Patterico's Pontifications


Elected Official Bullies “Old White Lady” Peacefully Protesting, Calls For Her Address To Protest In Front Of Her Home

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:14 am

[guest post by Dana]

This is not OK .

Representative Bryan Sims (D-PA), an angry bigot, filmed himself harassing a private citizen whom he repeatedly referred to as an “old white lady” as she quietly exercised her legal right to protest in front of a Planned Parenthood. He posted the video of his bullying online in an effort to get supporters to make a donation to Planned Parenthood:

At the 4:30 mark, Sims asks viewers to let him know her address so he can protest in front of her home.

“Who would have thought that an old white lady would be out in front of a Planned Parenthood telling people what’s right for their bodies?” Sims said on camera. “Shame on you. Shame on you for hiding your face at the same time that you’re shaming other people.”

Sims continued, “Again, the same laws that protect me, protect you and that’s OK. You’re allowed to be out here. That doesn’t mean that you have a moral right to be out here. Shame on you. What you’re doing here is disgusting. This is wrong. You have no business being out here. … Disgusting.”

He also accused her of participating in a “racist act of judgement,” and presumed to speak for white people everywhere, saying, “If you’re a white person like I am, we have a lot of catching up to do. We have a lot to apologize for and I’m going to start by apologizing for this woman.”

A U.S. Representative, *and a male one at that, literally bullied a woman and told her that she had “no business” quietly protesting. Where is the outrage? How is this acceptable to anyone on any side of the aisle? Shouldn’t our elected officials be representing everyone, and not behaving like their own mini-police state? Shouldn’t those within his district demand better from him, knowing that the tables could easily be turned if the next elected official is a Republican? How would they feel about a Republican representative harassing a private citizen protesting outside of a gun show? And how is it remotely acceptable that an elected official is asking for a private citizen’s address in order to protest at her home? Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Sims has attempted to doxx private citizens:

In a video shared on his Facebook account on April 18, Sims approached a group of about five protesters he says had been “shaming young girls” in front of the entrance to Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania.

A female adult approached Sims and explained that they “are actually just here praying for the babies” before he offered $100 to anyone who can identify the girls within the group.

When a pro-life group tweeted about his antics, Sims responded with a dullard’s complete lack of self-awareness:


In perusing the internet, I’m unable to find any notable Democrats (or Big Media) – those alleged defenders of women and the marginalized, pushing back on Sims and demanding an apology for his obvious harassment. But sure, wear the wrong hat and a smirk, and the outrage machine goes into overdrive.

This x 1,000:

I am extremely troubled by the fact that a man who is paid by our tax dollars feels it is appropriate to publicly shame one of those taxpayers just because he disagrees with her.

That everyone isn’t equally as troubled, is just as troubling as the elected official’s behavior.

[*Yes, I know he is a gay, LGBT activist. So what.]

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


Trump Superfans on Tariffs, and Also Trump Superfans on Tariffs

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:16 am

Trump superfans: Tariffs are inherently a good thing. They protect American industries from unfair competition by other countries. Globalization and the free flow of goods hurt the United States. America first!

Also Trump superfans: Trump’s tariff war with China is a good thing, because it will enable Trump to make a Great Deal with China that will lower tariffs on both sides.

As I write this (in the midst of a very fluid situation) Donald Trump has threatened more tariffs on China, to kick in Friday:

President Trump’s top economic advisers on Monday accused China of reneging on previous commitments to resolve a monthslong trade war and said Mr. Trump was prepared to prolong the standoff to force more significant concessions from Beijing.

Mr. Trump, angry that China is retreating from its commitments just as the sides appeared to be nearing a deal and confident the American economy can handle a continuation of the trade war, will increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on Friday morning, his top advisers said.

“We’re moving backwards instead of forwards, and in the president’s view that’s not acceptable,” his top trade adviser, Robert Lighthizer, told reporters on Monday. “Over the last week or so, we have seen an erosion in commitments by China.”

The market was temporarily rattled yesterday but bounded back. Today, as I write this, the Dow Jones (a dopey measure of stock values, by the way) is down, but by the end of the day, who knows what will happen? Meanwhile, idiots on both sides of the aisle are praising Trump:

On Sunday, Mr. Trump’s tariff threats sparked concern among business and industry groups, but drew praise from both sides of the political aisle.

“Hang tough on China, President @realDonaldTrump,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said on Twitter.

“Excellent decision by @realDonaldTrump!” Laura Ingraham, a Fox News host, tweeted, which the president retweeted onto his feed. “No other president has had the guts to take on the China challenge.”

Trump superfans will be happy no matter the outcome, as they hold contradictory viewpoints (as illustrated at the head of the post). If negotiations fail, huzzah! More glorious tariffs to protect our industries! If negotiations succeed, huzzah! Fewer tariffs on both sides, a great deal, and an easily won trade war! (I’m sure not all Trump superfans feel this way — just enough that the generalization is fair.)

For now I’d like to ignore the fleeting details of this or that negotiation or stock market fluctuation and focus on the Big Pitcher: tariffs are dumb.

Scott Lincicome has a great piece against tariffs and in defense of the free market at National Review, and it’s worth some generous quotation. One key fact is that the poor and middle class benefit disproportionately from free and open markets:

[A] growing cadre of wonks on both the left and the right have become increasingly hostile to the long-standing U.S. political consensus in favor of multilateral trade liberalization. This hostility, however, is mostly misguided. Although it contains certain nuggets of truth about, for example, Chinese mercantilism or onerous trade-agreement rules, the case for free trade — economic, geopolitical, and, perhaps most of all, moral — is as strong today as it was when Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations almost 250 years ago.

Trade and globalization have provided undeniable economic benefits for the vast majority of American families, businesses, and workers. Most obvious are the consumer gains. Several recent studies have found that freer trade with China, for example, has generated, through increased competition and lower prices, hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. consumer benefits — benefits that, according to economists Xavier Jaravel and Erick Sager, are the equivalent of giving every American “$260 of extra spending per year for the rest of their lives.” Consumer gains from imports, in general tilted toward the poor and the middle class, are especially tilted toward them when it comes to goods that are made in China and sold at stores like Walmart. The magnitude of such benefits also debunks the well-worn myth that free trade is mainly about cheap T-shirts. Indeed, trade’s consumer surplus is a big reason that Americans today work far fewer hours to own far better essentials than at any prior time in U.S. history.

Then there are trade’s overall benefits for the economy. A 2017 Peterson Institute paper calculated the payoff to the United States from expanded trade between 1950 and 2016 to be $2.1 trillion, increasing U.S. GDP per capita and per household by around $7,000 and $18,000 — with benefits, again, disproportionately accruing to households in the bottom income decile.

What about our industries that are getting crushed by unfair competition? Can’t these wonderful tariffs save them, at least? An overlooked fact — but a fact nonetheless — is that much of what we need to import cheaply are not merely consumer goods, but factors of production that our own industries need for our own manufacturing:

Trade and globalization also support American companies and workers, even in manufacturing. The Commerce Department, for example, has estimated that almost 11 million jobs depended on exports of U.S. goods and services in 2016, and foreign direct investment in the United States — the necessary flip side of our oft-maligned trade deficit — supported millions more. Meanwhile, American companies that adapt and thrive in today’s economy most often do so by making use of imports and global supply chains. The San Francisco Fed, for instance, recently estimated that almost half of U.S. imports are intermediate products purchased by American manufacturers to make globally competitive finished goods; the country’s biggest exporters, therefore, are also its biggest importers.

. . . .

The outcome is not just cheaper stuff but better (and once unimaginable) stuff, better jobs, better companies, and better lives. And it can occur only by letting consumers and their capital seek more-productive ends.

This is why the alternative to freer trade, taken to its extreme, is not $2,000 iPhones; it’s no iPhones at all.

Finally, Lincicome makes the moral case for free trade — and it’s not the abstract one I would make, that tariffs simply represent the government telling its own citizens not to engage in transactions that they want to engage in, to make their lives better. No, Lincicome focuses on the way that tariffs promote crony capitalism:

Indeed, we are witnessing again today just how protectionism breeds elite cronyism and political dysfunction and hurts far more Americans than it helps. Former “big steel” lawyers and executives, now in the Trump administration, dole out tariff protection to their former colleagues who lobbied for it; those well-connected colleagues, in turn, get to decide the fate of their American customers’ requests for steel-tariff relief, even though the steel-consuming customers are a far larger share of the U.S. economy and work force than is the steel industry. And that’s just the steel tariffs. Is it any wonder that trade-related lobbying expenditures over the past two years have skyrocketed? Those on the left who aim to “get money out of politics” and those on the right who talk of “draining the swamp” reveal the weakness of such commitments when they turn a blind eye to the corruption directly resulting from the protectionist policies they support.

Why should certain American industries and workers have a moral claim to government protection? Why should government prioritize those workers’ living standards above their fellow citizens’? American footwear workers, for example, have long benefited from a government policy dating back to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930 that protects their jobs through hidden restrictions on the commerce of other Americans — restrictions that force everyone, including the poor, to subsidize footwear jobs by paying more for their shoes. Perhaps, if the taxes were repealed and Americans could buy shoes from whomever they wished, the nation would owe affected workers welfare or job training. But the workers are not owed the protection itself, and its removal is not an immoral act. It is the right thing to do, and the broader economic and geopolitical gains are just gravy.

Tariffs are a self-destructive act. As I have explained before — in an argument that will be roundly ignored by 98% of commenters on this post — our tariffs mostly hurt us, and China’s tariffs mostly hurt them:

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.”

Trump can benefit a handful of Chinese industries, and the American people as a whole, by unilaterally lowering our tariffs on Chinese goods. If Trump manages to get tariffs lowered on both sides through a trade war and threats, that will be a good thing for a handful of crony manufacturers in the U.S. and for the Chinese people as a whole. But if you think tariffs are inherently good — or that it is worth risking our economic gains by imposing tariffs on hundreds of billions of goods — you’re supporting a policy that hurts America’s poor and middle class, hurts more American manufacturers (because of the increased cost of intermediate factors of production) than it helps, and that furthers the interests of a few cronies in limited industries in the United States. You’ll be flying in the face of most economists and 250 years of thinking on free markets.

In other words, you’ll be a sucker for populist propaganda.

Don’t be that person.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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