March 15, 2018

Pointy Headed Elites! Right Here!

Shameless Fraternal Promotion!

Brother Bryan has written an interesting paper: Seigniorage in the Civil War South


Sad to see that he has not yet brought the Threesources style guide yet to George Mason. He could have used a few NAKED NATALEE HOLLOWAY pictures. Perhaps he is saving that for his dissertation.



Birth of the Blues

Ray Henderson, lyrics Buddy G. DeSylva & Lew Brown ©1926

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


March 14, 2018

It's Official!


But johngalt thinks:

Steve Forbes:

Kudlow is no fan of tariffs, which are taxes, plain and simple. He will struggle hard to prevent a trade war with our trading partners. But he is also a fierce foe of trade abuses and here he will work to give the president options on how to best to fight this kind of lawlessness.
Posted by: johngalt at March 15, 2018 3:35 PM

March 13, 2018

All Hail Freeman

" Mr. Trump often entertains the crowds at his events by insulting powerful people in media and politics. At Hillary Clinton's events, the former secretary of State tends to insult people who can't afford to attend. " -- James Freeman

March 12, 2018

Because I'm Mean That's Why

This snarky-ass commentary will just make folks angry and won't convince anybody. What do I think this is, Facebook?


Trump Agonistes Posted by John Kranz at 10:15 AM | What do you think? [0]

March 11, 2018



(I Love You for) Sentimental Reasons

Ivory "Deek" Watson & William "Pat" Best ©1945

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


March 9, 2018

C'est si Bon

Larry is usually wiser, and always more gracious than me. I would not be willing to join on immigration. But the rest, yeah:


But johngalt thinks:

Maybe it's a normal consequence of aging, but I remember liking ol' Larry a lot less than I have come to in recent years. Maybe he's mellowed too.

The problem with debating government trade policy is that economists want to treat it as a purely economic matter. But it's not. It's mostly a government, political, matter. There is no "correct" answer when one government seeks advantage over the people represented by another government.

Posted by: johngalt at March 11, 2018 8:41 PM

March 2, 2018

So, Here We Are

I don't intend to pile on. Not when it's been done so much better by the WSJ Ed Page:

Donald Trump made the biggest policy blunder of his Presidency Thursday by announcing that next week he'll impose tariffs of 25% on imported steel and 10% on aluminum. This tax increase will punish American workers, invite retaliation that will harm U.S. exports, divide his political coalition at home, anger allies abroad, and undermine his tax and regulatory reforms. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.7% on the news, as investors absorbed the self-inflicted folly.

Mr. Trump has spent a year trying to lift the economy from its Obama doldrums, with considerable success. Annual GDP growth has averaged 3% in the past nine months if you adjust for temporary factors, and on Tuesday the ISM manufacturing index for February came in at a gaudy 60.8. American factories are humming, and consumer and business confidence are soaring.

Apparently Mr. Trump can't stand all this winning

More broadly, it has been a bad 48 hours for those who love liberty and were trying to come to terms with our quixotic cheif executive.

I know that neither Mr. Shapiro nor the WSJ Ed Page are natural allies of President Trump. Yet I cannot help but feel we are reaping what populism has sown. Ideology is abased, but it does provide one with a rudder.

UPDATE: If you're not convinced by liberty, or Adam Smith, or David Ricardo:

Molson-Coors warned in a statement, "Like most brewers, we are selling an increasing amount of our beers in aluminum cans and this action will cause aluminum prices to rise and is likely to lead to job losses across the beer industry." The company contends that domestically, "there simply isn't enough supply to satisfy the demands of American beverage makers."

Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty

But jk thinks:

I truly hope you're right that this is tactical and we end up in a very different place. I just said the same on a Facebook thread without having read this. So, yeah, it is possible.

(The TV news this morning did a long segment on "President for Life." I concede that his enemies go too far. BUT.)

But he campaigned as a protectionist. And he has wide latitude under this "Section 232." And he has Peter Nevarro hanging around.

I do not find the "predatory competitors" argument at all persuasive. The bulk of our Steel imports come from friendly nations and the numbers fro domestic production have been strong. To blunderbuss domestic auto and appliance production and risk retaliation over Chinese steel that is 2% and change if imports is indefensible.

A dime a beer case, $175 a car, $1 million on a plane -- it is all contrary to the spirit of liberty and very well established economics.

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2018 11:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Disclaimer: I don't aim to argue or persuade, merely to share "alternative" points of view.

I found authoritative data on this subject here. [PDF]

I'll begin with a Trump counterfactual. He has called America's steel industry "dead" due to unfair competition, but American steel production and consumption have been in the neighborhood of 80 MMT (million metric tons) and 100 MMT, respectively, since 2010. So we're importing 20% of our steel. A recent theory that this is a NAFTA renegotiation ante suddenly makes more sense than "saving American steel."

And while Canadia is indeed our number one import source, Mexico is number four. Note that these are our two NAFTA partners.

Further, Russia is number five. Wasn't the failed Democratic candidate for president just saying that POTUS needed to get tough with the Russians? (Okay, I'm being flippant.)

The rest of the top ten import sources are Brazil, South Korea, Turkey, Japan, Taiwan, Germany and India. These guys should cross their fingers that Canadia and Mehico play ball on NAFTA as fast as possible.


As for Trump's off-the-record joke with the press (did I mention he was kidding?) we may as well go ahead and describe it the way media members heard it with their ears and felt it with their hearts: "Fuhrer Trump." I'm sympathetic because I would have freaked out if Obama said it, even in jest. But in the end I must conclude that the compliant, complicit, double-standard news media in this country thoroughly deserves to have it pointed out to them that, as bad as they think he is, other world leaders (like China's) are much worse. Not that they even recognize the fact but, news flash, Xi Jinping is NOT kidding.

And finally, I don't have numbers for the tariff hikes on a car but I do for a Boeing jetliner - $33,000. That's .013% of the cost of a 787. (And just 3.3% of your own estimate.) Taking the $175 auto estimate on faith though, a driver could recoup that by recycling a case of beer cans per day for a year!

Gotta go - Professor Cutsinger is on line 1.

Posted by: johngalt at March 5, 2018 3:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I almost forgot...

You cited "very well established economics." My Bud drinkin' buddies call this by various names:

Status quo
Hedge Fund Corporatist B.S.
Swamp Business
NeverTrump mutual "back-scratching" rules.

In November 2016 a plurality of American voters decided it was time to change the established rules. I, for one, can't blame them.

Posted by: johngalt at March 5, 2018 4:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Speaking of that fellow who used to be President, how would you have felt had he presented a ruse of a phony national security scare so that he could enact a favored policy? Because that's the best-case scenario of the President's tactics.

Would you agree there is (subtract five, carry the one...) exactly zero national security risk of our proud nation's importing steel from our great allies? If we lose China and Russia, that's a blip.

So, Section 232 is a ruse -- there is no compelling national security interest. But it is a very convenient loophole for bypassing Congress so that he can have a bargaining chip in his high-stakes renegotiation of nafta. That's bad, right? Had President Obama pulled a similar stunt to fund SCHIP we'd've been pissed, right?

My numbers came from Peter Nevarro's appearance on FOX News Sunday through the imperfect medium of my memory -- exacerbated by the physical pain I was in hearing his explanations.

I guess the American consumer can always afford to pay more taxes. You're right -- it's really just "crumbs" when I think of it.

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2018 7:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Were Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Larry Kudlow, Art Laffer, Walter Williams, Don Boudreaux, Fredrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Henry Hazlitt and Frederic Bastiat wrong? And an electoral-representation-of-a-plurality of American voters right?


I'm in a reflective mood. I read all but a few pages of Steven Pinker's "Enlightenment Now" over the weekend and just finished Nassim Taleb's ninth appearance on EconTalk. Two of the most esteemed intellects on the planet, and two that challenge my core beliefs very deeply. And I got a more brutal thrashing last week than even you did.

The common thread is holding core truths even as ancillary beliefs are shaken. From Pinker: do I love Enlightenment values and modernity more than I fear government? From Taleb: how can I dismiss "the God of risk assessment" when he spurns GMOs?

I cannot, however say "some Things were bad before Donald Trump was President, ergo, everything he disagrees with is right." Some things I believed in before he was president are still right.

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2018 7:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well said all the way 'round. We're of a mostly like mind. Perhaps the biggest reason for my Trumpism sanguinity is that this president and the swamp are at loggerheads, not lockstep. The latter is what really scares the crap out of me. c.f. Obama. Bush.

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2018 3:03 PM

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