Tag Archives: trade

Tariffs, pickpockets, and the nationalist snake in the moral grass

Source: Independent Institute
by Robert Higgs

"Protectionism, as it is misleadingly known, has always been an insider's game, a political gambit aimed at enriching those to whom the government is especially beholden or seeks to seduce at the expense of other people. Incumbent producers who produce products on which tariffs are imposed succeed in repelling competition by force of the government's customs officers, which is to say that they succeed in increasing their profits by force, not by offering consumers a better deal. Peaceful people who avoid the tariff by importing goods surreptitously are not only stigmatized as smugglers, but subjected to criminal sanctions as if they had committed real crimes such as rape or assault and battery. In this way the government not only discourages free trade, but misleads citizens in general into thinking of free trade as a criminal enterprise. What could better serve the interest of an organization — the state itself — that cannot exist except by extortion and robbery?" (02/13/17)


What a trade surplus doesn't mean

Source: Cafe Hayek
by Don Boudreaux

"[T]he fact that Germany has a trade surplus while America has a trade deficit does not mean that Germans are richer than Americans. This fact merely means that, while we Americans currently invest outside of our country less than non-Americans invest in America, Germans currently invest outside of their country more than non-Germans invest in Germany. And because such balance-of-trade figures account only for international investment flows, they do not reveal the total size of investment holdings by the citizens of any given country." (02/12/17)


Davos Man, globalism and the case for free trade

Source: Acton Institute
by Samuel Gregg, Ph.D.

"Times are tough for free trade — the toughest since the first era of globalization came to a shuddering halt with the outbreak of war in 1914 and tariffs swept the world after 1918. Across the planet, economic nationalism is on the march. Faith in economic globalization's benefits is waning throughout the West. Nothing symbolizes this more than Donald Trump's election to the American presidency. If the case for free trade is to have a future, it requires a radical rethink. And part of that makeover is going to involve shedding something that only damages the cause of free trade. This is its association with what's often called 'Davos Man.'" (02/08/17)


The TPP is dead. Spare the TTIP.

Source: Cato Institute
by Simon Lester

"In President Trump's recent memorandum directing the U.S. Trade Representative to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), he explained that 'it is the intention of my Administration to deal directly with individual countries on a one-on-one (or bilateral) basis in negotiating future trade deals.' This preference for bilateral deals raises the following question: If the United States will only be negotiating bilaterally, what does that mean for the ongoing U.S.-E.U. trade talks known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)?" [editor's note: It wouldn't seem to raise any "question" at all. Looks pretty straightforward to me. And why is Cato flacking for bureaucrat-controlled "managed" trade? – TLK] (02/08/17)


FL: Scott to stop funding ports that trade with Cuba

Source: PanAm Post

"Trade between Florida and Cuba is about to decrease significantly following efforts made by Governor Rick Scott. The Florida Governor modified the budget so funding for ports to Cuba be stopped completely. A clause in the budget says that none of the funds can go to projects 'that result in the expansion of trade with the Cuban dictatorship because of their continued human rights abuses.'" (02/01/17)


The biggest losers in Trump's potential trade war

Source: The Atlantic
by Ronald Brownstein

"If Donald Trump's aggressive moves on the international economy spark a trade war, the American communities that will lose the most in absolute terms are the giant metropolitan areas, largely along the two coasts, that are most deeply integrated into global markets. But in proportional terms, the biggest losers from a trade war would be small and midsized cities, almost entirely in interior states, that are heavily dependent on exports of manufacturing goods or energy products." (01/30/17)


Empires don't practice "free trade"

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson

"[W]hen capitalist states change their policies, it's usually not so much because they suddenly have a better understanding of the world. It's because policies which previously benefited the ruling coalition of economic classes served by the state ceased to work, or because the makeup of the ruling class coalition shifts. Britain didn't abandon mercantilism because it finally dawned on them that it didn't increase prosperity. Policymakers were interested mainly in the 'prosperity' of the propertied interests who controlled the state; they pursued mercantilist policies so long as they served those interests and abandoned them when they no longer did" (01/27/17)


Trump is wrong: Protectionism leads to misery, not prosperity

Source: Cato Institute
by Ryan Bourne

"In 2009, President Obama imposed tariffs on tyres in response to huge Chinese production. A Peterson Institute for International Economics study reckons this potentially saved 1,200 jobs. Yet the cost to US consumers was $1.1bn due to higher tyre prices — making the cost per job saved around $900,000. When one also considers the reduction of consumer spending power to buy other goods and services as a result of this, it seems almost certain on net that the protection destroyed jobs. This is the great folly of protectionism. The issue of free trade is often portrayed as producers versus consumers. But it's actually certain producers versus consumers, as other producers bear the costs too — both because protections raise the cost of inputs and because consumers and affected producers have less remaining income to spend." (01/24/17)


Trump-Pence economic policies threaten US workers

Source: Heartland Institute
by Jesse Hathaway

"Government bureaucrats and lawmakers use tariffs, sometimes literally, to get in the way of voluntary exchanges between consumers and producers. Anti-trade policies such as those proposed by Trump and former free-marketeer Pence would harm everyday consumers, just as much as the anti-consumer policies of outgoing president Barack Obama have. Ironically, Trump's war on trade, which he says he'll wage in the name of working-class men and women, may put working-class people out of work." (01/25/17)


Inauguration speech wrongly demonized free trade

Source: Cato Institute
by Simon Lester

"For supporters of trade liberalization and an open economy, this speech was alarming. The U.S. economy is much stronger when people can trade freely across borders. Americans benefit from increased competition from foreign producers, which leads to lower prices and higher quality products. By contrast, restricting trade, through protectionist tariffs and other barriers, will lead to a stagnant and inefficient economy." (01/23/17)