The show so far, an update

Tariffs are bad, the anti-tariff Gary Cohn was good.  Cohn being gone is bad.  Bad relative to good has gone up.  That is bad.

Here is one account of what happened.


Good that not everybody agrees with this move.

Tariffs are bad but only as bad as all of the taxes and restrictions on free trade that most nations practice. To single out tariffs implies that everything is fine and it obviously is not. Every country that sells into our market writes their laws and practices to maximize their profit and taxes on those products. We are the worlds biggest market so they can want to and have to continue selling product here. Also every country that sells into our market places tariffs, regulations and barriers to prevent or limit products that we sell into their market.

BUT in addition to all these many unfair treatments of us SOME trading partners DUMP their products on our market with the intent of destroying our domestic industries thus insuring we become their cash cow forever. Every prior administration has allowed this and in many ways was complicit in it. This does not occur in a vacuum. There is trillions of dollars changing hands and everyone has their hands out. It is not accidental that our politicians leave office as millionaires. We, the U.S. are being used and abused by virtual every nation we trade with and our politicians facilitated this for personal gain. It must end and if it takes tariffs and more, much more, than so be it.

The tariff authority for legitimate cases of dumping is targeted to specific countries and Obama used it a number of times. Trump is seeking across the board steel and aluminum tariffs. We get more steel from Canada than anywhere else (China is #11). Is there any evidence Canada is involved in unfair practices?

It might harm US industries, but it's going to make great television.

That's kinda like saying these two guys are shooting at me but one of them is only shooting me a little so why should he be punished too?

Read The Art of the Deal. Trump is negotiating NAFTA with Canada and has already said that if Canada negotiates a fair trade agreement he would life the tariff on them.

In the past Canada dumped wood products into our country and this directly caused a number of lumber companies in the U.S. to go out of business. Canada did this knowingly and our government choose to do to little and too late. Canada does not have clean hands.

Ok, so instead of putting tariffs in place when a country really is dumping, we should do a very late retribution tariff on something that many countries sell to us (regardless of whether they have a history of dumping) and will hurt multiple US industries? I mean, I'm sure that's in Art of the Deal but it seems a little crazy.

Do you think Canada does not prevent some of our products from being sold in their country? Do you think Canada does not sell products here cheaper than in their own country? Do you think that excluding the example I gave about them dumping wood products in the U.S. that other than that their hands are clean and they are fair in their trading practices? If all of that were true Trump wouldn't have asked for a renegotiation of NAFTA. If Canada were already practicing fair trade they would not be afraid of a do over of NAFTA.

But this is about so much more than Canada. Mexico has become the money launderer for other countries who export into Mexico products that will be driven across the border to the U.S. They do this for one simple reason: NAFTA gives Mexico a huge advantage over the U.S.. Why would we allow this backdoor travesty to continue?

Then there is Europe. Airbus for example gets special tax treatment within Europe intended to make the American market more lucrative to them. They get other unfair treatment while at the same time Europe throws up barriers to our airplane industry. Why should we allow this.

The list of abuses is long. Almost every country we trade with and almost every product and service we buy is tweaked to benefit them and to harm us, period. Most of our politicians and business leaders are involved in this scam and benefit directly or indirectly because of it. It is a win/win except for the citizens of our country.

This makes some sense. Trump is currently renegotiating NAFTA and at an impasse. He introduces tariffs that hit Canada the hardest. Now he has more leverage. It’s in line with his negotiating tactics described in AofTD.

The tariffs have an extra benefit of targeting China because most of the steel coming from Canada originated in China, which seems to be exploiting Canada’s free trade status to access the US.

It’s messy and unprincipled but it’s the way he operates. As with most things with Trump, it will be useful to follow not what he says but what he eventually produces.

I've read that using the national security exemption to strong-arm Canada on NAFTA opens the U.S. up to a WTO complaint it is likely to lose. It's likely Trump has no more use for the WTO than he does for NAFTA or TPP, but all of this bull-in-a-china-shop behavior will have consequences at some point.

I really hate to do this but:

+1 Jan

If the tactic works it will be like Inspector Clouseau who manages to find the culprit almost entirely by accident.

We should get out of the WTO and get them out of the U.S.

Trump's idea of "fair" is insistence that all cars sold in all of North America be made with 60% American parts. It is not "level playing field". It is mandatory purchases from American companies.

"Trump’s idea of “fair” is insistence that all cars sold in all of North America be made with 60% American parts."

Even if that were true how is that "bad"?

"It is not “level playing field”. It is mandatory purchases from American companies."

It isn't of course that's all crazy hyperbole.

Content quotas for goods are bad for similar reasons that racial quotas are bad. There are few upsides and many downsides.

I keeps hearing that other countries are dumping.

But I never hear anyone cite a specific example of someone dumping.

Can you provide one?

not everybody agrees with this move...
Although those that disagree in the White House all seem to be leaving.

I suppose we'll get advanced warning of the likelihood of a major trade war by looking at whom Trump appoints to replace Cohn...
Meanwhile, rumors were circulating on the NEC on Tuesday that Trump could be tempted to tap trade adviser and economic nationalist Peter Navarro to replace Cohn. That decision would likely be met with universal opposition from NEC staffers.

“No one on this NEC will work for that guy,” one NEC official said.
…some of the beliefs about trade in the new administration are simply wrong. Not arguable, not simply focusing on a different aspect and not a matter of opinion. Just, you know, wrong, not in accordance with this universe we inhabit. So it is with the belief that the Value Added Tax, VAT, system acts as a subsidy to exports and a barrier, a tax, upon imports. The problem here being that people like Peter Navarro (and Wilbur Ross, who coauthored that paper before the election with him) keep insisting that the VAT does indeed affect trade. In this they are not just expressing a dissenting opinion, they are just being wrong. Which is worrying when you think that these people, these people who are being wrong, are in the process of designing the next trade regime for the American economy….

“No one on this NEC will work for that guy,” one NEC official said.

I think if I were the ultimate supervisor of said NEC staffer (presuming he's not a fictional character dreamed up by the reporter), I'd remind him he works for an inconsequential and redundant component of the Executive Office. Every president in history prior to 199? got along passably without a "National Economic Council".

Are we tired of all the winning yet?

ALL the winning.

"The porn star who had an affair with the president is suing him because he forgot to sign the NDA his idiot lawyer drew up without an alias, which also describes "still images" sent in the affair and Jesus Christ I do not have enough bourbon in this house right now."


I think it is a good thing that the President is exposed to a wide variety of views. I think it is a good thing that the Republican Party in general is a fairly broad tent with lots of people with a wide variety of views. Especially as the ruling elites of the West have dug themselves into a hole and cannot seem to think of a way out. And now the voters are rejecting them en masse. This is probably not good - as much as I am enjoying it.

Although in the end this is an argument for Steven Bannon in the White House as well as Cohn.

Trump is our tacit abandonment of democracy. He was elected to throw a grenade into Washington, incapacitate it for a while. Perhaps it will prove leadership is unnecessary.

That is interesting because I thought it was the Deep State's collusion with the DNC and the Russians (as well as the occasional Brit and Australian) to bring down the rightfully elected President that was the abandonment of democracy.

And why not? It worked for Turkey for a while.

The deep state is colluding with the Russians to overthrow Trump? Is that why he refuses to implement the Russia sanctions that Congress? Seriously, I want to see how you've mapped this all out on your bedroom wall. I assume your mom got you the big whiteboard for Christmas.

Jan, the US is about to overtake Russia as the world’s top energy producer, posing an existential threat to a country that relies on OPEC-inflated energy revenue for half its budget.

He’s also selling lethal weaponry to Ukraine, reviving military spending, seriously and fatally clashing with Russia in Syria after years of acquiescence, and threatening to rip up an Iran deal that enriched one of Russia’s key allies.

And there the small matter of all ‘evidence’ of collusion turning out to be silly innuendo paid for by Clinton and sourced from aides to Putin. Yes, sources A and B in the dossier are from the Kremlin, thus creating a surreal situation in which the Democrat claims of collusion with Putin originated from aides to Putin.

This farce will go down in the history books as not just one of the worst criminal attempts to undermine American democracy, but one of the most ridiculous thanks to a mainstream media that opted to immolate the last tattered threads of its credibility. CNN is as we speak sending journalists to Thailand to interview a hooker about Trump while known criminal conspirators like Peter Strzok and Lisa Page can look out on their front lawn and never see a reporter wanting to ask them questions.

On the contrary, populism--and its attendant hostility to institutions and establishments--is the purest expression of the democratic principle. So Trump, Sanders, and the like are the true democrats bent on disestablishing the decaying remnants of our constitutional republic.

^^^ What he said.

Au contraire. As far as I can tell, Trump is pushing tariffs for very democratic reasons. Almost all the experts agree on the issue. It's democrats vs. technocrats. I'm with the technocrats on this one.

Always Google.

"American voters oppose 50 - 31 percent tariffs on steel and aluminum, and disagree 64 - 28 percent with President Donald Trump's claim that a trade war would be good for the U.S. and easily won, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today."

What you really have here is a minority thrust, describing itself as populist, implying popular, when it is not.

If anything too many have accepted that 30% of the country do get to run things as "populism" or "democracy" because "Trump won."

Democracy is not actually a one shot deal. We "call our congressman" because we expect government to be more responsive than that.

In the article, Trump is repeatedly described as feeling like he needs to "deliver" for the people who voted him in. Maybe this is a gross political miscalculation. We'll see when we run the one poll that matters.

On its face, this is textbook democratic politics. We (not me) constantly decry politicians for failing to deliver on campaign promises, correctly viewing THAT as a kind of thwarting of the democratic impulse (I personally think the will of the people should be thwarted sometimes politically, as do most people, though we disagree on when.)

By the way, the National Review comes to a similar conclusion to Brian above:

"Trump presents an insurmountable challenge to an intellectual approach to politics because his decisions aren't based on any coherent body of ideas."

He's not exposed to a wide variety of views (unless Fox and Friends adopting a new format?), and Cohn leaving will further narrow what he hears.

Republican Party is a shrinking tent, hence the record number of looming retirements by experienced R members who don't uniformly align with the hard right positions of the party across all policy domains.

Or they think it will be a more usual midterm election with significant losses for the party controlling the presidency (over the past 40 years only Bush 43 managed to avoid it in 2002 but not in 2006). No need for hysterical, idiosyncratic explanations.

Let's be truthful. These losses are projected to be much, much bigger than usual midterms for a party holding presidency. And some of these folks who might even do fine in a normal reelection campaign are likely to be primaried by extreme candidates just looking to throw bombs and grandstand. I'd get out, too.

Restating your initial claim more emphatically does not make it any truer, but we'll how good the projections end up being. Perhaps like a broken clock they'll eventually tell the right time by chance.

Your general point that many are not running because they're likely to lose is true. In saying why they're likely to lose are multifactorial and exacerbated by the crazymaking of this administration and the rightward drift and growing.homogeneity of the party.

If you think this swing will be normal in magnitude, even given the performance of R candidates in state and special federal elections so far, create a bid in the online markets because you will have many takers.

I take it this is written in language even the U.S. president can understand?

Probably. He has great genes.

Great jeans:

Unvailable video.

"Bad relative to good has gone up. That is bad."
And that's terrible.

A contrarian take:
Tariffs are bad for the US. But if they dissuade China from engaging in more industrial policy and protectionism and mercantilism (all one thing?), they may be good on net. I am sure the US would engage in much more subsidy and industrial policy than we do now if we weren't threatened by retaliatory tariffs. Maybe China should be spending their money on building even more infrastructure or green energy deployment (or dare I say a good retirement system) instead of paying for unprofitable factories. I know China spends a lot on infrastructure and green energy now, but they could always spend more; they are good at it.

I started thinking this way when Trump enacted his stupid solar tariffs. I thought: at least China will wind up with a bunch of idle solar capacity; maybe they can put it to use on themselves or in other industrializing countries. Just because we put a tariff on the panels doesn't mean they go away. Even if something is terrible for our people, it might be a net positive for the whole world.

Tariffs, as good as they may be for American workers, won't stop China's aggression. Nothing but a demonstration of force and will will stop Chinese aggression. We are dealing with people who believe that power flows from the barrel of a gan - guns America is financing. We are talking about people who conquer peaceful countries, people who massacred peaceful students, people who persecute religious minorities, people who destroyed America's once proud industrial base, people who murdered America's brave young men in Korea. Nothing but the destruction of the Chinese Communist Party will suffice. Stop funding it is great start.

Wait, us taxing Canadian steel will stop China from subsidizing domestic industry? Awesome.

"Canada and Brazil are likely to bear the brunt of any tariffs on steel imposed by President Donald Trump, according to a 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Commerce."

Brazil deserves our gratitude for their great sacrifice in resisting Chinese Communist aggression!

I would give everything, sacrifice everything to destroy Red China, but, make no mistake, tariif games (and backstabbing good allies) won't do the trick. China is laughing at America. I say, "nuke Beijing and let's see if they keep laughing".

You appear to be as morally bankrupt as that which you oppose.

No, I am not. I defend civilization and freedom.

"nuke Beijing"... civilised ?

It is no different from firebombing Tokyo, bombing Dresden, nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki or bombing Vietnam back to Stone Age. What you want, "Peace for Our Time"? Munich? The only language totalitarians understand is force.

China is shipping it's steel through Canada.

This is false. What evidence do you have?

Evidence? Who needs evidence here, where brevity and a lack of links backing up assertions is considered a badge of honor among a certain set of commenters.

We need any exchange traded fund for good. So I can short it.

Is there nothing President Trump cannot do?

Now, He incited left-wing nut jobs to oppose higher taxes/tariffs. "Taxation Is Theft!"

The power to tariff is the power to destroy.

He incited left-wing nut jobs to oppose higher taxes/tariffs.

That's probably the best thing Trump has ever done. The media is currently in a frenzy to explain comparative advantage to the American populace. Maybe it will finally sink in.

Good thing Congress is on the case. I hear they're going to start by using their oversight authority to pressure Trump to implement the Russia sanctions they passed. Oh, wait...

Facts! I don't need no stinking facts!

Mmm . . . bad.

Freedom and liberty equals an American not being able to buy a Samsung washing machine for the price Samsung is offering it because the Whirlpool Corporation can't make as good a washing machine as Samsung. Doesn't that about sum it up?

I'm more concerned about solar panels. Isn't renewables what we want? But there's a tariff on cheap Chinese solar panels because a German company with a U.S. manufacturing plant complained about it. Cheap Chinese panels actrually create U.S. jobs for making the batteries and power controllers, but most of all for installing the panels. I don't think you should respond to so-called dumping with a tariff. You should respond by buying all
all you can, just like you would if someone was selling dollars for $0.90.

I tend to think that the persistent and large trade deficits the US has been having have been a significant problem, contrary to the conventional wisdom. It isn't quite free, because individuals in and central banks of mercantilist countries build up debt claims against the US government. An alternative to tariffs would be to keep interest rates lower and allow a slightly higher rate of inflation, which would make those claims less valuable. This would shift the equilibrium of existing trade flows towards benefitting the US and force mercantilists to reevaluate their policies simultaneously.

Another possibility would be to tax interest on US debt normally, including that held by foreign central banks. This is arguably justified under the territorial tax regime most of the world follows, since bond interest is paid for by the tax revenue that would be itself derived from US territory after reform.

If you consider US currency, or any other currency, a debt instrument, then, in your line of thinking, no foreign trade at all would be ideal. In reality, foreign individuals and businesses sell American individuals and businesses products that they voluntarily purchase. Since these products are purchased with US money, that money must eventually be used to purchase US products or debt. If the purchases were made with gold that wouldn't necessarily ever return to the US but so what? Gold is a barbarous relic. A slightly higher rate of inflation is simply a devaluation of the money, stealing wealth from the general population.

Taxing the interest on US debt? The US borrows money, pays interest on it and then demands part of the interest back in taxes? You're kidding, right?

'The US borrows money, pays interest on it and then demands part of the interest back in taxes?'

You did get your 1099 INT for 2017, right?

'You’re kidding, right?'

The IRS is not kidding about most forms of interest, including that paid on many forms of federal borrowing, being taxed, and collecting that tax.

If you have problems with paying taxes on interest, buy only tax-exempt municipal bonds.

Did not learn a lot from these comments

Welcome to the MR comments section!

Tyler, did you see the waiter approaching with your food at the restaurant and then decided to send this quickie simpleton post just to get it over with so you could eat??

Am I correct that tariffs against us are greater than our own tariffs? So why do we not raise tariffs because of fear of retaliation but not retaliate when others have high tariffs?
Maybe this isn't economics. Maybe this is long-term negotiation.

Yes, it would make sense to respond to asymmetric tariffs, to send a signal we won't accept that. But this approach to levy across the board tariffs on certain goods, regardless of source country, doesn't really make sense.

'Am I correct that tariffs against us are greater than our own tariffs?'

Depends. The EU has a higher tariff on imported cars, 10%, while the U.S. has a 25% tariff on imported commercial vans and trucks.

And regarding the response from Jan - 'But this approach to levy across the board tariffs on certain goods, regardless of source country, doesn’t really make sense.' The EU does this all the time (like cars), and is about to do it again to make sure that steel will not be dumped in the EU - 'It is preparing safeguards in case steel is dumped in Europe in response to America’s tariffs'

GoneWithTheWind had a point. Since most barriers are likely from inside manipulation, strange tax laws, and corruption, then a pricerd border tax might make it all more efficient. It would work if the fair tax per good could be traded, meaning the tax set by a tradeable rule. Then insiders who need special border tax settings can bet the futures market for the tax, hedge.

Okay, Trump proposes two rather minor tariffs, one on steel and another on aluminum.

Here are today's headlines.

"Gary Cohn, Trump's top economic adviser, to resign amid differences on trade policy

Trump's Trade Plan Threatens to Derail Korean Security Talks

How American steelmakers have survived — without Trump's help

Remember Bush's 2002 steel tariffs? His chief of staff warns Trump not to do the same.

Kelly listens as Republican senators sound off on tariffs

Oil CEO to Trump: Tariffs will help OPEC, hurt US jobs

Wall Street is on edge about tariffs"


Long ago I began to suspect whatever business/economy op-eds you read were paid for by somebody, somewhere. Sure, the op-ed writer might believe in "free trade," but their foundation is financed by multi-nationals. Labor groups constantly issue op-eds on declining wages, etc. Corn growers cite national security and ethanol.

And where are the constant op-eds criticizing China for its mercantilist policies? No one pays for them, so they do not exist.

I am saluting my American flag and watching Alex Jones. Actually, Jones is a sad case. He and his crew have the germ of a good idea here or there, but can't sustain motion, develop real expertise on any topic.

I think there is a good case to be made against large and chronic current-account trade deficits, but Jones cannot make it.

For example, one-third of Corporate America is already foreign-owned. You think the Russians try to influence DC opinion-makers? What about the globalists? They are 100 times as influential as Manafort's buddies.

And as land and corporations become foreign-owned, will not there be a widening gap between US gross national income and GDP?

That is, income will flow offshore?

So, Americans will work more hours to fulfill foreign demand for goods and services. That is a lower standard of living. Oh, that.

Not to mention that house prices explode in nations that run chronic and large current account trade deficits.

Really, the "free trade" issue needs some fresh ideas and insights.

25% is not minor. Your comment went downhill from there.

You did not address the problem of shrinking GNI in relation to GDP, as foreign ownership of US assets rises.

But then neither does Tyler Cowen, or the whole group of "free traders."

Why no broad view on this topic?

"And where are the constant op-eds criticizing China for its mercantilist policies? No one pays for them, so they do not exist."
Because Americans are cowards who fear Beijing.

"Bad relative to good has gone up. That is bad."

I kinda thought we tipped that point at Charlottesville, but ymmv.

The story so far: trump proposes some tariffs to help stiffen the backbone of our feckless negotiators, who have given very favorable terms to our partners onstebsibly to “lead the way”. Trump understands that these are the words of someone with no skin in the game. Cohn disagreed with the policy, and furthermore was not particularity interested in the day-to-day slog in an administration and threatened to quit if his way was not followed. This is an affront that no leader can abide and he had to go, Cohn could have backtracked but as I stated, my guess is that the day-to-day grind was getting to him.

I almost respect that kind of rationalization. It takes a free association of random bullshit and turns it into a balloon animal.

"I hate the work, but feel I need to stay because I'm the only person there with a clue what he's doing." - attributed to Cohn in the Fire and the Fury book.

World steel production has peaked. This is because it takes a lot of steel to industrialize a country but once that task is done an industrial country can meet a lot of demand for steel by recycling the steel already present in rebar in demolished buildings, wrecked cars, and so on. Barring unexpected increased demand in places such as India and Nigeria, steel demand will never recover.

My advice would be to enjoy cheap steel. But putting tariffs on foreign steel is an option and to tell the truth, I prefer South Korean mining trucks to US ones anyway. Mind you, won't need so many mining trucks with the fall in demand for iron ore and coke...

F*ck Trump

My contrarian take: if China wants to dump steel, we should thank them for taxing Chinese citizens to subsidize the price of American cars. Ditto for if the Canadians want to subsidize our lumber consumption. I understand why American steelworkers and lumberjacks feel differently, but most Americans are neither lumberjacks nor steelworkers, and the Chinese and Canadians are doing the rest of us a solid.

Tariffs on China are good. China’s bad.

"Tariffs are bad, the anti-tariff Gary Cohn was good. Cohn being gone is bad. Bad relative to good has gone up. That is bad."

Should we read between the lines here?

And what about the Basel Committee’s tariffs of 35% risk weight on residential mortgages and 100% on loans to entrepreneurs, is that not pure protectionism?

Statistically, residential mortgages are safer than loans to entrepreneurs, that's what the math says.

Putting on my professorial hat, I would like to bring to the group's attention:

1) think of three circles, the bigger the circle, the better

2) the smallest circle, circle 1, just a point or very tiny circle, is 'no trade'--that's bad

3) the next bigger circle, circle 2, is 'unilateral free trade' (UFT) - that's good, though in the media it usually gets painted as bad. What UFT means is that one country, say the USA, allows free trade but every other country does not, and they simply dump their goods into the USA for sale. Believe it or not, Ricardo (19th century economist) showed this helps the USA. Google this.

4) the biggest circle, circle 3, on the outside, is 'bilateral free trade) (BFT), where every country can freely trade with every other, and this is the best form of free trade.

How to get from circle 2 to 3? Game theory says to threaten a trade war. If (a) your threat is credible, and (b) the other countries do not retaliate, then you can go from circle 2 to circle 3. However, if you don't do the 'art of the deal' negotiation correctly, and you mess it up, and there's retaliation, you go from circle 2 to circle 1, and that's bad.

So Trump is trying, in his own way, to 'open up' foreign markets to US exports. But if he messes it up, it will be a worse outcome. That's the 'art of the deal', if done correctly. Keep in mind the USA is also the world's biggest market so they have room to 'play tough' with other countries. Will Trump pull it off? Frankly, I doubt it. I don't distrust his logic, but actually I think he's a lousy negotiator. If you look at his business record you see he repeatedly failed and went bankrupt. Even with North Korea, Trump's likely to screw it up, though yesterday North Korea surprised with some good news, though it could be insincere.

Well put Ray. Pretty obvious to me. Brinksmanship, something most people are very uncomfortable with (e.g. dweeby academics), and it will most likely end with Trump walking this back like Bush did.

Circle 2 and circle 3 are actually equal, from the perspective of American consumers. American consumers benefit from the cheaper goods being "dumped" into American markets, below cost. Someone other countries investors and taxpayers are subsidizing our consumption.
Circle 3 is better only from the perspective of the shareholders of US export industries that want to sell into foreign markets. This is a much smaller number of people. It's also better from the perspective of foreign consumers who might like to buy US products, but that's not the US government's concern.
Getting from circle 2 to circle 3 by imposing tariffs effectively hold's the consumers interests hostage to the interests of a much smaller group of people with interests in the affected industries. It is crony capitalism, regardless of whether the tarriffs are intended to protect the US steel industry, or open markets to US automobiles.

And you're also kidding yourself if you think that Trump is actually trying to get from circle 2 to circle 3. He is trying to get to circle 1.

Repeating my comment from a prior post...

Can we all agree that Trump saying “we are going to win a trade war” is one of the dumbest things a president has ever said? Particularly given that if you analyze the evidence you have Smoot-Hawley as a warning.

Just listen to how the idiot explains the trade deficit. It takes a real idiot to agree with this garbage.

We were already in a trade war by the time Smoot Hawley came along.

But the tariffs come with a free frogurt! 'That's good!' The frogurt is also cursed. 'That's bad.'

I'd be interested to hear the viewpoint of citizens from countries allied with America. I'd think this opens the door for countries to seek some kind of stability and agreements elsewhere if this destabilized their economies.

The silver lining is that we need Trump to trash the economy to erode his support and for other populists like him in the future. Populists always implement their own undoing through their terrible policy. Hopefully we'll just see a mild recession triggered by the coming trade war and Trump out in 2020 (or sooner).

< “We are urging caution,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday.

I read this and thought, How quaint!

This is about Canada, not China. If the administration wants to rework NAFTA (and there is a case for doing that), it pretty much has to be done by the end of the month.

Like most free market types, I oppose tariffs. I oppose worker nationalism. But there is a high probability that this move is just a negotiation tactic. Indeed, while our consumers benefit from obscenely low prices subsidized by foreigners, our workers and firms do get hurt by unfair trade practices. It also greatly contributes to our fiscal woes.

It's funny that people need to speculate about what Trump's motives could possibly be. Maybe he means exactly what he says when he says that "trade wars are good, and easy to win" . Maybe he seriously believes that if you have a trade deficit with some country, halting all trade with them automatically means winning. Have you considered that possibility?

If tariffs are imposed, what does that mean as far as Trump's prospects for re-election? Seems to me that it has given him MORE wiggle-room with his base: "Tough on Foreign Interests"...

I have always been somewhat suspicious of the Trump phenom, but the really difficult thing for me to understand is how you can divide down a base, as standard operating procedure, and expect to win a re-election.

Trump trails generic Democrat by 8 points

If you want to win an election, do things with majority approval, not "base" approval.

A generic poll two years before the election. Wow, that is some powerful evidence you are citing.

What a dumb answer. Do you have a later poll, from a year from now?

lol. And when you get right down to it, do you want to vote for Stormy Daniel's boyfriend in that future?

It's not dumb. Both Bush in 2002 and Obama in 2010 trailed in generic polls. Actual polls in 2016 had Hillary beating every Republican but Kasich.
Generic polls can be very good for predicting Congressional elections, even fairly far out.

OK, I will give you that. In a generic sense, to a space alien who doesn't understand human psychology, this election could be just like every other.

But in another sense, Trump has Carter x 10 written all over him. People will be so frigging tired of the bs by that point. I mean something as trivial as the fact that Trump opposition can just call him Stormy's boyfriend.

I certainly want to be done with that, as my President, as President of the United States.

But in another sense, Trump has Carter x 10 written all over him.

You're not from around here, are you?

Art, are you the kind of (if I recall correctly, Catholic) moralist who says "I don't care if my president cheats on his wife and new baby, and I don't care if he does it with porn actresses?"

Try not to be the gum on America's shoe.

Carter x10.
This is from a Washington Post article in 1978:
Poll Finds Carter Popularity Soars
President Carter's performance as peacemaker at the Camp David summit meeting has translated into a remarkable political triumph, winning new friends among the most hostile voters and respect for his abilities as a national leader.
A nationwide public-opinion survey, conducted by The Washington Post, found that Carter's popular standing went up dramatically - by 11 percent in just two weeks' time.
What is perhaps most significant: Carter made sharp gains among those citizens who have been most skeptical about his competence as president - moderates and conservatives and people who felt the man couldn't handle the job.

The election you are talking about won't take place for 20 months. Lots can happen in that time.

Let me phrase it this way then. It will be perfectly awful if America center and right lets every awful thing in evidence slide and then votes a partisan renewal for Trump.

Because certainly, absolutely, there are better men center and right to bear the standard of President of the United State here and across the world.

Art, are you the kind of (if I recall correctly, Catholic) moralist who says “I don’t care if my president cheats on his wife and new baby, and I don’t care if he does it with porn actresses?” Try not to be the gum on America’s shoe.

There isn't much to you but snotty talking points, is there?

I’m not exactly the most experienced reader of this blog, but what is your self perceived role here? Purveyor of snark?

If modern American "centrists" want nothing more than philanderers with porn stars for our President, we are in very sad shape.

(music emoji) I talked virtue, but they called it signalling (music emoji)

Be real. Call for actual virtue in your elected leaders, especially in the highest offices of the land.

Gary Cohn Resigns In Protest Of Trump’s Bigoted Comments Towards Aluminum

Over 90 comments on the departure of a man who probably took a 95% pay cut to work in the White House and might just like to return to Wall Street and whose job was to preside over one of two sets of 'economic advisors' whose responsibilities are (between them) indistinct. No one in either set supervises any federal agencies or, indeed, any employees who do more than send memos back and forth.

It amazes me how much people try to twist their minds around Trumps actions to explain them in a way that makes logical sense. No matter how many times Trump flatly asserts claims like steel tariffs are needed to protect US steel companies from foreign competition, a million people will try to claim that he doesn't mean it and he's actually negotiating to lower foreign companies tarriffs against our automobiles or something.

The guy thinks that trade is a game that you only win if you export more than you import. He's NOT trying to get us to a state of universal free trade. He's trying to get us to a state in which we export more tangible physical goods (measured in US dollars) than we import. His idea of "winning" at trade is to manipulate tariffs so that US exporters are favored in international markets, even if it costs US consumers money.

Before we all come to any conclusions, let's see if Peter Navarro can have a conversation with Tyler on which we can eavesdrop.

Now a report on radio that Canada and Mexico could be exempted from the steel tariffs

Per the WSJ:

Continental has pressured companies in the past, including its attempt five years ago on Smithfield Foods Inc., when it launched a presentation for investors laying out Continental's case for breaking up the world's largest pork producer. Smithfield eventually agreed to sell itself to China's Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd., now known as WH Group, for $4.7 billion.

What did Shuanghui use for money on this deal? Was Smithfield purchased with renminbis, egg rolls or dollars?

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