Some lies from Reason magazine, AP, Marketwatch and Capital Press about tariffs


You forget that Cuba WAS an “entity” after the missile crisis. Don’t believe it? Ask the Angolans–if you can find any. Cuba was propped up for decades by the Soviets…part of the reason their economy eventually cratered. The only thing Castro had to “trade” was cigars, sugar and cannon fodder. HE got wealthy while the Cuban people descended into abject poverty…but with lots of “free,” crappy medical care.


We gate the larger trade organizations; without say so from us, Cuba couldn’t have scale, or access to broader world markets.

If you can’t buy capital or goods effectively, trade barely scratches the surface of what it could be doing.

Also doesn’t help that Cuba’s revolution happened before the invention of container ship port facilities – meaning they had massive problems for decades importing anything cost effectively.


Except for Taiwan. As I understand it, they want control of a large part of the South China Sea, which would make Taiwan vulnerable to them.

I did mention technology in the trading; China themselves haven’t developed squat (their attempts at fighter planes haven’t been worth a crap except for what they copied), and the more technology we trade to them, the bigger a threat they’ll be.

Their economy may not be, but their despotic regime is (technology again).

Given the trade imbalance, I suspect the U.S. can out-heat them.

Sorry, but no. He makes long-winded posts which have all too often been loaded with subtle spin, goal-post-moving, and out-and-out bull. I see no point in reading his posts when I know it’s going to just drag me into another hamster-wheel exercise in figuring out where he slipped the joker in the deck this time. I’ll at least try to listen to the arguments, but only if they come from a trustworthy souce. My reasons for distrusting him are far more sound than the left’s for dismissing the Founding Fathers.

Come on, man; despotism isn’t just about economics; try openly practicing Christianity in China, especially now that the government is trying to tell the churches that Jesus can’t help them, and that they should replace His picture with one of the current Chinese President. The economics as established do enable them.

Although I realize there’s a dichotomay between the trade deficit and the technological issue, I still think the former is aiding the government. Even though pure capitalism would get them more tax revenue, they don’t dare go that route, or their autocracy crumbles. They way they’ve been doing it still keeps them in power.

I lost track of what I was thinking when I wrote it, so I can’t give you one…

That assumes that economics would free them. I’m not convinced it would. The Chinese are not free, and neither are the Russians; and we trade with both. And both are military threats, to one degree or another.


Taiwan has been an issue all my life and long before it. Are we about to go to war with China? Is there something special about the Taiwan situation that suggest we ought to embargo China?

This discussion is very different from the discussion about tariffs. That is not the purpose of Trump’s trade war.

“We” are not trading technology to them. Individual traders are. The people are not permitted to trade secret military technology with them. The fact that they may include technology (instead of just reverse engineering or copying) is a choice most appropriately made by the sellers and buyers.

What technology? People keep talking about this, but what is it we’re talking about?

Trade imbalances mean nothing. You have a trade imbalance with your local grocery store unless you work there, in which case, it has a trade imbalance with you. Trades do not occur unless both sides of the trade gain value. Measuring value solely in dollars spent does not measure the value of trade between two people. Measuring the value of the item plus the value of the cash does. We don’t measure that. We don’t need to. The fact the trade occurs is proof that the trade is not imbalanced I do not have to spend money on Chinese products if they’re not worth the price. No one is compelling me to make the trade.I make trades with the Chinese because I receive value in exchange for my cash.

Then listen to the philosophers who guided the founding fathers. Adam Smith directly addressed this topic.

So you want to stop trading with them? Again, a very different goal and discussion from Donald Trump’s. Free trade creates prosperity. Prosperity puts power in the hands of the people.What alternative is there to help the Christians of China? An embargo would remove the despotic regime from power? Cuba is the shining example of life under a U.S. embargo. Life just sucks. Doing this to China is Using the same economic tool to accomplish the same political goal we failed to accomplish the mission. You should find an alternative tool to use for your goal.

I can relate.

Your controls over the economics in Cuba did not free Cuba. We have real-world evidence to suggest that a trade embargo is futile, at least in terms of this goal. Placing an embargo on China is the same as San Francisco forcing contractors to build affordable housing to solve its affordable housing and homeless problem. It’s doubling down on what went wrong.


You make my case.Thank you.


China seems closer than ever to limited military action for control of the South China Sea.

Admittedly, and I expressed my negative opinion about the tariffs per se.

With all due respect, this is hairsplitting, and a bad argument. If they’re getting the technology, they’re getting the technology.

Not all stretegically valuable technology is classified. Yeah, the internet makes a lot available, but without the equipment to manufacture it (which has long been a deficiency of China), there’s only so much you can do with shear knowledge. I know enough that (given time and health) I could design a workable man-carrying homebuilt aircraft. I don’t promise it would be 100% safe or that its handling would be vice free, but it would work if built. But I couldn’t build it without the necessary construction technology (which for a simple homebuilt aircraft is nothing compared to what is necessary for a stealth fighter or hypersonic cruise missile).

You keep saying this, and I keep not understanding. I don’t know how to articulate why I think you’re wrong, and obviously, your attempts in the other direction haven’t convinced me that I am.

You’re not an inarticulate kind of guy; if I’m not understanding it from you, I don’t think I would get it from them.

Cuba was contained. China is not, and is an increasing threat, even if we disagree on some of the reasons.

And how can you make the blanket statement that embargoes are futile? Do you really think WWII wouldn’t have been less bloody if we’d embargoed scrap metal to Japan sooner?


Technology they’re getting anyway, because Japan, Taiwan, and Europe already trade with them, so this is moot. Most ITAR restrictions were lifted in the last 10 years for this very reason.

Imbalance in the currency account, means we get a surplus in the capital account.

Trade imbalances don’t matter, because it only pays attention to that first part, and not the second.
It’s better to have more capital, than slips of our own paper. That’s what it comes down to.

And it’s people suffered, and did not become more free. This policy didn’t fix communism there.

You claim your concern is tyranny in China, yet now you’ve just invalidated that argument.

You’re putting your intentions of a given policy over the result.


Seems? So embargo?

Seriously, what technology? We’re talking in generalities here. Are our government or individuals trading weapons tech? Like what?

This is literally what a trade imbalance is: You give $5 to your local grocer for three 2-liter soda bottles. The grocer buys nothing from you. You “imported” soda. The grocer “exported” soda." You have a $5 trade imbalance with the local grocer.

Effect: Donald Trump thinks this trade imbalance is “bad, very bad.” So he taxes the grocer $1 and makes you pay $6 so that a different grocer, closer to your house, can sell it to you for $5.95 instead of the $5.25 he had been charging.

That’s funny. I don’t feel all that articulate sometimes. Thanks :slight_smile: Milton Friedman has a way about him! Adam Smith is a bit dense.

I have no idea anything about Japan and scrap metal.



I imagine the government has better info on this, but my understanding is that they’re beefing up land-based weapons systems and aquiring two ex-Russian aircraft carriers toward this goal.

Advanced manufacturing technology would be the big one, I think.

A grocer is not a government. It’s a rare grocer who spends his profits on political domination.

I explained what I know about it. It seems pretty straightforward to me; we sold them scrap metal, they bombed us with it. We sell advanced manufacturing technology to China, and…?

So now they’re a military threat that they weren’t before we opened trade with them. To borrow the expression from MiG Pilot, they had a few nuclear weopons, but they could only deliver them by donkey. Nowadays, they’re much more formidable.


Have you forgotten that Bill Clinton GAVE China our tech regarding how to mount multiple nukes onto a single capsule atop an ICBM? It was in exchange for campaign funds, so I guess it was “sold” instead of a “gift.” It was all over the “news” for a few days and quickly quashed.


It’s not government making the trades either. But your government extracts more money for the welfare state and its military than any other government in the world. So the inverse is that trading with Americans is the same as bolstering the military we’ll use to oppose China. It sounds like a good reason to not trade with people we’re actually warring with.

They trade steel and aluminum to us, and we built plans and aircraft carriers and more military equipment than any other nation on earth – more than the first six or eight of them behind us combined. Wouldn’t it be wise of other nations to stop trading with us?

You have far more fear than I do of the Chinese. I don’t think we’re going to war with China any time soon. Trading among our peoples helps ensure this. It makes our people friendlier toward each other when we have a symbiotic trade relationship.


No, but they benefit from it.

We weren’t actually warring with Japan when we were trading with them. We stopped not long before Pearl Harbor.

Although there might be immediate economic benefits from trading with China, there are other sources of steel and aluminum. Not so much for advanced manufacturing technology that China has demonstrated no ability to develop themselves.

I don’t know if it’ll be a war per se (if it is, I suspect it will be a limited one, over sovereignty or lack thereof of the South China Sea, and freedom or lack thereof for Taiwan). But they may be looking to strongarm another Obama-like President (obviously, in a future administration) into conceding the region to them. Our people can be friendly all they like, and it won’t matter to a despotic government that has a history of mass murdering its own people if they don’t toe the communist line. I don’t think trade solves this, and I don’t think our trade relationship is that symbiotic.


One persistent myth about our pre-war trade with Japan is that an American engineer was hired by Japan to design a new battleship. Supposedly the engineer was an opponent of Japanese hegemonic ambitions and purposely designed the ship to be top-heavy. The Japanese supposedly built the ship to his specifications, launched it whereupon it immediately capsized! The Japanese had a reputation for decades of being able to COPY just about anything via reverse-engineering but were weak about original engineering and industrial design. That’s no longer true…and hasn’t been since the end of WW II, after which the U.S. rebuilt their industrial base FOR them–or at least provided the funding to do so–so that their manufacturing plants were brand-new and top of the line, while encouraging them to abandoned “education” in philosophy and emphasize engineering instead.

You all might be interested to know that China has agreed to send a trade delegation to the U.S. to try and iron out our differences and end the current trade “war.” Maybe the President’s policies are working DESPITE some of your predictions of doom and gloom.


Our government benefits from our trades with the Chinese. Perhaps they should stop trading with us to ensure we cannot grow our military any further in preparation for their imminent attack?

Do we need to live in pace like we’re on a war footing?

The point being, your argument is the case against international trade, period. Anyone who trades with us is helping build the single largest military in the world, larger than the top half dozen-plus nations combined. And we use it. Perhaps the rest of the world should choose not to trade with us.

Trade doesn’t occur unless both sides of the trade benefit – unless it’s conducted at the point of a gun, which is just robbery.

What do you think “working” means?


Let them stop. Most of them benefit from trade with us more than the reverse.

It would have made WWII a lot less bloody; both in terms of our trade with Japan, and Neville Chamberlain’s “peace in our time.” Do you believe that we should trade right up to the moment when the shooting starts? I’m thinking you don’t. If not, where do you draw the line, and why there?

In the long term, it’ll hurt them a lot more than us. And what nations do we trade with to whom we are a threat?

The traders themselves, perhaps; not necessarily the other concerned parties of the nations involved.


That doesn’t answer the question though.
We’re not in the imminent stages of a war with China, this isn’t 1941.

China’s Navy is in no shape to fight Japan, much less us. Without that navy, there’s nothing for their Army to invade that we would much care about.

Since we’re not there yet, does it make sense to already treat them as if they were ready?

It’s most people in the economy by definition.

That’s why trade creates prosperity.

If China has some comparative advantage where they can produce goods at less opportunity cost than us, it makes sense for us to let them handle it.

We then get to put our own resources to something we’re better at producing, making our economy, as a whole, more effective.


I detect a lot of excessive worry about military conflict. Each comment you made in response to me seems predicated on the idea we’re about to to war with China. We are not at war with China, and I don’t believe we’re about to go to war with China.

I don’t think anyone on either side needs to “hurt.” We can just trade.

We could end up dropping bombs all over the world. We trade with nations in the Middle East, Africa and more. In the past 20 years, we’ve dropped bombs in Europe, Africa and Asia. We’ve been involved militarily in numerous situations in Central America and South America going back 35 years. If your logic is sound, then no one who might end up on the wrong end of the barrel with us should trade with us – just in case.

Poverty breeds conflict of all kinds. Look what happened when Venezuala went socialist. The world would be more miserable without trade. We should continue trading right up until we have credible evidence that someone is an actual enemy and war is a realistic possibility.

I suspect trade benefits us all equally. We trade when we get something better than what we’re trading away. Prosperity is the result for both sides of a trade. Ending trade with the Chinese will hurt us even more than Donald Trump’s tariffs, which are already causing countless American businesses substantial difficulties.


It’s not so much military conflict per se as creating circumstances which will result in a situation (especially if we end up with another Democrat President) in which the military threat to the South China Sea will result in us selling Taiwan up the river to the tender mercies of the Chinese communists.

I specified: “And what nations do we trade with to whom we are a threat?”

Does it actually have to be war and not military intimidation, as what I described above?

I don’t agree; making a deal with the devil is not getting something better. That’s an extreme example, but I believe the principle holds. I’ll reiterate an earlier point: Trade has benefitted the Chinese government; that is not to our ultimate benefit.


Angola; we supported the enemies of their current Government, who lost the war.

Serbia – the primary loser in the battle over Kosovo.

It is, because you can’t trade items without also trading information & ideas. Things dangerous to tyrannical regimes.

This is what did in the Soviet Union; we gave them blue jeans and wheat, but we also crept in information about how much better the West was doing. This set the ball rolling into people there demanding more rights & autonomy.


This lovely tweet says a lot about the president’s economic illiteracy:

I smile at Senators and others talking about how good free trade is for the U.S. What they don’t say is that we lose Jobs and over 800 Billion Dollars a year on really dumb Trade Deals…and these same countries Tariff us to death. These lawmakers are just fine with this!

What the president says underscores the fact that the president has no respect for free trade. His arguments against free trade are the same as Bernie Sanders’.

He think we lose $800 billion a year because of free trade. He thinks the government’s role is trade deals, good trade deals. He just think we have bad trade deals. Meanwhile actual free marketeers (which isn’t really those senators either) don’t believe any government has a role in trade deals at all. Those appropriately should happen voluntarily between private citizens.