July 9, 2018

Trade War

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

“The United States and China exchanged the first salvos in what could become a protracted trade war on Friday, slapping tariffs on $34 billion worth of each others’ goods.” (Reuters)

See past issues

The left believes the trade war will hurt the US economy.

“Trump’s tariffs are badly designed even from the point of view of someone who shares his crude mercantilist view of trade. In fact, the structure of his tariffs so far is designed to inflict maximum damage on the U.S. economy, for minimal gain.”

New York Times

. The 10 percent tariff Trump placed on aluminum, for instance, has made raw materials more expensive for most of the companies that actually produce aluminum products in the U.S…
“Steel tariffs have made pumping crude more expensive for oil companies by adding to the cost of building rigs and buying equipment. Soybean prices are crashing in response to Chinese tariff threats.”


“The trade war will destroy some jobs in export sectors and create some jobs in import-competing ones. This is a bad tradeoff because export jobs are generally higher productivity and pay.”

The Hill

, which has spied on foreign companies and forced Western tech firms to hand over patented technology…

"But rather than cultivating alliances, Trump is smashing them left and right. He’s raised taxes on steel imports from Canada and the EU and trashed the NATO alliance, at the very time that the China problem begs for international assistance. The tactics and the strategy are going in opposite directions.”

The Atlantic

Dated but relevant: “Beyond the human toll, a trade war would be politically ominous for Republicans… Much of the economic damage from a trade war would be inflicted on red states and districts where Democrats aren’t competitive.”


“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

The right is divided.

The right is divided.

Mitt Romney stated, “Trade wars are a tax on Americans. They have severe consequences for many employees and inevitably cost American jobs.”


“Tariffs imposed by the United States are nothing more than a tax increase on American consumers and businesses… who will all pay more for commonly used products and materials… This is the wrong approach, and it threatens to derail our nation’s recent economic resurgence.”

US Chamber of Commerce

Half of all U.S. manufacturing jobs depend on exports, and one out of three acres of American farms grow crops for overseas markets.”

Washington Times

“Most economists calculate the impact of expected tariffs on the U.S. economy will be [surprisingly] small. The problem is that these same economists concede that their models don’t capture the complexity of trade and supply chains, and personally believe the reality could be much worse.”

Wall Street Journal

Jim Cramer, however, argues that “there are a lot of companies that are doing quite well in the country. And I think if you're going to take on the Chinese you do it from strength. And we have much more strength than they do.


Trump has a fair gripe that the WTO is very slow-moving in its enforcement. It’s easy to picture Chinese leaders knowing that their positions are indefensible and that their arguments are weak, but, because they can drag out the WTO process so long, their companies enjoy long stretches of competitive advantages… maybe someone needs to take a tougher stance with China.”

National Review

Dated but relevant: “The United States actually is better positioned than most in a trade war, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't hurt us terribly… Trump and all the other people who say they're going to retaliate are playing a very dangerous game.”

City Journal

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

Seagulls are getting drunk on leftover booze and throwing up on firefighters.


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