Tariff Man

Some good economics in Tariff Man, sung to the tune of Piano Man (with apologies to Billy Joel) by Art Carden:

Now Paul is a real estate contractor
He’d like to buy things for his wife
But he canceled a deal because structural steel’s
More expensive—it’s doubled in price!
And the firms are all practicing politics
As their businessmen fly to DC!
Yes, they’re spreading a problem called poverty,
And calling it prosperity!

Jack up that tax, you’re a Tariff Man!
Let’s make Americans pay
For the right to buy stuff from those foreigners–
We should make it here, anyway!
These policies concentrate benefits
And they spread costs to you and to me
These costs are concealed, but see, they are still real—
They are there, though they’re harder to see.
Some goods are expensive that shouldn’t be
Because tariffs have made them cost more!
And we’d have more for bars, and put bread in their jars
But we’re stopping goods at our shores!

La la la, di da da
La la, di da da da dum

Jack up that tax, you’re a Tariff Man!


For DJT and MBS

Blame it all on my roots
I showed up in boots
And ruined your black-tie affair
The last one to know
The last one to show
I was the last one you thought you'd see there
I'm not big on social graces
Think I'll slip on down to the oasis
Oh, I've got friends in low places

Jack up that tax on our producers,
the unemployed make good student loan slave laborers.
Let the foreigners sell tax free
we've got sinecures in a tax exempt industry
and foreign students pay full freight,
so we'll remain cosmopolitans, loyal to no state.

Ugh. Please, instructors, don't play this for your students. The Keynes vs Hayek is excruciating enough.

Au contraire. Cette chancon est magnifique!

And that credit crunch ain’t a liquidity trap
Just a broke banking system, I’m done, that’s a wrap.

You libtards are so predictable. Tariff man bad!

"The Nebraska Farm Bureau says Trump's trade conflicts cost the state's farmers more than $1 billion"

"Tis but a scratch."

"Other projects are being hit by price increases. In Logan, Utah, the estimated cost to build a new wastewater treatment plant increased by $29 million, to $135 million, in part because of higher steel costs, said Mark Nielsen, senior project engineer."

"I've had worse."

"In Virginia, tariffs are boosting steel costs by as much as 50 percent for some smaller projects, says Layne, but the real concern is the impact duties could have in the next 12 to 18 months on larger ones, such as a $3.7 billion bridge and tunnel project in the Hampton Roads area."

"Just a flesh wound."

Genius Trump at al put tariffs on steel used to make nails, but no tariff on nails, driving down sales of US made nails, and Mexican made nail imports up.

I'm old enough to have been taught how complex tariffs are, as part of the liberal argument for eliminating all tariffs.

Exactly. If you're going to tax something, tax complex finished products, not basic materials that you use to make complex finished products.
Taxing steel might be protecting US steel from foreign competition, but it will make US industries that USE steel. After lal it's not like those mexican nail manufacturuers are going to be forced to buy US steel. They're going to make those nails with cheap chinese steel. Eventually the high cost of inputs will kill off all the domestic buyers of US steel and make us more reliant on imported finished goods. And the steel industries won't survive anyway, because all it's buyers will be out of business.

I mean it makes US industries that use steel less competitive.

We aren't libtards, Genius. This is a Libertarian argument. Try living in the real world sometime.

tariff man, take me by the land lead me to the land, that you understand

MR reader + Ween fan must be an exceedingly small slice of the population

Yes and thank goodness!

So that is. America must fund the enslavement of Tibet, the threat to Formosa and plans to control the world.

First, I'd like to congratulate the NYT for not having a Trump headline above the fold. Unfortunately, in a failed attempt at humor, in an editorial about tariffs, they staff makes a college freshman error. One does not "keep up" a winning streak, like one "keeps up" in a swim race. One adds to. Thus, we know the basic logic of what "imposing tariffs" even means.
Why would you quote BNP on US growth rates? The IMF suggests In the United States, near-term momentum in the economy is expected to strengthen temporarily in line with the April WEO forecast, with growth projected at 2.9 percent in 2018 and 2.7 percent in 2019. Not BNP 2.1 projections. So, what we have here is outright lying.

We get "obsession, wall street's soon (which hit tech companies the hardest), saber rattling, and HOSTAGE."

Then there is the dark side of NYT bias, which is leaning on corruption.
Look at the following topic sentences: "Mr. Trump has famously boasted that trade wars are “easy to win,” but he is currently 0-for-2 on that count." "Trade wars tend to be easier to prolong than they are to win or even end. "

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of how the political system works. Trump is simply trying to reorganize the American trade economy from a 1:1 system to a regional system. What do China and Mexico have in common? Industrialization. It's not rocket science. But this editorial is not about policy. It's about asserting power. That's the textbook definition of corruption. Just take the case of C.R. England trucking; they brought Mexican bananas to Idaho and brought back potatoes. When the central American bananas outpriced the Mexican bananas, C.R. England focused on produce in Arizona.

"Trump is simply trying to reorganize the American trade economy from a 1:1 system to a regional system."

"That's right. La-tee-da global trade. Who needs it!"

"Oh, oh, see 'em running away, eh? The yellow bastards! Come back here and take what's coming to you. We'll bite your legs off!"

TF - This Next America will raise a whole web of new intertwined policy, legal, moral, ethical and privacy issues because of changes in technology, demographics, the environment and globalization that are reaching critical mass. - Sounds like nothingness without end to me.

These were all Americans held hostage in 1985 by Hezbollah: Thomas Sutherland, an administrator at the American University of Beirut; Catholic priest, Father Lawrence Jenco; David P. Jacobsen, administrator at the American University Hospital of Beirut; Presbyterian minister Benjamin Weir; Jerry Levin, CNN's Beirut bureau chief; Frank Reed, head of the Lebanese International School; Joseph Cicippio, deputy controller of the American University of Beirut; Edward Tracey, an itinerant poet; and Professors Alann Steen, Jesse Turner, and Robert Polhill.


The real reason academics hate the full-employment Trump economy: people can get jobs without going into deep student loan debt.

Instead of pleasuring themselves congratulating each other on their alleged cleverness, maybe some economists could do something about the student loan crisis. There are $88 billion in student loans currently in default in the US. GMU crows about "only" 2% of its graduates defaulting within 3 years of graduation. Mason, which gets 25% of its budget from the state, reports that 57% of in-state undergraduate students graduated with debt; the average student loan balance was $27,682. Such a deal. In contrast, the first mortgage default rate is 0.65 %. What is the deal with the shady lending practices in the education industry? Why do we have state financed universities anyway? Something needs to be done quick about this scandalous state of affairs.

Nobody complained when unions raised salaries excessively and drove businesses out of the country. Now everybody is upset over tariffs.

Congratulations. Every single statement you made is wrong. Perfection.

So, driving their customers out of the US is a good business strategy?

Rewatched Frontline from Sep 11 which focuses on Dayton Ohio. Cutting labor costs there has cut the population in half annd greatly increased dependence on food banks.

The thing giving hope to the area has been immigrants from places like Turkey coming in, buying abandoned properties, starting new business, but as Muslims, Trump is cutting off that growth. But China Inc buying closed US auto factories to make auto parts must be what Trump means by bring back jobs. But China is building factories where labor is in excess now that factory labor is becoming scarce in China.

Trump won by promising to help the rust belt suffering from the actions of elites living in high cost of living and labor coastal liberal globalist.

The voters failed to note that Trump, unlike Clinton, had never lived any place other than among wealthy coastal elites, and never slept in their towns, flying back to the coast each day.

Economies are zero sum. Cut labor costs, cut business revenue. Where this has been done, the prices of goods and services produced by the coastal elites have become a bigger share of costs for Trump voters. And Trump isn't building housing or resorts for Trump voters, as customers or workers.

Can't we be upset about both?

Via Twitter, can’t recall account

“I shot the Tariff, but I did not shoot the Subsidy”

I don't mind it if foreign governments subsidize my consumption.

Amusing... but I'm waiting for "I Am The Wall-rus"...…...

Having written my senior thesis for Robert Mundell on the re-unification of Germany, I was surprised when I read a paper by him promoting currency controls.

I could talk about the joke about the 3 people on a desert island where the economist just assumes they have a can opener. I could talk about how in theory, theory and practice are the same. While in practice, they are different.

It is clear that tariffs are a drag on the economy and that in the long run countries with lower tariffs having higher standards of living in the same way that in the long run countries with lower minimum wages have lower unemployment.

On the other hand, many economists let their political biases skew their judgement. For example, many do not take into account the economic drag of corruption. In this case, it seems to me that there are many simplifying assumptions. First, what role does negotiation play in economic trade? The current tariffs are part of trade negotiation. Is it not too early to make a clear judgement?
Isn't the assumption that the president wants to permanently increase taxes, just an assumption?
Aren't the negative economic impacts constrained by the political brand of the Republican party, i.e. the pro-growth party?
What role do pro-trust (anti-anti-trust or predatory) business practices play a role? For example, if an industry is shut down in one country due to lower wages, regulatory restrictions, industrial espionage, etc., that country loses human capital comparative advantages of agglomeration?
If military or law enforcement options are not feasible, what other options are available outside of sanctions or tariffs if the other country is poisoning the population, e.g. Fentanyl? (Counter-argument to war on drugs: Quaaludes are no longer available)
What about the role of foreign interference in the United States political process? It has been observed that on average politicians make decision based more on the desires of their donors than the desires of their constituents. I believe it is a fact that China provides donations to our politicians. Correct me if I'm wrong. I remember controversies surrounding Bill Clinton and Chinese donors. Also, the Chinese government stole the millions personnel records of government employees. On the one hand, people need to protect themselves. On the other hand, the United States does prosecute bad actors, such as Bernie Madoff. Is just asking nicely and negotiating meekly a good strategy?

If climate change and environment externalities are issues to be addresses, should we negotiate meekly, and thus provide an easy way around those regulation, thus hurting the lower classes while benefiting the upper classes?

What is the role economic stratification? The wealthier benefit from lower wages and lower prices. What are the trade-offs between lower prices and lower wages / fewer economic opportunities? What is the role of corruption within our political system in determining those trade-offs.

When in class listening to Robert Mundell, I thought he was arrogant. Looking back, he really wasn't as arrogant as he seemed.

One can be open minded on low to moderate tariffs, while being concerned with the current process.

In fact, process might Trump the economics yet again.

Sing me one about Globalist Man and the fires in Paris!

I am Tariff Man

Has he lost his mind?
Can he see or is he blind?

Tells his trade advisor Peter
Help me punish all trade cheaters

China is ripping us off you know
So I'll put tariffs on Trudeau

We’re down $800 billion a year
Must make deficits disappear

He puts tariffs on steel
And blowtorches farmers’ fields

Reactionary policies turn back time
Imposing trade wars on mankind

Nobody wants him
He just stares at the world

Planning his vengeance
That he will soon unfold

Now the time is here
For tariff man to spread fear

Trade atrocities
Based on reciprocity

Nobody wants him
They just turn their heads

Nobody helps him
Now he has his revenge

Finding trade agreements to shred
Filling carmakers full of dread

Running as fast as they can
Tariff man lives again

The ovens at Granite City Steel are hot again.

Folks with jobs are not beholden to the Social-Democrats/Progs and will probably resent their taxes going to support the corruptocrat dependents in the Hell-Hole Democratic cities. That is a terrifying concept for Pelosi and Occasional-Cortex. They put all the effort into upgrading Simon Lagree from "over-seer" to "Mayor". Those corruptocrats don't have enough cheap, dependent labor to go full Compton yet.

China is "selling" steel at below cost to get foreign currency. US steel, except for some special specification grade material, isn't selling in Asia. As for "your consumption", Tough! My family and neighbors need the jobs. My county needs the jobs and taxes to keep from becoming another Progressive Hell-Hole like Chicago, Saint Louis, Detroit, Baltimore, etc.

Hey! I hear the cost of living is pretty low in much of South America, even after you pay for the armed security. Go consume there. You will be happier and so will we.

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