The goal of feeding the power of the chief executive is always the core motivation of all forms of mercantilism, whether in the 17th century, the interwar years, or our own times.
It’s been a beautiful thing to observe the wonderful effects of the tax cuts and deregulation of the last year. The tariffs take us off this clear path to the goal. The only question remains: is this a cul-de-sac or a u-turn? My own hope is that the political posturing is over in this one sector and we can move forward again with progress toward a world of peace, prosperity, and free trade, and that arbitrary rule will not permanently derail the rule of law in international economic relations.
And this isn’t only about the price of beer (you won’t say “dilly dilly” to $2 Bud Lights). It is about cars, computers, homes, offices, fixtures, and countless other items you use every day. The costs could very easily take away all the benefits accrued from income and corporate tax cuts. It also makes a joke of the Trump administration’s position against red tape and regulation. If my company can’t shop around for the best deal for my customers but instead must face a terrible trade bureaucracy to decline or permission in my every choice, we don’t have free enterprise.
Corporations and many households rightfully celebrated when the Trump administration led the way in cutting their taxes. Now, the administration is in effect clawing at least a little of that tax cut back in the name of increasing the profitability of two ailing American industries.
Economists tend to minimize those people who are hurt in the short run by free trade, but they're hard to ignore as a political voting bloc.
House Speaker Paul Ryan recently proposed a tax plan called A Better Way: A Vision for a Confident America. Ryan’s plan to make the United States more competitive includes a tax cut for businesses, a switch to a territorial tax system, and a border-adjustment tax. A tax cut and a switch to a territorial system would be positive for the economy. On the other hand, the border-adjustment tax would work like a tariff. It would encourage inefficient domestic production, which would raise prices and reduce real output. Over the long run the BAT would not even reduce the trade deficit.
Few areas of life are as poorly understood as trade. This is remarkable because each of us engages in trade every day. We buy our groceries, clothing, electronics, etc. from other people rather than making them ourselves. If we didn’t think trade was worthwhile, we wouldn’t do it. But we do—because we know how poor we would be if each of tried to make all the things we want.
“When adversely affected minorities are politically powerful, governments often intervene with special-privilege legislation to insulate the “injured” parties from the effects of international cooperation or to give them special advantages in
The biggest news story in the world this past week has been the election of Donald Trump, and the biggest reason for his election was the vote of working class white voters in the Rust Belt states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, states that had been projected to vote for Hillary Clinton. One current explanation is that these voters felt Trump better understood their economic anxieties better than Clinton – or past Republican candidates. In particular, President-elect Trump spent a lot of time during the campaign talking about trade with China and immigration.
With the Trans-Pacific Partnership heading to Capitol Hill for ratification, U.S. policymakers will weigh the proposed free-trade zone in an increasingly challenging trade environment. The strong dollar, a weaker global economy and low energy prices have all worked against the United States when it comes to trade, said Bob Hughes, senior research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research. Today, the U.S. posted a trade deficit for the month of