When did Robert Kuttner get his trade policy from Pat Buchanan?

In the COVID crisis, her recent writings and tweets have been far more solicitous of the effect on the WTO than on the U.S. economy. In a recent tweet, Hillman declared, “Everyone needs to keep saying it again and again. Tariffs are taxes on imports paid by American importers and passed on to American consumers.”

Apparently this is something that Kuttner disagrees with.

In fact, tariffs are a policy tool, not good or evil per se. And in the coming negotiations over how to reset the U.S.-China relationship, tariffs can be used well, badly, or not at all.

Well, yes, they’re a tax upon imports, paid by Americans, which mean that Americans will buy fewer imports. What’s the difficulty with understanding this, Bobby?

28 thoughts on “Jeez”

  1. The Trade War Inside the Biden Campaign

    Will Biden continue corporate globalism or […]

    It’s questionable whether Biden even knows what year it is, but his handlers are definitely all about the globalism.

    Remember when Ronald Reagan was meant to be decrepit and senile? He was the same age after eight years in office as Biden is now.

    Nancy Pelosi is 80 years young and has been in politics since Logan’s Run was playing in cinemas. Bernie remembers hearing Vladimir Lenin speak when he was a much younger old man. Chuck Schumer’s biggest fear is Van Helsing.

    When did the USA swap with the USSR’s kleptomaniacal coffin-dodging gerontocracy?

  2. Some of those tariff taxes will be worth paying – for independence of supply, to avoid sudden mass unemployment in a given sector, etc….Free trade admits of degree; and life is all about trade-offs.

  3. @ Tim
    The bit you quote is, on its own out of context, unexceptionable: you should cite another bit to show that Kuttner is stupid (as distinct from *malicious*, which describes 90% of the rest of his article).

  4. “Free trade admits of degree; and life is all about trade-offs.”

    Or opportunity costs as our economics minded host would say. But strangely Free Trade has zero opportunity cost at all, or so we are told……………its utterly win-win all round.

    Which makes me wonder why we’re so f*cked now in ways we weren’t when we didn’t have global free trade…….

  5. “In fact, tariffs are a policy tool, not good or evil per se. ”

    So is something as simple as a sturdy stick ( pointy end optional) …
    As with any tool, how it’s used makes a lot of difference. But we generally agree that nations waving (pointy) sticks at each other is …. troublesome…, if not an outright Bad Idea.

  6. Any tax, though, is a tax on consumption, is it not? A dollar that I’m taxed is a dollar I don’t have to spend on something else, whether of domestic or foreign origin.

  7. Yes, true, all taxes reduce someone’s ability to consume. But the economics, when they talk about taxes upon income, or consumption, or capital etc, are trying to be a little more precise than that.

  8. STOP! YOU ARE BOTH RIGHT!

    Tariffs can be a tool; Trump has used them successfully.

    Tariffs are a tax on the consumer, and can be a bad idea.

  9. With Johnston’s speech about to start

    Excellent long article

    The Grand Delusion Bail-out billions shield us from the reality – our economy is in tatters. Boris MUST stop us sinking into a new depression; 10 May 2020
    – Dr John Lee is a former Professor of Pathology at Hull York Medical School and a recently retired NHS consultant

    The survival of our economy, the very future of our society and the hopes of generations to come will depend upon his words. With this in mind, it is clear what Mr Johnson should say.
    .
    After thanking the British people for their stoicism and fortitude in observing lockdown so resolutely, he must declare that it’s now time for Britain to get back to work, to jump-start the economy after its hibernation and to begin a rapid return to normality.
    .
    The Prime Minister should go on to say that offices, factories, shops — all workplaces, in fact — will open, as long as reasonable safety measures are observed.
    .
    Yet I doubt very much this is what we will hear Boris Johnson say on Sunday evening. He will not have the courage to take such a necessary step. Instead, he will continue to encourage millions in ‘The Great Delusion’, that we can continue as we are and somehow it will be all right in the end.
    .
    Well, it won’t be and the nation needs to wake up to it. Many of the 6.3million people currently on furlough, and cushioned from the harsh reality of life post-Covid, do not seem to realise that when furlough ends there may well be no jobs to return to.
    .
    In its place we have the derisory concessions of being able to have picnics again, sunbathe if we want, indulge in an extra exercise session and socialise in ‘bubble’ of family and friends.

    .
    At a time when we most need boldness, there will only be the most carefully calibrated, glacially slow lifting of the oppressive restrictions. Much of the fabric of society will remain sealed off and the economy will remain in the artificially induced coma from which it may never awaken.
    .
    No doubt this caution will be presented by ministers as a safety-first approach. But really it is nothing of the sort. Far from being the sensible choice, it will be reckless and irrational both economically and for public health.
    .
    .
    As a former professor of pathology, my expertise is in disease and its impact on the body and my long research career has revolved around the critical assessment of data.
    .
    When report of this mysterious new ‘pneumonia’ in China first emerged in early January, I followed it closely. From what I have learned as data has become available, I believe lockdown could be relaxed immediately without serious risk to most of the working population whose chances of dying from Covid-19 are minuscule.
    .
    According to the latest figures, less than one per cent of coronavirus deaths in English hospitals have been among people under the age of 40. The risk of opening schools is even smaller.
    .
    Just 11 people under the age of 20 have succumbed to Covid-19. Each of those cases is a personal tragedy and I do not seek to diminish them. But I would argue that the death toll hardly justifies the economic havoc being caused.
    .
    .
    There was never sufficient hard evidence to put most of the population under effective house arrest. Indeed, Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, the epidemiologist whose work heavily influenced Government policy, has a dismal record as a forecaster, with a penchant for the apocalyptic, as the Mail has reported in detail.
    .
    .
    Added to this, there’s the possibility that the lockdown has actually made the virus more deadly. That may seem counterintuitive, but all viruses mutate, often into less harmful strains which don’t kill their hosts and which therefore allow the virus to spread further.
    .
    But if the lockdown is actually preventing Covid-19 from circulating, it might be reducing the spread of less virulent versions among the population — which would create a degree of herd immunity — while also concentrating the most virulent strains on vulnerable people in hospital and care homes.
    .
    If true, the current measures could actually be causing more harm to our health than good.

    .
    .
    In the cause of public safety, ministers and ‘experts’ have allowed coronavirus to warp priorities, wrecking economies, destroying livelihoods and undermining health.
    .
    Now we know so much more about the virus, we need to restore common sense and a public health response that truly has the health of the nation at its heart and looks after everyone. What better way is there to do that than by lifting the blanket lockdown now?
    .
    Over to you, Boris

    He’s said what I’ve been saying for weeks. We have a Gov’t of hysterical teenage snowflakes

  10. @Jim “Or opportunity costs as our economics minded host would say. But strangely Free Trade has zero opportunity cost at all, or so we are told……………its utterly win-win all round.”

    Short answer is; the opportunity costs don’t happen to those in favour of global free trade.
    That said, they’re in a minority and also saying; those opposed to global free trade aren’t necessarily those the opportunity costs happen to.
    Coz most people are clueless.

  11. It’s ironic, but sometimes the same people who will buy the less expensive import will also favor tariffs to encourage more “American made” items of which they will buy fewer.

    Tariffs are a means of picking winners and losers, which unfortunatey almost all politicians of whatever ideology think is a key part of their portfolio. Tariffs are telling some people who might make things that they’ll be protected (in exchange for generous political support) from foreign competition, while telling other people who are involved in import and export (once the retaliatory tariffs take effect) that they need to suck it up and find something else to do.

  12. Just watched Blojo’s bullshit broadcast.

    Epic lies and stupidity. Chosen to try and save face at the expense of our future. Shops shut til June. Hospitality til July/August.How many pubs /cafes/hotels etc left by then. Obviously planning fucking snoop apps and immunity certificates.

    What a fucking buffoon. He got lucky as an opportunist with Brexit but is a brazen liar in EVERY other regard. I knew he was BluLab scum but his stupidity and fuckwomble attempts to save himself and his gang by appearing to be in charge are astoundingly pathetic. Oh we can gather at the river –ie park–because he know the costumed thugs can’t fucking stop us.

    The horror is that any potential replacements are WORSE.

    We need a new Party quick. Econ disaster will give some momentum. Too many fools like Theo though.

  13. Tariffs are mildly bad, but they can be applied consistently, shouldn’t encourage corruption and it’s hard to game them.
    Quotas on the other hand are pure evil. I wonder which trading bloc is most keen on them.

  14. @Mr Ecks

    Boris Churchillian? No, he’s Chamberlain waiting for Wuhan Virus to send him a piece of paper. His speech tonight was defeatist and pitiful:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DqnG_oYdR6I

    Wonder why?
    Tony Blair: ‘Our Teams Are Embedded in Governments Around the World’
    https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2020/05/10/tony-blair-our-teams-are-embedded-in-governments-around-the-world/

    .
    Johnston’s waffle throwing a few bones to public:
    – You may sunbathe, play sport with family, sit on a bench…

    Exactly as predicted in this Excellent article – in full above
    – The Grand Delusion Bail-out billions shield us from the reality – our economy is in tatters. Boris MUST [end lockdown] stop us sinking into a new depression; 9 May
    – Dr John Lee is a former Professor of Pathology at Hull York Medical School and a recently retired NHS consultant
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8302055/

  15. Actually that’s wrong, tariffs don’t necessarily act as a tax on consumers. What if the exporter lowers its prices to match the pre-tariff price as a reaction ? Then there’s no price increase for consumers and the tariff is entirely paid for by the exporter. Maybe prices could have been lower without the tariff, but they weren’t – signs that the market wasn’t “free” as such and that the exporter was reaping a monopolists tax on the consumer.

    It may be unlikely, but there is good evidence that in response to US tariffs, many Chinese exporters did lower prices so the “tax” ended up being paid for in part by both the exporter and the consumer.

    The “Conventional” wisdom needs examining sometimes, it is too easy to assume that the facile analysis using unproven assumptions is always correct.

  16. John – I may have exaggerated slightly.

    Ed – Yeah, maybe. Also makes me think about the concept of externalities.

    China is run by a particularly nasty gang of thugs who treat their own people like dirt, poison the sea and the sky with pollution, steal IP and produce counterfeit garbage like it’s going out of fashion, and boast about becoming a global superpower that’s going to take “shotguns” to its “enemies” as a Chinee diplomat recently told the Swedes.

    Oh yeah, and they’re exporting disease too.

    Seems like there’s a lot of externalities involved in dealing with these little bastards. What’s in it for the roundeyes?

    Maybe cheaper tellies and Tim Cook making a few extra percentage points on his fondleslabs isn’t worth the hassle. There’s no shortage of Third World countries we can buy stuff from anyway – my telly is proudly made in Turkey and only faintly smells of fez.

  17. Depends if the gains are more than the costs. If you need to fight prolonged wars in the Middle East to make sure of your oil supply, it’s much cheaper to just support your local production by tariffs.

  18. @Ed
    China exporters don’t cut price CCP do

    @Boganboy
    You contradict yourself in one sentence

    If no ME oil, why would tariffs be necessary?

  19. Very good title:
    I’ve got more confidence in the rock band ‘The Who’ than the WHO

    Panic Consequences
    – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on toll coronavirus pandemic is taking on US economy

    Very bad
    The Left’s attempted coup d’état exposed
    “Evidence shows former President Barack Obama and his administration were the hub of a bloodless coup”

    After Trump elected, Obama colluded with FBI & DoJ to have Trump removed. Obama & MSM still at it now during C-19 Panic

  20. Tim is often at pains for people to consider tax incidence and surely this applies here. I know in my industry, at least, importers were telling factories they had to bear some of the costs of tariffs in lower prices if they still wanted to receive orders.

  21. If one were a conspiracy theorist one would assume that the Illuminati told the fat fuck he could have his stupid Brexit, if he could keep it, but not to interfere with any other of their plans. He is now coming to understand what “other plans” they had in kind.

  22. Pcar: The tariffs are needed so your local oil industry won’t collapse under the competition of cheaper Middle Eastern oil. You’d then need to build it up again when the sanctions, embargoes, blockades, local wars etc interrupted supply. Of course if you have confidence that the Middle Easterners won’t indulge in any of this sort of nonsense, it’d certainly make better sense to just buy the stuff from them.

  23. Gamecock
    May 10, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    STOP! YOU ARE BOTH RIGHT!

    Tariffs can be a tool; Trump has used them successfully.

    Tariffs are a tax on the consumer, and can be a bad idea.

    Trump, and everyone else who has imposed tariffs, can only be said to have used them successfully if you believe that the purpose of government is to punish domestic producers and consumers for the benefit of a small subset of politically connected producers – through the threat of violence directed at those who choose to trade with non-politically connected producers.

    If the goal is to ensure that a small set of politically favored producers are kept in business – even at the expense of other domestic producers (and all domestic consumers) then yes, tariffs are generally a smashing success.

    Now, people make an argument that certain industries *must* remain viable domestically for the sake of national security. Stipulating this(for the sake of argument, would it not be more transparent and cause less damage, to just directly subsidize these critical industries?

  24. Trump used tariffs to stop the status quo, then to negotiate new trade agreements.

    “Trump, and everyone else who has imposed tariffs, can only be said to have used them successfully if you believe that the purpose of government is to punish domestic producers and consumers for the benefit of a small subset of politically connected producers – through the threat of violence directed at those who choose to trade with non-politically connected producers.”

    Nope.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *