Trump Threatens China Trade War… ‘Art of the Deal’?

President Trump is threatening additional billions in tariffs against Chinese imports while sending warships up to China’s declared territory in the South China Sea. Is this another big bluff? Will talks continue? What do the markets have to say about it? Tune in to today’s Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

26 thoughts on “Trump Threatens China Trade War… ‘Art of the Deal’?”

  1. It’s almost like he doesn’t know what he’s doing, and he’s sticking with what brung him here – bombast and threats.

    1. Ron Paul wants a Buddha state policy. He wants the government to step out of the way. No state would act thusly.

      Applied, free trade attempts lead to polities meddling in one another’s affairs, working to enforce “free trade”. The reality is every state cheats. And no global institution like the WTO can enforce attempts at free trade. As such, free trade attempts only lead to war.

  2. I like Trump’s trade positioning for being better-than-preceding trade policy.

    China has been attracting investment capital, and the US ought to compete for that capital. Tariffs are a great way to do that.

    Bullying other polities for “cheating” in trade is reflective of attempts at “free trade”. Free trade requires a global state. Protectionist trade, however, could be peaceful. Is China “cheating”? Who cares? Just apply tariffs as is most advantageous, regardless of what China does.

    To the extent the President is wrong, it’s due to his attempting an international system of “fair trade” or some sense of “free trade”. He should abandon the globalists, put America First, and raise those tariffs.

    What would Coolidge do? One of America’s greatest Presidents, for sure.

      1. The goal is to attract/retain foreign/domestic investment capital. Tariffs do this.

        You can’t deny that Coolidge wouldn’t be pushing for war with China. This whole “you’re either an anarchist or pro-war” argument has its limits…

        Signed,

        Trade Protectionists for Peace! (I’m too lazy to make such a group.)

        1. There’s no “you’re either an anarchist or pro-war” about this.

          Sanctions are acts of war. Tariffs are sanctions on “your” own people.

          You don’t have to be an anarchist to oppose a government levying war on its own people.

          1. Levying war… Taxes = war is the next assertion?

            Trade tariffs are better than the income tax. Just saying.

          2. Tariffs as a revenue instrument might be better than the income tax.

            Tariffs for the specific purpose of punishing Americans who buy things from the “wrong” country are economic sanctions. Such sanctions are correctly understood as warlike acts when the victims are Iranian consumers, Cuban consumers, Venezuelan consumers, etc. And when the victims are American consumers, they should be recognized as no different whatsoever.

          3. “Tariffs for the specific purpose of punishing Americans who buy things from the “wrong” country are economic sanctions.”

            I advocate for flat tariffs regardless of what China does. Perhaps punishing tariffs could be meritorious under some circumstance, but at least presently I’m saying flat tariffs would be best.

            Nevertheless, somewhat-more-pro-American is better than the preceding policy of America-last, bribing others for the empire.

          4. “I advocate for flat tariffs regardless of what China does.”

            Flat tariffs as a choice from any of several possible government revenue streams are a different animal than punitive tariffs as a way of waging economic war.

            I don’t know if I agree that flat tariffs are the least damaging way of financing the state, but they are not the “America Last, Screw Americans” policy that punitive tariffs are.

          5. After thinking about it, and hearing commentary on Trump’s reply on the radio, I suppose you’re correct about punitive tariffs, for the most part.

            However, if the tariffs can create a reliable environment that makes production in the US more rewarding than production outside the US (when selling to the US market), then I favour even the punitive tariffs. But I acknowledge the negative of punitive tariffs.

            It shouldn’t matter whether China eclipses the US empire. So long as the US can defend itself, we’re fine.

          6. “if the tariffs can create a reliable environment that makes production in the US more rewarding than production outside the US (when selling to the US market)”

            The question is, rewarding to whom?

            Punitive tariffs benefit a few big business cronies, and a few of the workers employed by those cronies, at the expense of all the other workers and consumers in the market. And even the workers theoretically benefiting are likely:

            1) Suffering from punitive tariffs on OTHER industries; and

            2) Artificially mal-investing their labor, which could have been used for something more naturally profitable, benefiting both themselves and everyone around them, instead of themselves at everyone else’s expense.

            The purpose of punitive tariffs is to redistribute wealth from the working class to the political class, full stop.

    1. “Free trade requires a global state.”

      No, free trade requires that whatever States exist do not interfere with trade between people, even people in different countries.

      “Just apply tariffs as is most advantageous, regardless of what China does.”

      Tariffs are only advantageous to protected industries, and hurt the American population overall. Using State violence to interfere with trade can only reduce economic activity overall, it can never increase it.

      1. The following won’t happen though:

        “No, free trade requires that whatever States exist do not interfere with
        trade between people, even people in different countries.”

      2. You free trade advocates don’t understand the argument for free trade though.

        Free trade is best only for the whole if everyone trades freely. Protectionist trade is often best for the individual polities. Read Friedrich List. He talks on this specifically.

        Free trade requires a global state to crush the freedoms of the world in order to forcibly ensure free trade.

        1. “Free trade is best only for the whole if everyone trades freely. ”

          True.

          And if not everyone trades freely, free trade is best for the ones that DO trade freely.

          Economic protectionism is economic war on your own country.

          1. “And if not everyone trades freely, free trade is best for the ones that DO trade freely.”

            No. Those who cheat can get ahead.

          2. Depends on what you mean “get ahead.” They can punish their own productive citizens while redistributing wealth from workers and consumers to political cronies. But they can’t create higher general prosperity, any more than non-“cheating” protectionists can.

          3. That’s where you’re wrong. The evidence is entirely against you. You have only Hong Kong and other tiny states to point to where free trade has worked. Everywhere else, it has only drained the productive capital away from practicing states.

            Iron law of trade: Free trade nearly always loses to protectionism.

            Your argument is basically: “If everyone holds hands and thinks positive thoughts, we can have world peace!” Human nature just doesn’t work that way. And it’s dangerous or at least damaging to think otherwise.

          4. Everywhere that trade is freer, life is better.

            Everywhere that trade is less free, life is worse.

            That’s been an invariable constant throughout human history.

            The purpose of controlling trade is to control people.

            The purpose of controlling people is to redistribute wealth from the controlled to the controllers and their cronies.

            Those are the facts. They’ve always been the facts, they’re the facts now, and they’ll always be the facts.

          5. Groups triumph over individuals. When Englishmen like me are fully out of power, there will never again in man’s history be either a libertarian movement nor free trade. It’s nearly entirely an English disease, and the English are on a precipitous decline, in large part due to their simpleton political ideas. Those who reject libertarianism triumph over and replace those who embrace it.

          6. “Groups triumph over individuals.”

            Any group triumphing over individuals is not a triumph overall, it is a failure from a moral and human happiness standpoint. Group are no more than the sum of their individual parts. Ignoring the rights of individuals means ignoring the preconditions for human happiness to flourish.

        2. “forcibly ensure free trade.”

          Now that’s a whopper of an oxymoronic expression. How does one forcibly ensure any liberty?

          1. Free trade isn’t liberty. That’s what you people don’t understand.

            It requires a global state. It requires force.

            Protectionism, however, can work in a non-global-state world system. Free trade is just a con to steal money from low IQ Englishmen. No one outside of Europe is stupid enough to believe in it. Free trade is an English disease, and it dies with the disenfranchisement of the English worldwide.

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