Trump Tariffs and "the aristocracy of pull"

Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 3 months ago to Philosophy
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You read it in Atlas Shrugged.. Why are you surprised? (Why are the Trump supporters silent?)

U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Steel and Aluminum Tariff Exclusion Process
https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-r...

Companies can seek tariff exemptions but rules are unclear
http://money.cnn.com/2018/03/19/news/...

Hurt by Trump's tariffs, U.S. companies plead for exemptions
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hurt-by-...

Who will get the exemptions?

In other news, the US Department of Commerce has not answered news media inquiries about new hiring, but it is expected that the "flood" or "tsunami" of applications for exemptions will require more staff to handle the processes.


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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 3 months ago
    The U.S. has tried to limit tariffs on foreign goods, hoping that real free trade would ensue, but no dice. People often misconstrue why some countries can't sell certain kinds of goods in the U.S. as protectionist, when in fact most often the limits or bans are punishment for bad behavior in trade, diplomacy, conspiracy, espionage, support of terrorism, to name a few reasons. Likewise, many countries are on restriction for receipt of certain U.S. goods for national security reasons. Like people often say about personal relationships, it's complicated.

    As I've said in this forum several times, the tariffs have been enacted because other countries involved in trade negotiations have shown little incentive to participate in fair trade. Trump suggested we would be open to dropping all tariffs if the others would do the same. The EU, the Canadians, the Mexicans, and China all assumed Trump was bluffing, so he decided to show them he was not. China was willing to drop some big tariffs, but refused to drop the requirement that U.S. technology firms had to share their intellectual property when doing business with China.

    A trade war is not the catastrophe that has been painted by the MSM. There are lots of markets for U.S. goods around the world, but that means U.S. producers have to get off their butts and establish new contracts. In fact, the U.S. is probably unique in the world as being one country that could be self sufficient if necessary, with respect to many goods and technologies.

    Europe, Canada, Mexico, and China will all be hurt much worse than the U.S. in an extended trade war. The most laughable comment has to be the one by the EU minister who said they would continue doing business with Iran, no matter what the U.S. wants. Their business with Iran totals about $300B, while their business with the U.S. is over $2T. Giving such a huge trading partner the finger is like playing Russian roulette with all six chambers loaded.
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  • Posted by Lucky 3 months ago
    Two points:
    1- That tariffs are bad, eg pull gets exemptions.
    We had a go at this in a recent post-
    Free Trade, 9 days ago, by coaldigger
    https://www.galtsgulchonline.com/post...

    2- That Trump supporters are silent when Trump brings in tariffs.
    True unfortunately for some.
    In the above, many Trump supporters (my guess at who they support) gave some
    excuses/rationalizations-
    that he did not think it thru, he cannot think, he is impulsive,
    he thinks it is an opening gambit to a good negotiated outcome.

    There is the strong argument that, for those who want smaller government, there
    is no need to think it thru, that the action is a use of powers government should
    not have.

    There are so many conservatives on this site for whom the argument-
    it is bad in itself - is insufficient, so a few more government employees is
    ok if the intentions are good.
    For those, note, it does not end there. Many are hurt by tariffs who cannot get
    an exemption, so sooner or later there are subsidies and buying preferences to
    compensate. All this needs rules to be written and supervised, there is job
    growth in regulatory agencies, tribunals and the courts.
    New jobs- yes, economic growth- no.
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  • Posted by term2 3 months ago
    I dont think these tariffs will work on china. I say this because the chinese are in a desperate struggle to take over as the reigning power in the world, and thats why they do what they do. Cutting tariffs on our stuff coming into china, stopping chinese subsidies, and ceasing stealing technology are too important for their lame communist government to just give up.

    Trump is right and should push for zero tariffs on all goods both ways. The chinese and Canadians, etc. have large tariffs already compared with the USA, and should reduce them.

    Of course, we dont hear this in the media.
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  • Posted by Lucky 3 months ago
    Q. What's your solution?
    A. If outsiders create problems for me, I will not act against my values or my interests. If they want to harm themselves I will not intervene. I will not punish those who created the problem with an action whereby I will be worse off. Now, there may be some gaming going on, so should I trust my government with the power to join in? I think, not.

    Q. "But this has been proven not to work" ?
    A. This statement implies it is up to me to stop everyone else being stupid.
    When I have got myself and then my government to be rational, I may give some thought to other nations. Some of them are in the massing troops and aiming weapons mode which is a sufficient focus of attention. That is what government should deal with, not with others refusing to buy my stuff.

    'Politicians dictators and looters like protectionism' Yes.
    Opportunities to act decisively, to make speeches, threats, pound tables, punch the air, have always been irresistible to the political class. Then there are the international conferences, negotiations, summits, and then- ta da .. photo opps with a signed agreement. Rational restraint removes all of that, and you are better off, but WTH, it is other people's money, let us work towards getting pics of big shots shaking hands and waving agreements. (sarc)

    It is possible to image tariffs, subsidies and so on designed with a professional level of impartiality. There will still be distortions in markets, and growth in government employ. When the time comes to remove, institutional inertia makes it very difficult to act.
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  • Posted by mia767ca 3 months ago
    Trump is being forced to deal with the mess he faced from decades of prior politicians that would not do...in dealing with the imposition of tariffs by other countries...what a mess....
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  • Posted by freedomforall 3 months ago
    What's your solution?
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    • Posted by  $  3 months ago
      The solution is to have unregulated trade, no trade barriers, even if other nations enact them on their side. As lucky pointed out, we have been through this recently in a Free Trade discussion started by coaldigger. At some level, arguing is pointless, and that is the reason why it remains important to at least state your case.

      The reasons and facts in favor of unilateral free trade are easy to find at http://fee.org and the Online Library of Liberty.

      Those are the same as they were 150 years ago when advocates of free trade argued against tariffs that supported steel mills and coal mines.

      This is yet another example of why so-called "conservatives" are not principled advocates of individual rights.

      Many conservatives were attracted by the Atlas Shrugged movies without exploring the deeper philosophy behind what was essentially a love story. In the book, when John Galt is captured, and being held at the Wayne-Falkland, he has a tet-a-tet with Mr. Thompson, the head of state. It is the same discussion we are having here.
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      • Posted by freedomforall 3 months ago
        While I agree with the theory, this is another non-solution that has already proven not to work because politicians in all countries like protectionism. It keeps them in power.
        Please share how you have determined to drive all the world's politicians (and dictators and looters) out of positions of political power and manipulation?

        How about a real solution for the real world? Maybe Trump would like to hear that solution, too.
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        • Posted by  $  3 months ago
          You do not need to free the whole world. Start with yourself. America objectively never needed to free the whole world, just get our own house in order. However, at least until World War I, Americans generally never perceived a need to "free the world." Only in the last 100 years - not the first 100 - have we interfered in the internal affairs of other nations and suffered the consequences.

          A free nation with a specific, consciously-chosen and clearly articulated philosophy of reality and rights is its own best defense. And it shines (shone) as a beacon to the world. The 19th century from 1815-1914, was largely one of relative international peace and expanding trade, science, industry, and culture.

          Even specific set backs such as the failures of the 1848 revolutions did not halt the momentum to open societies and free trade, again, with the explosion in science, art, technology, and culture that took us from the steamship to the spaceship.

          Are you saying that we Texans should invade our neighbors in other states because they have income taxes and we do not. We are sorry for them that they do, but I buy Hatch Chili Peppers from New Mexico anyway.
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          • Posted by freedomforall 3 months ago
            The topic is tariffs. If you offer real world solutions to the existing trade situation please state them specifically. The rest of the world has tariffs on US products and they are not going away.
            I agree with having a truly free market. I have worked independently in a free market for my labor for many years and have not taken any jobs with payments from any government. I have never been represented by any union or group. Can you say the same? My service competes on its value to my customers.
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            • Posted by  $  3 months ago
              I have worked for several government agencies over the years, including the US Department of Defense. Right now, I am a permanent part-time employee of the Texas Military Department. But I also worked a contract for the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Department of Information Resources. I follow Ayn Rand's guidance in the words of Howard Roark: anyone who wants to hire me on my terms is my kind of person. I have quit jobs in the very private very high tech sectors because the people who were paying me were not my kind of people.

              But for all of your virtues and mine, the fallacy you are calling on is "No True Scotsman." You live a moral life. Therefore, whatever you suggest as national policy must be morally correct.

              I grant that you live a moral life. You are still wrong about tariffs. They are economic losses.
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              • Posted by freedomforall 3 months ago
                Mike, you are lecturing again. You never stop even though you are offering nothing whatsoever to the discussion as usual. You pay no attention to my responses, but keep on accusing me of some wrong.
                I will not continue a one sided discussion when you repeat the same accusations without any foundation.
                There is no fallacy in anything I have said.
                You refuse to address reality.
                I refuse to waste any more time on your rubbish.
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              • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months ago
                "You live a moral life. Therefore, whatever you suggest as national policy must be morally correct. "
                I think this is ad hominem, not No True Scotsman. It's making the argument about the merits of the person. Someone could possibly be a criminal and on welfare or something but still coming up with cogent arguments about gov't waste. It's not about the person.
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                • Posted by  $  3 months ago
                  I was paraphrasing FFA and replying. He said (paraphrasing) "I have never worked for the government, and tariffs are good." I saw it as the No True Scotsman Fallacy. "Every True American works in the free market (like me) and supports retaliatory tariffs (like me) even though we are opposed to tariffs (in theory)."
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            • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months ago
              "The rest of the world has tariffs on US products and they are not going away. "
              I'm for letting them enjoy all the benefits that come with those tariffs and the US unilaterally forgoing those benefits.
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              • Posted by freedomforall 3 months ago
                I'm for there being no tariffs whatsoever, but America has tried low to no tariffs and the response by other countries' leaders has been tariffs on American products. Repeating a failed action is insanity. That is why something else is required to get the other countries' politicians to change their actions.
                I asked Mike for a solution. You and Mike say let's keep on doing the same thing. It hasn't worked.
                Can you suggest a solution?
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                • Posted by Solver 3 months ago
                  Isn’t that a little like saying that doing good does not work because other people still do evil?
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                  • Posted by freedomforall 3 months ago
                    No, it's just recognizing that this is not accomplishing the objective. It is in a way doing the opposite of the objective. Have you noticed that being rational with someone who is irrational often doesn't change them and is just a waste of time and effort? ;^)
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                    • Posted by  $  puzzlelady 3 months ago
                      So are you saying we should therefore become irrational, too? Or just avoid dealing with them altogether? Setting a good example and not inciting vengeful reactions would be a wiser course. Expecting the worst from others smacks too much of a malevolent Universe mindset.
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                      • Posted by freedomforall 3 months ago
                        I am saying that repeating the same ineffective action is also irrational.
                        Successful negotiation does not happen by giving the other party everything he wants and expecting him to do the same for you. That's setting a good example of how to be a sucker and a loser. This is a business competition and Trump is the first POTUS in the past century with experience doing competitive business. The past administrations have left a bankrupt mess behind them and US "trading partners" have not stood idle while the socialist morons with no business experience handed out keys to the technology warehouse. We shall see if Trump can turn that mess into a profitable venture or not.
                        What's your solution?
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                        • Posted by  $  puzzlelady 3 months ago
                          I agree that repeating the same ineffective action is irrational. That includes everything from war-making to sanctions to broken treaties to arming rebels to undermining other governments to engineering regime changes to wasting trillions of our people's substance on destructive endeavors to spreading hate propaganda to practicing torture to causing famines, genocide, and permanent enmities. None of these work, no matter how one rationalizes temporary gains. If all that bloodshed and destruction we wreaked on all those countries is considered reasonable punishment for our 3000 victims of 9/11, we are on an insane and criminal path. Killing millions of them with undeclared wars, when 9/11 was not perpetrated by any country but by a handful of private individuals, is a historical wrong of incomparable enormity. Speaking of a profitable venture in that context is sickening.

                          You ask for a solution. The solution is to cease and desist from inflicting harm on others and not to ask all those millions to die for our sake. Practicing rational ethics does not mean compromising with socialist morons. Negotiating a "deal" does not require devious tactics and threats, phony theatrics and misleading others. Being ethical and honest does not make us suckers or losers. I am shocked that you would see it that way and that you would favor bullying and deceit over principle. We need a new paradigm and an end to violence.
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                          • Posted by freedomforall 3 months ago
                            The topic isn't wars or military action, nor was nor my reply on that topic. (If you have read my other posts you know I agree with what you posted on that topic here.) However, if the people one trades with consistently use deceit to take advantage, then open and honest trading with them has failed. If they ignore intellectual property rights, too, then open and honest trading has failed and a different approach is called for. I think there have been attempts to discuss the problems with the trading partner(s) and that has not been successful either. In my limited marketplace I boycott such trading partners unless it causes me more harm than good, and if immediate boycott is not advisable, I take steps to replace that trading partner as soon as possible.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months ago
      "What's your solution?"
      As I read this entire discussion spawning from this, it occurs to me we have not defined the problem. We're talking about what "works", but how do we define working. If the goal is for a country to let its citizens free make trades that work for them, which you probably consider a naive/simplistic goal, then not having tariffs "works".

      Is your goal higher growth, keeping certain industries domestic, to encourage investment rather than spending, or something else?
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  • Posted by LibertyBelle 3 months ago
    I don't believe in tariffs; they are just an extra tax for the people in the nation that imposes them. But I do believe we should simply have an embargo on totalitarian states (e.g., mainland China and Vietnam, for instance).
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  • Posted by Herb7734 3 months ago
    Hey, we're the good guys, you can trust us.But, just don't bet the farm on it.Trump learned a very long time ago not to trust anyone pledging anything when making a deal. Everyone is out for number one. Always have a plan going in, and a plan B if all else fails.Which congressman, for example, puts the interests of the people of the nation ahead of their own? I can only think of three, possibly four.Giving breaks to American owned companies because they promise to be good, is akin to believing promises of a teen age boy or girl. How do you know they lie? As Judge Judy says, "When their lips are moving."
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  • Posted by Paguglielmo 3 months ago
    I am an educated person. Some simple and basic things though, seem to scream in my face. How can an American Company, with, say, a wage of $20 an hour, compete with a Foreign company that has a wage of, say, $4 an hour with Room and Board? Our cost of living compared to 2nd or 3rd world countries is not equal, so how can we equally trade with those countries? China needs food just to feed their people, they cannot create enough independently at this time. So, if they place a tariff on our food goods entering their country, its their people that will pay the price as its a needed good, not a luxury per se... If they can produce steel for $10 a ton and we can only get down to $75 a ton (hypothetical numbers) then we are at a disadvantage world wide. You can argue that our steel may be better, but only a small percentage of construction companies will use that better steel as the price does not outweigh the benefits of the cheaper steel as they will both do the 'general' job. If i need an I beam in my house for support, and my options are a $200 beam or a $1500 beam and they will both sufficiently support the structure, I would go with the $200 beam... A world trade center type building is not started every day, so the premium quality steel is not regularly needed and profit comes in to play 99% of the time.

    I digress, so how can we play on an even trading partnership when our countries are not even to start with.....
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 months ago
    This post is partly conflating the idea of tariffs with the administering them with no corruption. It's conceivable gov't could enact tariffs but administer them squeaky-cleanly with no special favors to those with political connections.

    I say party, because I think it's very difficult for gov't to keep willing buyers and sellers apart without corruption in some form appearing. It happens with the sex trade, drug trade, and foreign goods/labor. It's hard to keep people from trading things they want to trade.
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    • Posted by  $  3 months ago
      One way to see this is to substitute those other words for "steel" and "aluminum." We need a tarriff on Panama Red and British Highmasters because Panama and the UK have tariffs on California Gold.

      Lately, NPR (no friend of laissez faire) has been following the woes of hog farmers and soy bean farmers in Iowa who were hit by China's new tariffs. Those were in retailiation for US tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum. It is a tariff war and wars are economic losses for everyone.
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