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Tag Archives: International Trade

Free to Trade with China (and Anyone Else): A Response to Michael Brendan Dougherty

What about China? That’s the surprising objection I’ve received to my “Departing the Shining City,” which ran on The Bulwark over Labor Day weekend. My essay looks back on Michael Anton’s “The Flight 93 Election” and disputes his objections to immigration (broadly, not just “illegal immigration”) and trade (again broadly, not just “unfair trade”), as well as his rejection of Goldwater–Reagan conservatism. I expected to get some criticisms for the essay, but I’m...

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Michael Trump or Donald Dukakis

In researching my article “Donald Trump Vs. Adam Smith,” I came across Michael Dukakis’s speech to Moog Automotive, an auto parts firm near St. Louis. What I found striking is the uncanny resemblance between Dukakis’s and Donald Trump’s views on foreign trade and even on making American great again. Thus the title of this post. Here’s the segment on C-SPAN. Missouri Congressman Dick Gephardt warms them up with his economic nationalism and then Dukakis continues the...

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Donald Trump versus Adam Smith

The three quotes above give two opposite views of a country’s trade deficit. According to the first two, by Donald Trump, the U.S. trade deficit is a major problem that must be fixed. According to the third quote, by 18th-century economist Adam Smith, the idea of a balance of trade is absurd. Who’s right? I won’t keep you in suspense. President Trump is wrong and Adam Smith is right. But what matters crucially is why Trump is wrong and Smith is right. First, the U.S....

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Two Poems by David R. Henderson

I gave a talk last night to approximately 80 members of the local Lincoln Club, a group within the Republican Party of California. The topic was “President Trump’s Economic Policies: A Balanced Assessment.” After giving some basic background about myself, I showed them a poem that summed up my talk. I’m hereby copyrighting it. There was a president, Who had an orange curl, Right in the middle of his forehead. When he was good He was very good indeed, But when he was...

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Casey Mulligan on Trump versus Reagan on Trade

The Trump Administration supports a House bill known as the “US Reciprocal Trade Act.”  Before it was introduced, Peter Navarro was leading the White House effort in this area, which he called the Fair And Reciprocal Trade act.  To the amusement of the rest of the White House staff, Mr. Navarro got an “F” in marketing; this was one of several occasions that the President was understandably upset with Mr. Navarro. It seems that neither the House bill nor the FART act...

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Are Trade Wars “Good and Easy to Win”?

“Trade wars are good and easy to win,” President Donald Trump famously tweeted on March 2, 2018. (His circumstantial qualifications do not matter because they are based on a trade-balance fetish.) Anybody with reasonable knowledge, or perhaps even just a good intuition, of economic theory and history would beg to differ. Adam Smith knew something about economics and economic history. In fact, he knew more than nearly all his contemporaries and more than Mr. Trump and...

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The laws of economics cannot be wished away

In areas such as rent control and minimum wage laws there’s an increasing tendency to ignore the basic laws of economics, and hope they somehow don’t apply to the policy being considered. President Trump provided another example in this recent tweet: There are multiple errors here.  The first sentence is incorrect; the yuan was much lower when I first visited Beijing in 1994.  The second sentence is also incorrect, for two different reasons.  Currency manipulation is...

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Peter Thiel’s pivot

Tyler Cowen linked to some discussion of a recent speech by Peter Thiel, a highly successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Thiel is known for holding somewhat libertarian views, but recently seems to be pivoting towards national conservatism.  The talk ranged over a wide variety of issues.  An attendee named Bonnie Kavoussi took notes: I took notes on my phone, so any mistakes are mine. These notes should be treated as paraphrases and not as direct quotes, since I was...

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Laura Ling on Sanctions on North Korea

“We don’t like living without electricity and water,” she went on. “We know we are not a rich country. But it is the United States that has put sanctions on us and has deprived us of these things. What did we ever do to the United States?” Paris wasn’t the only person I’d spoken with who blamed the U.S. sanctions for North Korea’s lack of electricity. This was a common theme discussed by my other guards and Mr. Yee. To them, every blackout–and they happy multiple...

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Britain is an Outlaw Nation

From Britain’s Daily Telegraph (reprinted in Canada’s National Post, Thursday, July 25, 2019: Hassan Rouhini, Iran’s president, said Wednesday that if Britain reversed its “wrong actions, including what they did in Gibraltar” then “they will receive a proper response from Iran.” There was no immediate British reaction to the offer. The U.K. has insisted it seized the Iranian tanker because it was taking oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions. The article explained...

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