Back-to-School Trade Quiz

 

Quiz Trade Cardss1. I am a trade protectionist because:

a. I don’t think people in this country should be able to get cheaper and/or better stuff from overseas. Consumers have too much stuff. Other people here who take cheaper and/or better stuff from overseas and build it into products which they then sell here and overseas are making things way too complicated.

b. I don’t think people who live overseas and who I don’t know and whose languages I probably don’t speak should be able to make a living. I think more people, who I also don’t know but who live closer to my house, should be able to make a living. How increasing the input costs for products a business might make and stifling competition in those products accomplishes this I’m a bit hazy on at the moment. That does not alter the fundamental truth of the proposition.

c. I believe in fair trade, not free trade. Fair trade is a doctrine that in California in the 1960s said that you cannot sell liquor at a discount or in a supermarket. The more modern meaning is that a nation must have elaborate negotiations akin to what peacocks and peahens go through to have peachicks in order to trade with other nations. The alternative is to have none of that and unilaterally just lower your own barriers to trade all to hell. Simpler, perhaps, but other countries will then be left to pay more for goods and create jobs by some mechanism I am still hazy on. While our country would be forced to endure the “advantages” of free trade. It’s just not fair.

d. Boeing. There I said it. I love him. I want to be his girlfriend. But who am I kidding? He’s always looking at that stuck-up foreign-exchange student from Nor-swe-denmark or East Jesus, Finland or something. She doesn’t understand him. No one does. I do. He’s just too busy making totally ultrabitchin’ airplanes and missiles and satellites in his garage to open a bank account. We all need to pitch in, show some school spirit, and open one for him. Just like those big cheaters in Franco-Germany do for their Mr. Bitchin’ or whatever they call him over there. Miss Wooden-Shoes-and-Tulips knows all about it. Instead the mean kids are making him have to move away. Well, while they’re saying “don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out, Boeing,” I’ll be in my room playing Leader of the Pack OVER and OVER and OVER again and waiting by the phone. And crying. You won’t understand. That’s why I hate you. By the way, just for you’re information, I’m not the conceited one. You’re conceited.

e. Frankly, I’ve never been all that clear on what “trade protectionism” actually means. Are we protecting precious trade from something or are we protecting ourselves from the depredations of trade? Either case, I say a mercy-killing works. So while trade sleeps peacefully on the couch, let us go upstairs and get a pillow. Then approaching ever so quietly (but muttering “Trade, you were too good for this world. Trade, thy guilt is great.”), we …

f. We need to manage our trade balances more effectively. Did you know that we’ve run serious trade deficits for most of our nation’s history? Does our chronic and persistent impoverished condition now finally at long last make sense to you? We could be Argentina, people. Fortunately the sure and simple cure for a trade deficit is a recession. I am confident that as a nation we have all the theoretic economic savvy and political will necessary to pull that off.

g. Other. ____

Pencils down.

(By the way, I have no intention of following this thread. I’ll be in my room playing Deborah OVER and OVER and OVER again. Because I like the song. Not that you’d understand. And if Donnie, Bernie, or Boeing call, tell them they can KMRIA. If they don’t know what that means, tell them to read Ulysses. Which is a book. And not the Tennyson poem. Geez.)

There are 61 comments.

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  1. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    I don’t understand any of it because I’m a Blonde Person, but it was very funny.

    • #1
  2. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    2. I’m an American protectionist.

    Now, I’ll be in My room listening to

    OVER and OVER and OVER again.

    • #2
  3. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    As I’ve always been the first one to be sent to the principal’s office, I will make an argument for point a:

    I don’t think people in this country should be able to get cheaper and/or better stuff from overseas.

    I am simply tired of buying garbage that is cheaply made and never lasts. I actually despise shopping but am particular about what I wear.

    Example: J. Crew, my usual resource for good t-shirts (a wardrobe staple in FL) is now selling them for $19 made in El Salvador and I had a bit of a fit last week asking “Where are the $35 dollar shirts you used to make in Singapore (American ally) that I could actually put in the washing machine and dryer and don’t shrink?”

    • #3
  4. MBF Member
    MBF
    @MBF

    One of my favorite Friedman”isms” is (roughly): when the Japanese government subsidizes industries which sell their products in America, we call it “dumping” and try to restrict it. But when the American government subsidizes food production and ships it to Africa, we call it “foreign aid” and applaud it.

    • #4
  5. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    The definition of free markets and this can be stretched to free trade is seeing two logging trucks passing each other going in opposite directions.

    • #5
  6. BrentB67 Inactive
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    MBF:One of my favorite Friedman”isms” is (roughly): when the Japanese government subsidizes industries which sell their products in America, we call it “dumping” and try to restrict it. But when the American government subsidizes food production and ships it to Africa, we call it “foreign aid” and applaud it.

    I may frame this one.

    • #6
  7. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Jimmy Carter:2. I’m an American protectionist.

    Now, I’ll be in My room listening to

    OVER and OVER and OVER again.

    I appreciate the glimpse of a Canadian National railcar in that video (around the 1:00 mark). I assume it was inserted for my exclusive enjoyment?

    ;-)

    (Note: When that video was made, I’m pretty sure CN was still a crown corporation.)

    • #7
  8. Richard Anderson Member
    Richard Anderson
    @RichardAnderson

    Misthiocracy:

    Jimmy Carter:2. I’m an American protectionist.

    Now, I’ll be in My room listening to

    OVER and OVER and OVER again.

    I appreciate the glimpse of a Canadian National railcar in that video (around the 1:00 mark). I assume it was inserted for my exclusive enjoyment?

    ;-)

    (Note: When that video was made, I’m pretty sure CN was still a crown corporation.)

    CN was privatized in the mid-1990s so you are right. For those not in the know Crown corporation means a government owned firm in Canada. Think Amtrak but nowhere near as inept.

    • #8
  9. Commodore BTC Inactive
    Commodore BTC
    @CommodoreBTC

    a distinction needs to be made between protectionism for goods vs. labor

    • #9
  10. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    This is pure awesomeness. I mean, there’s nothing like winning friends and influencing people by starting with the presumption that anyone who disagrees with your assumptions is stupid or ignorant. That’s how you win- you just tell people who disagree with you that they’re stupid. Works every time. Just ask the gopers frantically telling all those Trump fans how stupid they are. Win, baby, won. Jeb is as good as nominated, especially with that sweet Cantor endorsement.

    Anyway, I’m sure no one cares about my personal biography, but my first experience with the sheer awesomeness of free trade was when my parent lost her job in the auto industry circa 1979, resulting in a rather unpleasant personal experience with starvation, yuk, yuk. It wasn’t funny for me, however, and it has made me more cognizant then most of the tradeoffs inherent in all this.

    Yes, I’m sure all right thinking Republicans believe that there are no tradeoffs, and it’s all win glorious win, baby. But it ain’t.

    For one thing the politics gets iffy. As I said in another thread, the GOP has gone from the party of the 49-state landslide to the party losing to you-know. And now,  it’s the party losing to Donald Freakin’ Trump. (!!)

    Whoops, the word limit is back, so I’ll shut up. Folks, please forgive me for challenging what seems like an article of faith here, a faith which I do not share.

    • #10
  11. erazoner Coolidge
    erazoner
    @erazoner

    Why stop at the international border? Trade also needs to be restricted between states. Heck, even between the urban and the rural environs. Unfair cost advantages exist everywhere, and they must be dealt with by government. After all, doesn’t California impose restrictions on eggs from outside the state? The same principles should be universally applied.

    • #11
  12. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    erazoner:Why stop at the international border? Trade also needs to be restricted between states. Heck, even between the urban and the rural environs. Unfair cost advantages exist everywhere, and they must be dealt with by government. After all, doesn’t California impose restrictions on eggs from outside the state? The same principles should be universally applied.

    Perhaps you should ponder the difference between “United States” and “foreign.”

    If you see no difference- you should.

    • #12
  13. MBF Member
    MBF
    @MBF

    Xennady, First of all I am not a fan of either Trump nor Jeb. Not everyone who favors free trade is an “establishment” crotch sniffer. I favor free trade because it is a proven winner, full stop. I am sorry to hear that your personal experience in a disrupted industry has soured you to such an extent, but from my point of view the net benefit to the country is undeniable. Competition from Japanese and Korean autos has greatly improved quality and choice for consumers.

    One thing that really bothers me the most about anti-free traders is that they never seem to propose any specific policies, but rather they just want to offer criticisms of the status quo. I think it would be helpful for the debate for you to formulate your vision of a “trade policy” that would work the best for the most Americans.

    • #13
  14. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    The dislocations caused by trade are similar to those caused by innovation, yet I’ll bet that the anti-traders (of Ricochet) would not oppose innovation just because some people lost their jobs.

    I recall this example, I think from David Friedman (Milton’s boy) that drove the point home:

    Suppose an inventor came up with a process for making cars out of corn without the need for any labor. The factory was just over the horizon on an island. We ship the corn to the island and the island turns the corn into cars. The cars were better and cheaper than the cars we could make in Detroit, and if not prohibited, this new inventor was likely to put the big 3 out of business unless they vastly improved their own products. Should we allow this innovation to take place?

    If your answer is yes, that we should allow it, would it change your mind if the island were called “Japan?”

    • #14
  15. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    MBF- I can propose specific policies, no problem. Tariffs. If Japanese and Koreans want to sell autos here, build them here. Or pay the tariffs.

    Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Or, failing that, stop allowing our foreign competitors to peg their currencies to the US dollar, without response. And stop pretending the only reason they do business with us is because they are hankering to provide us with cheap consumer goods. They have their own goals, and they don’t really care about you or yours, nor do I expect them to do so.

    I’d like to know, by the way, just who these anti-free traders you have experience with happen to be. At this site, I know of myself and one other. Nationally, I know of Pat Buchanan, Ronald Reagan, and Donald  Trump.

    If you know of more, I’d like to hear about it.

    EDIT: And I’ll add that I flat out don’t believe Donald Trump.

    • #15
  16. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    Man With the Axe:The dislocations caused by trade are similar to those caused by innovation, yet I’ll bet that the anti-traders (of Ricochet) would not oppose innovation just because some people lost their jobs.

    snip

    If your answer is yes, that we should allow it, would it change your mind if the island were called “Japan?”

    Wait, you mean me? And I’m an anti-trader? Hey, I see what you did there. You are teh cleverness!

    Because I oppose the falsely named free trade- a name surely chosen because it has “free” in the nomenclature- then therefore I oppose trade.

    Well, no. But I will note in actual reality there is no magic island and the people displaced both by trade and innovation can vote. In ye olden times the English government sent troops against the Luddites and of course those pitiful losers displaced by innovation could emigrate to the New World.

    Politics the game is politics. I used to say that the last time I cycled through here and I don’t think I got that point across even once.

    Shrug.

    Do you understand that the losers displaced by innovation and trade not only can vote but can buy semi-automatic weapons? And have? And don’t like the people lecturing them,  I mean us, about the sheer awesomeness of post-American globalism? Or, treason, to be less charitable?

    Perhaps you should. I remember the pain in my stomach- and my charity fails me.

    • #16
  17. Big Green Inactive
    Big Green
    @BigGreen

    Xennady:This is pure awesomeness. I mean, there’s nothing like winning friends and influencing people by starting with the presumption that anyone who disagrees with your assumptions is stupid or ignorant. That’s how you win- you just tell people who disagree with you that they’re stupid. Works every time. Just ask the gopers frantically telling all those Trump fans how stupid they are. Win, baby, won. Jeb is as good as nominated, especially with that sweet Cantor endorsement.

    Who said there were no tradeoffs?  There are, but free trade certainly makes the entire nation better off.  Your personal anecdote aside, you haven’t made a coherent argument why, from an economic perspective, the nation would be better off with less free trade.

    • #17
  18. Big Green Inactive
    Big Green
    @BigGreen

    Xennady:MBF- I can propose specific policies, no problem. Tariffs. If Japanese and Koreans want to sell autos here, build them here. Or pay the tariffs.

    Notwithstanding that the vast majority of vehicles sold in the United States are built here (including the Japanese and the Koreans), why would this policy make the citizens of this nation better off?

    Innovation and efficiency within the United States is responsible for many, many more “job losses” (an incredibly malleable term that has no meaning out of context since jobs are “lost” every second of every day) in the United States than is free trade.  Perhaps we should slap tariffs on any innovation.

    Come up with a mousetrap that is better and cheaper than the existing ones?  Slap a tariff on that because we can’t possibly allow the existing players to go out of business seems to be what you are advocating.

    • #18
  19. MBF Member
    MBF
    @MBF

    Reagan applied tariffs for entirely political reasons. It was antithetical to his entire philosophy and a stain on his legacy. And I live in the heart of Harley Davidson universe in Milwaukee.

    So tariffs then? What happens when we apply tariffs? Explain why the nation as a whole should be poorer so a tiny minority can work in a politically favored industry?

    • #19
  20. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Xennady: Do you understand that the losers displaced by innovation and trade not only can vote but can buy semi-automatic weapons? And have? And don’t like the people lecturing them, I mean us, about the sheer awesomeness of post-American globalism? Or, treason, to be less charitable?

    So… you’re voting for Bernie Sanders? Because what you describe here sounds a lot like the proletariat rising up.

    • #20
  21. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Xennady: And stop pretending the only reason they do business with us is because they are hankering to provide us with cheap consumer goods. They have their own goals, and they don’t really care about you or yours, nor do I expect them to do so.

    There is a terrific Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood. I stopped going there when I realized that the owners only served me delicious food at good prices because they care about making a profit, and not about me personally.

    For the same reasons I committed myself only to deal with merchants who care about me as a person, not as someone who contributes to their bottom line.

    I am soon to be self-sufficient, as the only people who care about me are my immediate family, and even they think I’m too crazy to live with. For some reason which I don’t understand my standard of living has plummeted to a subsistence level. Please get back to me at the end of September. There’s a good chance I may have starved to death by then.

    • #21
  22. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Xennady: Do you understand that the losers displaced by innovation and trade not only can vote but can buy semi-automatic weapons? And have? And don’t like the people lecturing them,  I mean us, about the sheer awesomeness of post-American globalism? Or, treason, to be less charitable?

    Companies close (or reduce their workforce) and jobs are lost for many reasons.

    Sure, there is competition from international trade, and there is technological innovation. But there is also competition from more efficient domestic producers, or simply poor business decisions, or changed conditions in the market that even the best managers couldn’t foresee. Trump didn’t have to close the Trump Plaza, and F. W. Woolworth, E. J. Korvette, Two Guys, and W. T. Grant didn’t disappear because of foreign competition or technology. TWA, Pan American, Eastern, Braniff, and others also disappeared for reasons other than those two. So did half the companies that started the computer business.

    But all of this is creative destruction. If we insisted that companies had to persist forever and that better competitors, from wherever in the world, should be handicapped in the market, how will we prosper?

    • #22
  23. J. D. Fitzpatrick Inactive
    J. D. Fitzpatrick
    @JDFitzpatrick

    Xennady, I think your unfortunate personal experience is an argument for unemployment insurance and possibly a more extended social safety net, not an argument for trade restrictions.

    I realize you have other reasons for your viewpoint; I’m just addressing one of them.

    • #23
  24. erazoner Coolidge
    erazoner
    @erazoner

    Xennady:

    erazoner:Why stop at the international border? Trade also needs to be restricted between states. Heck, even between the urban and the rural environs. Unfair cost advantages exist everywhere, and they must be dealt with by government. After all, doesn’t California impose restrictions on eggs from outside the state? The same principles should be universally applied.

    Perhaps you should ponder the difference between “United States” and “foreign.”

    If you see no difference- you should.

    If you can’t stop a U.S. manufacturer from moving his plant from Michigan to Tennessee, how can you stop him from moving it to Ireland or Thailand? Protectionism is futile.

    • #24
  25. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    erazoner:If you can’t stop a U.S. manufacturer from moving his plant from Michigan to Tennessee, how can you stop him from moving it to Ireland or Thailand? Protectionism is futile.

    Yet another example of why Mark Steyn calls the GOP the party of why nothing can be done.

    I say if that person wants to move his factory to Ireland, go ahead. None of my business.  However, if that person wants to sell his product in my country then it becomes my business.

    A “tariff” is when the person who moved their factory to Ireland or Thailand has to pay a fee- like a tax- to sell their product here.

    This encourages them to not move their factory elsewhere, because if they don’t move it to Ireland or Thailand they don’t have to pay the fee.

    Of course this has limits, which is why Smoot-Hawley is rightly remembered as a disaster- but every policy has limits.

    The process by which those limits are set is called politics. Now I hope I’m not being rude to put it that way, but the reason this remains an issue is because the actual results of the free trade policies of the present regime don’t line up the elite opinion.

    Hence, the rise of Donald Trump, after bringing up this and other issues the elite believe are settled.

    • #25
  26. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    Big Green:

    Who said there were no tradeoffs? There are, but free trade certainly makes the entire nation better off. Your personal anecdote aside, you haven’t made a coherent argument why, from an economic perspective, the nation would be better off with less free trade.

    I’m glad that you accept that there tradeoffs, which strikes me as a rare admission from your side. Your statement that free trade certainly makes the nation better off is an assertion not in evidence. In fact I believe this is called “begging the question.”

    I’m sorry that you don’t understand that every single question isn’t answered by economics, or more specifically your opinion of economics. But from my viewpoint you haven’t made a coherent case why, from a political perspective, the nation has been made better off with the free trade policies of recent decades.

    Considering that so many Republicans were utterly shocked by the defeat of Mitt “Mittens” Romney by Barry Obama- well, I’d have thought some pondering would have been in order.

    But no. More of the same, only with added mockery.

    Hence, Trump.

    • #26
  27. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    Umbra Fractus:So… you’re voting for Bernie Sanders? Because what you describe here sounds a lot like the proletariat rising up.

    Shrug. What if I did? What if the whole freakin’ country voted for Sanders? Or Trump?

    Do you think the GOP would rethink some of their assumption about politics? Or would it just continue to heap contempt and derision at the electorate for not understanding the sheer unbridled awesomeness of the GOP and its policies?

    Which option is better for a political party? And which you think the GOP will choose?

    Sad, isn’t it?

    • #27
  28. Xennady Member
    Xennady
    @

    MBF:Reagan applied tariffs for entirely political reasons. It was antithetical to his entire philosophy and a stain on his legacy. And I live in the heart of Harley Davidson universe in Milwaukee.

    So tariffs then? What happens when we apply tariffs? Explain why the nation as a whole should be poorer so a tiny minority can work in a politically favored industry?

    Imagine that- a politician who actually did something for political reasons, instead of riding his steely principles into political oblivion like Slim Pickens rode that H-bomb down to earth in Dr. Strangelove. But I don’t want to digress into discussing the presidency of George Bush.

    Anyway, your problem is that it isn’t a tiny minority working in a politically favored industry. It’s vastly more. A huge portion of what was once the US economy has decamped for elsewhere, to be replaced with nothing but bridge cards and the rest of the welfare state.

    Those industries employed vast numbers of workers and voters. Those industries paid a lot of taxes, too. I’m sure if you close one factory it affects only a tiny minority of the nation as a whole- but if you close fifty thousand and replace them with nothing it paints a rather different picture.

    Shrug. Too late to undo that damage now, I suspect.

    • #28
  29. Big Green Inactive
    Big Green
    @BigGreen

    Xennady:

    Your statement that free trade certainly makes the nation better off is an assertion not in evidence. In fact I believe this is called “begging the question.”

    I’m sorry that you don’t understand that every single question isn’t answered by economics, or more specifically your opinion of economics. But from my viewpoint you haven’t made a coherent case why, from a political perspective, the nation has been made better off with the free trade policies of recent decades.

    I’m sorry that you don’t understand that every single question isn’t answered by political pandering, or more specifically, your political pandering.

    You may think that someone declaring the economic benefits of free trade is “begging the question”, but that wouldn’t make you correct.  You are obviously biased in this matter given the personal anecdote you provided.

    Do you think the citizens of the US are better off with free trade within the US? Are you better off trading with more rather than fewer people?

    As for whether or not the nation is better off “from a political perspective” because of free trade, I have no idea what that question even means.

    If folks want to vote for Trump and his trade policies that would make the nation worse off, I suppose they can do it.  I will try to convince them they are wrong but I am not willingly going down with the ship so “my side” can win.

    • #29
  30. Big Green Inactive
    Big Green
    @BigGreen

    Xennady:

    Anyway, your problem is that it isn’t a tiny minority working in a politically favored industry. It’s vastly more. A huge portion of what was once the US economy has decamped for elsewhere, to be replaced with nothing but bridge cards and the rest of the welfare state.

    Those industries employed vast numbers of workers and voters. Those industries paid a lot of taxes, too. I’m sure if you close one factory it affects only a tiny minority of the nation as a whole- but if you close fifty thousand and replace them with nothing it paints a rather different picture.

    Shrug. Too late to undo that damage now, I suspect.

    Certainly some industries that once operated in the US no longer do as a result of free trade.  However, you massively overstate the case and don’t seem to have a very good grasp of the facts.

    The value of manufactured goods produced in the US today is at its highest point ever, even on a per capita basis.  Exports of manufactured goods are at their highest point ever, even on a per capita basis.

    If your concern is”lost jobs” (as misplaced as that is), then your ire should be directed much more at product innovation and productivity improvements from manufacturing methods within the good ole USA.  Free trade plays a relatively small role.

    • #30

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