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A dubious record

Summary:
According to the World Bank, the US now has by far the highest tariff rates in the entire developed world (excluding a couple of tiny places like Bermuda.) I used to hear people say that the US was a free trading nation and that our trade partners had lots of barriers.  That was not true, as in recent decades the US tariff rates (and non-tariff barriers) were similar to other developed countries.  Now it’s true in reverse.  We are an extreme outlier, but in the protectionist direction. Check our our new neighbors: In 2016, we helped create the TPP and then refused to sign on.  Now China wants to join: The TPP was originally meant to be an economic counterweight to China’s growing heft. But instead, it could end up amplifying China’s might. That’s why there’s

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According to the World Bank, the US now has by far the highest tariff rates in the entire developed world (excluding a couple of tiny places like Bermuda.)

A dubious record

I used to hear people say that the US was a free trading nation and that our trade partners had lots of barriers.  That was not true, as in recent decades the US tariff rates (and non-tariff barriers) were similar to other developed countries.  Now it’s true in reverse.  We are an extreme outlier, but in the protectionist direction.

Check our our new neighbors:

A dubious record

In 2016, we helped create the TPP and then refused to sign on.  Now China wants to join:

The TPP was originally meant to be an economic counterweight to China’s growing heft. But instead, it could end up amplifying China’s might.

That’s why there’s growing interest in revising the trade pact, rebranding it and bringing the United States into the bloc, after all. “If China joined, this would be the irony of all ironies,” says Wendy Cutler of the Asia Society, who called for the United States to rejoin the deal recently in Foreign Affairs. “It was a U.S.-brokered trade agreement, and China is putting itself up to join. China wants to put the other countries on notice, and see how they respond.”

Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment". In May 2012, Chicago Fed President Charles L. Evans became the first sitting member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to endorse the idea.

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