Stupid Countries Restrict Trade

“We have to change our ways. We can no longer be the stupid country. We want to be the smart country.” ~ President Donald Trump

“Trade wars are good, and easy to win,” declared President Trump after announcing new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum back in March. This was after he imposed steep tariffs on imported washing machines and solar panels at the beginning of the year. Now Trump is calling for more tariffs on imported Chinese goods.

This should come as no surprise.

Trump’s economic nationalism, his protectionist mindset, and his ignorance and incoherence on trade were well known during his presidential campaign. As a candidate, Trump proposed that every car and car part manufactured in a Mexican plant “that comes across the border” will be subject to a 35 percent tariff. In one of the Republican primary debates, he proposed a 45 percent tariff on all imported goods from China “if they don’t behave.”

After Trump recently called for more tariffs on Chinese goods, Matthew Shay, president of the National Retail Federation, remarked: “This is just what we predicted: A tit-for-tat trade war has erupted and American families are caught in the middle. This reckless escalation is the latest reminder that Congress must step in and exert its authority on trade policy.” The Free Society Laurence M. Vance Best Price: $12.00 Buy New $19.95 (as of 10:45 EST - Details)

“Risking a trade war with more tariffs will only invite more retaliation that will cause significant harm to the U.S. economy,” says a statement by The Business Roundtable, “an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies.”

Trump’s former economic adviser Gary Cohn has warned that “trade conflicts with China and other countries could erase the economic gains from the GOP tax cut.”

Some of the most ridiculous things that President Trump has ever said relate to trade. His speech on June 19 at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) 75th anniversary celebration did not disappoint. (The NFIB is “the voice of small business, advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners.”) “We have to change our ways. We can no longer be the stupid country. We want to be the smart country,” said President Trump.

I agree. The United States should no longer be the stupid country when it comes to trade.

Stupid countries believe that trade is between countries.

Stupid countries think that trade results in winners and losers.

Stupid countries are concerned about a deficit in the balance of trade (the value of national imports of goods and services exceeds the value of national exports of goods and services).

Stupid countries lament the loss of jobs in manufacturing even when their manufacturing output is greater than ever.

Stupid countries think that trade agreements, organizations, and treaties are necessary for free trade.

Stupid countries impose protectionist tariffs.

Stupid countries think that trade wars are good.

Stupid countries think that managed trade is free trade.

Stupid countries think that NAFTA is about free trade.

Stupid countries believe that manufacturing jobs belong in their country.

Stupid countries believe that for free trade to bring prosperity, it must also be fair trade.

Stupid countries believe that other countries must be beaten in trade.

Stupid countries believe that other countries are taking advantage of them via trade.

Stupid countries impose retaliatory tariffs.

Stupid countries believe that free trade is only good when it is negotiated.

Stupid countries believe that free trade is only beneficial when it is fair trade.

Stupid countries believe that the government must negotiate fair trade deals that create jobs and increase wages.

Stupid countries have anti-dumping laws.

Stupid countries think that raising tariffs will make the country great again.

Stupid countries equate free trade with exploitation.

Stupid countries believe that trade requires an export-import bank.

Stupid countries believe that trade is a zero-sum game.

Stupid countries think that they must “protect” certain industries for the sake of national security.

Stupid countries think that there are rules for trade that must be followed if trade is to “work.”

Stupid countries believe that free trade is beholden to the economic philosophies of dead Classical or Austrian economists.

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Stupid countries believe that it is the proper role of government to protect domestic industry from foreign competition.

Stupid countries think that the government has the ability to calculate the “correct” amount of a tariff on the “right” goods.

Stupid countries believe that free trade is based on outdated theories.

Stupid countries believe that one man should have the authority to impose tariffs.

Stupid countries enact import quotas.

Stupid countries believe that certain conditions that have to be met before trade can be beneficial.

Stupid countries erect trade barriers.

Stupid countries don’t think that protectionism is central planning.

Stupid countries believe that free trade destroys jobs, industries, and communities.

Stupid countries believe that autarky is the best policy.

Stupid countries have a massive 3,713-page Harmonized Tariff Schedule.

Stupid countries restrict trade.

Time to quit being the stupid country.