Skip to comments.Lies About Trade
Posted on 03/14/2018 9:10:10 AM PDT by Kaslin
Maybe Donald Trump is such a powerful communicator and pot-stirrer that other countries, embarrassed by their own trade barriers, will eliminate them.
Then I will thank the president for the wonderful thing he did. Genuine free trade will be a recipe for wonderful economic growth.
But I fear the opposite: a trade war and stagnation -- because much of what Trump and his followers say is economically absurd.
"(If) you don't have steel, you don't have a country!" announced the president.
Lots of things are essential to America -- and international trade is the best way to make sure we have them. When a storm blocks roads in the Midwest, we get supplies from Canada, Mexico, even China. Why add roadblocks?
Steel is important, but "the choice isn't between producing 100 percent of our steel (and having a country) or producing no steel (and presumably losing our country)," writes Veronique De Rugy of the Mercatus Center.
Today, most steel we use is made in America. Imports come from friendly places like Canada and Europe. Just 3 percent come from China.
Still, insists the president, "Nearly two-thirds of American raw steel companies have gone out of business!"
There's been consolidation. But so what? For 30 years, American steel production has stayed about the same. Profits rose from $714 million in 2016 to $2.8 billion last year. And the industry added nearly 8,000 jobs.
Trump says, "Our factories were left to rot and to rust all over the place. Thriving communities turned into ghost towns. You guys know that, right?"
No. Few American communities became ghost towns. More boomed because of cheap imports.
It's sad when a steelworker loses work, but for every steelworker, 40 Americans work in industries that use steel. They, and we, benefit from lower prices.
Trump touts the handful of companies benefiting from his tariffs: "Century Aluminum in Kentucky -- Century is a great company -- will be investing over $100 million."
Great. But now we'll get a feeding frenzy of businesses competing to catch Trump's ear. Century Aluminum got his attention. Your company better pay lobbyists. Countries, too.
After speaking to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia, Trump tweeted: "We don't have to impose steel or aluminum tariffs on our ally, the great nation of Australia!"
Economies thrive when there are clear rules that everyone understands. Now we've got "The Art of the Deal," one company and country at a time.
I understand that Trump the developer liked to make special deals, but when presidents do that, it's crony capitalism -- crapitalism. You get the deal if you know the right people. That's what kept most of Africa and South America poor.
But Trump thinks trade itself makes us poorer: "We lose ... on trade. Every year $800 billion."
Actually, last year's trade deficit with China was $375 billion. But even if it were $800 billion, who cares? All a trade deficit shows is that a country sells us more than we sell them. We get the better of that deal. They get excess dollar bills, but we get stuff.
Real problems are imbalances like next year's $1 trillion federal government budget deficit. That will bankrupt us. Trade deficits are trivial. You run one with your supermarket. Do you worry because you bought more from them than they buy from you? No. The free market sorts it out.
Trump makes commerce sound mysterious: "The action that I'm taking today follows a nine-month investigation by the Department of Commerce, Secretary Ross."
But Wilber Ross is someone who phoned Forbes Magazine to lie about how much money he has. Now he goes on TV and claims, "3 cents worth of tin plate steel in this can. So if it goes up 25 percent, that's a tiny fraction of one penny. Not a noticeable thing."
Not to him maybe, but Americans buy 2 billion cans of soup.
Political figures like Ross -- and Trump -- shouldn't decide what we're allowed to buy. If they understood markets, they'd know enough to stay out of the way.
The trade deficit means we export our wealth overseas and we’re making our children face a future that is less than ours.
It’s time to stop the bleeding and it’s time for the USA to insist on fair trade because the lie of ‘Free Trade’ has been a lie for all of my life.
Ok Stossel, let’s import a bunch of foreign political commentators and pay them 1/8 what you are making. Let’s see how you feel about free trade, when it’s your ass on unemployment.
Core industries is how we won WWII.
We could not do it today.
Those factories that were repurposed for making guns, tanks and other weapons are gone.
Those that support “Free Trade” are never effected by the results of “Free Trade” unless it puts more money in their pockets.
I usually agree with John, but not this time.
Boom Yeow! Then he can write a column on how “fair” it is!
Keep up this crap and the waves of people leaving will turn into a deluge.
Fair trade, negotiated between 2 willing countries will result in less inequity.
Really? Jump on the Indiana Turnpike and drive to Chicago and take a peek at what you see along the road. Gary, IN, used to be a thriving steel town and is empty now.
Actually, last year's trade deficit with China was $375 billion. But even if it were $800 billion, who cares?
Clearly, this clown doesn't understand the impact of a persistent trade deficit. Taken to the extreme and not corrected, you end up looking a lot like Venezuela. Also, Trump is not killing off trade with higher tariffs, he's arguing for a level playing field...big difference. This idiot's talking like it's a ban on imports, which it is not.
What he doesn't account for is that the Trump administration's tariff policy is more about politics and trade negotiations than it is about tariffs.
To John Stossel, the guy that makes his money with his mouth, trade deficits don't matter.
Each billion dollars in trade deficits equals 6,000 jobs that went out of the USA.
So while John Stossel keeps his 7 figure job, talking about trade deficits being trivial, tell it to the ex-glass worker from Jeannette Glass, or the ex-steel worker from J & L Steel or Bethlehem Steel, or the ex-plate glass maker from PPG.
Yea, maybe some of these guys are working at Home Depot, MickeyDs or Wendys, they are making 35%-40% of what they used to make.
Hey johnstossel, Piss Off you arrogant, obnoxious, low life prick.
I have family in Crown Point. They all used to be steelworkers, they aren’t anymore.
In an age of ICBMs, satellites, and a permanent human presence in orbit, the idea that mass-producing military hardware like tanks and ships will have any role in a major armed conflict is silly.
The only traditional military hardware that will matter will be the stuff that exists on the day the shooting starts. This isn't the 1940s. The entire surface fleets of nations could be sunk within hours, and all the steel production capacity in the history of the world couldn't keep up with that rate of attrition.
We don't need to import them. I hear there is now "The New New Thing" called The Internet (some call it "The Web" which is even scarier) and that one can do political commentary from anywhere in the world, and for absolutely nothing... as in free.
So John Stossel's days as political commentator should soon be over, unless we put kibosh on this thing and start taxing it. I hear the Congress is working on that right now they call it "the Internet sales tax" so that just might save his job.
So American workers should continue getting kicked in the ass, because they cannot survive on slave wages?
Whether a tariff on steel (for example) is a good idea or a bad idea depends entirely on whether you are SELLING or BUYING steel.
That's why the shares of U.S. auto manufacturers took a hit when these tariffs were announced. Imposing a tariff on one of their raw materials makes it more expensive to do business here.
John Stossel’s argument ruled the day for decades and decades.
I never agreed with it, and now we are going to find out who’s right, John Stossel or the guys I’ve always believed in.
Ain’t Trump great?
Trump isn’t an ideologue, so I’m frankly not worried about a trade war. He carved out exemptions for Canada and Mexico anyways.
Sometimes, Stossel makes sense - this ain’t one of them times....