, are going to screw us exactly as much as they can gay away with.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Screw us by selling cars at lower prices? Yeah... they're really giving us the old what-for!

  • Jerryskids||

    I've said many times that I have no doubt any decent mechanical engineer could come up with a design for a perpetual motion machine that I wouldn't be able to look at and tell where exactly the flaw in the design is, but I'd still be quite confident in asserting the thing isn't going to work. I'm not a mechanical engineer, but I know perpetual motion machines don't work.

    It's the same with free trade - we use a more-or-less free market capitalism economic model, the Chinese use a more-or-less centrally planned command-and-control one. If you're arguing that the Chinese are beating us in trade and we need to adopt the Chinese approach to "managed trade", well, you're a Communist. You're also a retard. Communism. Doesn't. Work. I don't care who the Top Man in charge is or what policies he's insisting are better than free trade, he's wrong and you're wrong. None of us is smarter than all of us and the free market is nothing more than the collective expression of what everybody thinks is in their own best interest. Bemoan all you want that letting all the idiots have an equal voice in deciding what "we" want leads to the market preferring Doritos to broccoli and Keeping Up With The Kardashians to Shakespeare and Laz-E-Boy recliners to exercise bicycles, but go to hell if you think your superior judgment gives you a right to tell me I should prefer domestic products to imports for my own good.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Nicely put.

  • JoeBlow123||

    Adam Smith:
    "People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices."

    You can substitute "people of the same trade" for "Chinese Communist Party officials". Or you can keep ignoring the coercive power of monopolies and monopoly power. Your choice.

    And ignore the stupidity of engaging totalitarians who do not and have never liked you in trade. By all means.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    A nation that produced everything for itself would be a materially poor one.

    I don't know, seems to be working out great for N. Korea.

  • Derp-o-Matic 6000||

    But Lester Holt told me the North Koreans were a happy and prosperous people! They go skiing!

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Somehow I'm not surprised that Lester Holt is a usefulless idiot who can't tell when he's being shown a Potemkin village.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "Oh? The Soviet Union was a superpower even though it was notorious for making shoddy consumer goods—and never enough of them. "

    I think you hurt your own case here. The argument isn't that self-sufficiency is a route to prosperity, but that it's a route to national security. Shoddy consumer goods might have rendered the USSR a lousy place to live, but manufacturing everything themselves DID render them largely immune to embargos and other economic attacks.

    Even, perhaps especially, if you're right, you need to make sure your arguments are valid. We do lots of things that hurt our economy in the name of national security, starting with maintaining a huge military. That they hurt our economy doesn't establish that they don't work, it doesn't even establish that they're not necessary.

    There are obvious dangers to becoming dependent on strategic foes for vital commodities. So don't dismiss the whole idea, prove Trump's wrong in this specific case.

  • Kenrm||

    Again, tell us how sending jobs offshore helps the USA poor and middle class as they sit at home unemployed?

  • Richard Stallman||

    The most important thing to improve about cars is to make them emit less greenhouse gas. That's important for the survival of civilization, not merely for each car's owner.

    But car manufacturers are not trying very hard to reduce that -- on the contrary, we find that only regulations will get them to do it. And now Saboteur Pruitt plans to get rid of those regulations.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online