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Thursday, March 08, 2018

The rest of the show

From the last part of my appearance yesterday on Dialogue.
US TARIFFS A PRELUDE TO A TRADE WAR
President Trump seeks to renegotiate NAFTA

YANG: President Trump accused his predecessors of making stupid mistakes, as a result Americans have suffered $800 billion of trade deficits almost annually. So what do you think of his negotiation ploy to use the issue of a trade imbalance for renegotiating NAFTA with Canada and Mexico? The Minister of International Trade in Canada and politicians in Mexico both made it very clear that they would not allow the U.S. government to hurt their respective economies. What do you think of this war of attrition?

VOX: I think the Trump administration's long term goal is to get rid of NAFTA altogether. NAFTA is extremely unpopular in the United States, the negative effects of it have actually been worse than its enemies predicted, and none of the benefits that were promised to Americans have been delivered to them. And so, I think that the threats and the posturing of the Mexican and Canadian governments is almost completely irrelevant. Trump has made it very clear that he understands. His focus is on the American working class and finding jobs, finding manufacturing jobs.

That's why the services perspective that you mentioned with regards to China is really just a tactical measure. It wouldn't solve... it may solve the issue from the economists' point of view, but it doesn't solve it from President Trump's point of view or from the point of view of the American people. And so I agree with the gentleman who said that's not a long-term solution. It's not, because it doesn't meet the goals that have been expressed by the President.

YANG: We'll see what happens next. I thank you so much for being with us.
It appears to have been received rather well, so there is a reasonable chance that I will do this again. It's rather fascinating to observe, as one reader noted, that the Chinese state-owned media is demonstrably more free and open to genuine discussion of the relevant issues than the US media that is owned by no one in particular and certainly isn't owned by anyone who should be criticized or even identified.

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48 Comments:

Blogger Peaceful Poster March 08, 2018 8:23 AM  

Russia TV (RT) is also quite informative.

The world is upside down.

Blogger Richard Holmes March 08, 2018 8:25 AM  

The Minister of International Trade in Canada and politicians in Mexico both made it very clear that they would not allow the U.S. government to hurt their respective economies. - Yang

Well, they can be as stubborn as they want to be. But if the USA puts tariffs in place that will hurt their economy. Because historically tariffs work well. They working for many countries around the world that put tariffs on goods from the USA. If they don't like it, don't sell tot eh USA. Isn't it just that simple?

Blogger Timmy3 March 08, 2018 8:39 AM  

All these countries are getting rich off the US. They need us more than we need them.

Blogger Joeplanet March 08, 2018 8:41 AM  

That last sentence was gold.

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 08, 2018 8:45 AM  

English language media in China is going to be almost as esoteric as Chinese language media here in the US. That may have something to do with their freedom to see the truth.

Do you suppose the nobody-in-particular-media-owners-we-certainly-won't-identify really care what's said on on the Cantonese channel in San Francisco?

Blogger Phat Repat March 08, 2018 8:45 AM  

Yeah, the Chinese are far more sophisticated and realistic than the child-like beings of the West. However, they aren't open and deception is their modus operandi. And I see it daily.

Blogger tz March 08, 2018 8:46 AM  

The Minister of International Trade in Canada and politicians in Mexico both made it very clear that they would not allow the U.S. government to hurt their respective economies. 

And Trump is not going to let Mexico and Canada continue to hurt our economy. He's going to end the parasitic and vampiric aspects before we get any worse.

Free trade was sold as being a symbiosis. Apparently NAFTA hasn't made Mexico sufficiently prosperous so their citizens are returning there. But they WILL return there and Mexico will have to deal with it. If they want to be corrupt crony kleptocrats calling themselves socialist, well, they are a democracy. They have resources, but instead of squandering them, they have to accumulate capital. That is how the USA, Canada, Japan and Western Europe did it. It is how China and Eastern Europe are doing it now, starting from a lower base.

Blogger Rocklea Marina March 08, 2018 8:50 AM  

A nice gold star for the US media... to be worn at all times..

Blogger Robert Divinity March 08, 2018 9:13 AM  

It never ceases to amaze how often the United States resembles the last days of the USSR, which also had a theoretical right to free speech. The USSR fought hard to prevent the precursor to digital information from supplanting state media. It lost, too. China apparently has learned from both countries' failures.

Blogger pyrrhus March 08, 2018 9:14 AM  

All these countries are getting rich off the US. They need us more than we need them.

Yes, and the same is true of the EU getting rich off Britain...Yet treasonous politicians throw up obstacles to ending that situation. Wonder why?

Blogger Peaceful Poster March 08, 2018 9:14 AM  

@4 - That last sentence was gold.

(((gold)))

Blogger pyrrhus March 08, 2018 9:15 AM  

What do you call a country without a manufacturing base?
Answer: 3d world.

Blogger Dirk Manly March 08, 2018 9:33 AM  

" The USSR fought hard to prevent the precursor to digital information from supplanting state media."

In my studies on Russia, I've seen the opinion that what brought down the USSR was the fax machine. It allowed anonymous samizdat. The KGB simply could not arrest entire offices full of people for being in the same place that some samizdat was faxed from.

Blogger 罗臻 March 08, 2018 9:34 AM  

China is very free intellectually as long as you don't criticize the government. And even then, in areas such as economics you can have a wide ranging discussion about government policy. You can be negative if you keep it level, they crackdown on Chinese media outlets that try to whip up clicks with panic headlines about stock market or housing market collapse.

During the presidential election, they discussed demographics in detail. It was nothing at all like US coverage.

Blogger Uncle John's Band March 08, 2018 9:38 AM  

Outwardly deceptive or not, it's like the Chinese perceive an advantage in having a handle on what is actually happening. Willfully ignoring what your enemies are up to seems a Western leftist thing.

Blogger Bogey March 08, 2018 9:59 AM  

Tariffs now NAFTA? The impossible dream continues, somebody pinch me.

Blogger Tomislav Ostojich March 08, 2018 10:08 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger tuberman March 08, 2018 10:19 AM  

Off topic shill arrives.

Blogger Aeoli March 08, 2018 10:22 AM  

This was a great interview. Really clarified some esoteric stuff.

A nice gold star for the US media... to be worn at all times..

lol

Blogger Tomislav Ostojich March 08, 2018 10:23 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Aeoli March 08, 2018 10:25 AM  

Off topic shill arrives.

Want to see which of us can trigger him the worst without directly addressing him?

I think the media is biased against reality because their religion's holy texts are more recent than the Bible, so revising history is their only claim to legitimacy.

Blogger Aeoli March 08, 2018 10:26 AM  

Also Palestinians are Dreamers too.

Blogger Tomislav Ostojich March 08, 2018 10:29 AM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger tuberman March 08, 2018 10:44 AM  

Aeoli wrote:Off topic shill arrives.

Want to see which of us can trigger him the worst without directly addressing him?

I think the media is biased against reality because their religion's holy texts are more recent than the Bible, so revising history is their only claim to legitimacy.


I understand you perfectly.

The topic must be over the mark, as (((stupid))) flack. It is interesting that China's media is more open and free then Mocking Media, but not really a surprise. The tariffs are absolutely necessary for security.

Blogger Aeoli March 08, 2018 10:45 AM  

I propose that strong tariffs on cultural products would have spared us from cheaply produced, badly written BBC shows. Why should we subject our preteen girls to horrible TV just because it's cheap?

Blogger JACIII March 08, 2018 10:46 AM  

Vox Day - Chinese Agent Bot!

It is fascinating that a totalitarian regime is more interested in free flowing facts than the non-tyrannical one we are armed against....

Blogger Aeoli March 08, 2018 10:46 AM  

Aw man, he ran away already.

Blogger Aeoli March 08, 2018 10:47 AM  

I guess I'll do some work or something.

Blogger The Smoking Man #3424 March 08, 2018 10:56 AM  

@Aeoli right?
Ever since our SDL upped the security and the trolls were eliminated, I've had so much more time on my hands...

Blogger LP999-16 March 08, 2018 10:57 AM  

Great talk, thank you.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-08/charles-koch-slams-trump-and-tariffs-free-trade-essential-american-prosperity

Free trade NAFTA isnt nationalism.

Blogger Ben Kurtz March 08, 2018 11:00 AM  

Free trade -- free movement of goods -- with China and Mexico is an obvious bum rap for American workers and consumers. Companies can take advantage of slave wages and Dickensian working conditions while hollowing out our industrial base.

Free(-ish) trade with Canada, the UK, Western Europe, and similar places? Seems like there might be enough positives to outweigh the negatives. Nobody is moving a car factory to Canada to take advantage of $1/hour wages. If there are economies of scale in Ford building all its 5.0 liter V8 engines in Ontario while Boeing builds all its jetliners in Seattle, and then the countries trade surplus of each relatively freely, why not take advantage of those economies?

I wrote about this at some length during the 2016 election campaign: https://benkurtzblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/towards-a-better-free-trade/

Blogger Ominous Cowherd March 08, 2018 11:19 AM  

The Smoking Man #3424 wrote:@Aeoli right?

Ever since our SDL upped the security and the trolls were eliminated, I've had so much more time on my hands...


So much less troll poop on your hands, too.

Blogger Lance E March 08, 2018 12:02 PM  

Why wouldn't Chinese (and Russian) State-owned media be freer than American media? American legacy media is still part of the State, it just happens to be a much more dysfunctional and disorganized State than China right now.

Blogger Jack Amok March 08, 2018 12:07 PM  

If there are economies of scale in Ford building all its 5.0 liter V8 engines in Ontario while Boeing builds all its jetliners in Seattle

Interesting you mention Boeing. You know they're building parts of the 787 overseas and doing the final assembly in their Everett plant? Wings are built in Japan, then loaded onto the Dreamlifted (modified 747, can carry one pair of 787 wings per trip) and flow across the ocean. The tail is I think made in Italy and flown the same way. Other parts are in other countries. It's a mess and caused major delays to the program.

Boeing engineers and execs knew this would happen, so why did they do it?

Because foreign governments were going to prohibit sales of Boeing planes to their airlines if they didn't get a cut of the manufacturing.

So yeah, tell me about muh free trade.

Blogger Demonic Professor El March 08, 2018 12:56 PM  

China will only "trade war" to save face, but negotiate behind closed doors. The US is their single biggest buyer, to the point where at least 1/4 of their economy is dependent on Americans. They won't lose that - they'd rather take a percentage shave than lose trillions of dollars.

And Canada and Mexico were the big winners of NAFTA. Canada kept its resource extractions (lumber, mining, oil) while the US got the brunt of illegal immigrants from Mexico. Mexican plutocrats used the money to essentially reinstate the latifundia system and all those landless, illiterate peasants went to the US. On top of that, Mexico's welfare class went to the US.

So of course the governments of Mexico and Canada don't want to get rid of NAFTA - the US pays for their prosperity. We get rid of NAFTA, they have to actually fix their problems or face economic collapse.

Blogger Demonic Professor El March 08, 2018 1:01 PM  

@34 Jack Amok

That's what "free trade" amounts to, basically - other countries make the terms and we settle for them. Canada gets to dump their lumber and oil here, but we can't sell it there.

Like US domestic goods don't get tariffs in other countries. It's absurd.

I do enjoy all the hoops and mental gymnastics the Left, the cosmotarians, and the free traders all go to in explaining how crappy deals are really good.

Oh wait. Good for their portfolios. Nevermind.

Blogger Ben Kurtz March 08, 2018 1:04 PM  

@34

I'm not saying we have free trade with Japan and Italy. Far from it. We don't even purport to have free trade agreements with those countries. To start with, as a conceptual exercise, I don't see much harm in free trade with, say, Canada -- where we send them a few jetliners and they send us a bunch of V8 engines. Both are sophisticated, high value-add products built by manufacturing workers with good pay in union shops.

I think there is strong reason to believe that for certain classes of products there really are economies of scale to be enjoyed, and that free trade between countries at similar development levels allows a society to harness those scale benefits while sidestepping the problems associated with, for example, Chinese firms paying slave wages and polluting the atmosphere on a global level who dump cut-price steel on the U.S. markets, idling our cleaner furnaces and putting our higher paid (but more efficient) workers on the streets.

Blogger Jack Ward March 08, 2018 2:01 PM  

Well done indeed! Anyone with common sense and no particular agenda should be ready to stand with you.

Blogger Ryan G March 08, 2018 5:18 PM  

Speaking of steel & coal... I don't know how many here people listen to Ben Shapiro but lately he's been on a roll lambasting Trump for trying to use tariffs to help our coal and steel industries. Normally, I agree with the guy on a lot of things. However, his imperious pronouncements that the steel and coal industries of the US are fine, that all the losses are due to automation, and that nothing Trump does will bring back those jobs really rubbed me the wrong way. I guess all those lifelong democrats in all those coal and steel producing areas who voted for Trump were just imagining their lost jobs and were angry over nothing.

Blogger Damaris Tighe March 08, 2018 5:39 PM  

the opportunity to debate or freedom of speech depends on the taboo area of the society concerned.

you are not permitted to criticise a in the usa, b in china or c in the old soviet union.

'...if you want to know who rules you, it is the one who cannot be criticised'

Blogger Dirk Manly March 08, 2018 5:49 PM  

You're not permitted to criticize j or b in the the USA, h in China, or j in the old USSR.

There, fixed it for ya.

Blogger Dave March 08, 2018 9:31 PM  

When Vox stated "I think the Trump administration's long term goal is to get rid of NAFTA altogether.", the response by the one panelist (American?) was classic:

"I don't, I don't think that, I don't think the goal of the administration is to scrap NAFTA."

It's too radical for them to even contemplate.

Blogger LP999-16 March 08, 2018 11:21 PM  

Wonderful blog post, if only everyone in America can read this debate.

Blogger Jack Amok March 08, 2018 11:23 PM  

I'm not saying we have free trade with Japan and Italy.

No, of course not. You're just saying we should selectively ignore this kind of bullshit so we can buy some cheap crap made overseas. Since clearly we are not being allowed to exploit our own economies of scale and specialization to provide the world with commercial aircraft.

Blogger Dire Badger March 08, 2018 11:52 PM  

"The Minister of International Trade in Canada and politicians in Mexico both made it very clear that they would not allow the U.S. government to hurt their respective economies."

What the f... are they going to do? Invade us? Embargo us? Send millions of illegal and utterly worthless 'immigrants' to screw up our culture and economy? Provide a safe lane for the Drug Cartels?

Canada and Mexico are both utterly toothless. They can go to hell before we compromise our sovereignty in the slightest for those useless leeches.

Blogger Dire Badger March 09, 2018 12:05 AM  

Ryan G wrote:Speaking of steel & coal... I don't know how many here people listen to Ben Shapiro but lately he's been on a roll lambasting Trump for trying to use tariffs to help our coal and steel industries. Normally, I agree with the guy on a lot of things. However, his imperious pronouncements that the steel and coal industries of the US are fine, that all the losses are due to automation, and that nothing Trump does will bring back those jobs really rubbed me the wrong way. I guess all those lifelong democrats in all those coal and steel producing areas who voted for Trump were just imagining their lost jobs and were angry over nothing.

Shapiro is only 'red pilled' on feminism. He's pro-fagmarriage, pro-Moloch, free-trade, nevertrumper (((Neocon))) Through and through.

Yes, it's fun watching him make fun of trannies and otherkin, but all of his other opinions are firmly grounded in the Zionist imperative. Not to mention he is PURE commercial, the manosphere just happened to be the 'untapped market' he decided to exploit. The wind changes, and he'd be pimping for antifa.

Blogger Ben Kurtz March 09, 2018 8:17 AM  

@44

"You're just saying we should selectively ignore this kind of bullshit so we can buy some cheap crap made overseas."

No, my friend. Quite the opposite. But you are starting to sound a lot like that idiot British woman who interviewed Jordan Peterson with your half-cocked pronouncements.

I am saying that the principle of free (or relatively free) trade between developmentally similar countries makes fundamental sense. By which I mean: Free trade in the sense of a fair and evenhanded set of rules that create a low-friction two-way street for the free movement of goods between participating countries.

Of course once you write down those fair and evenhanded rules you have to police them, and ensure that one side isn't taking advantage of the other and setting up a one way street.

One way streets are bad, in this context.

In my blog post I explicitly discuss this problem. The classic example is when the U.S. and Japan had a fairly strong a one-way street on trade for decades after World War II. Japan had far easier access to our markets than we had to their markets; Japan developed large trade surpluses with the U.S. and it was destructive to us.

One-way free trade, even between developmental equals, is not desirable. I made this point literally years ago. Please pay attention, rather than spouting off nonsense and putting false words in another man's mouth.

Blogger Jack Amok March 09, 2018 10:29 AM  

Ben, I'm still unclear on the end-game of your argument. Do unicorns make great pets, or are they good to eat?

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