Trump’s Tariff Turducken

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Trump is getting heat for his threat to impose tariffs on “imported” cars in order to help American car companies. But what about all the “American” cars built outside America?

And what about the “import” brands that build their cars here?

GM and Ford and FiatChrysler have plants in Mexico. The American 1500 series trucks they build there are shipped here. They are objectively imported. Should they be tariffized?

Toyota has a yuge operation in California. Nissan builds its trucks in Tennessee. Honda has plants in Ohio. BMW builds SUVS in South Carolina. Are these “imported” cars? Should they receive protection from the “foreign” competition – even if the brand in question happens to have its corporate HQ here?

The fulsome scurvy truth is there’s no such thing as an “American” car – or an “imported” one. Not anymore.

Not as they used to be.

People outside the business don’t realize how international not just the car companies have become but also the cars – most of which wouldn’t run without common parts from Bosch (injectors) and Denso (electronics) and ZF (transmissions) and a bunch of others, regardless of the brand on the fender.

Cars are built to a global standard nowadays. Like it or not, it is what it is.

The current Ford Mustang, as a for-instance. It was specifically designed not just for America but also for Europe and other export markets. The influence of this works both ways. One way – in the case of the Mustang – is that it remained rear-wheel-drive. American Mustang buyers demand this – would revolt if Ford changed this to the more common front-wheel-drive layout. So, that stayed. But the Mustang also got a standard four cylinder engine – with a turbo – which was done to make the car more agreeable to European/export market buyers who have to deal with (among other things) gas prices twice as high as what we pay.

The point is, the architecture – an industry term – is global. Go visit a major automaker’s web page; read about it for yourself.

Nationalism is an anachronism, at least in terms of how cars are designed and built as well as where they are built.

Did you know that Jaguar (and Land Rover) are owned by an Indian conglomerate? They are British in heritage, but no longer English. Should they be hit with punitive taxes on account of this? How about all the Buicks GM builds in China? Speaking of that . . . who do you suppose owns Volvo these days? Hint: It’s not the Swedes.

The point here is that imposing tariffs based on who’s an “import” and who’s not is going to be yugely problematic. Trump is operating on the basis of a false premise – one that hasn’t existed in fact since at least the 1980s. In those days, one could at least speak accurately of imported and domestic cars. It is much harder to do so today without it just being idiot demagoguery cynically calculated to inflame the boobs who don’t know any better. Who think, for instance, that their all-American truck was actually made in American rather than hecho en Mexico.

The real problem – which Trump could address without resorting to idiot demagoguery – is not “unfair trade” but stupid (and morally unjustifiable) regulations emanating from Washington. For instance, Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) regs which raise the cost of cars in order to make them use less gas. Which in the first place is none of the government’s proper business.

It’s your car. And in the second place, it’s your gas.

You pay for both. Which makes it no more the government’s business than where you choose to eat and how much you choose to eat. People would get their backs up about the latter – if the government began decreeing where they were allowed to eat – and telling them how much they could eat. It’s the same principle.

CAFE has made cars cost literally thousands of dollars more than they otherwise would. Far more than they do as the result of “unfair” trade. This is not conjecture. It’s verifiable fact. CAFE – the pressure to make every car an economy car, in terms of its average fuel consumption – has pushed the car manufacturers (“foreign” and “domestic”) to add direct injection in place of port fuel injection and put transmissions with nine and ten speeds in ordinary family cars. These “save gas” – but cost money.

Our money.

And that makes it our business – not Uncle’s.

Getting Uncle out of the business of dictating mandatory minimum MPGs would be a boon to everyone, import and domestic alike. It might result in more “gas guzzlers” being made. But that doesn’t mean fuel-efficient cars wouldn’t be available – so long as natural market demand exists for them. It just means the government would no longer be in the business of punishing those who have different demands.

Another productive thing Trump could do would be to get the government out of the “safety” business – which is also none of the government’s business. It is important to define our terms here. We are not talking about defective cars or cars that aren’t roadworthy. Just cars that don’t meet the government’s arbitrary criteria regarding how well they withstand crashing into things.

This, again, is properly our business.

Once upon a time, it was. People could choose very efficient – and very light – cars that maybe couldn’t take a broadside as well as a Cadillac Sedan deVille but also didn’t cost as much as a Sedan deVille and used a lot less gas, too.

The government took those choices away. Trump could give them back.

And unlike the idiotic tariff threats he’s making – which would hurt the car business as well as car buyers – getting Uncle out of the MPG and “safety” business would help everyone.

Well, except for the useless eaters in Washington – who make a fat living inserting themselves into things which are none of their got-damned business.

. . .

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70 COMMENTS

  1. You guys hear the latest? Now the Orange Asshat is advocating the death penalty for high-volume drug dealers!!!

    ALL of these politicians are starting to make the old Roman emperors look sane by comparison…..

    And what a blow to anything non-liberal this idiot is proving to be.

  2. I wonder what loopholes are in the proclamation? There are always exceptions and I’ll bet there are a few doozies in this one. Hotel construction materials perhaps?

  3. Trump signed his official establishment of tariffs on aluminum and steel on Thursday in a ceremony in the Oval Office.

    The tariffs were 25 percent on steel, ten percent on aluminum.

    Trump said that the tariffs were important, citing the industry communities that were devastated by bad trade deals and failed promises from failed politicians.

    “Our factories were left to rot and to rust all over the place,” Trump said. “Thriving communities were turned into ghost towns.”

    During his remarks, Trump explained how fundamental the tough actions on trade and tariffs were to his presidency and the core of his personal beliefs.

    “Those who poured their souls into building this great nation were betrayed. But that betrayal is now over,” he said. “I’m delivering on a promise I made during the campaign and I’ve been making it for a good part of my life.”

    – From Breitbart

    =======================

    Of course every central planner intervention has negative externalities, the worst one being we’re already the second most taxed polity (behind England) and assuming this type of revenue stream won’t be offset by income. This might quickly make us the most.

    The Libertarianism subscribed to here is flawed in that it attempts to unilaterally act altruistically, instead of considering the path that leads to one’s own greatest available position.

    In other words, sometimes even though you know how to eat right and often do, sometimes your best option in the moment is to order something for carryout that isn’t too terrible.

    Modern people may benefit from a flexible algorithm, and sometimes allowing a little back-sliding and sub-optimizing is the best thing at the time.

    The Libertarian Solutions are usually the best solutions, but often times it is impossible or impractical to implement.

    If there were a new Ron Paul with even a little groundswell, I’d be ecstatic. But currently there is only Trump’s mal bouffe mélange of laissez faire and nationalisme économique…
    https://i.imgur.com/OG1PjXs.jpg

  4. Tariffs? Well the US Constitution does allow for the Congress to levy them. My take? Tariffs only benefits two entities. The first is fed gov. A tariff is a tax after all and therefore the proceeds go to fed gov. I am definitely against fed gov sucking more wealth out of the people that live in the USA. It does not matter whether or not that tariffs are mentioned in the US Constitution.

    The second is the domestic maker of the good being taxed. Now the DM doesn’t have to spend money to compete with the foreign seller. The DM hopes the duped peons in the US will buy his higher priced, possibly inferior, product out of national pride. Go USA! Go USA! Go USA! All the while, the peon is actually the one being screwed and forced to pay the tax. The foreign maker of the product certainly doesn’t. They pass on the tax to the final buyer of the good.

    When goods can’t cross national boundaries, armies will.

    • That’s something that boggles me and I have stopped correcting people on it. The media and such blather out that Trump is going to levy tariffs. Last I looked that was the job of congress. I suppose it might be one of those things where nobody follows the rules any longer.

  5. Tariffs aren’t “idiotic”. All great nations were built on them, America included. The decline of America commenced once we let other nations eat out lunch.

    • It really began when we added property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, use taxes, etc. to the tariffs and duties. But no matter how you look at it, tariffs are a tax on the consuming nation, not the “furrin’ devils” whose goods have the tariffs are applied. Additionally, as an unintended consequence, prices of all related goods also rise because the price-pressures of competition go away.

      Such a deal! Yes, if we only had tariffs, I would be happier than the proposal to increase the ones we already have on top of all the taxes I listed. I seem to recall that some unpleasantness in 1861 was because the area of the country that produced the most tariff revenue was not given equity in dividing it with the area of the country that consumed it. Trade wars inevitably lead to shooting wars, even among brothers.

    • All nations that become great do so in spite of taxation not due to it. Taxation destroys wealth that could be used for productive purposes. The only thing fed gov does well is destruction.

  6. Reminds me of the “Black Reparations” conundrum. Does a black man whose Great Grandpop in Louisiana held slaves get reparations, or does he have to pay them? Will the reparations be apportioned based on racial mix in some cases? If a man had one white parent and one black, does he break even?

    I also brings up the “foreign crap” argument. I will wager that 98% of the “foreign crap” sold here is to specs written by the U.S. representative, either distributor or retailer. We have two Chinese made Schwinn bicycles. What crap! Chrome on steel handle bars rusted in weeks, hubs look like something dredged up from the site of a WWII naval battle. But I will bet that the good old U.S. home office wrote the specs. If a Ford transmission made in China turns out to be “foreign crap”, who speced the unit?

  7. Yes Eric the Feds need to roll back their ridiculous regulations, but it’s long past time the west stopped sacrificing itself on the alter of “free trade”

    • Hi Fred!

      Rather than “roll back,” how about eliminate these regulations? At least with regard to the regulation of mileage and saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety – neither of which are the proper business of government; that is, of other people with guns and the effrontery to threaten you and I with cages and loss of liberty/property if we do not bend knee to their demands.

      Who are these people? What gives them the right to tell you or me or anyone else how many MPGs our cars must average? Or that we must only buy cars that can survive an offset barrier impact at 30 MPH?

      It’s no more the business of other people than what we eat or read or do for fun is any of their got-damned business!

  8. “All taxation is theft”

    Yes, it is.

    So, until such time as we can either:

    A – Have a revolution and violently depose the taxmen and their cronies and Quislings or:

    B – Convince enough fellow citizens of this fact, then:

    The fact is there will be tax of some kind, theft of some kind, enforced at the barrel of government gun.

    So, the question then is: “How bad a form of robbery do I want to be subjected to”?

    Tariffs are stealing my cigarette lighter.

    Income taxes are a mugging at gunpoint and a beating.

    Property taxes are a home invasion, where I am anally gang raped and sodomized, before being slowly tortured to death.

    I’ll take tariffs, thank you.

    • Agreed, ESPECIALLY on the property tax issue. Now THAT is as evil as the income tax, if not moreso.

      BLUF: We can either tax ourselves to fund the federal govt, or tax foreigners–the way it used to be. I prefer that we tax foreigners. I would propose a 10% tax on all imports, and keep it there.

      Jesus: “Hey Peter.”
      Peter: “Yes Lord?”
      Jesus: “Of whom do the kings take tribute? Of their own children, or of strangers?”
      Peter: “Of strangers.”
      Jesus: “Thus the children are free.”

      Tax the strangers.

        • Foreigners–strangers.

          You can avoid a sales tax–you do not have to buy imports. Yeah, I know… imported items are in various products, but the principle is you can avoid the import tariff passed along to you if you do not buy an imported product.

          You cannot avoid an income tax; you cannot avoid property tax (not without an army of lawyers).

          • You cannot avoid a tariff. The prices of all related goods always go up when the competition’s prices are artificially raised.

            • Incorrect. You can avoid the effects of a tariff.

              “The prices of all related goods always go up when the competition’s prices are artificially raised.”

              I think your statement drifted off topic (ie: the discussion of competition; if the competition raises his price, why does anyone have to raise theirs to compete?).

              However, I think I gather what you mean. Nonetheless, still not true. Some items will go up, but not all. A tariff on apples will not affect the price of my lawnmower. A tariff on oranges, beef, or French cheese will not affect the price of my gasoline, a car, or building construction. They’re all unrelated to each other, and you do not need one to bring about the other.

              One can avoid the effect of a tariff on one’s wallet by not buying those goods hit by the tariff. Not easy, but it’s possible.

              • “I think your statement drifted off topic (ie: the discussion of competition; if the competition raises his price, why does anyone have to raise theirs to compete?). ”

                They don’t have to, or course. They just do. And sometimes even for valid reasons other than opportunity. Once Chinese steel is taxed, US steel will be in more demand and US steelworkers will demand more pay and US steel prices will rise. Always happens.

                I did specify “related” goods. If steel goes up, car prices will. If steel goes up, and cast iron can replace it, cast iron will go up because of increased demand. And to tell the truth, even the price of apples likely will go up because the steel will cost more to build the rail cars, trucks, and even the staples in the boxes they are shipped in. It all winds up in the retail price eventually.

                  • Yup.

                    “Tax the strangers”???

                    LOL.

                    Perhaps the most hilariously idiotic motive for tariffs is to prevent “dumping”.

                    Suppose, for example, that Sony is willing to injure American competitors by selling TV sets to Americans for a penny apiece.

                    Shouldn’t we rejoice at such an absurd policy of suffering severe losses by subsidizing us, the American consumers? And shouldn’t our response be, “Come on, Sony, subsidize us some more!”

                    As far as consumers are concerned, the more “dumping” that takes place, the better.

                    For decades, indeed, opponents of the free market have claimed that many businesses gained their powerful status on the market by what is called “predatory price cutting,” that is, by driving their smaller competitors into bankruptcy by selling their goods below cost, and then reaping the reward of their unfair methods by raising their prices and thereby charging “monopoly prices” to the consumers.

                    The claim is that while consumers may gain in the short run by price wars, “dumping,” and selling below costs, they lose in the long run from the alleged monopoly.

                    But, as we have seen, economic theory shows that this would be a mug’s game, losing money for the “dumping” firms, and never really achieving a monopoly price.

                    And sure enough, historical investigation has not turned up a single case where predatory pricing, when tried, was successful, and there are actually very few cases where it has even been tried.

                    https://mises.org/library/smashing-protectionist-theory-again

                    • Some of you all in an attempt to sound smart, come off as fools. I was quoting Jesus. You clearly missed Jesus’ point. I mean totally missed it. It went so far over you heads because you are too busy high fiving yourselves on your economic knowledge that you missed His economic principle.
                      God likes bowling, and in Jesus’ example, He once again bowls a strike. The bottom line is that you can pay income taxes and other fees to fund the federal govt, or you can have someone else do it. You either tax yourself, or someone else pays for it. It’s better that someone else pays for it is is not? The federal govt was once primarily funded by tariffs. Now it’s funded by borrowing and income taxes.

                      My apologies. I thought you all would be of some wisdom to understand the point, but alas, you all lack any spiritual discernment. I cannot for the life of me do not understand how those who would claim to be libertarians would oppose a unilateral tariff to fund the federal govt. instead of taxing ourselves to pay for it. SMH.

                    • Hi Frenchy,

                      I’d rather not fund the government at all!

                      What, after all, is “the government”? Just other people. What gives these other people any right to our property? Any more right than, say, our neighbor next door? If he came over with his paw out and threatened us with violence if we did not “help” him, we’d clearly understand what was going on. How is what goes on with respect to government any different in the moral sense?

                      Yes, tariffs funded the government once. When it was small and its interferences with us minimal. But tariffs became insufficient when government grew. Hence all the other taxes we suffer under today.

                      Today, tariffs just mean more taxes under another name. We pay more – differently, but not less. Because the government’s take hasn’t been reduced.

                    • Frenchy writes:

                      I cannot for the life of me do not understand how those who would claim to be libertarians would oppose a unilateral tariff to fund the federal govt. instead of taxing ourselves to pay for it.

                      That’s true. You really don’t understand economic reality clearly enough to realize why tariffs, which superficially look like taxing others, actually wind up with the cost being passed on to us in the end in the form of higher prices.

                      You began your tirade with personal insults about how others attempted to sound smart but came off as fools.

                      Ironically you provided a case study in the very thing you described.

                    • Good morning, Bevin!

                      It’s interesting that by the simple act of changing a name, a thing is changed in the minds of some people. Even though the thing itself remains the same thing. Theft is bad. Taxes are our obligation. A Tariff isn’t a Tax.

                      Yet they are all the same things! The only difference being mechanical. Theft is performed by a freelance individual or individuals. Taxes and Tariffs are imposed by the government.

                      But all are forcible exactions – which is to say, theft!

                    • Dear Eric,

                      Amen to that.

                      Ignorance is nothing to be ashamed about, provided one exercises restraint based on the awareness that one doesn’t have all the answers.

                      But ignorance close coupled with arrogance, along with a penchant for freely dispensed personal insults, is intolerable, and deserves to be slapped down forthwith.

                    • (not finding the reply button here) Thanks Eric,
                      Some valid points. I agree that “I’d rather not fund the government at all”. That’s my point! Tariffs force the majority of the cost on someone else–the exporter. Are those costs then spread out over the consumer of those imported goods? Sure. But those costs are to some extent avoidable. Do some of the costs of tariffs get passed on to us? Sure! But not all. This is far more amenable to an income tax, and all of the other federal taxes.
                      Government is not a bad thing. God ordained it, and Paul said that “haters of government–the institution–are in the same boat as the other sinners. That is not to say that hating “our” govt is wrong. It is clearly corrupt. I’m talking about the institution. Ie: in a family, there is govt. If one hates that, that child is in rebellion. In the Old Testament, children that would not recognize their parents authority were stoned.
                      Today, we live in a world of states. That’s not going away. States exist to maintain order and protect its citizens rights (yes…they are increasingly failing to do so, but that’s another topic). We get rid of the state, and the area goes lawless and become violent (think of those areas where our govt has destroyed the state: Libya; Somalia; and Iraq). One person will argue, “just get rid of the state”. We humans are not angels (and even they mess up). After the Revolutionary War, Congress got rid of the US Navy. Not long afterwards, the British began to seize our ocean bound commerce. To solve this problem, Congress re-created the US Navy. And the Barbary Pirates? The state had to deal with them as well by sending in the Navy and the Marines. Another will argue, “Let’s just privatize security then”. Ok. And what happens when your security realizes that it’s easier just to take your money than get paid, and refusal to pay means your daughter’s fingers will get shipped to you one by one until you do? At least with what we have now, we have some control over it.
                      I hear you. Yes, our govt is now much bigger. Why? It pretty much has an unlimited source of income. Being funded by only tariffs, fees, and taxes (ie: alcohol) kept it small, as well as its ambitions. Now, we have a federal reserve, an income tax, and fees/more taxes and tariffs and it does whatever it wants. Before tariffs covered a broad spectrum of goods, now they don’t. I agree that raising tariffs now only adds to our misery, but my argument is to do away with everything BUT the tariff and fund the govt that way. When I was in Iraq, our brigade was the main effort. My brigade commander kept saying, “Double the projects!” I do not know of any battalion commander, or staff, who agreed with this. We tried on our own to curtail it. We were spending $21 million a month. But you want to know what really stopped our splurge? The money dried up. A new division came in, saw the huge money outflows, and then put everyone on a budget. We loved it. The number of projects dropped like a rock. Our commander now had to prioritize his efforts. That’s what going back to a tariff-only budget would do as it would also relieve us of our other tax burdens.
                      So…how do we pay for it? That’s what I don’t get when I hear those who argue that tariffs are 100% bad. Someone has got to pay for the govt we have: 1) we can fund it solely on a tariff and user fees; 2) we can pay a federal income tax and the many other federal taxes; 3) the constitutional tax according to apportionment; or 4) we can go back into being individual states, and pay a state income tax and its property tax, but then tariffs will reappear as that’s what the commerce clause was meant to fix as states were taxing imports, and nearly anything that moved through them to get to another state. I only see option one as being the most indirect tax.
                      At the end of the day, the argument is still this, “How do we pay for it? How do we pay for our govt?” I hear what you are saying Eric. Valid points. And Bevin, some of your points are valid. But no Libertarian, who is against tariffs, is answering the question of how do we pay for something we are stuck with? It’s not going away, and we can see in Africa, and the Middle East, what happens when the state does go away.

  9. The problem with tariffs is easy. They are simply sales taxes on goods imported.

    Here’s an interesting thought project: Pretty much everyone understands that “economic sanctions” imposed on country A by country B harm country A. However, many of the same people who believe economic sanctions harm countries simultaneously believe that tariffs don’t.

    You can’t believe both – but many people do.

    Economic sanctions DO harm countries. They harm them for the exact same reasons tariffs harm them. Both actions reduce the division of labor. Anything that reduces the division of labor on products you buy makes you poorer.

    Someone “living off the grid” (meaning – not trading with anybody) is technically extremely poor. If anybody believes that national tariffs help the country imposing them, then they should also believe that we should also institute state tariffs. In fact – why stop there? Why not implement tariffs between cities, or even streets within cities?

    By this argument, you would be best served by making everything you need yourself. This is obviously absurd.

    There is also the libertarian argument: If I want to buy product A from my neighbor who is kitty corner from me, my next door neighbor (who is closer to me) has no legitimate right to apply a tariff to my kitty corner neighbor to make himself more “competitive.”

    I’m not saying tariffs don’t help anybody. They absolutely help the industries clamoring for the tariffs. Harley Davidson would be well served by a 100% tariff on motorcycles made by Honda, Kawasaki, or Yamaha. Everyone who buys a motorcycle would be harmed – even the people buying the Harleys. Harley now has extremely reduced price competition and no reason not to jack up their prices.

    The “what about slave wages” argument is also nonsensical. Ask a Chinese worker why he is working in a Chinese factory. You will find that the Chinese factory worker who works 12 hours a day, 6 days a week in the Chinese factory can actually save money above sustenance by working these hours. As a farmer, the same Chinese person used to work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week and was not be able to save anything.

    He is working in the factory for the same reason anybody takes a job anywhere – because it is a better deal for them.

    • The replies to this article certainly are a mixed bag. Among them they represent the old protectionism of the Corn Laws, the “I got mine, screw the rest of the world!” mentality, and a few who look at the problem in the light of Classical Liberal/libertarian thought. Yours, happily, is in the latter group and gives me assurance that there are a few libertarian (small l) folks still around.

      The problem is not trade. It is the warped definition of “Free Trade” that governments universally apply.

    • Very true – tariffs are essentially another way for the government to steal from the people – and will never actually help anyone long term.

      As I mentioned elsewhere here – Europe is a good example of a bunch of developed western countries with high wage cost and lots of regulation. The only difference is the EU holds its people hostage via tariffs to the outside world (they sell it to us as free trade, and most believe it unfortunately). The net result is, NONE of the fundamental problems have been solved, but at the till we here pay a LOT more for everything that you guys do in the US. For example, European cars, made in Europe (take Landrovers for example) cost more in the UK than they do in the US!! Same for everything else, no matter where it was made.. and over time it adds up, and impacts the quality of life of those in the country….. The only ones who benefit are politicians, bureaucrats, crony businessmen with connections, and other bottom-feeders of society….

    • Blake, funny you mention Harley. I was listening to a radio ad for Harley’s the other day and the hawker said “Harley’s aren’t expensive and you can get one for under 12G……translated, means the least bike for $11,999.99. Sounds expensive to me but I guess if I only wanted a Harley for a two wheel vehicle it might sound good.

      And here’s the thing about Harley, it’s people who don’t know shit about bikes that think they’re the berries. Several years ago I mentioned to a female friend I was considering buying a bike. She replied, “Well, there ain’t but one bike to buy and that’s a Harley”. I didn’t reply since I had the image of her getting porked on one by a guy who mistakenly though the same thing. An old college buddy had a Sportster he claimed was the best aphrodisiac ever made. I don’t doubt it but I noticed a big Japanese 4 cylinder screamer tended to get a wet seat too.

      • Hi Eight,

        I think Harley now sells some smaller (750 cc?) bikes but – you’re right – even the “cheap” ones cost a lot relative to what you can get for the same money at a Kaw or Honda or Suzuki or Yamaha store. I have nothing against Harleys as such, they’re just not my cup.

        • eric, Harley isn’t famous for their good dealer service either. A few years ago a friend and a couple other guys took a bike vacation to Canada. Two had new Goldwings and the other had a new dresser Harley. He had problems with the drive belt getting sideways on the pulley, obviously an alignment problem.

          He’d had it to the dealership and they did nothing about it. The entire trip the Goldwings needed nothing but gas and every couple hundred miles they’d stop and put the drive belt back on the Harley. There’s just no excuse for a new bike to do that and not at least be fixed by the dealer.

    • Hello frenchy: Government is not a bad thing. God ordained it, and Paul said that “haters of government–the institution–are in the same boat as the other sinners.
      Oh really? Did God ordain Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, and various other evil tyrants? Does God endorse all of the evil deeds which are performed by groups of people who call themselves government?

      • I did an exposition on this somewhere in the comments a while back…wish I could remember where….but you are absotively right, Brian. One has to really look at the original language in Romans 13. People have taken a lot of liberties with that text, and virtually all translations do it disservice.

        People should have a clue though- after reading the part in the book of Smauel where the people reject God in favor of human government, and God WARNS them of the consequences (then they say that God established what we call government- where the Bible says just the opposite)- and then they think that the Apostle Paul is talking about the state…. The state which killed the Messiah; persecuted and or killed most of the Apostles; and put Paul himself under house arrest for 2 years, for merely trying to defend himself against false accusations… The state which legislates a morality which is often the diametric opposite of God’s- which punishes the good, and rewards the evil; the state which seeks to usurp the powers of God and replace Him; the state whose collective armies will be found to fighting Jesus Christ Himself at His return; the state which is in the process of enacting such prophesied abominations as the Mark Of The Beast [“Beast”= government- easily proven in the book of Daniel]….and THIS they think is being spoken of where it says “government” that God established, which is “His minister” to “punish evil”? LOL.

  10. I was surprised to find that the All-American Ford Mustang has a Chinese built transmission. Every single one of them. It says so right on the window if you go on the Ford car lot. The Mustang is assembled in Flat Rock Michigan, but they have the transmission shipped in from China. Sad.

    • The Manual transmission. I don’t know what Ford is doing AT wise. Anyway the manual is a Getrag MT82 (Now MT82-D4). It’s a German transmission designed by Getrag and Ford’s partnership made in German run plant in China.

      • The manual tranny on my Focus was made in Germany. I guess the market doesn’t justify making them here. It’s a wonderful 5-speed, far better than that automatic flip-flop that most of them have.

      • Brent, I can tell you what Ford is doing for an AT….the same thing GM is doing since they collaborated to cut costs and built the same transmission for both companies. i don’t have a problem with that. Dodge and GM both used a New Venture Gear 4500 transmission for their diesels back in the 90’s with the only difference being Dodge had a synchro on reverse and GM didn’t. They weren’t made in China but like most things, that’s become a moot point also.

        Chinese tools once cost nearly nothing and weren’t much to brag about but now they make some good stuff. It did sorta hurt my feelings that the new stuff I bought branded Rigid, like my old unbreakable stuff, was made in China but it seems to be as good as other brands. NAFTA, at work for you and me….or the politicians anyway. This is not an endorsement for a foreign tool BTW. As said in St. Vincent a couple times, it is what it is….whatever the hell that means.

  11. The smelly french are running Nissan in to the ground by feminizing/european-izing their SUV line.
    (apologies if you are european). RIP Xterra

    On the other end my Silverado was hecho in mejico con Chinese electronics

    • I used to work for two French companies. When a get the chance, I will still fart in their general direction and hope the wind is blowing in the right direction.

  12. Hi Eric, As always, well pointed out. Funny how nobody in the mainstream ever gets to the source…. and depending on how they align themselves politically, they write an article to score points for their master, and keep the sheep herded in their existing mental space…. then they wonder why nobody takes the mainstream media seriously anymore….

    With trump – as those before him, is essentially a politician despite what the media tells us about him (cummon when has there been a NY political fundraiser without him). And like a politician, he is looking to score points from key supporters. As forgive me for pointing out there is an election right around the corner. I suspect he will start bashing brown people any time now as well…..

    As for tariffs…. however you look at it, i honestly dont think it will ever solve the problem in a sustainable way. Why, well you have the example of Europe / the UK in front of you. Similar, developed western countries with high cost labour and lots of pointless regulation. And tariffs on most everything. The result – well basically all the same problems with employment and wage growth as the US has, but on a worse scale. And on top of that, at the shop everything costs 50-100% more. You notice it most of all in cars! Dont believe me, just check the price of anything between the US and Europe, some things may even cost 3 times as much!!!

  13. On a related note, a key reason why I’ve regarded the climate change crowd with a healthy dose of skepticism is that they aren’t going after emissions in places like China, India, and Mexico. Maybe that’s the real reason why they don’t call it “global warming”’anymore.

    If we were truly serious about dealing with this issue, we’d impose tariffs on imports to cover the social and environmental costs they impose; e.g., better FEMA funding, and enforce our environmental laws more consistently. I mean, we crucify VW because their Diesel engines are 95% clean and not 96 or 97% clean, while we blithely ignore literal fecal matter in the streets of India and Chinese lakes and rivers that run every color of the rainbow.

    Liberal NIMBY-ism at its best…

    • I’ve been pointing out how real environmental damage is ignored and CO2 given a free pass when it comes from nations such as China for years. Put the agreements in front of people that show that increases of CO2 from China will be many times the reductions of the USA and the entire west in general and I’m just a conspiracy theorist.

      It’s simply a political tool to remake the west into centrally managed collective. China is the model. The big company town.

  14. Auto regulations have certainly impacted the cost and type of cars we drive, however, it’s been workplace regs and labor rates that have driven much of the outsourcing/relocation of industry in the U.S.

    For the same reason BMW built a plant in Spartanburg, SC as opposed to Spaichingen, Germany, Ford built a plant in Mexico. Note that 50 years ago “Made in Japan” was code for “this is a piece of crap”. Japanese quality and wages are now on par with or better than most of the world. Chinese products are going through the same process. Thus, we see “Made in Vietnam” on clothing items. Eventually Asian production quality and wages will rise to the level of others.

    What then?

    Expect to see “Made in Somalia” in your shoes and clothing in the not too distant future. Once the African continent is exploited and wages and quality rise, where will the manufacturers move? At some point this musical chairs game of manufacturing will end. It must…there are no Martians.

    As far as GovCo regs “improving” our lives and products, two things. First, I’ve never been to China or in one of its manufacturing plants but, I’ve been in many American facilities. I doubt the Chinese have stainless steel grab handles over their urinals. Second, government is like kudzu. You bring it in thinking it will make things better but, it just creates more problems and is impossible to get rid of.

    • Mark, I’ve wondered if the real reasons behind the wars in Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and the threatened wars against Iran and North Korea were actually about opening up new markets to exploit cheap labor.

      Except for war, the quest for cheap labor has been the leading cause of much human suffering.

      • All wars are banker wars. The US army was begged not to bomb rubber tree plantations in Vietnam by Michelin Execs.

    • Somalia is an interesting place. There is current battle between “US Bought/Globalist” politicians there vs the native tribal leaders that practice “the law of the somali’s” for dominion of the homeland. The somali shilling is rising like crazy in value compared to the US petro dollar, makes you think twice why Somalia is put down like a shit hole country so much by western media. If I could invest in the shilling I would do it in a heart beat. On a separate note, their vaccine rate is near zero as well and their autism rate is zero. No soviet medicine or electronic doo-dads to rot their brains.

    • At the point when Somalia prices itself out of the labor market production to move back to the USA to take advantage of dirt poor Americans.

  15. I have a lot of mixed feelings on this subject. I am for free trade, so long as wages in prices across the trading nations are similar. For instance, the cost of labor in Japan is as high, if not higher, than in the U.S.

    I live near the Canadian border, and I’ve never regarded any Canadian-made product as if it were “foreign.”

    On the other hand, if free trade means paying Chinese or Mexicans $2 an hour and retailing the product for the same price as if they were paying First World workers $25-30 and hour, I am against it. I just bought a pair of Metzeler tires for my motorcycle. One was made in Germany, one in China. I suspect that Metzeler’s QC on the Chinese product is excellent (I’m betting my life that it is) but you know damn well they’re making five times the profit (if not more) than they made on the German product. I’m not against anyone making money, but I am against companies throwing people out of good-paying jobs and replacing them with Chinese coolies who will work for a bowl of rice.

    The other thing is that not every outsourced product is of decent quality. I’m sure the Metzeler tires are, and I’m sure that Ford has great QC at it’s Hermosillo plant, but those companies run those plants hands-on. Companies that outsource stuff to the lowest bidder in Shanghai and simply rebrand it are often selling inferior products that fail almost immediately. I discovered this when the auto parts market began selling Chinese stuff; I had a drum brake parts kit fail as soon as I installed it. I consciously avoid Chinese parts if I can.

    On the other hand, the Big Three turned out some really shoddy crap themselves back in the 1970s when they had no real competition. Anyone remember the Chevy Vega??? So, competition is good, as long as it is among manufacturers with a similar wage structure and a similar level of QC.

    Back in the 1980s, my belief was that there was nothing wrong with companies setting up plants in another country and hiring workers there, so long as they sold the product in that same country. I still think that. For tariff purposes, if a Toyota is made in the U.S. by American workers, it’s an American car. If a Ford is made in Mexico, it’s a foreign car.

    A lot of Trump’s instincts are correct, but they’re 25-30 years out of date. The time to argue against outsourcing and sending jobs to China and Mexico was in 1988 or 1992… might be too late to go back now.

    • Those Asians are known for lying. I worked for an international chemical company that started an operation in Thailand and had it running for several years. Then one day the whole plant died. A US based team investigated and found that the maintenance people in Siam were just ticking off the boxes and not doing any actual maintenance. Cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars. I day that this is not an unusual way for Asians to operate their manufacturing plants. And try to get parts for these Asian products. I had to throw out a bar fridge that was 366 days old because parts were not available for it, made in China. Their metal frame chairs have microscopic welds that hold them together. Great for those skinny Asians, but not so good for us fat and obese westerners.

    • Hi X,

      You nailed it when you wrote: “A lot of Trump’s instincts are correct, but they’re 25-30 years out of date. The time to argue against outsourcing and sending jobs to China and Mexico was in 1988 or 1992… might be too late to go back now.”

      Exactly.

      It’s of a piece with his rhetoric about Mexicans. See Fred Reed on this.

      • eric, Ross Perot said it correctly when he made the statement of “the big sucking sound you hear will be jobs going to Mexico” if NAFTA passed. I began seeing trucks loaded with all sorts of “used” equipment headed for the border immediately after NAFTA was passed….and it was passed on the premise it would create 200,000 jobs, not a damn drop in the bucket even if it had been a “net” amount of jobs.

        And the truth was, it probably did create that many jobs, jobs of people with cutting torches, forklift operators and truck drivers to get everything 10’s of millions of workers had previously used making a living before it was shipped to Mexico. Other stuff went onto ships(things not costing much to ship back)headed for ports unknown but pick out the poorest countries and that’s your destination for practically everything sold in this country.

    • It came up about Trump being different than he was, mentally ill or somesuch leftist thing. So I listened to an interview with him from the 1980s on I think it was the Larry King show. 30 years prior he’s talking the exact same way. Only details have changed. Different countries, different people’s names, etc but it’s the same exact arguments and thinking. And these ideas were long obsolete then. They’ve been obsolete for centuries.

  16. All of you that have got the vapors about this and every other thing that the president sounds off on … you need to cool your jets and untwist your knickers until he actually *does* something. I’m not defending his theoretical tariff policy, or his musings on due process, but there have been enough occasions on which he tossed shiny objects for his enemies to focus on and enough times when he smoked them out and offered them deals that were too good to accept to know that we need to *not* waste calories waving our hands in the air and running in circles with our mouths open until something actually *happens.*

    • “Out of the mouth speaketh, the abundance of the heart.”

      Sir,

      I’ve seen many a Trump supporter/defender say this about him (not saying that you are). It always amounts to, “Give the guy a pass. It’s the art of the deal!” So on and so forth. But I disagree.

      “Let God be true and every man a liar.”

      It’s one thing to be deceptive, but this stuff coming out of Trump’s mouth is simply him. This speaking off the cuff is the junk coming out of his heart. There is no explaining it away. Either God is lying or his defenders are. God calls such people fools who also lack understanding. Trump said he supported torture. He said that ANYONE who kills a cop should get the death sentence (meaning regardless of it it was self-defense). He said take the guns and THEN due process. We have all got to stop giving people a pass when they say, “Well…uh…I didn’t mean it.” “Well, did it come out of your mouth? So who is lying here? God, or you?” In my opinion, these responses are coming from those who will not accept that they allowed themselves to be conned by the best of con men…and they can’t let go.

      Listen to Ron Paul’s interview with Gerald Celente where he responds to Daniel McAdams’ query about Trump’s flip flopping. Gerald responds, “That’s Trump. I have several friends who have been screwed over by him…not making the final payment…” So regarding Trump, NOT ONE of his defenders/supporters should be upset with his behavior because all of this information was out there before the election. If he cannot keep a vow/covenant with his wives (yes, wives!), then he sure as heck CANNOT keep one with those who had contractual business agreements with him, and sure as crap will not honor any words to those who elected him.

      Trump threw out all of his shiny objects pre-election. THOSE were the decoys, his litmus test, his barometer, his finger in the wind. What’s coming out of his mouth now? That’s. Simply. Him. Look at Trump’s tweets Daniel McAdams has dug up. He was always on the populous side–the “good” side of the argument, if you will. Now that he has gotten what he wanted, “See ya!”.

      We all need to be listening to every word that falls off of this man’s lips, and prepare accordingly.

      • Part of my comment got deleted in my editing of the same. It should read:

        “…There is no explaining it away. Either God is lying or his defenders are. Trump has cheated his partners, and has committed adultery at least once. God calls such people fools who also lack understanding…”

          • Part 2 for frenchy. I tried to include a URL for that Bible chapter, but Word Depressed thinks long URL = spam, so I had to delete that and I forgot to add the following: Imagine how very different the entire remainder of the Bible would have turned out had those people rejected statism. Indeed, the people in other countries might have envied them enough to overthrow their Kings and today’s world would look entirely different. But nooooo: they desired to become conformists with other countries and embrace statism instead.

  17. Eric, respectfully while I agree 100% pertaining to regulations I disagree to an extent with your thoughts on tariffs. 1st world countries with higher wages cannot compete with defacto salve labor wages of other countries. Also, the U.S. allows China, etc to slap American made goods with far higher tariffs as well. As a solution in a broad sense IMHO we should mirror the tariffs that other countries place on us. Thus providing us at least some aspect of moral equivalency. The same could be said of immigration. Mexico’s immigration policy provide an obvious example. Thank you.

    • I second your motion. What’s more, it’s no secret that China manipulates its currency to gain a trade advantage, for example, or that Japanese non-fiscal trade barriers hurt American companies. Even Adam Smith wrote that a nation has a right to retaliate against other nations if they are subsidizing their companies and products: “Some foreign nation [may restrain] by high duties or prohibitions the importation of some of our manufactures into their country. Revenge in this case naturally dictates retaliation, and that we should impose the like duties and prohibitions upon the importation of some or all of their manufactures into ours. …”

      He also favored tariffs in some cases to defend domestic industries, and more. He’s hardly the plaster saint of the free traders. Despite repeated attempts to explain away America’s vast economic expansion under its heavily protectionist days in the late 19th- early 20th-century, the figures still stand.

    • Hi Craig,

      I don’t disagree. The real problem at this point, though, is Washington – the regulatory state – not the Chinese. The regulatory state is what’s made manufacturing economically impossible (or getting there) here. If Trump would pull the rug out from under the bureaucrats and allow (god, isn’t that outrageous?) people to buy cars without air bags that weighed 1,500 lbs. and delivered 70 MPG and cost $9,000 brand-new, none of this tariff crap would even matter.

      • But Eric, without the bureaucrats we’d have to breathe toxic air, drink toxic water and eat poisoned food. Only they can protect our pristine world against the evil factory owner.

        (sarcasm)

  18. I think almost every economic problem today is the result of some dumb*** government policy. And of course their answer to the problems they created, even more government.

    We truly live in the age of stupidity.

  19. I think that Trump has overseas manufacturing plants in his sights. This isn’t for Toyotas and Honda’s made here. As for safety and emissions, I agree 100%.

    • Maybe. Maybe not. That jackass is pandering hard to auto workers in the swing states in the rust belt that gave him his margin of victory. I could see him pushing to penalize Toyota trucks made in San Antonio TX.

      The real stupidity is that tariffs imposed by the feds punish Americans — because a tariff is just a tax that has the nasty side effect of allowing domestic manufacturers to charge higher prices, so us consumers are hit twice.

      I’m trying to figure out whether Trump is that ignorant of economics, or pandering to swing voters, or both.

      Leaning toward both.

      • What you fail to realize is that we cannot just be a nation of consumers. For the last 20 to 30 years both parties have pedaled this free trade mentality. Been great for consumers I suppose and company profits who offshored. However what about all those cities that have been hollowed out throughout the Midwest and East Coast? To think in terms of only consumers is short-sighted. That’s why we have a massive trade deficit every year, but that cannot go on forever. Trump has to deal with trade and that massive bloated government that strangles the economy to death. As far as I can see he’s swimming against the current more so than any politician has before.

        • Free trade is ideal the problem is that we have managed trade (which they call free trade). Managed trade is about cronies getting the upper hand. A huge upper hand.

          Tariffs also serve crony interests. They are a very old way of serving crony interests. A sledge hammer compared to the clockwork of managed trade agreements.

          The problem is that when these managed trade agreements were done the tariffs and barriers for US exports were often allowed. Adding them to imports into the USA won’t fix the problem. It will just make things cost more for americans and cause more businesses to go under.

          For instance what’s a domestic stamping house going to do when its raw material costs end up so much higher than its offshore competition? The slow clawback of business by domestic suppliers over the last many years will probably grind to a halt and probably reverse.

          Now if Trump could force managed trade into actual free trade that would be something, but sadly that is not what he is doing.

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