John Tamny discusses President Trump’s trade policy and the impact on the economy. John also discusses his fascinating new book The End Of Work where we learn how the idea of work is forever changing, ie: people now make millions on coaching video gamers. John’s the Political Economy Editor at Forbes, Editor of RealClearMarkets.com, a Senior Fellow in Economics at Reason Foundation, and his articles can be seen in The Wall Street Journal, Investor’s Business Daily, Financial Times, National Review and London’s Daily Telegraph. He’s also a weekly guest on Forbes on FOX. Follow John on Twitter @JohnTamny.

Register for Freedom Fest in Las Vegas this July 11-14 at FreedomFest.com and use code “WHISKEY100” for $100 off your tickets!

Follow Whiskey Politics on YouTubeRicochetWhiskeyPolitics.netFacebook and follow Dave on Twitter. Shown on Americas Voice Television Network.

Subscribe to your favorite podcast application including TuneInStitcherGooglePlay, and iTunes where your 5-star rating will be greatly appreciated!

In Music: Dirty Weekend, Joel Goodman.

Ad Music: Ben Sounds.

Out Music: Money For Nothing, Mark Knopfler, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins and Sting.

Subscribe to Whiskey Politics in iTunes (and leave a 5-star review, please!), or by RSS feed. For all our podcasts in one place, subscribe to the Ricochet Audio Network Superfeed in iTunes or by RSS feed.

Podcast listeners: Now become a Ricochet member for only $2.50 a month! Join and see what you’ve been missing.

There are 15 comments.

  1. Reagan

    This has been bugging me for a while @davesussman, it’s spelled Whisky. 

    :D

    • #1
    • June 12, 2018 at 10:30 am
    • Like
  2. Reagan

    “The entire world competing to serve your needs” – that is one of the best descriptions of the benefits of a unilateral zero tariff policy I’ve ever heard.

    • #2
    • June 12, 2018 at 10:42 am
    • 1 like
  3. Contributor

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    This has been bugging me for a while @davesussman, it’s spelled Whisky.

    :D

    Jamie, there’s an E at the end of liquid sunshine. 

    • #3
    • June 12, 2018 at 11:04 am
    • 3 likes
  4. Contributor

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    “The entire world competing to serve your needs” – that is one of the best descriptions of the benefits of a unilateral zero tariff policy I’ve ever heard.

    Taking this from our FB discussion… We seem to all agree that a tariff-free world would stimulate economic growth. If this is Trump’s plan, is that not a good thing?

    • #4
    • June 12, 2018 at 11:14 am
    • 2 likes
  5. Reagan

    I have to disagree with Tamny on “work ethic”. Work ethic is what you have when you don’t love the work. If you love to do what you do there’s no work ethic required. I think its an important and essential part of the character required for capitalism to function that individuals possess the ethic to work to support themselves and their families even when the work doesn’t excite or interest them. 

    Maybe this is my 20th Century, tail-end Gen-X mindset rearing its head. I’ll have to buy the book to find out. 

    • #5
    • June 12, 2018 at 11:16 am
    • 2 likes
  6. Reagan

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    “The entire world competing to serve your needs” – that is one of the best descriptions of the benefits of a unilateral zero tariff policy I’ve ever heard.

    Taking this from our FB discussion… We seem to all agree that a tariff-free world would stimulate economic growth. If this is Trump’s plan, is that not a good thing?

    Right, I just don’t see evidence that this is the plan. It could be, but I think that’s more projection or wishful thinking on the part of free traders like you and I. We’ll just have to wait and see. 

    • #6
    • June 12, 2018 at 11:24 am
    • 1 like
  7. Member

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    I have to disagree with Tamny on “work ethic”. Work ethic is what you have when you don’t love the work. If you love to do what you do there’s no work ethic required. I think its an important and essential part of the character required for capitalism to function that individuals possess the ethic to work to support themselves and their families even when the work doesn’t excite or interest them.

    Maybe this is my 20th Century, tail-end Gen-X mindset rearing its head. I’ll have to buy the book to find out.

    Agreed. I would guess that grinding is the state most people find themselves in. 

    • #7
    • June 12, 2018 at 5:04 pm
    • 1 like
  8. Member

    Of course the basic economics discussed here are correct and first best is always zero tariffs and zero barriers to trade but second best isn’t a few tariffs here and there. Second best is uniform tariffs on everything, and should be the preferred policy tool for opening up foreign markets and moving against our current account deficit. (It’s true bi lateral trade balance is meaningless, but chronic current account deficits aren’t sustainable, even eventually for us) An across the board uniform tariff is the equivalent of a devaluation which we can’t do. Given where we are, is it better to ignore predatory trading practices? It would be if we had an internally free market and could adjust our currency like other countries. Tariffs on steel and aluminum are unwise and counter productive, but we can’t just point to trade 201 abstractions and think we’ve won some argument because we haven’t. We have serious adults who were around during the cold war advising on foreign policy. It would be good if we had some serious adults, who’d been around during the post post war economy and understood it.

    • #8
    • June 13, 2018 at 6:47 am
    • 1 like
  9. Contributor

    Ed G. (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    I have to disagree with Tamny on “work ethic”. Work ethic is what you have when you don’t love the work. If you love to do what you do there’s no work ethic required. I think its an important and essential part of the character required for capitalism to function that individuals possess the ethic to work to support themselves and their families even when the work doesn’t excite or interest them.

    Maybe this is my 20th Century, tail-end Gen-X mindset rearing its head. I’ll have to buy the book to find out.

    Agreed. I would guess that grinding is the state most people find themselves in.

    It’s why I asked the question. If you only get jobs you’re passionate about, then what about the lower rung positions when young?

    I want my kids to get menial labor jobs during school just to understand the value of a dollar and be able to pay for things. My kids always roll their eyes when I tell them from 14 years old to graduating college I counted over 30 jobs, from delivering pizza, waiting tables, valet parking, door to door sales, etc. Hated it, but I there is no work ethic (or money to buy gas and textbooks) without work.

    • #9
    • June 13, 2018 at 10:19 am
    • 1 like
  10. Reagan

    I Walton (View Comment):
    Second best is uniform tariffs on everything, and should be the preferred policy tool for opening up foreign markets and moving against our current account deficit

    The current account deficit does not matter. 

    • #10
    • June 13, 2018 at 10:57 am
    • Like
  11. Member

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    Second best is uniform tariffs on everything, and should be the preferred policy tool for opening up foreign markets and moving against our current account deficit

    The current account deficit does not matter.

    Why would a chronic current account deficit not matter? It eventually drains a country’s reserves, drys up credit and causes a currency collapse. Should that happen to us it’ll mean more to the world economy than that its a good time to eat steak in B.A. Of course we print our own reserve currency, so it takes many years of dysfunctional economic management and some good alternatives to bring about a collapse but we’ve been working on it for some years now. Even if dumping dollars is just an empty threat, it’s still a threat.

    • #11
    • June 13, 2018 at 11:57 am
    • Like
  12. Reagan

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    Second best is uniform tariffs on everything, and should be the preferred policy tool for opening up foreign markets and moving against our current account deficit

    The current account deficit does not matter.

    Why would a chronic current account deficit not matter? It eventually drains a country’s reserves, drys up credit and causes a currency collapse. Should that happen to us it’ll mean more to the world economy than that its a good time to eat steak in B.A. Of course we print our own reserve currency, so it takes many years of dysfunctional economic management and some good alternatives to bring about a collapse but we’ve been working on it for some years now. Even if dumping dollars is just an empty threat, it’s still a threat.

    The reason for the deficit matters for those parade of horribles to realize themselves. Is the current account deficit due to investment that yields gains in productivity? The question here is one of growth vs inflation. 

    • #12
    • June 13, 2018 at 1:02 pm
    • Like
  13. Member

    I’m pretty sure that in 1914, the year my grandmother emigrated from Lithuania, most economists, if they had considered it, would have agreed that the country could not support a large population of non-workers without collapsing, and to a certain degree, as proved by the Great Depression. But today, the economy supports not only the bloated budgets of government at all levels, but a huge population of people “on the dole”. I’ve often wondered at the limits.

    The advancement of science, technology and free markets produced an environment conducive to more division of labor, including that of machines. For most of us, the growing of our own food, making our own clothes, building our own houses, or fixing things ourselves has become an expensive hobby (my mother, who grew up working on a dairy farm, thinks it’s hilarious that people would milk a cow voluntarily). We also appear to be able to support a certain percentage of people whose hobby is to not work at all.

    Leaving aside the social repercussions of human laziness, what happens when the economy grows so expansive, and so efficient, that basic food and housing are virtually free? According to my good friend, ex-Moscovite Roman Genn, it is human nature for most to accept bare sustenance levels of food and housing (and vodka) in exchange for being able to relax all day. His experience growing up in the Soviet Union informs him.

    But in the future, to paraphrase Milton Friedman, some people will need spaceships to be happy, and they will use their intellect and special skills, along with work ethic, to achieve their goals. They won’t be manufacturing cars, serving food, harvesting vegetables or building houses. All that will be done inexpensively by machines.

    I don’t know what work the new producers will be doing, for the same reason I couldn’t predict Youtube millionaires, but America will be made up, as it is today, of those who work for a living and those who don’t – I wonder what the percentages will be?

    • #13
    • June 13, 2018 at 3:12 pm
    • Like
  14. Member

    Melissa Praemonitus (View Comment):
    But today, the economy supports not only the bloated budgets of government at all levels, but a huge population of people “on the dole”. I’ve often wondered at the limits.

    Whereas I’ve often wondered whether we’d fall to wily coyote deaths in the canyon below if we dared to look down. Don’t you ever get the feeling that we’re just a collection of shrinking puddles? 

    • #14
    • June 13, 2018 at 3:50 pm
    • Like
  15. Member

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Jamie Lockett (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    Second best is uniform tariffs on everything, and should be the preferred policy tool for opening up foreign markets and moving against our current account deficit

    The current account deficit does not matter.

    Why would a chronic current account deficit not matter? It eventually drains a country’s reserves, drys up credit and causes a currency collapse. Should that happen to us it’ll mean more to the world economy than that its a good time to eat steak in B.A. Of course we print our own reserve currency, so it takes many years of dysfunctional economic management and some good alternatives to bring about a collapse but we’ve been working on it for some years now. Even if dumping dollars is just an empty threat, it’s still a threat.

    The reason for the deficit matters for those parade of horribles to realize themselves. Is the current account deficit due to investment that yields gains in productivity? The question here is one of growth vs inflation.

    Of course long term investment is good, and is part of our balance of payments, which you know isn’t current account but returns on the investment can be. Short term capital flows to pay for trade imbalances mean we’re spending more than we’re saving i.e borrowing other countries’ savings. Our domestic deficit is mostly excess government spending inadequately matched by private savings and taxes. While foreigners, including foreign central banks, may buy long term bonds or even common stocks, those are short term financial investments and can vanish with the export of a credible fear. Of course the CA matters, the dollar is the world’s currency, that’s what I meant about buying Argentine steak. We’ve a global responsibility to manage our deficits more responsibly and that is why I am sure we can make a GATT conforming argument for across the board uniform tariffs as the only way we can devalue.

    • #15
    • June 13, 2018 at 4:30 pm
    • Like