American conservatives purport to be tough. They’re always ready to support force and violence — cops, military, border patrol, presidents who take a tough line with foreign governments, football players who won’t bend the knee. But tell me this, amigos: if conservatives are so tough, why do they shake in their boots at the prospect of a few thousand refugees or poor, unarmed immigrants entering the USA? Do they know in their hearts that they just can’t stand up against a few more hotel maids, cafe dishwashers, and fruit and vegetable pickers spread out across a population of 330 million people?
By increasing the cost of raw materials, the tariffs are essentially taxes on U.S. companies. They make American-made products more expensive for U.S. consumers and less competitive abroad. They raise the price Americans pay for cars by around $300, according to Morningstar analysts. A study from the Trade Partnership estimates that U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, in combination with the countermeasures they have provoked, will eliminate around 400,000 U.S. jobs on net in affected sectors.
John Tamny is rightly outraged by Uncle Sam’s efforts to have Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou arrested in Canada. (What appears to the myopic to be the rule of law in action is, in reality – and putting it nicely – cross-border bullying by Uncle Sam. When legislation is mistaken for “law,” this confusion occurs.) Even my colleague Tyler Cowen, who is more hawkish than I am, rightly worries about this arrest.
Here’s a question for those who think American industry is being devastated by Chinese IP theft. How would the US stock market react to a sudden agreement that ended the threat of trade war, at the cost of Trump achieving only minor concessions from the Chinese? Would stocks plunge in disappointment about us not doing anything about IP theft? I doubt it; I think stocks would rise on the news. Admittedly, the market test is not the only one that matters; there may be military considerations as well. But it’s worth thinking about when trying to evaluate plausible estimates of economic damage from IP theft.