Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Trump's new trade policy: "... when it stops moving, subsidise it."

Ronald Reagan once explained the philosophy of modern government being "if it moves, tax it; if it keeps moving, regulate it; if it stops moving, subsidise it." With his global trade war, Trump has now written a new chapter in this credo.

To "ease the pain" of Trump's trade war, which has bitten everywhere but most painfully (electorally) in the pockets of the mid-western voting classes, the economic genius has announced US$12 billion of subsidies to American farmers. So as eloquently summarised by Mikel Jollett,
A president who knows nothing about economics started a trade war which hurt farmers so he put them on welfare with money he's borrowing from the countries he started the trade war with.
    So instead of profiting off the sale of American food to China, Trump's trade policy has the United States paying interest to China while US farmers become dependent on the government because they aren't selling food to China.
So this is apparently what it means to "own the libtards": by trumpeting "winning" while enacting policies out of the Roosevelt liberals' own playbook.



  1. the drunken watchman25 Jul 2018, 20:15:00

    Trump offers to abolish ALL tariffs, but no takers. Fake news fails to report .......

    1. Would that be the fake news like Bloomberg and Business Insider and others who reported it?
      It may be negotiating -- inconsistent behaviour being one of his dela-make=ing arts, allegedly; or it may simply be saying "see, they're all as baad as me"; or it may have been playing to his base ... but who the hell would know.
      I wouldn't even be sure that Trump would.

      Any comment on the US$12 billion of subsidies?

    2. the drunken watchman26 Jul 2018, 19:24:00

      well, yes, if it didn't happen, then Bloomberg & co would be fake news. Got any evidence?

      The subsidies? maybe palliative pending a free market, I don't know, but neither do you.

  2. "Trump: US and EU agree to work towards lower trade barriers"

    1. Well, yes, he's consistently inconsistent and so good things will happen, if they have, midst the very bad. "Work towards" is not as good as "remove immediately,": but it's better than "increase."

      As always, however, there's often a slip twixt headline and story.

      Starting point for taking-offs is Trump's 25 per cent tariff on steel imports, and 10 per cent on aluminium -- which were on the table -- and threatened auto tariffs, which were not. Add to that the EU's response of imposing tariffs "on over $3 billion of US goods, including iconic brands of whiskey and motorcycles."

      Says Juncker: "'there would be no further tariffs, including on cars, while they negotiate, and that existing US tariffs on European steel and aluminum would be re-examined.'" So that's hopeful. But not definitive.

      Says Trump: cars are "exempted" from the agreement --- and "he is believed to still be considering in the future putting 25 per cent tariffs on nearly $200 billion in car imports, which would particularly harm Germany."

      Meanwhile: "European officials had warned before the White House meeting that they would respond to car tariffs by putting similar duties on $20 billion (£15 billion) of US goods, including agricultural, hi-tech and other machinery." [Reporting from 'The Telegraph']

      So the headline is good. Let's see which way it goes before opening any champagne.

  3. the drunken watchman26 Jul 2018, 17:48:00

    anyone got evidence that Trump didn't make this offer?

    or... evidence that he made it, that it was accepted by EU, but Trump backed down with his 'bluff' called

    or.... evidence that it was indeed a bluff? (never-Trump dogma doesn't count)

    seems odd that Trump's offer has not been heralded by free trade lovers

    1. No evidence it’s fake, but limited evidence it’s real either. It’s one article that runs counter to everything else I’ve heard him say on the topic. If the offer really happened, it was genuine, and he’s going to continue pushing in that direction (rather than changing his mind tomorrow and pushing the other way), I’ll certainly be applauding him. Nothing odd about waiting for more evidence before assuming he’s had an epiphany.

  4. the drunken watchman27 Jul 2018, 12:29:00

    Mark T, I asked if there is any evidence that Trump didn't make the offer. In other words, any evidence that Bloomberg and Businessinsider are fake news? What do you mean limited evidence that it is real? Are you suggesting that he didn't make the offer, or that the offer wasn't genuine?

    In case you hadn't noticed there is a tendency, aka Trump Derangement Syndrome, to over-report the negative, and under-report the positive. I mean, if he did make the offer, and it was rejected by the other G7 members, surely a little 'odd' to not report it, given the flood of coverage of everything negative. Seems newsworthy to me. Unless it was fake news.

  5. the drunken watchman29 Jul 2018, 13:16:00

    I think I get it.....

    the trendy rationale is that Trump deserves no coverage of the things he does which might be otherwise be approved of (rolling back superfluous legislation etc) because he is fickle?

    nah, its got to be more than that.... news can still be reported, like Right to Try legislation, a done deal ..... no need for censorship.

    My pick is that Trumps' loudest critics have the most to lose if the status quo cage is rattled.

    1. I truly have no idea of the point you are trying to make.

    2. the Drunken Watchman29 Jul 2018, 19:04:00

      My point has been that the lack of coverage of Trump's "Zero Tariffs" offer to G7 reflects a trendy pattern to over-report negative news about Trump, and under-report news which would normally be greeted with enthusiasm (like the Right to Try legislation Trump signed off on recently.)

      Mark T seemed to confirm this bias when he said "Nothing odd about waiting for more evidence before assuming he’s had an epiphany." He seemed to be saying that more evidence was needed before the story that Trump made the offer could be reliably reported. But... since when does the media wait for 'more evidence' before reporting a story ? (Bloomberg and Business Insider seemed ok with it).

      So... I asked Mark T if he had any evidence that Trump had not made the offer i.e that Bloomberg and Business Insider were fake news. He didn't reply, so I presumed that he has no evidence. The conclusion I then drew seems obvious enough to me.

      Sorry, but I don't know how to explain it any more clearly.

      Most pundits don't bother trying to explain it, they just call it Trump Derangement Syndrome :)

    3. Trump Derangement Syndrome exists, as it seems does Trump Fanboy Syndrome. I have no idea whether the article and the offer is real or not, as I made clear. But I do know it conflicts with everything else I've heard Trump say on trade. A rational mind doesn't leap to conclusions based on one article whilst ignoring the conflicting evidence. If you have a logical reason why this one article should over-rule everything else we've heard him say on trade, please explain what it is. How do you explain the conflict? Are you saying he has had an epiphany and completely changed his views on the virtues of free trade? If that is true they you'll be proven right in coming months. Until then I have my doubts.

    4. If that's your point, then I don't see how you can say the story has garnered "zero coverage" in the mainstream press when you've just posted two stories about it that are *from* the mainstream press.
      Confused, from Auckland.

  6. the Drunken Watchman30 Jul 2018, 13:37:00

    Mark, I hardly know what to say. It must be that whatever I am saying, I am not saying it clearly, seeing as both you and Peter can't get my point....

    One last try.....

    I don't have any position on whether Trump's offer of zero tariffs/ totally free trade is genuine, out of character or whatever. And if genuine, nor am I opining on the merits of such an offer. Nor am I opining on the likelihood the offer was genuine.

    I am trying to point out that the MSM reporting is slanted. Trendily so.

    I mean, you even seem to be saying that for Trump's offer to be even reported first requires evidence that he has had an epiphany.

    fyi ...

    Trump Derangement Syndrome - don't report any Trump-positive news, at least until epiphany has been evidenced/ proved.

    Trump Fanboy Syndrome - report the facts. In this case, report that Trump made an offer to eliminate all tariffs, which was rejected by the other G7 members. Alternatively, report that Bloomberg and Business Insider are peddling fake news.

    Yep, I am a Fanboy of the news, both 'good' and 'bad'.

    1. So your point is that the mainstream media are generally biased against Trump. Agreed, and goes without saying. My point is simply that I'm not convinced he's a free trade advocate. I was responding to your "seems odd that Trump's offer has not been heralded by free trade lovers". I'm explaining why this free trade lover is not heralding it, and by extension why others may not either. Aside from that, the mainstream media are not exactly free trade advocates anyway.

  7. the drunken watchman30 Jul 2018, 15:20:00


    OH that's fair enough then, if you came in half-way through and were just referring to my comment about "heralding". I had assumed you had been following the thread from the outset where my introductory comment was "Trump offers to abolish ALL tariffs, but no takers. Fake news fails to report .......". I was focused on the failure to report it, not the degree of enthusiasm which which it might have been reported.

    Peter's immediate response was to challenge the authenticity of Bloomberg and Business Insider's reporting.

    I then, wrongly, conflated Peter's professed inability to get my point, with your own.

    However, I still find it odd, and can't shake the feeling that in some cases, (obviously not you!! :), Trump-hatred trumps Love of Free Trade. I swear some Trump-haters would choose nuclear war over giving Trump any credit, much like warmists resist any favourable climate news.

    1. I didn't at all challenge the authenticity of the reporting.

      I suggested that as you seemed to discount their reporting ("there's no stories about this in the mainstream press!" you say as you post two such stories), that perhaps you regard those two as fake news?

      In any case, I don't think this discussion is really going anywhere, is it?

      Even More Confused, of Auckland.

  8. the drunken watchman30 Jul 2018, 17:06:00

    I thought this discussion had run its course until you posted that! Now I think this is a telling conversation.

    I don't recall writing in this thread "there's no stories about this in the mainstream press!", or "the story has garnered "zero coverage" in the mainstream press".

    I wrote "Fake news fails to report...". Obviously I wasn't, without evidence, regarding Bloomberg etc as fake news. I also said I thought MSM coverage is slanted.

    I was calling those media who routinely fail to report anything that might have a positive spin for Trump as 'fake news', and suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome.


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