Theory that ignores human nature and nation states

So we have with the estimable Veronique de Rugy writing at Townhall today.

It is a fine statement of free trade mantra that tariffs are taxes. We believe in low taxes don’t you? She castigates Trump for “raising tariffs” (taxes) and preventing other countries from subsidizing American consumers. As if they are incapable of playing more than one game at a time or using subsidies of their industries as an economic weapon.

If you corporally discipline a child is the only result that you hurt your hand? If you withhold a treat as punishment is the result more Twinkies for you (OK maybe on that) But does either also have the effect of changing behavior for the betterment of the household and the child in later life?

Read Ms de Rugy’s column and tell us what you think as big-picture conservatives. Our response to the article is set forth below the link to hers but definitely read hers. Critique ours.

Will the Real Tariff Man Please Stand Down? 

On what planet is /was this true? (de Rugy statement in italics)

“Leaving aside for now the fact that this has failed repeatedly as a 
strategy to force countries into making concessions they weren’t willing
to make in the first place,”

Robbery of intellectual property is a tax on American innovation. Destroying American industries is a tax on American independence and job creation. Zero tariffs may be ideal and Trump has stood up for that, but that is a process and China and Mexico and others are not actually believers, yet.

The article tries to assume a mantel of economic sophistication but economics is supposed to be about the real world and the glib pronouncement of theory is not the complete real world. Agricultural commodities are to a great extent fungible today. As China puts a tariff on US farm goods, what countries are going to make it up at a consistent lower price? And where are the countries that were buying from those countries now selling to China going to get their goods and at what price now bid up by China? If China can be shipped to profitably then so can virtually any other country. And the market stabilizes or grows with population requirements.

It is fine for America to preach “the way” and enter into agreements with fellow believers. It is another to be a patsy, particularly for China which has a whole different world view.

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