Patterico's Pontifications

3/7/2018

The Argument in Favor of Unilaterally Abolishing All Tariffs

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:00 am

One argument I hear a lot from people who support Trump’s proposed tariffs goes like this: “I’m generally a free trader, but when other countries subsidize their products or impose tariffs on ours, why shouldn’t the U.S. retaliate?”

This post is designed to respond to exactly that argument.

One of my favorite economists, Don Boudreaux, had an Oxford-style debate last November in which he defended this proposition: “The U.S. government should unilaterally abolish all tariffs and duties on imports and all subsidies to exports, thereby making all reciprocal trade agreements with other countries unnecessary.”

To get the most out of Boudreaux’s arguments, you should watch the entire debate:

I’ll summarize some of his arguments from the first half of the debate here, both to whet your appetite, and to provide some arguments for those who don’t have 80 minutes to devote to the debate. (Boudreaux won the debate, meaning more people came to his side than to his opponent’s side.)

Boudreaux argues: How do we get richer by allowing government to artificially restrict our ability to buy goods we otherwise want to buy? Such government action creates scarcity — because there will be fewer goods and services available for peaceful people to consume.

Boudreaux invites the listener to imagine a situation where government sends in thugs to destroy your household possessions, like furniture. Yes, if government thugs were to destroy your furniture, that would certainly help furniture companies. But it would make you poorer, because now you must spend more money to buy new furniture. Tariffs operate in much the same way; the only difference is that tariffs make the furniture unavailable (or less available) before you can purchase it, instead of after you purchase it.

Opponents say goods are not being made unavailable. People are just being encouraged to buy domestic goods, which helps our economy. But Boudreaux notes that foreigners selling goods here helps our economy too. With the money foreigners earn from selling goods here, foreigners either buy our exports or they invest here. When foreigners spend or invest in the U.S., that creates jobs. If government prevents them from doing this, government prevents domestic jobs from being created. In other words, trade creates jobs — jobs that are destroyed by protectionism.

Boudreaux notes that all economic change destroys some jobs and creates others. He provides statistics to back up what he says. The absolute top estimate of the number of jobs destroyed by trade with China is 4 million. But every month, 1.7 million jobs are destroyed by the changing nature of consumer demand. Of course, other jobs are created by the changing nature of consumer demand — more jobs than are destroyed, in fact, except in recessions.

In what is probably the central argument of the debate, Boudreaux responds to the argument: Why not retaliate against countries that subsidize their own companies? That’s not fair!

Boudreaux argues that, yes, what these foreign governments are doing is unfair — to the economies of those foreign countries. If a foreign government subsidizes a company or industry, that subsidy isn’t free. It draws resources away from non-subsidized sectors of that same foreign economy, into less efficient uses. That makes the country poorer as a whole. Meanwhile, those subsidies make us richer when we buy cheaper goods. Why should we complain if we get gifts from foreigners?

[Editor’s note: I have illustrated this point in the past by making the argument: what if, instead of cheaper goods, countries like China just gave us goods for free? Imagine that tomorrow, a brand-new 50-inch flatscreen TV appears on your front porch. Are you supposed to complain about this? Is that supposed to somehow make you poorer?? That seems to be the end point of the logic of the protectionists.]

Boudreaux again turns to statistics and economic history to point out that, as a matter of cold hard historical fact, the freer a country’s trade policy, the higher the country’s per capita income and rate of growth. In all history, countries with freer trade have enjoyed greater wealth.

Boudreaux says: it makes sense that Bernie Sanders likes tariffs. He doesn’t like the market! But why on Earth would people who support markets also support government intervention by government bureaucrats?

To the notion that we will get reciprocal lowering of tariffs by other countries only when we negotiate for them, Boudreaux uses this analogy: if we were throwing boulders into our harbors, should we stop doing so only when other countries stop throwing boulders into theirs? Again, this goes back to what I described as his central thesis: China’s tariffs against us hurt China more than they hurt the U.S. — and our tariffs against China don’t hurt China, they hurt us. Boudreaux says: “We don’t need other countries to stop hurting themselves for us to stop hurting ourselves.”

To the argument that we have too many regulatory burdens, Boudreaux agrees — but says that nothing is solved by putting yet another governmental burden on ourselves in the form of tariffs.

I’ll leave you with this interesting statistic cited by Boudreaux: two-thirds of the materials that we import are not consumer goods, but rather inputs into American production. To the extent that we restrict and tax those inputs, we raise the cost of American production — which makes us less productive, not more productive.

Boudreaux sums up his position with this simple statement about what it means to oppose tariffs: “We will no longer interfere with our citizens’ decisions on how they spend their income.”

It’s hard to disagree, isn’t it?

161 Responses to “The Argument in Favor of Unilaterally Abolishing All Tariffs”

  1. some people make things for a living

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  2. Well you could be like the Yale republicans and support a carbon tax

    narciso (d1f714)

  3. I don’t like these tariffs because they’re political posturing by Trump for the benefit of the Rust Belt voters. Not well thought out to genuinely advance the national interest.

    However, Mr. Boudreaux looks at only aspect. If all we cared about is internationals selling things to Americans at the lowest price for the highest profit, then it would be hard to disagree with him. But there are other justifications for restrictions on trade. Such as not funding the People’s Liberation Army.

    nk (dbc370)

  4. Boudreaux sums up his position with this simple statement about what it means to oppose tariffs: “We will no longer interfere with our citizens’ decisions on how they spend their income.”

    So you’re saying that the income tax will also be eliminated? No? Then that whole bit about no interference with income is just bs.

    Anon Y. Mous (6cc438)

  5. Along the same lines: why not abolish all professional licensing? Let anyone sell their services as a doctor or lawyer or accountant instead of artificially restricting practitioners to a restricted few? People could choose the level of experience and training that suited THEM, allowing a variation of service and fees.

    OH, BUT THIS IS DIFFERENT!!

    How so?

    Kevin M (752a26)

  6. In this free trade regime, do we abolish patents? Do we look the other way when those free TVs on our doorstep infringe on US-held intellectual property?

    Do we acquiesce to slavery? Do we pretend that factories that shorten the lives of all who live near are OK? What limits, if any, do we impose on the methods used to make those free TVs? Or is the bottom line to the consumer the sole criterion?

    Kevin M (752a26)

  7. It’s hard to disagree, isn’t it

    Yet another harangue that just. makes. sense.

    Dave (71494b)

  8. Let’s say that I have a jewelry store. A guy down the road opens up a competing store, selling things for a third of my price. He does this because all his stock is stolen — he’s a fence.

    If the bottom line price to the consumer is the SOLE criterion, then how my competitor achieves his low prices is immaterial and any attempt to correct his methods is wrong and artificially drives up the price of jewelry.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  9. Kevin M (752a26) — 3/7/2018 @ 11:40 am

    you are being silly Kevin. why stop at professionals? Why not all licenses? Let’s start with driver’s licenses.

    felipe (5b25e2)

  10. Now, the fence idea seems silly UNTIL you look at what a foreign competitor might be doing that is AT LEAST as objectionable as selling stolen goods. Things like slave labor, or massive pollution, or stolen raw materials or other forms of force and coercion to get a cheaper product.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  11. you are being silly Kevin. why stop at professionals? Why not all licenses? Let’s start with driver’s licenses.

    Because professional services are marketed and licenses are, in no small part, intended to limit supply.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  12. Is the MPAA wrong to fight movie bootlegs? After all, they result a free products for the consumer.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  13. Police are investigating a car crash that killed a zebra near the grounds of an ostrich festival in a suburb of Phoenix.

    this is a real life thing in america today

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  14. So, in other words, “But that is different!” That was easier than I thought.

    felipe (5b25e2)

  15. yeah, my 14 was for Kevin M (752a26) — 3/7/2018 @ 11:55 am

    felipe (5b25e2)

  16. Now, I am not a big fan of tariffs, and particularly dislike the rent-seeking form of the beast. Tariffs to respond to foreign “cheating” are different that those to respond to foreign efficiency (Trump’s recent tariffs seem more like the latter).

    Probably the most defensible tariff is one intended to defend a critical national capability against an attack intended to destroy that capability, particularly from a likely adversary engaging in strategic economic warfare. Of course this can be used as a fig leaf by domestic producers unwilling to modernize who themselves threaten said critical capability. Hard to say.

    I note that EUROPE imposed larger steel tariffs last year on the Chinese. This isn’t just Trump.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  17. felipe, you are refuting yourself, not me.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  18. Mark Simone said today (I don’t know hsi source) taht Donald Trump had staged a debate between proponets and opponets of the tariff, and Gary D. Cohn, the director of the White House National Economic Council, and Wilbur Ross, the Secretary of Commerce, were the leading figuures there, and and Gary Cohn didn’t do too well in that debate. My guess would be he argued macroeconomics, and Trump is not receptive to abstract arguments like that.

    So maybe that’s why Gary Cohn attempted to prove that this made sense microeconomically. he ws going to introduce Trump to businesses that were going to hurt by steel and aluminum tariffs, like Coca Cola and the Ford Motor company.

    But before he could do that, the people on the other side, starting at 6 pm one night (they do work long hors at the White House maybe) put together a meeting with business leaders representing companies that wanted the tariffs and began phoning them at 8 pm, and scheduled the meeting for the next morning all before Gary Cohn could do anything to counter it, and at that meeting Trump announced, in front of camerass that he was going to impose tariffs.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/gary-cohn-to-resign-as-president-trumps-economic-adviser-1520376157

    Mr. Cohn, though, was unhappy about the “process” by which Mr. Trump last week announced that he would be imposing steel and aluminum tariffs, the official said.

    This person described the process as one in which White House proponents of the tariffs, on their own, slipped into the president’s office “at 6 o’clock at night” last Wednesday, then called steel and aluminum CEOS two hours later and invited them to a meeting the next morning, telling them the president would sign an executive order imposing the taxes even though no such order was ready.

    “There is extreme frustration when the process breaks down,” the official said. In this instance, the official said, the White House “nationalists hijacked the process.”

    This was possible because Rob Porter got fired. Rob Porter had directed Peter Navarro to report to gary Cohn and copy him on all his emails. But afetr he got fired, Navarro got more access

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  19. 16. Kevin M (752a26) — 3/7/2018 @ 12:07 pm blockquote> Tariffs to respond to foreign “cheating” are different that those to respond to foreign efficiency (Trump’s recent tariffs seem more like the latter). The proper response to cheating, if you want to respond is to subsidize the domestic producers. This costs costs the economy a lot less than raising prices would, although it costs the government more. This is hwo electric cars are supported.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  20. I watched the video and Manning won, IMHO. The academic inbreeding that begat Boudreaux has led to some of these dysfunctional theories.

    Boudreaux assumes that when jobs are destroyed we return to full employment immediately and the replacement jobs are equivalent to those lost. Wrong, wrong, wrong. He assumes that foreigners that take our jobs are investing in America….um, in some cases, but the equivalent of what they’ve taken? Nope.

    Boudreaux also separates questions of morality (stealing trade secrets, using slave labor) as separate from tariffs. Seriously? What are the “other ways of dealing with it”?

    But the major question Boudreaux cannot answer is if unfettered trade is so beneficial to a country, why haven’t China or any other country rushed to adopt it? It will make them more wealthy!

    I could go on and on about the failure of economist’s models to predict anything as complex as our macroeconomic environment, but it’ll fall on deaf ears. Those that don’t want to learn uncomfortable truths about our economist class can continue to believe their other conceits.

    Lenny (5ea732)

  21. Kevin M has great points. Especially the licensing of professionals. Boudreaux represents one school of thought, one that cannot account for and model something as complex as macroeconomics.

    Lenny (5ea732)

  22. Yet another harangue that just. makes. sense.

    Dave (71494b) — 3/7/2018 @ 11:47 am

    Yeah, to an academic. Those of us who live in the real world beg to differ.

    Lenny (5ea732)

  23. There’s a claim or a thought that Trump’s tariff decison has soemthing to do with with espsecial upcoming election next week lurch in Pennsylvania’s 18the district.

    It is close to Pittsburgh and United States Steel Corp in headquarterd and makes steel there.

    And “Allegheny Technologies has eight manufacturing plants in the region, and several other specialty steel companies have facilitiest here. there are still 7,000 steel jobs in the region, and more than 12,000 in the primary metals sector.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

    Now the districts are going to be all different in November.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  24. 20. Lenny (5ea732) — 3/7/2018 @ 12:36 pm

    But the major question Boudreaux cannot answer is if unfettered trade is so beneficial to a country, why haven’t China or any other country rushed to adopt it?

    They want dollars, (real money) and dollars are solely manufactured by and in the United States of America, which has a monopoly on them. There are aklso military or strategc reasons.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  25. The proper response to cheating, if you want to respond is to subsidize the domestic producers. This cost costs the economy a lot less than raising prices would, although it costs the government more.

    We’re all socialists now, huh.

    If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
    https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/ronald_reagan_109938

    papertiger (c8116c)

  26. The argument I would use against tariffs is corporate crooks like GE would be lobbying congress to outlaw lightbulbs, based on imaginary [juicyfruit], making entry into the market prohibitive for domestic competition.

    You’ll get a situation like we have with healthcare or universities, raising their rates in step with the medicare or student loan subsidy.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  27. the government of China also wants to control all businesses in China.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  28. [Editor’s note: I have illustrated this point in the past by making the argument: what if, instead of cheaper goods, countries like China just gave us goods for free?

    What if China (or Mexico, or Guatemala, or India) flooded our our country with cheap (or free) labor? What if this labor was unfettered, so as to be able to provide legal, medical, academic or other professional services (along the lines of what Kevin M argues) without restraint? Why isn’t the host advocating that? Free trade is free trade.

    random viking (6a54c2)

  29. 26. papertiger (c8116c) — 3/7/2018 @ 1:12 pm

    The argument I would use against tariffs is corporate crooks like GE would be lobbying congress to outlaw lightbulbs, based on imaginary [juicyfruit], making entry into the market prohibitive for domestic competition.

    If??

    That’s exactly what happpened.

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/industry-not-environmentalists-killed-incandescent-bulbs/article/2541430

    People often assume green regulations like this represent the triumph of environmental activists trying to save the plant. That’s rarely the case, and it wasn’t here. Light bulb manufacturers whole-heartedly supported the efficiency standards. General Electric, Sylvania and Philips — the three companies that dominated the bulb industry — all backed the 2007 rule, while opposing proposals to explicitly outlaw incandescent technology (thus leaving the door open for high-efficiency incandescents).

    This wasn’t a case of an industry getting on board with an inevitable regulation in order to tweak it. The lighting industry was the main reason the legislation was moving. As the New York Times reported in 2011, “Philips formed a coalition with environmental groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council to push for higher standards.”

    …Competitive markets with low costs of entry have a characteristic that consumers love and businesses lament: very low profit margins. GE, Philips and Sylvania dominated the U.S. market in incandescents, but they couldn’t convert that dominance into price hikes. Because of light bulb’s low material and manufacturing costs, any big climb in prices would have invited new competitors to undercut the giants — and that new competitor would probably have won a distribution deal with Wal-Mart.

    So, simply the threat of competition kept profit margins low on the traditional light bulb — that’s the magic of capitalism. GE and Sylvania searched for higher profits by improving the bulb — think of the GE Soft White bulb. These companies, with their giant research budgets, made advances with halogen, LED and fluorescent technologies, and even high-efficiency incandescents. They sold these bulbs at a much higher prices — but they couldn’t get many customers to buy them for those high prices. That’s the hard part about capitalism — consumers, not manufacturers, get to demand what something is worth.

    Capitalism ruining their party, the bulb-makers turned to government. Philips teamed up with NRDC. GE leaned on its huge lobbying army — the largest in the nation — and soon they were able to ban the low-profit-margin bulbs.

    This is the New York Times story cited above (from 2011)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/05/magazine/bulb-in-bulb-out.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  30. I’m driving a 2012 Hyundai Genesis, and it’s hands-down the most trouble-free car I’ve ever owned — and by an even wider margin, the best overall economic value of any care I’ve ever owned! Upgraded to the 5.0 R-spec, it has straight-ahead power comparable to or better than a top-of-the-line (as long as we’re sticking to eight cylinders) Audi, BMW, Lexus, or Infinity, and it’s no more than one model-year behind those brands’ counterparts in interior appointments and other features. And its retail price new (albeit at the end of a model year, in 2013) was about 65% of those other brands’ competing models. I saved tens of thousands of dollars.

    I’m almost certain that Hyundai made and sold that model at less than its own manufacturer’s cost, specifically to “buy market share” from the Japanese brands it competes against.

    So am I a “victim” of predatory pricing by the Koreans? Hell, no. I’m the beneficiary of predatory pricing. Whether eventually Hyundai achieves its goals of buying market share or not — a temporary and fickle thing, market share, at its very best! — and ultimately makes good, later in sales to other buyers in a tomorrow’s free markets — I’ve absolutely, positively benefited from it every day I’ve driven that car.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  31. Recall the Brits trying this in the late 60s/early 70s w/their ‘Buy British’ campaign when trade deficits were in political play. Lots of ballyhoo– even lavish ‘economic parades’ with products festooned w/t Union Jack – if you can picture that- trundled along London’s posh Park Lane out in front of the Hilton and Dorchester Hotels– still have some old Super8 movies of it someplace. It didn’t work for Britain then and it won’t ‘make America great again’ today.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  32. Kevin M (752a26) — 3/7/2018 @ 12:08 pm Kevin M (752a26) — 3/7/2018 @ 12:08 pm

    Kevin, you did not understand our exchange.

    felipe (023cc9)

  33. GE hasn’t been doing gangbusters, I’ve been noticing.

    narciso (d1f714)

  34. @ Lenny, #21:

    But the major question Boudreaux cannot answer is if unfettered trade is so beneficial to a country, why haven’t China or any other country rushed to adopt it?

    Perhaps you should ask him yourself. He blogs at Cafe Hayek. And he frequently corresponds with readers who e-mail him with questions. Unless, of course, you feel less than confident in your position…

    Demosthenes (70ab36)

  35. Kevin M (752a26) — 3/7/2018 @ 12:08 pm Kevin M (752a26) — 3/7/2018 @ 12:08 pm

    My comment was unkind. PLease forgive for that. What point, do you say, that I made, which I subsequently self-refuted?

    felipe (023cc9)

  36. @34 – I will do that. Thanks for the pointer.

    Lenny (5ea732)

  37. I’m driving a 2012 Hyundai Genesis

    Just leased a 2018 Hyundai Elantra GT for the wife.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  38. felipe–

    I really don’t want to get into one of those you-said-I-said things. My point was that licenses for SERVICES restrict a market, licenses for activities are unrelated to a market. Snarking “Oh, so that is different!” misses my entire point that licensing services are akin to a tariff.

    It should also be noted that interstate tariffs are unconstitutional, but interstate licensing barriers are not. Why does one state not reciprocate chiropractic licenses with the next state? Do they really think that other states allow untrained chiropractors? Or does the state association of chiropractors want to erect barriers to new competitors? Usually the barriers in these situations are far more than mere proof of competency.

    Why does anyone have to get a license to cut hair?

    Kevin M (752a26)

  39. If countries like China subsidize a factory making TVs, only to destroy our companies here, we should let them get away with that? I don’t think so. (But I’m against tariffs in general.) I think that competition is best on a level playing field. After China (of another, larger company that can temporarily absorb the losses for that matter) runs the TV maker out of business, they’re free to raise their prices again – plus it isn’t sustainable anyway if the company is losing money. If they get rid of the competition, they can even raise their prices higher than they were before – which is the objective in the first place in some cases.

    Tillman (a95660)

  40. I see that I was right. First, I do not disagree with your original comment. There is no need for us to argue. I understand your what your point was. What prompted my comment “You are being silly…”
    was:

    OH, BUT THIS IS DIFFERENT!!

    How so?
    Kevin M (752a26) — 3/7/2018 @ 11:40 am

    Which I took as an opportunity to provide you a moment of self-reflection.

    You posit a scenario and ask a question that you expect to not be answered. Rhetorical, yes. My comment was designed to get you to answer your own question “How so?” in a hope that you come to a conclusion – that you might recognize, and allow that others, who may take an opposing position, would actually do the same, in good faith.

    When you did exactly this, I had hoped you would come to such a conclusion, by way of reflection as to what you, yourself just demonstrated. In case you missed it, I attempted to bring it to your attention with my “In other words….” comment. Which, I admit, could have been worded differently, but that is now water under a bridge. Yes, the color of our skies are not the same.

    felipe (023cc9)

  41. People who give you stuff real cheap, or even for free, generally interfere with, and annoy the shite out of, the people who are trying to sell you the same stuff for lotsa dough.

    I think librarians are entitled to one hell of a huge tariff against Google, and Borders against Amazon, the buggy whip guys against Henry Ford and me against all you bastards that write better comments than I do.

    Send your tariff money to Patterico, he has my email, I’m talkin’ to you happyfeet, both of you.

    Fred Z (05d938)

  42. Lol,FredZ.

    felipe (023cc9)

  43. Nations who dump cheap goods on the US economy are essentially much like illegal aliens who sneak across the border to work for less than minimum wages in exchange for access to welfare, food stamps, housing, and every other form of government ‘assistance.’

    Give a little, get more in exchange.

    ropelight (513959)

  44. Why does anyone have to get a license to cut hair?

    Kevin M (752a26) — 3/7/2018 @ 2:43 pm

    That’s the Public Health Exception to The Constitution.

    Pinandpuller (c7808b)

  45. Nations who dump cheap goods on the US economy are essentially much like illegal aliens who sneak across the border to work for less than minimum wages in exchange for access to welfare, food stamps, housing, and every other form of government ‘assistance.’

    LOL

    Dave (445e97)

  46. ConDave… on teh grift and easily amused.

    Colonel Haiku (796ffc)

  47. Why does anyone have to get a license to cut hair?

    Kevin M (752a26) — 3/7/2018 @ 2:43 pm

    Two words… Trey Gowdy.

    Colonel Haiku (796ffc)

  48. ConDave… on teh grift and easily amused.

    LOL

    Dave (445e97)

  49. Just sayin’…

    Colonel Haiku (796ffc)

  50. It’s Happy Hour wherever ConDave is…

    Colonel Haiku (796ffc)

  51. For anyone commenting here in favor of unfettered trade, ask yourself whether your profession enjoys certain legal privileges that restrict competition from some random person off the street (or from anywhere in the world) who could do the same job as you. Are you okay with that? If so, quite simply you are a hypocrite.

    random viking (b16ad8)

  52. i love unfettered trade so much but our president, President Donald Trump, has this tariff thing he wants to try

    and I say go for it President Trump and I hope it works out like you want

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  53. Well, I do not disagree except for one, critical thing. Threats of tariffs can be used to force other countries to abolish their tariff systems. Which benefits us even more.

    I would also argue that in the coming world of automation, cost disparities between manufacturers on goods are likely to largely disappear, being largely wedded to the price of labor. Cost of good will begin to reflect solely the cost of energy and input materiel, meaning steel mills will relocate to places with cheap hydro next to iron ore deposits. Already aluminum is smelted largely in Iceland, while being mined in the tropics, based solely on energy costs.

    So realistically, what we need is cheap resources, and very cheap energy to bring manufacturing home. Which is why green proposals that raise the cost of energy are so detrimental to the economy.

    Fracking is doing more to relocate manufacturing to the U.S. than all the tariffs ever will. solar and wind are destructive to the economy.

    George Orwell's Ghost (a815b9)

  54. and let’s be honest

    tariffs beat the holy poop out of that gay-ass “fair trade” nonsense

    i tried buying a fancy chocolate bar at mariano’s the other day eff that noise

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  55. yes yes Mr. Ghost has his thinking cap on

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  56. #40. You are right. I have no fracking idea what you are saying. It seems very meta.

    My best guess: I compare apples to apple-like things, ask why these are different. You toss out oranges. I say oranges are different from apples, and you say “AHA! Gotcha!”

    Kevin M (752a26)

  57. How has deindustrialization turned out in southern California, good bad or indifferent.

    narciso (d1f714)

  58. Nations who dump cheap goods on the US economy are essentially much like illegal aliens who sneak across the border to work for less than minimum wages…

    ropelight (513959) — 3/7/2018 @ 4:04 pm

    Those countries are dumping cheap illegal labor on the US so we should charge a tariff on all their remittances.

    Apparently this Scott Weiner D CA isn’t concerned about Public Health or California citizens so I’m not sure who he really represents.

    Scott Weiner

    Pinandpuller (c7808b)

  59. But lets take a situation where our hosts suggestion — there are no tariffs at all — exists.

    Among the 50 US states there are no tariffs at all, and there haven’t been since 1789. Does this mean that good flow freely and unfettered? No, not hardly. Even ignoring the barriers to professions, there are lots of non-tariff barriers to goods, and they are often used for the same rent-seeking purposes that monetary barriers are.

    California is probably the worst offender, but there are others. California blocks the import of gasoline, and its gasoline prices are generally $1/gallon over the national average. They do this by insisting on a “special” “Green” formulation that cannot be produced in a refinery tailored to any other state’s gas. Other states and cities have some low-polluting fuels, but they use a federal formulation that does not add to the cost.

    What does California get from this? The Greens get price-rationing, where people drive less due to cost. Less fuel burned is, by far, the main environmental effect of the special Green CA gas. The oil companies love it as they have a captive market. All they have to do is create a constant shortage of CA-only gasoline and the price stays high. No one is going to change their refinery to send gas in (and probably can’t due to CA inspection/qualification regimes).

    Then there are guns. No new gun design may be sold in California. Many old designs are also forbidden. Only after rigorous testing, and a gamut of regulatory limitations, may a gun be sold in the state. There’s a list, which is updated with all deliberate speed.

    And, actually there ARE tariffs, only please to call them excise taxes. Cigarettes, booze, etc.

    Just because there is a non-tariff regime does not mean that there are no tariffs.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  60. For anyone commenting here in favor of unfettered trade..

    random viking (b16ad8) — 3/7/2018 @ 4:37 pm

    People like that shouldn’t be allowed to do their Craigslist deals at police stations.

    Pinandpuller (c7808b)

  61. And, actually there ARE tariffs, only please to call them excise taxes. Cigarettes, booze, etc.

    Just because there is a non-tariff regime does not mean that there are no tariffs.

    Kevin M (752a26) — 3/7/2018 @ 5:21 pm

    Don’t forget Tariff Collector Amazon.

    So are you saying California has a UL Lab for guns?

    Pinandpuller (c7808b)

  62. Scotty

    Don’t take your HIV to town

    Pinandpuller (c7808b)

  63. What is a border, if not an impediment to free trade?

    Leviticus (924d70)

  64. Is that why Mexico has a wall along its border with Guatemala?

    narciso (d1f714)

  65. So are you saying California has a UL Lab for guns?

    Well, if something run by Barney Fife can be compared with UL.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  66. So are you saying California has a UL Lab for guns?

    And actually it doesn’t any more. Since 2013, in order to be considered for addition to the Roster, a handgun must have a micro-stamping mechanism. No guns have such a mechanism, nor is it yet commercially possible. But CA insists that it is, and will not allow any new model to be added without it.

    The law required such to be possible, so Kamala Harris simply issued a finding that it was so, and called it a day.

    Interesting history here: https://www.calgunsfoundation.org/roster

    Kevin M (752a26)

  67. And actually it doesn’t any more. Since 2013, in order to be considered for addition to the Roster, a handgun must have a micro-stamping mechanism. No guns have such a mechanism, nor is it yet commercially possible. But CA insists that it is, and will not allow any new model to be added without it.
    The law required such to be possible, so Kamala Harris simply issued a finding that it was so, and called it a day.

    Kevin M (752a26) — 3/7/2018 @ 6:05 pm

    The Party of Science. So grav guns, rail guns and terawatt lasers are still legal?

    Pinandpuller (c7808b)

  68. As long as they are under 40 watts

    narciso (d1f714)

  69. NY NY Santuary City

    The NYPD is prepared to collar Harvey Weinstein for felony sexual assault, a police official with direct knowledge of the case told The Daily Beast.
    “We’re ready to go with an arrest,” the official said yesterday afternoon.
    The NYPD is awaiting only a nod from Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.
    Earlier in the day, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce was asked during a wide ranging press availability about the investigation into sexual assault allegations against Weinstein. Boyce replied that the detectives are still gathering evidence in the case and, “It is going very, very well.”
    Boyce then suggested that questions regarding the next step would be best addressed to Vance.
    “I would ask you to ask him,” Boyce said,
    The Daily Beast did ask.
    “We will decline,” a Vance spokesman said when asked for comment.

    Daily Beast

    Pinandpuller (c7808b)

  70. Maybe California does in fact contain chemicals which cause birth defects — specifically cognitive deficits and disorders (stupidity for short) in the younger generations.

    nk (dbc370)

  71. Is that why Mexico has a wall along its border with Guatemala?

    narciso (d1f714) — 3/7/2018 @ 5:40 pm

    Why does Paul Ryan have a wall, to keep out Linda Sarsour types? I just found out her name means cockroach.

    Pinandpuller (c7808b)

  72. The heck kind of a name is Beto? He should print up some Beto-Male t shirts.

    Pinandpuller (c7808b)

  73. OT, but here is a heaping slice of western Americana. It’s a tale about the Chilton family and their ranch, comprised of 50,000 acres southwest of Tucson.

    They battled the enviro-nazi’s law-fare and lies with a little law-fare of their own. They ended up winning a sizable defamation suit (where the jurors characterized the enviro-nazis as evil) and getting a landmark decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals!

    The Chiltons are quintessential ranchers and conscientious stewards of the land, frequently partnering on their own initiative with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Altar Valley Conservation Society, and the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. I had no idea southern Arizona was so beautiful — I’ve always had an image of flat, barren land. A tour of the Chilton Ranch is now on my bucket list.

    This article is a quick read and lays to rest the fantasy that many environmental groups are pro-environment. What kind of sick mind would want to destroy the Chilton’s and their ranch?

    http://www.chiltonranch.com/images/got-cha.pdf

    (Their web site is cool. Found it through a Breitbart story on building the wall.)

    Lenny (5ea732)

  74. Its short for roberto if he used his muddled name like Ted. Cruz, it would be paco or pancho

    narciso (d1f714)


  75. 63.What is a border, if not an impediment to free trade?
    Leviticus (924d70) — 3/7/2018 @ 5:34 pm


    A border in and if itself is not in any way an impediment to free trade. A border is the delineation of territory that is all.

    Rev.Hoagie (1b0402)

  76. What kind of sick mind would want to destroy the Chilton’s and their ranch?

    Lenny (5ea732) — 3/7/2018 @ 6:49 pm

    People who don’t want you to know how to fix your own car.

    Pinandpuller (c7808b)

  77. What is a border, if not an impediment to free trade?

    Leviticus (924d70) — 3/7/2018 @ 5:34 pm

    One tool of many for preserving self-determination.

    Lenny (5ea732)

  78. what is an assault weapon if not an impediment to free trade

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  79. what is a tranny infestation in the military if not an impediment to fair trade

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  80. what is california pension time bomb if not an impediment to fair trade

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  81. what is gender inequality all up in it if not an impediment to fair trade

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  82. lol i switched to fair without thinking

    it’s like Mr. Trump is in my brain

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  83. Imagine if you had a statement from al Midhar promising to target a major govt installation

    https://mobile.twitter.com/jabeale/status/971583534824656896

    narciso (d1f714)

  84. “…if unfettered trade is so beneficial to a country, why haven’t China or any other country rushed to adopt it? It will make them more wealthy!”

    There’s a lot of magical thinking on a host of issues on the Left. But this is the most magical of delusions in the American political spectrum. The financial cost of a product is not it;s only cost to a society. And for too long the CoC and GOPe has pretended their loopy ideas about supposedly free trade have no cost to middle and working class Americans.

    Bugg (08921e)

  85. In this free trade regime, do we abolish patents? Do we look the other way when those free TVs on our doorstep infringe on US-held intellectual property?

    Do we acquiesce to slavery? Do we pretend that factories that shorten the lives of all who live near are OK? What limits, if any, do we impose on the methods used to make those free TVs? Or is the bottom line to the consumer the sole criterion?

    Boudreaux addresses these points. I just thought it would be a distraction in an already fairly long post. His basic argument is that we can and should address those things, but that does not have to take place in the context of a tariff. Try watching the video if you have time. There’s good stuff there.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  86. Kevin M (752a26) — 3/7/2018 @ 5:04 pm

    I appreciate your position, and I take responsibility for the misunderstanding. My comment at #35 bothers me because it fails at being a true apology. So let me correct the failure: Kevin, my comment was unkind to place blame on you for my failure to make myself understood. In the future, I will endeavor to be less “orangey” about things.

    felipe (023cc9)

  87. Beto is the Mexican equalivent of American Bob.

    ropelight (513959)

  88. A border is simply an imaginary geographical line which allows one group of people to delude themselves into thinking there are important differences between themselves and those on the other side of the border.

    Kishnevi (ab2b70)

  89. Start here. It is difficult to talk about the cold economics of slavery without talking about the horrible mistreatment of those people who were forced into it but Lincoln understood that with slavery, the Going Rate of labor is room and board.

    Without tariffs in 2018, the Going Rate of labor is whatever the hut dweller in Cambodia is making. American workers can’t live on 5 bucks a day or whatever that Going Rate might be.

    Jcurtis (3691fe)

  90. @89- Mz. Merkel is sure shining a spotlight on that “delusion” by showing everyone that Muslims from Somalia are no different than European Christians.

    TheBas (3bcea0)

  91. As for the title of this post, kinda reminds me of a hippy arguing if we would only unilaterally disarm, we would have world peace.

    TheBas (3bcea0)

  92. Beto is the Mexican equalivent of American Bob.

    ropelight (513959) — 3/7/2018 @ 8:48 pm

    I wonder if he’s a great grandson of one of those Irish US Army deserters?

    Original Mexican Bob: My wounds healed by themselves – from the inside!
    -True Grit

    Pinandpuller (c7808b)

  93. @64

    There isn’t a wall between Guatemala and Mexico.

    Here’s the snopes, which I expect you’ll dismiss out of hand: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/mexico-guatemala-border/

    Here’s the wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guatemala%E2%80%93Mexico_border

    Here’s an article from NatGeo: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/02/mexicos-southern-border/cynthia-gorney-text/6

    Davethulhu (081885)

  94. So … terawatt lasers are still legal?

    As long as they are x-ray lasers. But we have state AG finding that x-ray lasers are easy, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  95. From Wikipedia link above:

    “There is no continuous wall on the border, although there are sections of fence near populated areas and official border crossings”, then goes on to show impassable parts of the border, like tropical rivers.

    It also points out that Mexico generally does not grant amnesty to illegal immigrants.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  96. Patterico,

    Look at the US, which has completely eliminated internal tariffs for several hundred years. And yet, an dairy farmer in Colorado cannot sell eggs in California unless he adopts standards that price his eggs out of the market everywhere else.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  97. I hate it when an edit misses something like “an”

    Kevin M (752a26)

  98. @96

    A river is not an impassible wall.

    From the NatGeo article:

    “It is possible to cross from Guatemala to Mexico by wading a river alongside day laborers on horseback and families washing laundry; or by strolling through a wide-open gate on a dirt road, while nearby Mexican customs agents ignore you; or by paying rafters the equivalent of a dollar to punt you across the Suchiate River. Around the uniformed Mexican soldier at the riverbank, improvised commerce bustles and hums: Brightly painted tricyle rickshaws carrying passengers and their parcels; taco vendors flipping hot tortillas on propane-powered grills; boxes of tequila and black beans and Crema Dental Colgate Triple Acción being tricycled to the raft landing and stacked 20 high for the cross-river float to the Guatemalan side, where they will be resold without the encumbrances of government paperwork.”

    Davethulhu (081885)

  99. Basically, your statements are more or less true, but they don’t make the statement “There is a wall between Mexico and Guatemala” true.

    Davethulhu (081885)

  100. Without tariffs in 2018, the Going Rate of labor is whatever the hut dweller in Cambodia is making.

    Because all workers are equally skilled and educated…

    Americans should not be doing jobs that a hut-dweller in Cambodia can do. Isn’t that obvious?

    Since the value of what you produce determines what you earn, and what you earn determines your standard of living, someone who does the work of a Cambodian will inevitably be forced into the lifestyle of a Cambodian.

    And it’s even worse, because you can live off a Cambodian’s wages better in Cambodia, where everyone is poor, than you can here, where everyone is rich.

    Dave (445e97)

  101. In 2006, Joseph Contreras profiled the issue of Guatemalan immigrants illegally entering Mexico for Newsweek magazine and pointed out that while Mexican president Vicente Fox demanded that the United States grant legal residency to millions of illegal Mexican immigrants, Mexico had only granted legal status to 15,000 illegal immigrants. Additionally, Contreras found that at coffee farms in the Mexican state Chiapas, “40,000 Guatemalan field hands endure backbreaking jobs and squalid living conditions to earn roughly [US]$3.50 a day” and that some farmers “even deduct the cost of room and board from that amount.” In 2008, the Mexican National Institute of Migration estimated that 400,235 people crossed the border illegally every year and that around 150,000 of them intended to enter the United States.

    The border with Guatemala is the primary source of military grade weaponry – including rocket-propelled grenades, hand grenades, plastic explosives, and grenade launchers – used by the Mexican drug cartels. The weapons are typically stolen from Central American government munitions stockpiles. A 2010 U.S. diplomatic cable disclosed by WikiLeaks states that Mexico does not have sufficient resources to patrol the border with only 125 officers to monitor the entire 577-mile border. Mexican officials confirm that they do not have sufficient resources as they have been concentrating their efforts on fighting the cartels in the North.

    Wiki

    Pinandpuller (c7808b)

  102. Great big-picture summary.

    Too bad voters never vote based on the Big Picture or the positive but slow-to-be-realized effects of a wiser policy would eventually produce. Nor do they examine (very often) the reasons for certain (all?) industries to call for protection. The American steel industry, in concert with unions, shot itself in the foot for years until it finally, almost, bled out. Same with the US auto industry.

    Politicians and government bureaucrats know this.

    a10pilot (e07fa5)


  103. 100.Basically, your statements are more or less true, but they don’t make the statement “There is a wall between Mexico and Guatemala” true.
    Davethulhu (081885) — 3/7/2018 @ 11:32 pm


    Actually that is precisely what it does. It is a fact Davehulhu that there is a wall between Mexico and Guatemala. Period. And it’s a border wall at that. Why do you deny the existence of a wall that clearly exists even by your own sources? What kind of insanity is that?

    Rev.Hoagie (1b0402)

  104. If the Guatemala/Mexico border is a wall, our present Mexico/U.S. border is a Super Wall on steroids with laser vision and Jedi powers.

    nk (dbc370)

  105. What the debate didn’t seem to touch on was the strategic importance of domestic production capacity. There’s a reason that the US Gov supports both Ingalls Shipyard and Bath Iron Works with ship building contracts; to preserve that institutional knowledge for the future. Steel production isn’t like baking a cake; it takes experience down the entire support structure of a steel mill to turn out a good product. Now if a potential rival like China is willing to sell us stuff at a loss, I say fine. If they are willing to shoot themselves in the foot, let’s try not to disturb their aim. But we need to be able to rapidly start up strategic production at need. So set aside necessary industries like steel, and let government projects use US-made product. Civilian markets can be tariff-free, thereby giving the consumer a boost.

    Bruce Abbott (25217b)


  106. 105.If the Guatemala/Mexico border is a wall,


    Trying to be cute, nk? Nobody said the Guat/Mex border is a wall, they said it has a wall. Which it does.

    Rev.Hoagie (1b0402)

  107. Fair enough, Hoagie.

    If the Guatemala/Mexico border is has a wall, our present Mexico/U.S. border is already has a Super Wall on steroids with laser vision and Jedi powers. 😉

    nk (dbc370)

  108. They use the Mexican army, that where they get the zetas from.

    narciso (d1f714)

  109. Like Sparta. “Our walls are the breasts of our men.”

    nk (dbc370)

  110. If Trump goes ahead and builds The Wall, the more useful things will be the access roads which will allow “flying squads” of border guards to move quickly to places of suspected entry.

    nk (dbc370)

  111. @ 103 – a10pilot (e07fa5) — 3/8/2018 @ 5:04 am

    The most important factor to examine is the culpability of the politicians who are responsible for this state of affairs by explicitly enabling the unions and regulatory burdens that add so much to the cost of production.

    Lenny (5ea732)

  112. @101: Americans should not be doing jobs that a hut-dweller in Cambodia can do. Isn’t that obvious?

    To an academic, sure. But then, an academic, lawyer, and/or public worker crusading against restraints on free trade is like Ivanka crusading against nepotism.

    There are easily tens of thousands in India, for example, who could do anything skilled professionals do here, at one tenth the cost. You’re all for removing any and all restraints that keep them out of the market, I’m sure.

    random viking (b16ad8)

  113. access roads!

    President Trump does the best access roads on America, and this is very reassuring to everyone.

    Commonsense conservatives like President Trump are putting the zip back into America’s step and I’m excited about that.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  114. “The argument I would use against tariffs is corporate crooks like GE would be lobbying congress to outlaw lightbulbs, based on imaginary [juicyfruit], making entry into the market prohibitive for domestic competition.”

    Not sure who’s been in charge of lightbulb regulation lately but you really can’t scruu the pooch worse than those folks.

    harkin (8256c3)

  115. “President Trump does the best access roads on America, and this is very reassuring to everyone.”

    No one does access roads better than Texas; love me those freeway U-Turns w no stop signs.

    harkin (8256c3)

  116. Thomas Edison would be very dissapointed.

    narciso (d1f714)

  117. Now this sideshow may have turned fatal for skripal

    http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/256899/left-right-russiagate

    narciso (d1f714)

  118. 4 lanes of highway are needed on both sides of the wall, so the border patrol can easily run the trespassers over quickly.

    mg (9e54f8)

  119. No one does access roads better than Texas; love me those freeway U-Turns w no stop signs.

    yes yes when i first got to Los Angeles i couldn’t help being appalled at how incompetent they are there

    Texas spoils you

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  120. @104

    Actually the sources specifically say that there isn’t a wall. Twice.

    “There is no continuous wall on the border”
    “Instead of building a wall and preventing people from crossing the border, Mexico relies on interior enforcement via layers of checkpoints staffed by the National Migration Institute, the military police, the Mexican Army, and the Mexican Navy.’

    Perhaps you have a picture of the wall?

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  121. OT: more corroboration:

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2018/03/mark_cuban_drunk_gropey_in_201.html

    Who would’ve thought the real bona fide p-grabber was in the front row of a debate with Trump as Hillary’s special guest?

    Cuban will surely leave his post as resident media darling and get the Billy Bush treatment, any day now….

    random viking (6a54c2)

  122. He was the president in the sharknado film? Professional courtesy, he financed that snuff film with depalma that 9 11 denialist film as well as kept Dan blather employed.

    narciso (d1f714)

  123. That’s hilarious, narciso. Only a thoroughly brain-washed leftist could buy that crap. I am looking forward to the same guys who couldn’t take an AR-15 off a teen trying to take 350 million firearms from us. MAGA

    Best access roads evahhhh.

    Rev.Hoagie (1b0402)

  124. @125 That picture is the us-mexico border.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  125. How about we conquer the rest of Mexico and build a real wall down south there. Or maybe push down to Panama.

    It would probably improve lives.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  126. narciso (d1f714) — 3/8/2018 @ 9:09 am
    selective photo-editing!!!/sarc

    felipe (5b25e2)

  127. The Chinese are taking that capital we so willingly give them in exchange for cheaper TVs and other consumer goods, and turning it into an 8% increase in their defense budget for next year.

    China now has more ships at sea in its Navy and Coast Guard equivalents, than does the US.

    China is aggressively pursing basing rights in various countries around the world for its armed forces in order to forward deploy military assets.

    China is acquiring dual use technologies through aggressive acquisition of tech companies in the US and elsewhere, and what it can’t acquire legally it simply acquires through economic espionage.

    China is funding propaganda and acquiring research through many many universities in the US.

    China bans most “open” social media companies from operating in China, and then sets up gov’t controlled social media companies that provide the same types of services. In order to gain market access, western social media companies have to agree to content censorship, which allows China to further propagandize beyond its borders.

    And China now has its first new Emperor since Mao, with Xi Jinping just having pushed through the elimination of the 10 year term on his position as President of China, and General Secretary of the ChiCom Party.

    But have you seen the price of the new Lenovo computers?? Got to get me one of them.

    Lenovo acquired IBM’s personal computer business in 2005, including the ThinkPad laptop and tablet lines.[15] Lenovo’s acquisition of IBM’s personal computer division accelerated access to foreign markets while improving both Lenovo’s branding and technology.[16] Lenovo paid US$1.25 billion for IBM’s computer business and assumed an additional US$500 million of IBM’s debt. This acquisition made Lenovo the third-largest computer maker worldwide by volume.[17]

    In regards to the purchase of IBM’s personal computer division, Liu Chuanzhi said, “We benefited in three ways from the IBM acquisition. We got the ThinkPad brand, IBM’s more advanced PC manufacturing technology and the company’s international resources, such as its global sales channels and operation teams. These three elements have shored up our sales revenue in the past several years.”[17]

    IBM acquired an 18.9% shareholding in Lenovo in 2005 as part of Lenovo’s purchase of IBM’s personal computing division.[18] Since then, IBM has steadily reduced its holdings of Lenovo stock. In July 2008, IBM’s interest in Lenovo fell below the 5% threshold that mandates public disclosure.[19]

    IBM’s Intel based server lines, including IBM System x and IBM BladeCenter were sold to Lenovo in 2014.[20] Lenovo says it will gain access to more enterprise customers, improve its profit margins, and develop a closer relationship with Intel, the maker of most server processors, through its acquisition of IBM’s x86-based server business.[21] On 1 October 2014, Lenovo closed its acquisition of IBM’s server division, with the final price put at $2.1 billion.[22] Lenovo said this acquisition came in at a price lower than the previously announced $2.3 billion partially because of a change in the value of IBM inventories. The deal has been already approved by Europe, China and the United States. The United States Department of Treasury Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) was reportedly the last hurdle for Lenovo, since the United States has the strictest policies.

    After closing, Lenovo said that its goal was to become the world’s largest maker of servers. Lenovo also announced plans to start integrating IBM’s workforce.[24] The acquisition added about 6,500 new employees to Lenovo. Lenovo said that it has no immediate intent to cut jobs. Lenovo said that positions in research and development and customer-facing roles such as marketing would be “100% protected”, but expected “rationalization” of its supply chain and procurement.[25]

    Lenovo said that its x86 servers will be available to all its channel partners. Lenovo plans to cut prices on x86 products in order to gain market share.[26] This goes in alliance with IBM’s vision of the future around cloud technologies and their own POWER processor architecture.[27]

    What was it I read about Chinese cell phones being manufactured with a backdoor in its software allowing third parties access to the phone’s memory?? Oh yeah:

    For about $50, you can get a smartphone with a high-definition display, fast data service and, according to security contractors, a secret feature: a backdoor that sends all your text messages to China every 72 hours.

    Security contractors recently discovered preinstalled software in some Android phones that monitors where users go, whom they talk to and what they write in text messages. The American authorities say it is not clear whether this represents secretive data mining for advertising purposes or a Chinese government effort to collect intelligence

    But letting the ChiComs dominate the worldwide server market shouldn’t be a problem at all.

    CHEAP STEEL FOR EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    shipwreckedcrew (56b591)

  128. Some way I got screwed up about what we were talking about. I was reading Guat/Mex but thinking Mex/Amer and had a brain fart. Why on earth would I give a crap about a wall between Guat and Mex? Who cares? I care about our border. I apologize for screwing up the whole thing. As Ruth Buzzi would say: “Never mind”. You are most likely right about the Guat/Mex wall I never looked.

    Rev.Hoagie (1b0402)

  129. Susan wright follows more squirrels than chip and dale.

    narciso (d1f714)

  130. @124 and @126

    Both images are of the us-mexco border.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  131. They have barriers but they mostly use the army, as does the Guatemalans whose top men become zetas.

    narciso (d1f714)

  132. A security threat has closed the U.S. consular agency by a major tourist hotspot in Mexico and officials have been told to keep away following a recent explosion aboard a ferry nearby.

    The U.S. Embassy in Mexico took the decision to close services in coastal resort town Playa del Carmen on Wednesday night, issuing a statement on the alert that did not specifically state what the threat was.

    The move comes after the ferry that links the coastal town with Caribbean island Cozumel suffered two alarming incidents in recent weeks. While disembarking nearby, a ferry suffered a non-fatal explosion in February, while an explosive device was found on another ferry the following week. Both incidents are under investigation.
    http://www.newsweek.com/mexico-travel-alert-issued-playa-del-carmen-835979

    papertiger (c8116c)

  133. @133

    No worries, I posted my response above before I saw your post.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  134. How about we conquer the rest of Mexico and build a real wall down south there. Or maybe push down to Panama.

    I’d prefer that we declare war against Mexico, pretend to lose, and give them California as reparations. We could keep a “Canal Zone” corridor (or several) for ports and naval bases on the Pacific.

    nk (dbc370)

  135. They already have it, for the most part, the us did get the best parts of the guadalipe hidalgo treaty, an abject lesson in nit hiring Santa abs for anything.

    narciso (d1f714)

  136. If this free trade plan is so awesome, why isn’t China doing it to us? Why don’t thee abolish all their tariffs and have their people buy our stuff cheap? Are they stupid?

    Ingot9455 (6a481b)


  137. No worries, I posted my response above before I saw your post.
    Davethulhu (fab944) — 3/8/2018 @ 9:32 am


    Again, I’m sorry. I was ranting and raving like a moron and I wasn’t even close to being on you page. I can be such a maroon.

    Rev.Hoagie (1b0402)

  138. There is a wall between Guatemala and Mexico. Cut straight through the jungle most of it.

    Google maps is your friend.

    papertiger (c8116c)

  139. @143

    Feel free to link.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  140. I wrote:

    18.Mark Simone said today (I don’t know hsi source) taht Donald Trump had staged a debate between proponets and opponets of the tariff, and Gary D. Cohn, the director of the White House National Economic Council, and Wilbur Ross, the Secretary of Commerce, were the leading figuures there, and and Gary Cohn didn’t do too well in that debate.

    I see a story in today’s paper that indicates I had the chronology wrong: This debate was scheduled after Trump had had that meeting with steel executives that had been arranged behind Gary Cohn’s back.

    Trump was going to announce tariffs at that meeting but he was persuaded to let Gary Cohn argue his case before. And the argument was held that afternoon. But Kohn was not convincing (probably because his argumenbt was too general and abstract) and then it was that he wanted to try to get executives from automobile companies like Ford and alumiminum using companeis like Coca Cola to prove his point, but he wasn’t given time.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  141. Workers pay has not risen (adjusted for inflation) in 30 years until trump got elected thanks to unfair trade. No free trader has ever been able to answer this question. How do you buy cheap foreign subsidized goods when your job went over seas and you have no money? parts of the mid west look like wage lands. But! A steel plant has just reopened.

    free trade bad (bf22bc)

  142. 132. shipwreckedcrew (56b591) — 3/8/2018 @ 9:27 am

    China bans most “open” social media companies from operating in China, and then sets up gov’t controlled social media companies that provide the same types of services. In order to gain market access, western social media companies have to agree to content censorship, which allows China to further propagandize beyond its borders.

    Worse, they are trying to get them to censor content OUTSIDE of China.

    Like, for starters, never acknowledging the Dalai Lama, and being careful not to indicate taht Taiwan is acountry

    China is also trying to set the standard for G5.

    And replace the U.S. Dollar as the world’s reserve currency, or at least have ito considred valuta like the Euro, but they are not succeeding.

    And now Xi has doomed the system. After him, all bets are off.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  143. It seems to me that the term “level playing field” refers not only to prices, but also to the “wedge” (as Jude Wanniski described it) of taxes, regulations and other impositions on manufacturing in each country that is party to an international trade transaction.

    Manufacturing in the U.S. (such as it once existed) is/was subject to multiple cost-increasing burdens such as federal, state & local income taxes and the related accounting and preparation costs (audited financial for public companies cost multiple millions of dollars), real and personal property taxes, regulatory compliance costs for OSHA, DOL, EPA, FCPA & OFAC, possibly DEA and FDA, and a multitude of other compliance regulations.
    http://www.themanufacturinginstitute.org/Research/Facts-About-Manufacturing/Costs/Regulations/Regulations.aspx

    I am ignorant of any factual comparison of the regulatory costs of, for example, U.S. manufacturing v Chinese-based manufacturing, so if indeed there is parity, someone please enlighten me. The news stories of toxic pet food, poor air quality, and the like suggest that China has far fewer regulations on its manufacturers than the U.S.

    Which is not to say that U.S. regulations don’t make for a far better quality of life and environment, etc., but to suggest that there’s a “level playing field” re: free trade between the cwo countries seems grossly misleading.

    ColoComment (256f5c)

  144. * (audited financialS*

    ColoComment (256f5c)

  145. Sheesh. *between the TWO countries*

    ColoComment (256f5c)

  146. But the major question Boudreaux cannot answer is if unfettered trade is so beneficial to a country, why haven’t China or any other country rushed to adopt it? It will make them more wealthy!

    China is Communist. If free-market capitalism is beneficial, why haven’t they rushed to adopt it? Obviously, Communism is a good idea!

    Excellent argument!

    Patterico (115b1f)

  147. Yeah, to an academic. Those of us who live in the real world beg to differ.

    Arguments in favor of capitalism are dismissed as pointy-headed theorizing by proponents of socialism, who insist that in the “real world” there are inequities that need to be addressed.

    Then countries applying your “let’s dismiss arguments for the free market as pointy-headed theorizing” ethic try socialism.

    And people die of starvation.

    In the real world.

    Patterico (115b1f)

  148. Who’s dumb idea was it to give the President sole power to raise taxes (i.e. tariffs)? That law should be repealed.

    John Sellman (cfa6f2)

  149. “Free” trade is a turnip ghost, in the real world countries expand or restrict trade based on what they think they need. You get dependent on super-cheap metals (of what quality?) through China or its Canadian intermediaries right up until the country that sells them cheaply decides to hoard them to drive up the price or weaken an enemy during negotiations or war.

    Much, I might add, like Facebook made downstream businesses dependent on their algorithm before slaughtering them without a second thought at a time and place of its choosing, for reasons known only to itself.

    I’m absolutely unsurprised that libertarian ‘conservatives’ who made not a peep of real protest as Facebook and Google got dictatorial monopoly powers over the digital trade routes and goods are whining the same way about America asserting its own primacy over its analog trades. They have no love for their particular country in the concrete, only an abstract notion of ‘greatest good for greatest number of people’ that’s child’s play for any motivated and organized group to exploit for trillions while they ineffectually protest.

    Dysphoria Sam (f03292)

  150. From the Trump to meet Kim thread:

    62. Marci (98fec4) — 3/9/2018 @ 9:19 am

    My husband is a Trump supporter but the tariff issue has really upset him. He sees nothing but economic downfall as do most of his co-workers. He’s in the oil and gas industry. He is in the process of expanding a field and upon announcement of the tariff every single bidder for his job, the pipe, the downhole tubing etc withdrew their bids. Nobody will even bid right now and it is guaranteed that the price will go up.

    This is news.. It may not mean that much. I don’t suppose they all intend to go out of business, so it must be they don’t know what to charge, and are waiting to see how the prices settle down.

    I tell you this. Inflation is starting. It’s runnning at 6% a year since about December. I don’t think it is a fluke. The increase in interest rates is finally having an effect. Because raising interest rates causes inflation – it doesn’t prevent it.

    Eight years ago he built a pipeline and they put out their government required standards for the pipe that they needed to solicit bids. Not a single US company bid on the contract. They pursued them, asked why, they wanted to buy American. So why didn’t they bid? Because the US companies couldn’t produce the pipe to the government required standards. They did not have the capability. So Japan got the pipe bid. The US was producing sub-standard pipe. They did not keep up with industry and government standards so the company had to go outside the US for their pipe.

    That’s why it is good that Trump at least chose tariffs rather than quotas.

    Quotas could work, if if was very specific and worked out in advance with all the companies.

    China is just going to send their steel through Mexico. Laundered steel will be the norm.

    How easy is that to do? Maybe easier is to use a “hawala” system, where steel that would otherwise be sold to a third country, is sold to the United States, and the third country gets Chinese steel.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  151. I think the “free” Chinese TV analogy is instructive. It immediately brought to mind those well funded and good-intentioned aid organizations that helicopter in and give away food, clothes and medicine. It’s not difficult to predict the catastrophic effects on local economies, and farmers in particular.

    Should I protest while my village gets free food from some UN aid convoy? Free food = richer! And anyway, I’m not even a farmer. But long term, and big picture, I assure you it will be a total disaster for my community.

    Ty (359b97)

  152. This argument makes it sound like there is no such thing as a moderate tariff, which to me sounds as if there were no such thing as a non-usurious interest rate. What would it sound like if Boudreaux suggested that Chase or the Bank of China unilaterally reduced all of its interest rates to zero?

    Cobb (c7c7e7)

  153. 157. Ty (359b97) — 3/10/2018 @ 3:13 am

    It immediately brought to mind those well funded and good-intentioned aid organizations that helicopter in and give away food, clothes and medicine. It’s not difficult to predict the catastrophic effects on local economies, and farmers in particular.

    It’s a problem only when they stop.

    There was aproblem with mosquito nets. Local manufacturing stopped and the free ones were not free because they went on to the black market. And gthey are used to catch fish.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/25/world/africa/mosquito-nets-for-malaria-spawn-new-epidemic-overfishing.html

    http://allafrica.com/stories/201704300084.html

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  154. On the the other hand is Rwanda better off now that used clothing csan no longer be imported?

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/dec/29/vintage-clothing-ban-rwanda-sparks-trade-dispute-with-us-united-states-secondhand-garments

    Secondhand garments are stifling the country’s fashion industry, officials say, but the ban has dismayed local traders – and reportedly imperils 40,000 US jobs

    ….

    Rwanda has moved aggressively to eliminate secondhand clothing, raising the import tariffs on used garments to more than 20 times the previous rate in an attempt to choke the supply and encourage traders to sell local products.

    “People will shift from secondhand to new clothes. What will change is just the type of product but not the business,” says Mugwiza.

    But traders whose livelihood depends on the castoffs say the higher taxes have already devastated their businesses and new garments are unaffordable.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/12/world/africa/east-africa-rwanda-used-clothing.html

    Across Africa, secondhand merchandise is the primary source of clothing — much as it is for cars, planes, hospital equipment, computers and sometimes even drugs that have passed their expiration date.

    Buses with Japanese lettering are ubiquitous. Planes in Congo have signs in Italian. Aspirin from Europe past its sell-by-date floods markets in Cameroon. Old medical equipment from the Netherlands lies idle in hospitals in South Africa. Ghana has become a dumping ground for huge amounts of electronic waste.

    Rwanda, in particular, is seeking to curb the import of secondhand clothes, not only on the grounds of protecting a nascent local industry, but also because it says wearing hand-me-downs compromises the dignity of its people.

    But when countries in East Africa raised their import tariffs on used garments last year — to such a high level that they constituted a de facto ban — the backlash was significant.

    Should I protest while my village gets free food from some UN aid convoy? Free food = richer! And anyway, I’m not even a farmer. But long term, and big picture, I assure you it will be a total disaster for my community.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)

  155. I don’t know where that last quote came from.

    Oh look also:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/28/world/africa/rwanda-plastic-bags-banned.html

    Public Shaming and Even Prison for Plastic Bag Use in Rwanda

    By KIMIKO de FREYTAS-TAMURA
    OCT. 28, 2017

    They are sometimes tucked into bras, hidden in underwear or coiled tightly around a smuggler’s arms.

    They’re not narcotics or even the illegally mined gold and diamonds that frequently make it across the border into Rwanda. But they are, at least in the eyes of Egide Mberabagabo, a watchful border guard, every bit as nefarious.

    The offending contraband? Plastic bags.

    “They’re as bad as drugs,” said Mr. Mberabagabo, one of a dozen border officials whose job it is to catch smugglers and dispose of the illicit plastic he finds.

    Here in Rwanda, it is illegal to import, produce, use or sell plastic bags and plastic packaging except within specific industries like hospitals and pharmaceuticals. The nation is one of more than 40 around the world that have banned, restricted or taxed the use of plastic bags, including China, France and Italy.

    But Rwanda’s approach is on another level. Traffickers caught carrying illegal plastic are liable to be fined, jailed or forced to make public confessions.

    Smugglers can receive up to six months in jail. The executives of companies that keep or make illegal plastic bags can be imprisoned for up to a year, officials say. Stores have been shut down and fined for wrapping bread in cellophane, their owners required to sign apology letters — all as part of the nation’s environmental cleanup..

    …Plastic-bag vigilantes are everywhere, from airports to villages, and these informants tip off the authorities about suspected sales or use of plastic…

    …An immigration official working alongside Mr. Mberabagabo showed footage on his cellphone of a middle-aged woman who had been caught transporting plastic bags wrapped around her arms. In the clip, she sobbed and apologized, shielding her eyes from the camera as if she were a drug dealer exposed in a sting operation on television.

    The official, expressing a mix of awe and frustration at the lengths to which smugglers will go, showed another video clip of a wheelchair that had a false bottom concealing bundles of tightly packed plastic bags. He puffed with pride while recounting how he discovered the deceit.

    Nearby, a tall plastic bin was filled to the brim with plastic bags, from the large supermarket kind to the small, translucent types used to pack sandwiches. A big banner read: “Use environmentally friendly bags” as officials searched luggage and patted down entrants…

    …Imports generally have their plastic packaging removed at customs, officials say, unless doing so would damage the goods. In that case, stores are required to remove the packaging before handing the merchandise to customers.

    Food wrapped in cellophane is allowed only in hotels, and only if it does not leave the premises.

    Biodegradable bags are allowed only for frozen meat and fish, not for other items like fruit and vegetables because such bags still take as long as 24 months to decompose, the government says.

    Potato chips and other foods packed in plastic are allowed only if the companies making them are approved by the government — after showing a detailed business plan that includes how they plan to collect and recycle their bags.,,,

    Theyn claim also that plastic bags interfere with farming.

    Sammy Finkelman (02a146)


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