Tariffs

Is Donald Trump's Trade Policy with China Good for Americans? A Soho Forum Debate

Stephen Moore and Gene Epstein debate whether or not President Trump's Chinese trade policy deserves broad public support.

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President Trump's trade-related initiatives against China deserve broad public support.

That was the resolution of a public debate hosted by the Soho Forum in New York City on February 4, 2020. It featured Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation and Gene Epstein of the Soho Forum. Comedian Dave Smith moderated.

It was an Oxford-style debate, in which the audience votes on the resolution at the beginning and end of the event; the side that gains the most ground is victorious. Moore prevailed by convincing 21.51 percent of audience members to change their minds. Epstein convinced 13.98 percent.

Arguing for the affirmative was Stephen Moore, distinguished visiting fellow for the Project for Economic Growth at the Heritage Foundation. Moore is also a senior economic contributor for FreedomWorks and the founder of the Club for Growth.

Gene Epstein argued for the negative. Epstein, former economics editor of Barron's, is co-founder and director of the Soho Forum.

The Soho Forum, which is sponsored by the Reason Foundation, is a monthly debate series at the SubCulture Theater in Manhattan's East Village.

Produced by John Osterhoudt.
Photo: Brett Raney

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  1. It’s definitely good for China, that’s why they rushed to the negotiating table.

  2. Ooo I always like it when Epstein himself takes the debate stage. This should be good.

    1. A Soho Forum Debate: Is Donald Trump’s Trade Policy with China Good for Americans?

      Moore prevailed by convincing 21.51 percent of audience members to change their minds. Epstein convinced 13.98 percent. Arguing for the affirmative was Stephen Moore, …

      Another loss for the AmericaLast, KochFirst policies of Reason.
      #Winning

  3. Easy. Short term for leverage, OK, long term, NO.

    Next question.

  4. I haven’t heard the debate yet but my opinion on it, might be the same as China Uncensored on you tube. Check it out if you have not seen them yet.

  5. The most important question is “Are Drumpf’s economic policies good for Reason.com’s benefactor Charles Koch?” And with Mr. Koch’s net worth stagnating in the $58,000,000,000 to $62,000,000,000 range, the answer is obviously NO!

    #VoteDemocratToHelpCharlesKoch

    1. A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon you’re talking about serious money.

  6. Just the debate I was hoping for. Thanks!

    And Nick, how did your debate with Sullivan go? Any chance a podcast will come out of it?

  7. Part of the question of whether Trump’s trade policy with China is good for Americans is precisely what you mean, exactly, when you’re talking about Trump’s trade policy.

    If what you mean by “Trump’s trade policy” is raising tariffs in order to protect American industry from competition, 1) no, that isn’t good for American consumers, 2) no that isn’t good for American workers considering the retaliatory tariffs coming back from China, but 3) I don’t think that’s an accurate description of Trump’s trade policy.

    Trump’s trade policy isn’t to raise tariffs for the sake of protecting American industry from competition. Trump’s trade policy is to launch a trade war in the hope of breaking down some serious trade barriers that China has erected against American industry–including American companies to forfeit their intellectual property in order for access to sell their products to Chinese buyers. I have serious criticisms of Trump’s strategy here, but I don’t need to build a straw man and pretend that Trump is all about protecting American industry with tariffs.

    My criticism of Trump’s trade war is that the risks were and remain too great. Trade with China is one of the main reasons why inflation has been low and the American economy has grown since China joined the WTO in 2001. I remain hopeful that all the trade barriers that Trump erected against China since he took office will be taken down over the course of his second term in the phase two deal, but Trump’s reelection is by no means certain. Regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination, if any of them get into the White House instead of Trump, the odds of the trade barriers Trump and Xi erected coming down will fall dramatically.

    This leads to another question about Trump’s trade policy: When you ask whether Trump’s policy is good for Americans–compared to what? If you’re asking whether Trump’s policy is good for Americans compared to what we had before, then my answer is no. If you’re asking whether it’s good for Americans compared to what we might get in phase two if he’s reelected, the answer is that we don’t know. If you’re asking whether Trump’s trade policy is good for Americans compared to Bernie Sanders’ trade policy, then the answer is, “Hell no!”,

    1. If you’re asking whether Trump’s trade policy is good for Americans compared to Bernie Sanders’ trade policy, then the answer is, “Hell no [YES]!”.

      —-Fixed!

    2. Yeah, I was going to say something similar.

      My answer is – “you don’t understand Trump’s trade policies.” I have never been absolutely certain that I understand them either, to be fair. But it is clear that everything is a negotiation with this guy. He ripped up every agreement he could get his hands on and started from scratch, hoping to get more. In the case of China, “ripping up” includes slapping on a bunch of tariffs.

      I don’t even know if there is a “trade policy” there, other than “renegotiate and get a better deal”.

      But in any event, it would be very tough to debate the topic, not knowing what his trade policy actually is.

    3. Trump’s trade policy is simple: mercantilism.

      Leverage the enormous economic clout of America to induce foreign powers to buy more American products.

      1. Your sophistry is very simple and generally wrong.

        1. Hi JesseSPAZ,

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

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

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

          Hi Fantastically Talented Author:

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

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

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

          Thank You! -Reason Staff

          1. I’d normally say Jeff wont fuck you, but that incel is so desperate he probably wont mind the shit breath.

          2. You’ve posted this mindless drivel before.

            1. He honestly thinks it so clever he saves it and refuses it over and over.

              1. Real good demonstration of tragedy of the commons.
                We have this space to enjoy, and sqrlsy pollutes the shit out of it

                1. Your arguments are prime illustrations of the “tragedy of the commons”… When NO ONE owns the fish in the deep ocean blue, the fish are “for free”, the fish get over-harvested, and all that we have left, is the jellyfish, that no one wants!

                  Comments here are “for free”, so we are stuck with “jellyfish”, thead-shitters like Tulpa and Nadless Nardless, and liars like Jesse!

                  Congrats for seeing it, jellyfish!

            2. You have NEVER posted ANYTHING other than mindless drivel!

              Up your dosage on the “smart pills” from underneath the rabbit hutch! Your current dose is NOT yet working!!!

              1. You’re pathetic sqrsly. Sorry I have to keep reminding you of this. I’ve explained basic terminology for the 5th time. Maybe actually comprehend it for once.

                1. Lunatics have a hard time learning new things.

                  1. Now THERE is some REAL insight, R Mac! Congrats, for once!

                    Lunatics ***KNOW*** that the Trumptatorship resides above ALL else! God is far above and the USA Constitution is far away, so THEY do NOT matter! “Conscience” and “truth” (not lying)? THOSE are SOOO low and without value, they’re not even worth discussing!

                    And lunatics will NEVER, ever, change their minds about these things, unless IMMENSE PAIN comes their way, to teach them otherwise! This isn’t by my design, but so it is… I wish it was otherwise, but it ain’t what it ain’t…

                    1. More nonsense. Take a prn and go to bed.

                    2. R Mac is the Fartest of Fart Smellers on ALL grade school playgrounds, Galaxy wide! We ALL know that now!

                      Now that we have all bowed way low, and acknowledged that we are all icky-poo, can you STAY on the playground, to allow the rest of us (obviously also excluding JesseSPAZ) to have adult conversations?

          3. I remember the troll from “Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail”? Is that you?

          4. Like flagging his comments every time he copy/pastes that same thing. I encourage the rest of you to do the same.

        2. https://reason.com/2019/05/15/trumps-malignant-mercantilism/

          “You only have to look at our trade deficit to see that we are being taken to the cleaners by our trading partners,” Trump wrote two decades ago in The America We Deserve, arguing that peaceful economic exchange is “like war.” This mercantilist notion—that something shady must be happening unless the Unites States exports at least as much to a particular country as it imports from that country—continues to dominate his thinking about international trade.

          “If we didn’t trade,” the president averred last year, “we’d save a hell of a lot of money.” But that does not mean we’d be better off, since we would not have all the things we buy with our money, which we clearly value more than the money itself, since no one forces us to exchange one for the other. The analysis is the same whether or not the people who sell us things happen to be located in the United States.

          He views trade deals as “bad” if the US doesn’t export more than we import from a particular country. That is the mercantilist mindset.

          Recall that his “trade deal” with the EU involved the EU buying more American soybeans. Recall that the so-called Phase I deal with China involved the same.

          It is about promoting American exports. That’s mercantilism.

          1. That is a dishonest view of his entire policy. It also ignores his basic statements on how he actually views tariffs and trade. He has openly offered explicit free trade if other partners, such as europe, drop their trade regulations as well. He has been told no every time.

            The article you linked to openly denies many of the statements he has actually made on his views.

            1. Cytotoxic/Pedo Jeffy’s Econ prof in Toronto wasn’t very good, and Jeffy is also pretty stupid.

          2. Interesting how the quotes don’t suggest that assertion in the slightest and it is the analysis of the author and not Trump’s direct statement that claims his intentions are to export as much as we import.

            Trump sees an excessive deficit as a problem. While there are always net importers and net exporters, a significant deficit (or surplus) can suggest a lopsided economy that does not provide opportunity at all levels. It also suggests a highly dependent economy that can be exposed to political risk, like relying on specific trade partners or geographic regions for stability. Neither of these viewpoints are mercantilist.

      2. “Trump’s trade policy is simple: mercantilism.”

        That’s factually incorrect in regards to USMCA. That’s factually incorrect in regards to what he did with the phase one deal with China. That’s factually incorrect in regards to his objectives in phase two. That’s factually incorrect in regards to the kind of deal Trump is proposing with the UK, which would lower tariffs between our countries now that the EU is out of the way.

        President Trump isn’t slapping tariffs on imports on a permanent basis in order to maximize monetary reserves.

        Trump is slapping tariffs on imports in order to create leverage and make foreign powers renegotiate deals that he thinks are disadvantageous to American workers.

        P.S. Because this is chemjeff, I suppose it’s necessary to point out that just because I understand Trump’s position doesn’t mean I agree with it. That seems to be blow his mind.

        1. That’s factually incorrect in regards to USMCA.

          Is that so.

          https://www.fooddive.com/news/what-dairy-pros-need-to-know-about-the-usmca/547826/


          USMCA increases the duty-free volume of a wide range of American products allowed in Canada. According to data released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, access is granted to:

          50,000 metric tons (MT) of additional fluid milk.

          12,500 MT of additional cheese.

          10,500 MT of additional cream.

          7,500 MT of additional skim milk powder.

          4,500 MT of additional butter and cream powder.

          1,380 MT of additional concentrated and condensed milk.

          4,135 MT of additional yogurt and buttermilk.

          520 MT of additional powdered buttermilk.

          2,760 MT of additional products of natural milk constituents.

          690 MT of additional ice cream and ice cream mixes.

          690 MT of additional other dairy.

          4,134 MT of additional whey (by year 10, the over-quota tariff on whey will be eliminated).

          Tariffs on margarine are eliminated after five years.

          In other words: expansion of US dairy exports into Canada.

          So what did the US give up in return? Did the US lower tariffs on any protected industry? No, it instead EXPANDED copyright protections for digital goods, an area where the US has an obvious advantage.

          1. You seem to be missing the point that Trump slapped tariffs on Canada and Mexico–and those tariffs were eliminated under the terms of the agreement.

            “In a joint statement, the US and Canada announced that a 25% tariff on steel imports, and of 10% on aluminium, will end in 48 hours.

            It is widely expected the US and Mexico will make a similar announcement soon.

            The US implemented the tariffs last year on grounds of “national security”.

            Under the agreement, there will be no quotas on how much steel or aluminium the three countries buy from overseas.

            https://www.bbc.com/news/business-48309703

            Trump slapped tariffs on them to created leverage for his deal. He did not slap tariffs on them permanently in an attempt to maximize our national reserves–as is the case with mercantilism. Trump created temporary leverage to get Canada and Mexico to come to terms that Trump thought were advantageous to American workers.

            . . . and just because I disagree with his methods and his goals doesn’t mean that wasn’t what he did or that this isn’t what happened.

            1. The tariffs were eliminated BECAUSE the trade deal he negotiated included explicit agreement from them to buy more American stuff. THAT IS MERCANTILISM.

              I don’t know where this “permanently” thing came from. The tariffs don’t have to be permanent in order to have arised from mercantilist motivations.

            2. I agree with most of that Ken but he has talked over and over about moving jobs “back to America”. His whole legal basis for the aluminum and steel thing was National Security as if we might need more production for tanks and jeeps.

              I do think some of his goals are protectionist. As to permanence I agree that he sees the tariffs as leverage in a negotiation not an end in themselves.

              I have not read his book but seen some excerpts about his strategies. They are very basic things everyone who has bought a car knows. One being always be ready to walk away from the deal.

              Me “Honey I know you like the Subaru. It is really nice. Let’s go back and drive the Toyota. That one had great pickup and remote start”

              car salesman “Let me talk to my manager again. I think I can get you the remote start”

              Meh.

              This is a deal he can not walk away from. He can leave things as they are or increase pressure but there is only one China.

              1. “He has talked over and over about moving jobs “back to America”. His whole legal basis for the aluminum and steel thing was National Security as if we might need more production for tanks and jeeps.”

                These trade agreements have clauses in them that allow us to do things in the name of national security that would otherwise be prohibited under the agreement. He needed to make it about national security in order to keep it legal.

                It’s sort of like the AUMF for Afghanistan. Because it says the president is authorized to go after anybody anywhere in the world that the president determines is in any way associated with the people who attacked us 9/11, three presidents have designated anybody and everybody they want to attack as associated with Al Qaeda. They used the AUMF to justify the NSA violating the rights of hundreds of millions of innocent American citizens that way!

                Anyway, I don’t think the tariff war over steel and aluminium was really about national security at all. And, once again, just because I understand what Trump is doing and why doesn’t mean I agree with him. I don’t! I condemned Trump’s trade war before it started, after he initiated it, and I’ll maintain that it was a reckless gamble even if we win big with China in phase two:

                “The historian’s fallacy is an informal fallacy that occurs when one assumes that decision makers of the past viewed events from the same perspective and having the same information as those subsequently analyzing the decision.”

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historian%27s_fallacy

                Trump has incorrect beliefs about trade. One of his main flaws is his concentration on the benefit to American workers, when what he should be focusing on is the benefit to American consumers. One of the best things about international trade is that it lifts the living standards of American consumers–often at the expense of domestic, rent seeking buggy whip makers.

                That being said, Trump’s emphasis on American workers is vastly superior to what I’m seeing coming from the Democrats these days. They seek international agreements like the Paris Accords, specifically because that agreement would hurt the economy of the United States. They want the people of the United States to sacrifice their standard of living on the alter of climate change. That’s what we would get from them under the guise of trade agreements.

                That isn’t the only example either. Obama’s and Hillary’s foreign policy had it that they would refuse to cooperate with Vladimir Putin on defeating ISIS in Syria–largely because of their objections to the way Putin was opposed to gay marriage within Russia. That’s what Hillary was saying at the time, when she was Secretary of State, and denouncing him over that is why Putin hated Hillary Clinton so much. Regardless, again, we’re talking about Democrats who would sacrifice the best interests of the United States (including our security interests against ISIS), for the benefit of LGBTQI+ in Moscow.

                In that regard, Trump’s focus on the benefits of trade to American workers is vastly superior to the Democrats, who are openly seeking to force American consumers to sacrifice their standard of living for the benefit of people in other countries. China is building more coal plants than we’re shutting down.

                I wish there were some better alternative to Trump and his trade policies within the context of single member districts, but there isn’t. Meanwhile, Trump’s bad trade wars are vastly superior to Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, both of whom are openly hostile to libertarian capitalism with or without global warming.

                Finally, if Trump isn’t reelected, it’s highly unlikely that President Sanders or President Warren will want to take the tariffs down that Trump put in place. As a pro-trade capitalist, I see why they should, but I don’t see why they would–given their open hostility to capitalism, trade, and the way the Chinese government treats its people. Hillary and Obama would reluctantly sign onto deals with foreign leaders if those leaders signed onto the social justice agenda in some superficial way. Sanders and Warren wouldn’t sign onto those deals–not even reluctantly.

                Like it or not, I don’t think those tariffs are going away unless Trump is reelected and takes them down in phase two.

          2. “In other words: expansion of US dairy exports into Canada.

            So what did the US give up in return? Did the US lower tariffs on any protected industry? No, it instead EXPANDED copyright protections for digital goods, an area where the US has an obvious advantage.”

            You say that like it’s a bad thing!
            Sounds like race-baiter jeff is getting tired of winning. Not me!
            America First!

        2. That’s factually incorrect in regards to what he did with the phase one deal with China.

          Oh really.

          https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-china-details-factbox/whats-in-the-us-china-phase-1-trade-deal-idUSKBN1ZE2IF

          China agreed to increase purchases of American products and services by at least $200 billion over the next two years.

          And, China will strengthen its IP protections and refrain from devaluing its currency.

          Oh, and the US also gains greater access to Chinese financial markets.

          What did the US do in return? Drop some of the tariffs.

          In other words, the tariffs were a ploy to force China to strengthen IP protections, but ALSO to buy more American goods.

          1. Your statement was that Trump’s trade policy is simple mercantilism, and you keep posting facts that keep showing that Trump’s trade policy is not about mercantilism at all.

            You don’t seem to know what mercantilism is.

            Suffice it to say that utilizing tariffs on a temporary basis to create leverage and force trading partners to come to better terms is not mercantilism.

            1. It is if the “better terms” means “buy more of our stuff, or else the tariffs will continue”.

            2. “You don’t seem to know what mercantilism is.”

              Race baiter jeff is relentlessly dishonest, to himself most of all.

        3. President Trump isn’t slapping tariffs on imports on a permanent basis in order to maximize monetary reserves.

          No, they’re not permanent (thankfully), agreed. And they are not to ‘maximize monetary reserves’, but to force open foreign markets to greater American exports. This is true for both USMCA and for China Phase 1.

          Trump is slapping tariffs on imports in order to create leverage and make foreign powers renegotiate deals that he thinks are disadvantageous to American workers.

          And the reason why he thinks they are disadvantageous is because of the “trade deficit”, meaning, more imports than exports. See the quotation above.

      3. “Leverage the enormous economic clout of America to induce foreign powers to buy more American products.”

        Is that supposed to be a bad thing?
        #AmericaFirst

    4. Ken… why do you refer to Chinas tariffs as retaliatory and not Trump’s? Sounds pretty dishonest. Trump has made clear the tariffs are on response to the negative actions of china such as IP theft and espionage.

      This is what I dont get. Some of you refuse to acknowledge china has been a bad actor for decades and has been applying negative externalities on markets the entire time. You seem to believe the status quo is the natural state of the markets. It is naive.

      1. Exactly. China has distorted trade in a variety of ways, IP theft the most damaging long term. If the tariffs get that fixed, they will be a resounding success.

      2. “Trump has made clear the tariffs are on response to the negative actions of china such as IP theft and espionage.”

        Vietnam was in retaliation for the Second Gulf of Tonkin incident.

        Iraq was in retaliation for 9/11

        “WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists’ strike against this country.

        Sixty-nine percent in a Washington Post poll published Saturday said they believe it is likely the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks carried out by al-Qaeda. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe it’s likely Saddam was involved.”

        https://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm

        Even IF IF IF someone does something against us, that doesn’t necessitate a response that isn’t in the best interests of the United States, and I maintain that Trump’s tariffs were not in the best interests of the United States and our economy regardless of whether China is guilty of forced technology transfers, etc.

        . . . in which case, what I said wasn’t disingenuous at all.

        I also maintain that the Vietnam War and the Iraq War were not in the best interests of the United States–regardless of whether the Second Gulf of Tonkin incident was real and regardless of whether Saddam Hussein had WMD.

        Because other people provoke us doesn’t justify a response that isn’t in our best interests.

        1. Your examples dont answer the question of why you ignored the initial bad actions of china. They are a rationalization of an excuse to ignore market states prior to trump’s election.

          As I’ve stated, game theory is a valid and needed application to any social interaction including trade theory. If you allow a bad actor 3 decades of bad actions with minimal response they will learn it is a benefit for them to behave badly. Tit for tat is a primary tactic of game theory and needed to correct actions from bad actors. You’re ignoring this aspect completely.

          1. “Your examples dont answer the question of why you ignored the initial bad actions of china.”

            Yes they do.

            The costs of the trade war are higher than the benefits of addressing the problems you’re addressing.

            If the benefits of the “solution” are worse than the costs caused by the problem, then you don’t use that “solution” at all.

            The reason the Green New Deal sucks isn’t just because global warming isn’t really a problem. The reason the Green New Deal sucks is because the cost of the solution is greater than the benefits of solving the problem.

            It’s the same thing with Trump’s trade war. If the trade war costs more than it benefits the United State, then we don’t fight that war.

            Yes, that principle also applies to Vietnam and Iraq–even if Vietnam did attack us in the Second Gulf of Tonkin incident. Even if Saddam Hussein really did have WMD. Fighting those wars wasn’t worth it anyway–so we shouldn’t have fought them.

            1. The reason the Green New Deal sucks isn’t just because global warming isn’t really a problem. The reason the Green New Deal sucks is because the cost of the solution is greater than the benefits of solving the problem.

              Wrong. It is awful for both reasons.

              1. Actually, if global warming is a non issue, the reason to oppose the Green New Deal is still that the costs of their solution are worse than the problem.

                However, if global warming really is or really becomes an issue, those of us who insisted on it being a non-issue will look like fools while those of us who oppose the Green New Deal on the basis that the cure is more expensive and destructive than the disease will still be standing pretty.

                Opposing bad policy on an irrational basis ultimately undermines opposition to the bad policy.

                1. Opposing bad policy on an irrational basis ultimately undermines opposition to the bad policy.

                  YES. 1000x this. We have to oppose bad policy on its own merits (or lack thereof) and not by trying to make up ‘alternative facts’ which pretend that climate change isn’t actually a problem.

                  1. Fuck off you little loser. Keep your progtard AGW bullshit out of here. This is a place for adult discussions of real topics. Not a place for you.

                  2. That isn’t what I said at all.

                    I said that if the costs of solving the problem are higher than the costs of the problem itself, then that is not a solution we should implement.

                    If climate change is nothing to worry about, then benefits of solving the problem don’t come anywhere near the cost of the Green New Deal. The cost/benefit analysis should be used regardless of whether climate change is real. If it isn’t real, however, then the Green New Deal fails the cost/benefit analysis spectacularly.

          2. Jesse I think Ken is using a different line of reasoning and one I am familiar with.

            It is cost/benefit analysis or known in medicine as “first do no harm”.

            Often the cure can be worse than the disease. For example it was a practice back in the day that if the surgeon did a laparotomy for some reason they would take out the normal looking appendix as a precaution. They were wrong it turns out. It caused more harm than benefit.

            Game theory is fine and useful but it is just mathematical theory and not based on evidence. A trade war is very real. It involves millions of very real people who do not fit neatly into a mathematical theory.

            1. Exactly.

              Vietnam cost us 360,000 dead and wounded and a trillion dollars.

              I lost an uncle.

              What did we get for that investment?

              Iraq cost us $700 billion and 40,000 dead and wounded heroes.

              The place is now a far greater security threat to the United States than it was before we deposed Saddam Hussein.

              I see the trade war the same way.

              The costs are coming straight out of the pockets of American consumers, and what are they getting in return other than a lower standard of living than they would enjoy without those self-inflicted unnecessary costs?

              The best thing about the phase one deal is that Trump stops charging American consumers an unnecessary fee for buying the things they want. If the only good thing about the phase two deal is that the rest of Trump’s unnecessary fees on American consumers will go away, then I will support it with all enthusiasm.

              I hope whatever Trump gets for us in the phase two deal is so spectacularly good, I won’t be able to believe how good it is. Get us back to square one at this point, and I’ll be impressed.

              1. “The best thing about the phase one deal is that Trump stops charging American consumers an unnecessary fee for buying the things they want. ”

                Not true. Only fees on Emperor Xi’s goods have been eliminated.

                The fees on buying *American produced* goods and services are all still intact.

                Why do you prefer US tax policy to favor Emperor Xi over Americans?

    5. Trump’s trade policy isn’t to raise tariffs for the sake of protecting American industry from competition. Trump’s trade policy is to launch a trade war in the hope of breaking down some serious trade barriers that China has erected against American industry

      Have you told Trump yet what his policy is and is not? Because Trump says so much shit about so many things that I’m pretty sure nobody can actually say with any certainty what Trump’s thinking.

      Keep in mind that Trump quite obviously delights in surprising people with what he’s going to do next, being unpredictable is his go-to strategy. And admit it, you were just as surprised as the rest of us when he appointed that fuckhead John Bolton as National Security Advisor, weren’t you? And how many other fuckheads has he appointed and how many of Obama’s fuckheads has he failed to get rid of? Wouldn’t you say “a surprising amount”? See? Trump fooled us again! I’m not very confident you know what Trump’s thinking.

      1. “Have you told Trump yet what his policy is and is not? Because Trump says so much shit about so many things that I’m pretty sure nobody can actually say with any certainty what Trump’s thinking.”

        Just about everything we hear about the President Trump’s trade policies is filtered through the ears and mouths of several dozen loathsome individuals, who don’t understand half of what they’re talking about when they talk about trade–and willfully distort the other half to make President Trump look as bad as possible at every opportunity.

        You can find their names listed here:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House_press_corps#Current

        I’ve watched Trump consistently apply the same strategies to create leverage in trade negotiations with Canada, Mexico, China, and next on the list is the EU, and I’ve watched him use that leverage, not just to raise tariffs but to win agreements.

        I look at those facts. I see what he’s doing. I see what he’s done, and I disapprove.

        No amount of blabbing by the White House press corps changes the facts of what he’s done. If they’re using some better way to gauge Trump’s intentions, I can’t imagine what it is. Add to the other facts of what he’s done the fact that he’s done exactly what he said he was going to do–consistently–since before he was elected.

        1. Look at TRUMP’S OWN WORDS when it comes to trade and the ‘trade deficit’.

          https://time.com/4386335/donald-trump-trade-speech-transcript/

          Today, we import nearly $800 billion more in goods than we export. We can’t continue to do that. This is not some natural disaster, it’s a political and politician-made disaster. Very simple. And it can be corrected and we can correct it fast when we have people with the right thinking. Right up here. It is the consequence… It is the consequence of a leadership class that worships globalism over Americanism. This is a direct affront to our founding fathers, who — America wanted to be strong. They wanted this country to be strong. They wanted to be independent and they wanted it to be free.

          This is not some news report from some reporter. This is from TRUMP’S OWN MOUTH. He views the trade deficit as a bad thing, as even un-American, and he thinks freedom means not having a trade deficit. Which is ridiculous simplistic thinking. But that is his primitive mercantilistic view of trade. If Exports > Imports, America = Winning! It is frankly a 19th century view of trade. Is that what they teach in Wharton?

          1. Again, you don’t seem to understand the difference between Donald Trump instigating tariffs on a temporary basis and then getting rid of them after the country in question agrees to better terms in a trade agreement, on the one hand, and Bernie Sanders initiating a trade war, on the other hand, for the sole purpose of protecting American workers on a permanent basis from foreign competition forever.

            I assure you, there are important differences, and if you don’t understand that, then you need to go educate yourself.

            1. I’m not defending Bernie’s plans. WTF Ken?

              The biggest problem with Trump’s approach to trade, aside from all the taxes of course, is that he prioritizes reducing the trade deficit. That should not be the metric.

            2. Ken, he doesn’t understand, and he doesn’t care.

  8. This just came up in another discussion, so I’m gonna drop it here hoping somebody notices.

    One more time. Here is the conspiracy, laid out by the actual conspirators in the New York Times on March 3, 2017.

    Examine this lede in light of what you know now:

    In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.

    American allies, including the British and the Dutch, had provided information describing meetings in European cities between Russian officials — and others close to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin — and associates of President-elect Trump, according to three former American officials who requested anonymity in discussing classified intelligence.

    Separately, American intelligence agencies had intercepted communications of Russian officials, some of them within the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Trump associates.

    None of this is true, except that the leakers are bragging about their efforts to bring Trump down before he takes office. Sound like a backup plan in motion?

    How about this:

    At the Obama White House, Mr. Trump’s statements stoked fears among some that intelligence could be covered up or destroyed — or its sources exposed — once power changed hands. What followed was a push to preserve the intelligence that underscored the deep anxiety with which the White House and American intelligence agencies had come to view the threat from Moscow.

    For those who have not followed it: the “sources” were FBI and CIA agents who were trying to set up low level Trump advisers. That is all. All of the stuff about “intercepting communications inside the Kremlin” was a lie. It was all about lying about someone who was working with the CIA to spy on Russians in order to make it look like he was spying for the Russians.

    The NYT has since publicly admitted – no, not admitted.. bragged? Simply stated? – that it was their mission from the time Trump was announced as the nominee to “get Trump”, primarily using the Russia story as the foundation of that campaign. A story that we know to be a lie. So the NYT not following up on this story makes sense.

    But where is the rest of the media? This story is a flaming red flag. It screams of treason. Of a failure to peacefully transfer power. Of abusing the powers of government to protect personal power and harm political enemies. And not one news outlet followed up on it. It is as if the NYT got the pentagon papers and decided that it was best to run a piece critical of government leaks.

    1. Cyto, there was an attempt by Russia to influence the 2016 election. That is not a lie. See here for example:

      https://www.wired.com/story/did-russia-affect-the-2016-election-its-now-undeniable/

      1. Poor naive jeff continues to think a few million dollars was more effective than Hillarys 1 billion. This is probably because jeffrey believes every DNC talking point that shows up on his Facebook feed so also believes everyone else is just as gullible. Poor baby jeffrey.

        1. He’s also dishonest.

        2. I never said Russian interference was “more effective” than Hillary’s campaign. Stop lying. But that is your typical non-sequitur Galloping Gish.

          True or False: Did the Russian government interfere in the 2016 election?

          1. Did you not bother reading the article you linked? The one that has a diatribe on russia (keyword) affecting the election? Are you denying you posted the article?

            Let’s go to a sophist example since you love them so. The guardian has many hundreds of thousands of views. Is it your contention that their endorsement of Hillary is a foreign entity affecting an election, yes or no? Because that is what you are asserting. And it is a dumb assertion.

            The Russian trolls had no affect on the elections. Did they post shitty Facebook ads? Yes, but they did so on both sides supporting BLM, victim ideology, etc. For some reason you deny this.

            The irony is that Mueller stated the whole intent of Russia was to cause distrust in elections which you and the other leftists have willingly done what they asked.

            1. The question of whether the Russian government tried to interfere in the election is different than the question of whether those efforts had a noticeable effect or not. You of course try to dishonestly blur the distinction between the two questions.

              True or False: Did the Russian government interfere in the 2016 election? It’s a simple question.

              1. They try to interfere in every election and have done so for the last hundred years.

      2. Holy shit. This article is even dumber than I thought youd be brave enough to post. You’re taking the Mueller indictment of russians as fact and ignoring the fact that these were action less indictments never mean to go to trial. This was shown when a company actually fought back.

        Do you blindly believe every prosecutor or just this one?

        1. When will the lusting after a Trumptatorship end, JesseSPAZ?

          “He can fire political appointees for any fucking reason he wants.” (Says JesseSPAZ)

          Jesse’s over-archingly lusting after the super-powers of the Trumptorship YET AGAIN!!!

          Trump can fire them for not assigning their entire paychecks to Trump… For not licking Trump’s balls as much as JesseSPAZ does… For turning down Trump’s requests for then to perform personal murder-for-hire… For having fucked Stormy Daniels out of turn, when it was Trump’s turn…

          JesseSPAZ, as a grade-school bully, would steal the other kids’ lunch money. When confronted about it, he would say, “But there is no controlling legal authority above me”, and other oh-sooooo-deep legalese bullshit! And then skitter away, to do it again the next time!

          “He is not constitutionally bound on any actions he performed.”
          Reminds me of ol’ Prez Clinton and “there is no controlling legal authority above me”. Clinton-Gore logic!
          https://www.nationalreview.com/2009/08/remember-no-controlling-legal-authority-andrew-c-mccarthy/
          “Gore had no real defense, so he trotted out a phony one: There was, he infamously claimed, “no controlling legal authority.” What he meant was that there weren’t many court decisions interpreting the meaning of Section 607. It was laughable. The rule of thumb for judges, as for the rest of us, is that laws are construed to mean what they say, the ordinary, everyday understanding of the words. ”

          Plain written laws and Constitutional writings don’t mean what they say, unless JesseSPAZ agrees with them. Otherwise, he’ll trot out some Al-Gore-like bullshit, and then skitter away.

          1. Wha…..

            You argue like a stereotype of the bad spouse.

            Spouse 1: “Honey…. did you forget to buy bread??”

            Spouse 2: “Remember that time when you insulted my friend at the engagement party???? Let’s fight about that instead!”

            1. JesseSPAZ lies all day every day, and NEVER takes it back! He adores and worships the Trumptatorship, and hates the USA Constitution, which he thinks is WAAAY inferior to the Trumptatorship!

              You taking HIS side? Et tu, Brutus?

              1. Yeap. I’m in your head. Lol.

                And to think how much effort you put into this. everyone else just calls you pathetic.

                1. He can’t spouting nonsense, because he’s a raving lunatic.

                    1. Stop mindlessly thread-shitting! Empty-headed moron!

                    2. Says the biggest thread shitter here. And also the biggest shit eater.

              2. Squirrelly, to my knowledge, Jesse never lies. You just don’t like him because, like me, he calls you out for being an incredible moron. We all do. You are an awful person and endlessly annoying.

                You should apologize to a Jesse for treating him so poorly. He treats you far better than you deserve.

                You know, we spoil you here.

            2. The worst part I’ve actually explained what an unbounded power is to him 4 times now and he is too retarded to get it.

              1. JesseSPAZ lusts after the “unbounded power” of the Trumptatorship (and is PROUD to admit it!), AND of the “unbounded power” of JesseSPAZ-the-follower, in hopes that JesseSPAZ will get some left-over “pussy grabbing” and “sloppy seconds” from Stormy Daniels, after The Donald…

                Little does JesseSPAZ know, it won’t work!

                See “the night of the long knives” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_the_Long_Knives… Ernst Röhm (head brownshirt, street brawler, for Hitler) thought his support of Hitler would leave him sitting pretty. So sorry, Ernst Röhm, Hitler had another thing coming for you…

                Right here on Reason.com comments, we see the same thing. The “brownshirts” of the commentary (JesseSPAZ) lust after the same. They, I suspect, expect payback (war spoils) from “winning” Orange Hitler, just as Ernst Röhm did from “winning” Hitler.

                They and their ilk, too, have another thing coming… Orange Hitler will throw them under the bus, the VERY first instant that Orange Hilter finds it to be convenient to him… Just as Shitler-Hitler threw Ernst Röhm under the bus!

                1. Yeap. You’re retarded.

                  The fact that you dont understand basic terminology of a constitutional debate is just more evidence of such.

                  Certain presidential powers granted by the constitution are called unbounded when they have no conditions on use attached, such as the nomination power.

                  The president can nominate whomever he wants. Congress and others cant yell abuse of power on someone he nominates. That power is called unbounded.

                  His appointment power is bounded. He must seek advice and consent. That power is called bounded.

                  His ability to fire a cabinet member or other political appointee is unbounded. He can fire whomever he wants.

                  So instead of proving how fucking dumb you are, admit your ignorance and move on child.

                  1. https://reason.com/2020/02/07/michael-bloomberg-and-the-imperious-presidency-2/#comment-8120734

                    “He can fire political appointees for any fucking reason he wants.”

                    Jesse’s over-archingly lusting after the super-powers of the Trumptorship YET AGAIN!!!

                    Trump can fire them for not assigning their entire paychecks to Trump… For not licking Trump’s balls as much as JesseSPAZ does… For turning down Trump’s requests for then to perform personal murder-for-hire… For having fucked Stormy Daniels out of turn, when it was Trump’s turn…

                    Just when I was rooting for JesseSPAZ to turn from his evil ways, he doubles down on Trumptatorship-worship AGAIN!

                    JesseSPAZ, married at the hip, to lying and authoritarianism… Self-imagined perfection… Unlikely to EVER change!

                    1. Yes, for any reason. Now go ask the nurse for a prn and go to bed.

                  2. And now he’s fired Sondland and the Vindman bros!
                    Drain that swamp

                    1. “Drain that swamp” would mean, first and foremost, The Donald should resign! His EGO is WAAAY TOOOO huge to allow it, sad to say!

                    2. And so it begins.

                    3. It is useless. Sqrsly still doesnt fucking understand basic terms of constitutional analysis.

                    4. I do, however, understand authoritarian assholes, and evil power-grabbing! That is ALL that is needed, to understand JesseSPAZ!

          2. Long live Terry Jones.

            1. You’re a little late with that.

          3. https://books.google.com/books?id=ogm0c8mYtQUC&pg=PT296&dq=%22the+czar+is+far+away%22&hl=en&newbks=1&newbks_redir=0&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiUg8vkw8DnAhVIKawKHR_4AgUQ6AEwAXoECAYQAg#v=onepage&q=%22the%20czar%20is%20far%20away%22&f=false

            Barbarian Cossacks (in Alaska etc.), when asked to justify their raping, murdering, lying, stealing, needlessly-fighting ways, replied, “God is high above and the Tsar is far away”. Trump and his Disciple of Violence and Lying, JesseSPAZ, use similar logic… There is NO ONE (especially on the internet etc., for JesseSPAZ) with “controlling legal authority” above them, right now, who is VERIFIABLY watching… “Fluffy” God and Conscience don’t matter… So they can LIE (literally) AND CHEAT AND RAPE AND STEAL (sometimes literally; at other times metaphorically) AT WILL!!!

            1. Digging the hole deeper doesnt actually make an intelligent argument.

          4. Are you honestly this dumb that you still dont understand the difference between a bounded and unbounded power in the constitution?

            For fuck sakes, even jeff understood it this morning.

            1. All honest readers know that you lust achingly, deeply in your loins… Government Almighty knows that you have NO brains… For a Total Trumptatorship! (And you will NEVER apologize for it, nor take it back!) And that is ALL that we need to know!

              1. At least on your abc sock you attempt coherence. This is just getting more pathetic by the day.

                1. Yes, I DID neglect to thank you for your pure nonsense! Thanks! Now could you PLEASE pop some more “smart pills” before “contributing” your thoughts yet AGAIN??!?!

                  1. Nothing convinces others you’re not crazy like being obsessed with eating rabbit poop.

                    1. Eating rabbit poop is the ONLY measure of desperation that is left to you, otherwise-moronic one!

                    2. Damn you’re really this crazy aren’t you?

                    3. I dont think it is crazy. He is just fucking dumb.

                    4. “He is just fucking dumb.”

                      THIS is how DEEP and MEANINGFUL JesseSPAZ’s “Constitutional Analysis” goes! JesseSPAZ for SCROTUS!

                      “But all of you other Eminent Judges… I must dissent!
                      After Duly Diligent legal ponderings upon the precedents, and the Constitution’s Written Words… I conclude that the defendant is just fucking dumb.”

                      JesseSPAZ for SCROTUS! BRILLIANCE among us mere mortals! Behold!

      3. Good lord, you are an idiot.

        It isn’t about Russia.

        The classified information they disseminated was not about Russian agents. It wasn’t about twitter bots and fake facebook memes. (which is what the Russian interference was).

        The classified information was about Carter Page as a supposed Russian agent. We already had an investigation into everything. The Meuller report (and subsequent IG report) clearly demonstrate that there was never a real belief that there was any nexus with the Trump campaign. The FBI took an CIA “asset” and used his CIA ordered contacts as a pretext to claim that Trump’s team was working with Russia. And it happened one day after the FBI met with him about making a case against the Russians he was talking to on their behalf.

        Pretending that Russia spending a quarter million on facebook swamped the election is silly. Clinton directly spent a couple of orders of magnitude more on such efforts herself. (and her campaign and the DNC which was under her direct control were the only people in the campaign who were actually actively seeking and using Russian disinformation as a part of their campaign. To the tune of $3.5 million bucks – which is more than the russians spent on their efforts in total) That ignores the money spent by PACs – including an entire company set up by the Chairman of Google/Alphabet for the express purpose of tying in to the back end of the tech giants and leveraging that access to benefit Democrat candidates – specifically HRC. It is called “the Groundwork” and received glowing coverage in the press as proof of the Democrat’s huge advantage in technology.

        Give it up. That fig leaf should have fallen off the day they stood up on March 3, 2017. Pretending that it still hides their junk all these years later is pathetic.

        1. Also, according to far-left source VOX at the time, the two campaigns spent 81 million bucks on social media advertising. Most of it by HRC. And that’s only the campaign direct spend.

          https://www.vox.com/2017/11/1/16593066/trump-clinton-facebook-advertising-money-election-president-russia

        2. ^this
          How anyone can pretend there was ever any genuine interest in Russian actions regarding the election is beyond me.
          It requires real Nazi/Stalinist susceptibility to believe that story

        3. Well, Cyto, this is what you quoted:

          In the Obama administration’s last days, some White House officials scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election — and about possible contacts between associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump and Russians — across the government. Former American officials say they had two aims: to ensure that such meddling isn’t duplicated in future American or European elections, and to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.

          So, they did do that bolded part. Right? I mean, we can both agree on that part, right?

          And I never claimed that the Russians “swamped” the election. I don’t know where this idiocy comes from.

          1. Did you bother to read the fucking article you posted?

            1. JesseSPAZ has GOT be be right, because he fucking says fuckity-fuck-fuck, fucking fuck FAR more than the rest of us!

              HOW can we argue with THAT? JesseSPAZ for SCROTUS!

              “But all of you other Eminent Judges… I must dissent!
              After Duly Diligent legal ponderings upon the precedents, and the Constitution’s Written Words… I conclude that the defendant is just fucking, fuckity-fuck-fuck,fuckingly fucked, way-fucked, bloody-fucked, deeply fucked, Constitutionally-fucked, Uber-fucked, fucketty-fucked dumb.”

              JesseSPAZ for SCROTUS! Fucking BRILLIANCE among us mere mortals! Behold!

              1. Next time you get depressed you should definitely commit suicide.

          2. Do you seriously believe this stuff…. or are you just playing “team”?

            They fully acknowledge that their entire purpose was to bring down Trump. The stuff that was leaked was about Trump colluding with the Russian government. The stuff that was leaked was about “27 agencies agree that their secret intelligence information says that Trump was working with the Kremlin”.

            None of that was true. They knew it wasn’t true.

            This is about “unmasking” of “classified wiretaps”. Turns out those wiretaps were entirely politically motivated. We know this because their “articulable pretext” was that Carter Page was working with the Russians. Well, he was talking with those Russians at the behest of the CIA. The FBI asked him to continue working with those Russians so they could make a case against the Russians. He told them he couldn’t keep working on their case because he was going to volunteer for the Trump campaign. The very next day the FBI agents he was working with asked their boss “what kind of investigation should we open”. They were looking for a spy in the Trump campaign. They ended up lying about him and wiretapping him instead.

            There is no way to spin this as “they were totally so patriotic that they had to stop Russian bots from posting on Facebook” and to do so they just had to spy in the Trump campaign and the transition and the new administration and they just had to leak false information to the press to gin up suspicions that Trump was in cahoots with the Russians. It has all been laid bare now. They even lied to the court saying he wasn’t working with the CIA when they knew he was.

            The evidence is overwhelming and incontrovertible now. That isn’t even the discussion.

            The discussion is: How did every single media outlet miss this one? It was staring them right in the face – and every one of them went with the disinformation campaign designed to bring down a Republican president.

            Here is how obvious it was… in addition to the NYT article bragging about a conspiracy to bring down Trump using classified information (illegally):

            * Trump said his wires were being tapped. Everyone reacted with ridicule – despite what they already knew.

            * When it was revealed that there was indeed an effort to wiretap Trump campaign officials – nobody raised an eyebrow. They said “of course!”

            * When they justified those wiretaps they said they had “learned of efforts by Russian agents to infiltrate the Trump campaign”. This was the signal moment. This on was the unavoidable clue that let you know that it was all bullshit. Yet not one news organization ran with it. It takes seriously motivated reasoning to avoid seeing this one for what it is….

            * Here’s the punchline to that one, for those who are still wearing their partisan blinders: IF you have “intel” that says that the Trump campaign is being targeted for infiltration…. you don’t start spying on the Trump campaign and digging into their backgrounds trying to set them up for process crimes so that you can get them to spy for you or testify against Trump. They set up a “counterintelligence investigation” that was not pointed at preventing Russian infiltration of the Trump campaign and later government. It was entirely pointed at the Trump campaign. If you heard their explanation and didn’t immediately ask “Wait, why didn’t you contact the Trump campaign to help them prevent this infiltration and protect against Russian efforts?”, then you simply didn’t want to see what was right in front of you.

            If you accept the FBI’s stated motives, then their actions are highly irrational and incompetent. Anyone should be able to see this. And yet, not one major news outlet did see this. They all saw that their suspicions were confirmed.

            This is the story here. We do not have an honest 4th estate. An honest 4th estate would have been digging in on this story from the moment it surfaced. An honest NYT would not have been celebrating the Obama administration’s braggadocio about their efforts to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. They would have been horrified about what they heard and immediately begun developing an expose’ into this corruption.

            But they didn’t. Instead they launched a years-long effort to use the propaganda they were getting to undermine and “get” the President. They even mourned their loss when their Russia efforts finally collapsed, and publicly vowed to find another angle to use to attack the President… eventually settling on “racism” as their angle for the remainder of his presidency.

            This was this generation’s Woodward and Bernstein moment. Careers could have been made. Legends born. The allure should have been great. But the partisan machine was so strong that nobody even stuck a toe in that water. They are even still covering for Adam Schiff after all of his bald-faced lies about all of the secret intelligence that he had seen that proved that Trump was colluding with the Russians. After Mueller came out with his report, their should have been a feeding frenzy on that topic. Instead, they all just said “well, that didn’t work. What’s next?”.

            This is unfathomable for me as a child of the watergate era. Independent investigative journalism was widely seen as the highest calling… there were movies and TV shows about the heroism of exposing government plots and corporate abuses. Lone reporters ferreting out the truth.

            Now…. they all desperately want to be a part of the government propaganda machine, working for the greater progressive/socialist good. How did that flip happen? Where is the integrity we at least pretended to have at one time? And how does a supposedly liberal libertarian drink that cool-aide?

      4. Foreigners have been interfering in our elections forever. The Russians for about a century.

        The real foreign interference in US elections comes from the ocean of foreign nationals working at social media companies and controlling US political discourse.

  9. I like Gene and am all for free trade but that depends on the following:

    1. No subsidizes by either party (never going happen)
    2. No tariffs (never going to happen)
    3. No pegging to each other’s currency (again never going to happen)..better yet let’s both agree to a gold standard

    With the current system and the US being the reserve currency and printing like mad and China pegging..it supports the deindustrialization of America but ensures big govt (deficit spending) and wall street financiers making billions without producing anything.

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  14. Meanwhile a 125nm particle composed of protein and rna is raging in central China and spreading rapidly. Where this will go is unknown and useless to speculate. A population the size of California is under quarantine. Travel and commerce are being shut down at a rapid pace.

    In addition to human costs there are and will be economic consequences. None of them are good. A collapse of the Chinese economy, should it occur, is not in the best interest of anyone.

    Part of the reason I have objected to the trade war is the law of unintended consequences. The epidemic may very well impact on all of us in some way and could not have been predicted. Certainly the tariffs have produced unexpected results, the steel industry for example did not respond as expected.

    One thing that gets missed when we talk of these large, complex, and ultimately incompletely understood processes such as global economics or viral disease is they are not just a set of switches that can be turned on or off. Things happen beyond our control some of them permanent.

  15. Please remove comments. What are people even debating here? They either shit all over Reason, cite other references, or recall from memory. Make Reason a reference. I love Reason because I honestly believe they try to be objective. The comments make anything said hostile.

    Maybe I just shouldn’t read comments… However, any new people reading comments are lost in the “triggered” bureaucracy. Which side is more motivated to be mad… Can an individual yell louder (type faster) than the next triggered person? Who is the next comments section dominator/leader? What is anyone accomplishing?

    1. I have been reading this blog for years and did not read the comments. Why I do comment now I have no idea actually. It is not for the benefit of anyone else or to convince anyone. That much I know. That said you have to click to open them.

      I agree that people get turned off or turned away from libertarianism often because of libertarians. It is what you expect with unmoderated platforms.

    2. “Silence the Unbelievers!”

      Reason should change their motto to:
      Dogmatic Minds, Foreign Slave Markets

    3. There’s nothing wrong with people flinging shit at each other! The fact is on a lot of issues there are legit libertarian arguments on both sides. Are open borders a good thing? What about if you have a massive welfare state? Even if they are good, should you not allow it until the welfare state is demolished or dramatically reduced?

      There are arguments to be made, all within proper libertarian thinking, for such issues. To bitch and moan because people don’t agree with YOUR opinions on split issues is a bitch move.

  16. What a disappointment. Gene has argued exceptionally well with socialists, but here he’s emotional, polemic, and ill-informed.
    For starters, a good portion of Gene’s argument has simply been that Trump is “a bloviating ignoramus.”
    Second, Gene seems to know nothing about US trade and business conditions in China. No mention of the JV laws. No mention of foreign firms facing competition from SOEs. No mention of the fact that every major bank in China is govt-owned, so favored domestic businesses get loans while foreign ones don’t. No mention of mass media in Chinese, which is also all state-owned. No mention of the unfair playing field a foreign firm faces in China, where the executive is a life-long appointee, the legislature is rubber stamp, and the judiciary consists of judges and lawyers who are all Party members.
    Last, die-hard libertarian Gene’s hopes are all pinned on an internatl institution – the WTO – bringing China to heel.

    1. ” Gene has argued exceptionally well with socialists, but here he’s emotional, polemic, and ill-informed.”

      What else you gonna do when you’re shilling for an intellectually bankrupt dogma?

      Reason can’t even win a Globalist vs. Nationalist debate that *they* organize in *Manhattan*.

      Not tired of winning yet!

      1. LOL

        Right?

        I get why people bought into some of this crap after the fall of the USSR or whatever… I wouldn’t have, because I’m not a retarded utopian dreamer… But I can understand how some fell for such ideas.

        The problem is we now have decades of REAL WORLD OUTCOMES that basically show most of the assumptions used to support such arguments just don’t work the way the utopians want them to in the real world.

        It was a nice theory, but the evidence has stacked up against it. When evidence contradicts your theory, it’s not that the evidence is wrong, it’s that your theory is wrong! But so many refuse to accept that utopian globalist BS is never gonna work.

        1. Buchanan and Perot were right, all the “respectable” people were wrong.

          US industrial policy until after the World War II was right.

          Adam Smith was right too, favoring tariffs to offset local taxes on production.
          Wealth of Nations, pg. 356
          https://ibiblio.org/ml/libri/s/SmithA_WealthNations_p.pdf

          “It will generally be advantageous to lay some burden upon foreign industry for the encouragement of domestic industry, when some tax is imposed at home upon the produce of the latter. In this case, it seems reasonable that an equal tax should be imposed upon the like produce of the former. This would not give the monopoly of the borne market to domestic industry, nor turn towards a particular employment a greater share of the stock and labour of the country, than what would naturally go to it. It would only hinder any part of what would naturally go to it from being turned away by the tax into a less natural direction, and would leave the competition between foreign and domestic industry, after the tax, as nearly as possible upon the same footing as before it.”

  17. Please remove comments. What are people even debating here? They either shit all over Reason, cite other references, or recall from memory. Make Reason a reference. I love Reason because I honestly believe they try to be objective. The comments make anything said hostile

    1. The things that are most likely to be true are the things that withstand the most and best scrutiny. It works that way in science. It works that way in everything.

      We need to improve the quality of the scrutiny, and I suspect your participation would be more helpful in that regard than your silence.

      1. Excellent response.

        If you wade in to these comments, you’ll see that there are several parallel conversations taking place.

        There are trolls who enjoy trolling each other. When they really get going, they can swamp the thread.

        There are partisan hacks who look for any opportunity to push their partisan agenda.

        There are libertarians looking for a chance to debate libertarian issues.

        There are die hard Reason supporters who feel that they have the right to criticize content from reason that is not up to their standards….

        Some people fit in to more than one category. Some of the trolls might actually be more than one person.

        If you find the trolls a turn-off and you are a libertarian, there’s always Glibertarians, an offshoot of this comments section that left for a myriad of reasons to form a community without trolls. It is also a right-libertarian community – in contrast to the staff at Reason.

        1. More of a social group. Politics is not discussed much. I click there for interesting links and original content from time to time.

          From what I gather it is where this community went from a discussion to “fuck off and die” and butt jokes. Sometimes there are still discussions here.

          Legends abound of Hinns and Tulpas, socks of various anonymous sources. Don’t know about much about that.

          Most just went away. There are libertarians. Some still here.

    2. “Wah! Globalists are losing the argument in the comments. Silence the truth before anyone else hears it!”

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  22. That’s a good summary of the craziest right-wing delusions … and, of course, the psychopathic lie that democratic socialism equates to Stalin and Lenin, Pol Pot., China’s Cultural Revolution.

    None of that is as crazy as believing Trump is NOT a lying sack of shit, on who initiated the assaults and murder in Charlottesville.

    Just and gullible and manipulated as Bernie’s and Elizabeth’s bots.
    Because: Right – Left = Zero.
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