Patterico's Pontifications

5/9/2019

Trump’s Tariffs Are Not About IP Theft

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:30 am



One issue that repeatedly comes up as a defense of Trump’s tariffs is China’s theft of intellectual property, or “IP.” This isn’t the real reason why he imposes the tariffs, though, and there are better ways to handle the problem — which is a real problem, albeit one that is exaggerated by tariff supporters.

Don Boudreaux explains why Trump’s tariffs are not motivated by IP theft:

For a number of reasons, I don’t buy this explanation of the president’s motives for imposing these tariffs.

First, because Trump repeatedly reveals his deep hostility to free trade, there’s no reason to believe that his tariffs are motivated only, or even mainly, by a desire to prevent IP theft. The likelihood is strong that the president and his trade advisers point to this theft merely as a convenient excuse for the protectionism that they would want under any circumstances.

Consider in this light Trump’s incessant yet misguided griping about the U.S. trade deficit with China. Because this trade deficit has nothing whatsoever to do with IP theft, we would hear no such griping if the main purpose of his tariffs were to protect American IP. The same can be said about Trump’s complaints about Beijing’s alleged currency manipulation.

I noted this just yesterday. Here is a recent Trump tweet:

His obsession is the trade deficit, which is actually a good thing, not a bad thing. It’s not IP theft.

Boudreaux continues:

Second, it’s nearly impossible for ordinary Americans to know exactly how much IP theft occurs in China. And so a protectionist administration, such as Trump’s, has powerful incentives to overstate the extent of such theft in order to amplify popular support for tariffs that are said to be imposed in retaliation.

Third, if Trump were truly interested in halting this alleged IP theft, his administration would file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO), which has explicit procedures for settling such a dispute. As far as I know, the administration hasn’t done so.

Fourth, Trump’s allegations of Chinese law-breaking are hypocritical and ring hollow given that his unilaterally imposed tariffs are themselves a clear violation of WTO rules — rules that the U.S. government has agreed to follow.

Fifth, Trump’s tariffs are first and foremost punitive taxes on Americans who buy imports from China.

But, you may reply, there still is an undeniable problem, even if Trump has motivation to exaggerate it and even if his current policy is motivated by economically ignorant mercantilism and an insufficient appreciation for the benefits of voluntary exchange unhampered by the coercive power of government. So what do we do about that?

This piece takes on several of the key complaints of protectionists and shows in detail that they are exaggerated, not unique to the Chinese, and that the Chinese are making improvements in these areas. The piece nevertheless acknowledges that China has failed to live up to international expectations and suggests a measured response that (unlike Trump’s tariffs) addresses the specific problems complained about — rather than doing what Trump’s tariffs do, which is to upend many beneficial transactions and impose costs having nothing whatever to do with the alleged problem.

Instead of the lose-lose policy of escalating tariffs, a policy of targeted response against specific infractions and more general diplomatic measures to encourage China to move in more proreform direction would yield better outcomes.

I hesitate to summarize those solutions here because it will keep people from reading them in their proper context. But I will say that one of the solutions is “targeted legal and administrative action against Chinese parties directly responsible for IP rights violations.” One of the companies cited is Huawei, which was indicted for stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile. But Trump has sent mixed messages about Huawei. He has even gone so far as to suggest that an arrested Huawei executive could be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations over a larger “deal” about tariffs.

When asked if he would intervene with the Justice Department in her case, Trump said in an interview with Reuters: “Whatever’s good for this country, I would do.”

“If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made – which is a very important thing – what’s good for national security – I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary,” Trump said.

Not only is this creepy, it also incentives China and other countries to make bogus arrests of American businessmen, since the U.S. has set the precedent that such arrests can be negotiating tools. In short, Trump’s erratic nature makes all this very difficult.

The bottom line is that IP theft happens and it should be dealt with, but in a responsible way that doesn’t use it as an excuse for massive tariffs that have zero to do with the (exaggerated) IP problem and which hurt Americans — consumers and producers alike.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

84 Responses to “Trump’s Tariffs Are Not About IP Theft”

  1. Ding (since apparently nobody has seen the post).

    Patterico (78f6de)

  2. Honestly, can we get rid of the exaggerated rhetoric? Wanting to get a better trade deal from China does not make you a “Protectionist”. We have always had *some* tariffs, so if you think anyone who wants ANY tariffs is a “Protectionist” then every POTUS since 1790 has been a “Protectionist”.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  3. i think your suggestion of going against the companies involved in IP violations is a good idea. Of course, almost all big Chinese companies are connected to the state in some way. There is no “separation of business and state” in China. Its still officially communist.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  4. How many folks here pirate music? movies? unlicensed computer software? video games? electronic books/textbooks?

    I am always amazed by peoples’ willingness to engage in IP theft themselves and deny that it is outright theft.

    It comes up at work quite often, in the context of pirated electronic copies of textbooks.

    Of course this doesn’t justify Chinese IP theft, but highlights the fact that it is a difficult problem, and hard to solve generally.

    Dave (1bb933)

  5. How many folks here pirate music? movies? unlicensed computer software? video games? electronic books/textbooks?

    I don’t. There’s none worth stealing.

    nk (dbc370)

  6. I don’t. There’s none worth stealing.

    Au contraire!

    Dave (1bb933)

  7. Some people deserve to be punished, like those who got rich in the 90s selling American production capacity and industrial secrets to China

    If they owned the industrial capacity, or the industrial secrets, why should they be punished for disposing of their property as they wished?

    It sounds like you’re advocating for state ownership of the means of production.

    Dave (1bb933)

  8. Yet the proximate cause of the breakdown in talks was the Chinese weakening of several previously agreed-to provisions on IP, currency manipulation and state subsidies.

    Mr. Trump’s advisers were surprised by developments during talks last week in Beijing and in an exchange of documents over this past weekend, when Chinese negotiators called for changes in the language of all seven chapters of the 150-page draft agreement, people familiar with the negotiations said.

    The Chinese requests covered everything from agreements to protect American intellectual property to limiting Chinese subsidies and currency manipulation.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/08/us/politics/china-trade-trump.html

    The Chinese had previously agreed to change domestic law to protect IP and were now reneging, saying that regulatory activity would suffice. The significant rewriting of every section of the working agreement told the negotiators that China was not serious about coming to an agreement any time soon.

    Hence the increase in tariffs. This is pretty much SOP in the trade negotiation playbook — negotiations which are primarily about mutual access to markets under the rule of law. And always have been, Trump or no Trump.

    If you want to prove that Trump is a bobble-head, fine, but that should not impugn the work or recommendations of the negotiators, all of whom know a damn sight more about trade and how it works than anyone here.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  9. I don’t know that anybody has said that China’s disrespect of intellectual property iis the reason for Trump’s trade fight wih China – it is a possible motive for some people involved not just dropping the whole thing, and a justification to outsiders, and possibly one of a number of issues that some eople working for Trump want to reeither redirect his attention to, or piggyback on it.

    In the previous weeks of negotiations, China agreed to a list of Chinese laws that should be changed. News reports say that when they heard of Mnuchin’s arguments to the Fed that a trade war could damage the economy and that Fed should therefore be wary of raising interest rates, the American experts in China decided that Trump was worried his tariffs could damage the economy and therefore would back down.

    Trump’s not worried; maybe his appointeees are. But actually, even more so, his appointeees are trying to come up with arguments to the Fed that might work, so they say that tariifs might damage the economy. Not because they believe it would have that much of an effect, but because some Fed economists do and therefore maybe Jerome Powell might.

    It’s sort of like the Nixon madman theory, ony with the economy: Trump’s going to wreck the economy, therefore you’ve got to keep interest rates low.

    And in this way, President Donald Trump could become responsible for record rates of economic growth.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  10. Trump wants interest rates low, but not because he’s worried about the effects of his tariffs – it is that he doesn’t want the Fed trying to put a ceiling on economic growth – and then there’s the deficit which will skyrocket if nterest rates are allowed to rise.

    Trump can’t control the Fed…except by acting like a madman. And it’s starting to work. Only this is not planned.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  11. Question: Should there be ANY rules on international trade?

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  12. Dave,

    Copyright laws are indeed under strain with the advent of the torrent system, coupled with even modest encryption, that makes interdicting “file-sharing” nearly impossible. But part of the disrespect of copyright is due to the equally troubling disrespect of the Public Domain by media companies and their legislative stooges. Works would have entered the Public Domain 40 years ago, under the agreement in place at the time of creation, are protected years into the future. The Constitution restricts IP protection to “limited terms” and the terms now being used are of questionable limitation, both because of their extreme length and because they keep getting extended.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  13. While there is some issue in China with Copyright (primarily commercial abuse), the real issue is with patent enforcement. There needs to be a legal system where patent protection can be secured, it cannot be left to the whim of bureaucrats.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  14. Confucius say state-sponsored capitalism sails corporate espionage into stormy seas.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  15. @9. They already have us by the short and curlies, Sammy, given how much we borrow to finance $14 billion aircraft carriers, perpetual wars and such. Some day when the time is to their advantage, they’ll squeeze. In the immediacy, Trump’s ‘too big to fail’ mentality has been his hallmark for decades; that’s how he suckered the banks, his suppliers– even the NYC ad biz back in the day and stuck the rest of us w/t bill. China has a long range plan to buy, beg, borrow and steal their way into modernization in the key technologies of our time and own this century. They’re smart as well as patient. And, as with the Japanese, they are disciplined enough to stick to it. Americans aren’t known for that. Problem is, in the short term, from their POV, we’re they’re biggest market– for now. But that won’t last forever. They’re certainly not going to open up the ‘free trade’ floodgates and allow Whirlpool to sell refrigerators made in Indiana there when Hisense stamps them out already. At best, they’d negotiate Whirlpool establishing a factory there to employ Chinese workers and tap the technologies. ‘Free trade’ is a bit of a unicorn- it’s ‘fair trade’ we want.

    @2/@3- Yep.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  16. Trump is a marketing creature. His brand is a dominating other people and his measure of success is public accolades.
    The trade deficit matters to him because it’s easy to measure and appears to make sense on a gut level.
    The people most hurt by globalization don’t care about general increases in GDP they care about having a respectable job that pays enough to buy a decent house in the area they call home.
    Woodward’s book talked about a plan to use existing WTO processes to address IP misconduct by China, trump didn’t pursue it. It’s hard to market and appealing to a 3rd party like the WTO is off brand.
    Telling people that you’ll ‘force’ China to treat us ‘fairly’ by buying our stuff and grow our economy is easy to understand and very much on brand. It also implies that the problem is that China was cheating. It’s simple, obvious, and wrong.
    Free trade makes us all wealthier because we get more stuff. Even the people complaining that Globalization is hurting them enjoy being able to go and buy lots of cheap stuff that was made in other countries. You don’t have to buy stuff made in other countries, but it costs a lot more to buy American made clothing and that means you get less of it. You can buy an American Giant hoodie for 100$ or you can buy 4 hoodies from TJMAX/Target/Wallmart that were made somewhere else. This is a choice.
    You can buy American made clothes (and cars, and tools, and food) but you instead of 5 parts of pants for the week you have 2. Instead of a sweatshirt for hunting and another for day to day you just have one and do your best to keep it clean. Stop buying fruits and vegetables that are grown in other countries and just get used to only eating fresh foods when they’re in season in in the US. It’s just a different set of choices.
    How does instapundit put it? I’ll start believing this is a problem when the people that tell me it’s a problem, act like it’s a problem.

    In the meantime, I pretty much agree with everything in the original post.

    Time123 (b0628d)

  17. But patent protection can be abused, and the regulatory process manipulated to the advantage of the patent holder.
    For example, this is the drug I take to keep my colitis in remission. Monthly retail cost for my dosage id about $1400 because no generic is available. No generic is available because Shire, the company that makes it, has made sure that bringing a generic to market is not worth it.
    https://www.drugstorenews.com/pharmacy/prasco-agrees-distribute-authorized-generic-pentasa/

    Kishnevi (3c63a1)

  18. @16. Last week, purchased a Chinese made Hisense compact fridge at Walmart– for $25. Twenty-five-frigging-bucks! The U.S. made RCA Whirlpool model w/t same volume– was about $125. But with the “help” of Yankee-Doodle-retailers like Walmart ‘selling’ their retail space, China’s Hisense is literally buying market share in the U.S.– and state-sponsored/supported/subsidized capitalism allows them to absorb losses over several quarters to establish that market share. RCA-Whirlpool stockholders won’t accept those kind of losses in our quarterly driven economy. This is the real world.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  19. The consumers (including manufacturers who purchase intermediate goods) are the ones who decide what they are willing to buy and at what price. Don’t like China? Don’t buy Chinese goods. But if people do not want to buy, say, U.S. steel, it is not the job of government to force them to — or to put its thumb on the scale until they have no choice.

    Patterico (78f6de)

  20. How does instapundit put it? I’ll start believing this is a problem when the people that tell me it’s a problem, act like it’s a problem.

    Right. “I buy Chinese goods but I want government to tell me I am not allowed to, at least at the price I want to pay” is odd logic indeed if you say it out loud.

    Patterico (78f6de)

  21. I think the tariffs are a way of forcing China to deal with the Trump Administration.
    If Trump loses in 2020 China can probably get a better deal from whichever Democrat wins.
    If someone like Beto wins, the entire world will walk all over him and us.

    I see what went on in the last round of talks with N. Korea as predictive. The Democrats torpedoed Trump in the middle of those talks and it was clear (to me at least) that the NK’s thought they could hold on for a year and a half and maybe deal with Bernie.
    Trump can sanction NK, but they are already heavily sanctioned and China still buys its coal and raw materials under the table.

    Same goes for Iran. Bernie or Biden will give them a much sweeter deal.

    Tariffs as a short term tool work to mitigate China’s adventurism and are not strictly tools of trade. They are behavior modification tools that hurt. Some countries only respect powerful people who wield their power. Trump can hurt China if they keep dodging around on regularly negotiated items like IP

    steveg (e7a56b)

  22. Someone the other day said China produces 85% of the transformers and equipment for the US power grid and that China could strike back at us by not selling that equipment to us. To me that might be a blessing in disguise because we should be building our own capacities for this type of critical infrastructure and these types of hiccups that bring price hikes into the supply chains draw innovators back into the competition

    steveg (e7a56b)

  23. This is the real world.

    This is the real world, but that doesn’t mean the government should intervene. Why deny American consumers goods they want, goods you want? RCA/Whirlpool will either figure out a way to compete or it will focus on manufacturing its profitable products.

    And if, in the future, China raises its prices, then other manufacturers will have an opening if they can sell at a lower price. If no one can sell at that price because the Chinese subsidized it, you and everyone like you got a great deal.

    DRJ (15874d)

  24. The only bright side I can see if Bernie were to win would be that the stampede to take advantage would be like Black Friday at WalMart… the less nimble amongst them will get trampled, and the others will slug it out over off brand flat screens.

    steveg (e7a56b)

  25. I see the negotiating argument a lot but is it realistic with countries like China? Are they that dependent on us that their public will rise up and object before our public does?

    DRJ (15874d)

  26. odd logic indeed

    There seems to be a lot of that going around…

    Dave (1bb933)

  27. Trump has about a year, maybe less, before he will really care about public opinion. Don’t the Chinese know this?

    DRJ (15874d)

  28. I also believe the tariffs are a way to induce China to deal with these (IP and other) issues. Reported today (at least the first I’d read about it) was the U.S. forcing China to sell the Port of Long Beach and America seizing thru forfeiture the 2nd largest NoKo container ship (it really happened last year) for violating sanctions. Not huge things by themselves but there may be other actions afoot or being planned that will help.

    This may be an effective way to deal with these… time will tell.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  29. 23 before you can be a consumer you have to have money to pay for cheap chinese junk! A job is really helpful to get money as conservatives point out not everyone can be on welfare as their will be no tax money to pay for welfare state. One of the marx brothers said the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. that is why trump got elected. if corporate democrats hadn’t stopped bernie sanders we would be dealing with free traders and their wealthy masters with far larger tariffs if not sending free traders to re-education camps. Don’t like trumps tariffs? See if you like AOC’s tax the rich, feed the poor, tax the rich till they aint rich no more!

    lany (9ea385)

  30. In the end, someone has to decide how you will spend your money. I argue that person should be you. Everyone arguing against me wants to give that decision to someone else, whether in whole or in part.

    Patterico (78f6de)

  31. I also believe the tariffs are a way to induce China to deal with these (IP and other) issues

    Tell Sammy, who said upthread: the opposite in the opening words of his comment 9 (which my phone is not allowing me to copy and paste).

    Patterico (78f6de)

  32. @23. Except the government has intervened; the Chinese government.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  33. This is the real world, but that doesn’t mean the government should intervene. Why deny American consumers goods they want, goods you want? RCA/Whirlpool will either figure out a way to compete or it will focus on manufacturing its profitable products.

    And if, in the future, China raises its prices, then other manufacturers will have an opening if they can sell at a lower price. If no one can sell at that price because the Chinese subsidized it, you and everyone like you got a great deal.

    Took the words right out of my mouth! Well said.

    Patterico (78f6de)

  34. @23. Except the government has intervened; the Chinese government.

    And you didn’t even have the courtesy to thank them. They lowered your price for you.

    Patterico (78f6de)

  35. our president mr. donald trump something something goodness and light something something dirty chinesers something something mitt romney

    Dave (1bb933)

  36. Note to Democrats: you can get Republicans to willingly and even eagerly pay higher taxes. Just call it a tariff and tell them it hurts someone else.

    Patterico (78f6de)

  37. I knew this thread was missing something, Dave.

    Patterico (78f6de)

  38. @28. It’s an economic weapon, but not necessarily a good one. They’re not going to change their long rang economic model to accommodate us in the short term. China’s Xi Jinping is ‘President for life.’ Trump has six years at best- [if he lays off the cream pie and cheeseburgers]… that’s a blip in time for China’s planning.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  39. “If no one can sell at that price because the Chinese subsidized it, you and everyone like you got a great deal.”

    Yeah, except for the all the AMERICANS who build refrigerators and those who own stock in those companies. They’re going out of business and losing their jobs (and getting Gov’t Benefits) because the Chinese Gov’t decided to subsidize its Refrigerators company and drive the USA one out of business. And as I’ve said before, once the Chinese own the market, they’ll start jacking up the price to make more Profit. Talking about the “Free Market” is nonsense. There is no “free market’ in global trade. And there’s no “Free Market” in the legal profession either. You want to make it so?

    rcocean (1a839e)

  40. @34. Gaining that much more market share is thanks enough. Whirlpool wouldn’t have thanked me at all. 😉 State/sponsored/subsidized/supported/capitalism strikes again.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  41. Nothing is more ridiculous than listening to some “economist” in a non-profit think tank, Government job, or teaching at a public university (or a private one that’s heavily subsidized) putting on the tough guy “free market” act. American losing their jobs? “Tough luck” they sneer. Free market baby. Compete or die. Then they go back to their subsidized job that’s completely insulated from any “Free Market”.

    rcocean (1a839e)

  42. @39. Yup. Bingo. Which is exactly what the Japanese did at Panasonic back in the day w/those batteries we introduced into the U.S. market. It’s a strategy that works as long as the government is there [Japanese or Chinese] to subsidize your quarterly losses to buy that market share. Long term, it’s worth it to them.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  43. And if we’re going to look at everything from a personal standpoint – I don’t buy crappy little refrigerators from Walmart, so I don’t care if you pay 10x as much. How’s them apples?

    rcocean (1a839e)

  44. Hey free traders how do you buy cheaper (because they are subsidized) chinese junk when you have lost your job to free trade and have no money? How can you be a consumer if you have no money? Your answer is thats too bad. America’s answer when you are being sent by the americans to re-education camps for free traders “thats to bad!” Hate pro tariff trump? See if you like AOC’s final solution to free trader question.

    lany (9ea385)

  45. @39. You know what the Japanese did as part of their employee orientation– they’d screen the film ‘Twelve O’Clock High.’ Then dissect it in Q&A afterwards– by striping away the ‘war film’ veneer and use it as a study in American management structure and techniques.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  46. @43.Meh. Needed one PDQ for base essentials- the $1100 Frigidaire went on the blink.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  47. “In the end, someone has to decide how you will spend your money. I argue that person should be you. Everyone arguing against me wants to give that decision to someone else, whether in whole or in part.”
    Patterico (78f6de) — 5/9/2019 @ 1:07 pm

    Any plan for retraining academics, lawyers and public workers who would lose their jobs as a result? Or, just point them to the nearest food bank? I’m fine with that.

    Munroe (ca43a8)

  48. And think about the doctors and medical professionals who would lose out if medical costs were to go down.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  49. If some concessions, better access to markets and a better trading environment can be had, it will be worth it.

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  50. BTW, the whole “blockading our own ports” analogy doesn’t work.

    In wartime we blockade the enemy ports so that they cannot trade with anyone. We do this because it is easier and less combative than blockading all the other ports.

    In a trade war, we are not blockading ANY port. The other country is free to trade with anyone else, as are we. We just inject a cost into their transactions in our markets and they probably do the same to us. The idea is not to impose long-term tariffs, but to impose sufficient economic pain that they agree to terms.

    Yes, this ALSO imposes pain on our citizens, those who still find in necessary to buy the taxed goods, but it is supposed to be far less pain than exacted at the other end.

    China cannot remain a rich country if they cannot sell to the US, while the US can buy cheap products from a variety of sources. Not all iPhones are made in China. Even with President Dumberdore, China has to cave. They miscalculated badly with this walkback, thinking Trump would wilt.

    One a separate note, never try to bluff a fool in a poker game; he will not know when to fold.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  51. And if, in the future, China raises its prices, then other manufacturers will have an opening if they can sell at a lower price. If no one can sell at that price because the Chinese subsidized it, you and everyone like you got a great deal.

    Sure, if they are selling finger-puzzles but not high-tech items with large costs of entry. A cutting-edge chip fab cost $15-20 billion to build and as of now there are only three players: Intel, TSMC and Samsung with some competition from Global Foundries. Breaking into that marketplace would take $100 billion and a decade before you saw returns.

    Solar panels are of some concern. If China drives everyone else out of the market, then raises prices, it might be uneconomic to challenge them (and hope they don’t decide to flood the market again).

    The idea that this is, or ought to be, all individual choice pretends that the Prisoners’ Dilemma isn’t a thing. Each individual benefits from getting a cheap solar panel, today, and has no reason to worry about anyone else, today or in the future. But the aggregated choice is one they might not want to make.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  52. I see the negotiating argument a lot but is it realistic with countries like China? Are they that dependent on us that their public will rise up and object before our public does?

    1) China depends a LOT more on the US than the US does on them.
    2) Our people will rise up if you preempt a cartoon. Our leaders take marches with a grain of salt.
    3) If Chinese people rise up, people die. Their system is far more brittle, and marching masses is something their rules want to avoid, and react badly to.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  53. @29

    if corporate democrats hadn’t stopped bernie sanders we would be dealing with free traders and their wealthy masters with far larger tariffs if not sending free traders to re-education camps.

    So we agree tariffs would be bad if Bernie was president. How does that make Trump’s tariffs good? Because re-education camps?

    lurker (d8c5bc)

  54. Up next week: “Does the Bar Association interfere with Free Trade in legal representation?”

    Speaking for the YES side, Donald Trump: “Why should I have to pay extra for someone with a law degree if I don’t want to?”

    Speaking for the NO side, nearly everyone else: “Some markets need regulation.”

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  55. So we agree tariffs would be bad if Bernie was president.

    Bernie’s tariffs would be intentionally protectionist and throttle all trade. He’d probably subsidize dying industries as well. The current tariffs are (mostly) directed at one trade partner who we wish would change its ways. Trump’s tariffs would come off the moment a new deal is agreed to.

    Kevin M (21ca15)

  56. Kevin,

    Not to quibble, but if someone can pass the bar on their own, they shouldn’t need to spend the 150k and waste their time in an indoctrination center for the privilege.

    And yes, I know the Bar Association is not the same as law school, but they should modify their standards accordingly.

    NJRob (532adc)

  57. Law degrees to sit for the bar were not required in the United States until around the 1930s. They’re still not required in California, Wyoming, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington and Virginia. In New York, you need only one year of law school to take the exam, and in Maine you only need two years. Then once you’re licensed in that “home state”, you can apply for admission in other states under their reciprocity rules (usually three years in good standing in your home state) or pro hac vice before any judge at his discretion.

    nk (dbc370)

  58. A guy walks into a bar and sees a gorgeous woman nursing a drink.

    Walking up behind her he says: “Hi there, good lookin’. How’s it going?”

    Having already downed a few martinis, she turns around, faces him, looks him straight in the eye and says: “Listen up, buddy. I screw anybody, anytime, anywhere, your place, my place, in the car, front door,back door, on the ground, standing up, sitting down, naked or with clothes on, dirty, clean… It just doesn’t matter to me. I’ve been doing it ever since I got out of college and I just flat-ass love it.”

    Eyes now wide with interest, he responds: “No kidding. I’m a lawyer too. What firm are you with?”

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  59. So a guy sitting next to the lady overhears their conversation and barks: “Lawyers are assholes!” Whereupon, a second guy sitting a couple of stools over, snaps: “Watch your mouth, buddy!” Not fazed, the first guy sneers back: “Why? Are you a lawyer too?” And the second guy says: “No, I’m an asshole.”

    nk (dbc370)

  60. 56. NJRob (532adc) — 5/9/2019 @ 6:14 pm

    Not to quibble, but if someone can pass the bar on their own, they shouldn’t need to spend the 150k and waste their time in an indoctrination center for the privilege.

    There used to be an appreticeship system. And lawyers didn’t use to charge so much.

    I see here it still is possible in California (!) Virginia, Washington State and Vermont. New York, Wyoming, and Maine allow reduced law schoo. Supreme Court Justice Roberrt H. Jackson did that a little more than a century ago.

    http://likelincoln.org/apprenticeship

    And the bar exam tests unused obscure knowedge, and covers material not taught in law schook, but it is not as bad as the CPA exam.

    And yes, I know the Bar Association is not the same as law school, but they should modify their standards accordingly.

    Some states don’t require membership in Bar Association and there have been lawsuits (based on the same principle as lawsuits assertig dues to unions should be not required if they can be used for political activity) with some recent successes.

    https://www.law.com/nationallawjournal/2019/02/14/us-supreme-court-ruling-fuels-suits-challenging-mandatory-bar-fees

    https://www.city-journal.org/lawyers-challenge-mandatory-dues

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  61. Nothing is more ridiculous than listening to some “economist” in a non-profit think tank, Government job, or teaching at a public university (or a private one that’s heavily subsidized) putting on the tough guy “free market” act. American losing their jobs? “Tough luck” they sneer. Free market baby. Compete or die. Then they go back to their subsidized job that’s completely insulated from any “Free Market”.

    So much to unpack.

    Nothing is more ridiculous than listening to some “economist” in a non-profit think tank, Government job, or teaching at a public university (or a private one that’s heavily subsidized) putting on the tough guy “free market” act

    So here we have strength, and fairness.

    “Tough luck” they sneer

    here we have lack of respect.

    Then they go back to their subsidized job that’s completely insulated from any “Free Market”.

    And here we have factual inaccuracy. Its safe to assume most of these grade students are working at teaching assistants, doing work that would otherwise be done by native born adjunct professors.

    As usual, mostly nonsense from Mr. RC.

    Time123 (6e0727)

  62. The anti-education obsession of Trump’s Luddite superfans is remarkable, but at the same time entirely understandable.

    “I love the poorly educated.” – Donald Trump, February 24, 2016

    Dave (1bb933)

  63. The Texas State Bar is being sued by three conservative Texas lawyers, joined by the Texas AG, because they don’t want their dues spent on politicized activities. Some see it as the first step to breaking up the power of the Bar Association:

    Their lawsuit was one of a handful filed in the wake of Janus vs. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court case that decreed that mandatory public union dues may not be used for political activities without consent. The lawsuit, an existential threat to the state bar, could force the organization to splinter into a mandatory organization that would handle disciplinary disputes and a voluntary organization that could put on educational programming and other events — or even force regulation of the legal profession into the Legislature’s hands.

    Similar court battles are being fought in Oregon, North Dakota and Oklahoma. But Paxton, bar leadership said, is so far the only state attorney general to come out against his own state bar, and to blast a state law as unconstitutional — an unusual move given that his agency is tasked with defending Texas law.

    DRJ (15874d)

  64. People lose jobs when their companies can’t compete. It is sad when people lose jobs, for that or any reason.

    DRJ (15874d)

  65. But the aggregated choice is one they might not want to make.

    Kevin M (21ca15) — 5/9/2019 @ 5:23 pm

    I’m sorry, Kevin, but we live in the era of Binary Choice.

    /sarc

    DRJ (15874d)

  66. Since 1968, at least, Illinois lawyers are solely under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Supreme Court, which makes all the rules, and appoints administrative units, for licensing, registration, discipline, and continuing legal education. All final decisions on licensing and discipline are signed by the Court itself. The several bar associations are purely voluntary membership organizations.

    nk (dbc370)

  67. Texas, too, but I don’t think the Bar Association membership is voluntary here.

    DRJ (15874d)

  68. People lose jobs when their companies can’t compete. It is sad when people lose jobs, for that or any reason.

    Quite true, and it’s easy to perceive fans of the free market as being callous about this. But unless government interfered, people lose jobs and companies shut down because the companies are not satisfying consumers. What are we to do in response? Make consumers buy the products they don’t want to buy?

    Patterico (115b1f)

  69. My Dad mechanized part of the industry he worked in, but it put some Americans out of work who used to do those jobs. Other people — even people in other countries — got jobs that made his ideas work, but they weren’t the same people who lost their jobs.

    His ideas improved his industry but it sounds like some here would say they were a bad thing.

    DRJ (15874d)

  70. rcocean:

    And if we’re going to look at everything from a personal standpoint – I don’t buy crappy little refrigerators from Walmart, so I don’t care if you pay 10x as much. How’s them apples?

    PATTERICO: The free market is the best system. It allows people to act in their self-interest in a way that systematically benefits society. Not everyone benefits at all times, but no greater system has been found to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives.

    RCOCEAN: Ah so you’re in favor of people acting selfishly! Well then, I support using the coercive power of government to do things that hurt others and are bad for society as a whole but that further my selfish interests! I guess you support that since you support selfishness! Ha ha! You are totally pwn3d!!!!1!

    Patterico (115b1f)

  71. Make consumers buy the products they don’t want to buy?

    Patterico (115b1f) — 5/10/2019 @ 7:13 am

    I grew up in a time when everyone had one choice in phones — a bulky black landline phone owned by AT&T (called Southwestern Bell in Texas) that we leased because we weren’t allowed to buy it. Years later, we were given the amazing choice of getting a color phone or even (gasp) a princess phone.

    I don’t think those were great years but none of the AT&T workers ever lost their jobs.

    DRJ (15874d)

  72. “The grand battle of the Trade Avengers in Washington really isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things. What matters is the implosion of America’s technological predominance, exemplified by the Trump administration’s strategic humiliation over Fifth Generation (5G) mobile broadband…

    FBI Director Christopher Wray, who last week claimed that China is “stealing its way up the economic ladder,” is the 21st-century counterpart of Al-Musta’sim, the feckless caliph of Baghdad. Huawei Technologies, the spearhead of China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), isn’t a Chinese company, but an imperial juggernaut that crushes its competition and employs their intellectual resources. By 2013 it employed 40,000 foreigners–mostly in R&D– out of a workforce of 150,000. I think it foolish to think that the Chinese can’t innovate, but it doesn’t matter whether they can or not, any more than the siege skills of Mongol horsemen mattered in 1258.”

    https://pjmedia.com/spengler/the-huelefant-in-the-parlor/

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  73. What are we to do? Make consumers buy the products they don’t want to buy?

    Actually, that is essentially what ‘we’ did — or that is, the Japanese car audio division and marketing team at Panasonic.

    The 5-year marketing plan called for the introduction of three base models to be sold- distributing high, middle and low end units to U.S. dealers and retailers in year one, and filling in the gaps between them with incremental models with upgraded features at varying price points over the next four years. The whole plan- prototypes, et al., was kept in a locked ‘war room’ w/restricted access– chiefly the engineers and those of us on the marketing team.

    Then, at the end of the five year cycle, the plan was to replace the entire line with the more technically advance units on and repeat the five year sales cycle. But the more advanced units were ready for market two to three years earlier and kept under wraps from both our competitors and the public. Moving existing inventory– essentially already outdated- was the priority. So yes, we ‘made’ consumers buy products that we knew were already technically obsolete. Matsu$hita did this w/everything from VCRs to turntables.

    This is the real world.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  74. 73. DCSCA (797bc0) — 5/10/2019 @ 11:01 am

    Moving existing inventory– essentially already outdated- was the priority. So yes, we ‘made’ consumers buy products that we knew were already technically obsolete. Matsu$hita did this w/everything from VCRs to turntables.

    They stockpiled future innovations. Companies can do that, although maybe on;y Japanese companies did (?) A U.S. company, if it thought of this strategy, wouldn’t risk someone else coming out with the same or a better improvement first if they waited; and wouldn’t have a lack of confidence in their own ability to further innovate. They might roll out the next one a little bit slowly, but not make a five year plan. I don’t think Microsft ever did anything like this, or Apple. Maybe plan new releases two three years ahead maximum. It’s because the Japanese companies didn’t have any confidence in their ability to innovate, or that there even could be any further inventions, that they did this.

    I think prescription drug companies now have these things planned too. Minor innovations, but they can extend the patent.

    That’s not the same thing, though, as what as Patterico mentioened @68 – trying somehow to get consumers to buy things they don’t want to buy.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  75. @74. In a way, it is– particularly the way they were doing it. Found it a troubling policy- among other issues– which made the decision to leave the corporation easier.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  76. @75. Postscript w/74. For instance, ‘sweet-talking’ distributors in say, Alabama, into purchasing inventory the manufacturer knew was already quite obsolete and that the retailers would have to unload was distasteful, at least to me.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  77. “Put plainly, China seems determined to steal its way up the economic ladder, at our expense. And the U.S. is by no means their only target. They’re strategic in their approach, and they actually have a formal plan set out in five-year increments to achieve dominance in critical areas.

    To get there they are using an expanding set of non-traditional methods, so weaving together things like foreign investment and corporate acquisitions with cyber intrusions and supply chain threats. The Chinese government is taking the long view—that’s probably an understatement, they made the long view an art form. They’re calculating, they’re focused, they’re patient and persistent.”

    —- Christopher Wray, FBI Director

    Colonel Haiku (2601c0)

  78. DRJ (15874d) — 5/10/2019 @ 6:42 am

    Goodness Aunt Emma! Existential threat my foot…

    https://thefloridabarfoundation.org/

    It’s actually well tied into the Bar, and the Bar tries to get lawyers to donate when they pay mandatory fees, but it is officially independent of the Bar and runs on donations.

    The Bar does lobby the legislature, and express political opinions as a corporate body, but only on matters directly tied to the administration of justice and the law. Anything else is done with donations, not Bar dues.

    I am just surprised Texas and other states don’t have a similar scheme in place.

    Kishnevi (37d538)

  79. @77. The Frontline PBS doc making the rounds this week cover this issue quite well, Colonel.

    The miscommunication amongst us all seems to be around theorist chatter about ‘free markets’ and ‘free trade’ when the pragmatics in the reality of this day and age point more toward securing ‘fair markets’ and ‘fair trade’ – which seems much more realistic and attainable. But there’s little doubt Wray’s assessment of the ‘China Model,’ as it’s called, is a good one. There are few examples of the U.S. maintaining that kind of long term discipline. OTOH, not being wedded to that kind of a ‘long range plan’ allows for flexibility and more adaptability to sudden change. The guy or gal who figures out a beneficial meshing for trade between both systems likely has a Nobel in economics waiting for them.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  80. @74.Post, postscript. Saw no lack of confidence in the capability of Japanese organizations to ‘innovate’ Sammy. They knew how to stagger it out and milk every idea to the fullest. Vividly recall one afternoon when a new Sony system was introduced stateside, a cluster of engineers rushing out to buy two sets at retail, carting them into the lab and literally disassemble and reverse engineer whatever they could from them.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  81. 9. A related Trump tweet:

    https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump

    https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump

    BTW, here’s Trump’s latest tweet:

    https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  82. This got sent by mistake. I thin there’s a tweet there about economic growth.

    Sammy Finkelman (ec94de)

  83. all health tips information hereplease visit

    health tips (9da0ef)

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