Thursday, June 21, 2012

Rubio's Twisted Political Logic of Trade Protection


On CNBC above, Sen. Marco Rubio explains the twisted political logic of trade protectionism, and why he voted last week to protect domestic sugar growers from more efficient foreign competitors, and maintain our current system of crony capitalism and agricultural welfare for U.S. sugar farmers (paraphrased below):

We'll stop damaging our economy with higher sugar prices for U.S. consumers and industries using sugar as an input that burden them annually with billions of dollars in higher costs, and destroy thousands of American jobs in the process, just as soon as other countries stop damaging their consumers and economies with net job-destroying trade protectionism for their sugar farmers. 

HT: Sallie James via Don Boudreaux

58 Comments:

At 6/21/2012 7:14 AM, Blogger PFCT said...

Rubio makes an excellent point - we will act in concert with other countries acting.

Sorry, prof, but disagree with you on this one.

 
At 6/21/2012 7:19 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Right, and the political logic is: We'll act in concert with other countries and stop lowering the standard of living of our country and destroying jobs as soon as other countries stop lowering the standard of living of their countries and destroying jobs.

Economic logic and common sense would suggest that we can raise our standard of living immediately by ending protectionism regardless of what other countries do.

 
At 6/21/2012 7:31 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Economic logic and common sense would suggest that we can raise our standard of living immediately by ending protectionism regardless of what other countries do.

Right, so think of it like this:

Foreign corporations provide sugar to us for a lower cost. However, it is unfair so we will force our people to pay more so we feel like it's fair. How does that help the American standard of living?

Let's do a silly example:

Assume that all the countries in the world will provide Americans with anything they want, completely free of charge (paid for by subsidies to their companies and higher taxes on their people). The American government says "that's not fair! We will charge a fee of $XX on everything that is not made in this country!" So, prices go from $0 to $XX. How does that help the American standard of living?

Now, we can argue the merits of these policies on other countries, but protectionism is very weak when it says "we are doing this to improve our standard of living."

 
At 6/21/2012 7:47 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

As Joan Robinson famously said:

"If your trading partner throws rocks into his harbor, that is no reason to throw rocks into your own."

Sorry, PFCT, but to:

"act in concert with other countries acting."

doesn't make a lot of sense.

 
At 6/21/2012 7:59 AM, Blogger Duncan said...

Beautiful or tragic irony here. Federal government encourages cheap sugar, encouraging greater marginal sugar consumption. Local government ala NYC Bloomberg outlawing marginal sugar consumption above 16oz.

 
At 6/21/2012 8:07 AM, Blogger Krishnan said...

To PFCT: Why stop at sugar? We should go to the WTO (or whoever) and demand that either each country stop imposing tariffs on all imports (and so have a truly free, open market) - OR each country can impose any tariff on anything to protect anything. Since the world is not perfect, we should be "free" to impose any additional costs on our consumers as we see fit to support a few producers at the expense of others.

Rubio explains (like all good protectionists) that since THEY do it, WE should do it too.

If anything, this incidence (I guess like everything else) reminds us that a politician is a politician and that economic ignorance runs rampant - and pandering to the favored few at the expense of the many is the norm - no matter which party tends to be in power.

Examine the tariffs on different goods imposed by different countries and see how those economies are doing - India is a terrific example of how to do it all wrong - in the name of protecting "native" and "domestic" industries - During the "license raj" power flowed to Federal (Central) Bureaucrats while the economy remained stagnant and the poorest suffered while a chosen few became rich - very rich.

It is easy to see the "seen" - the effect tarriffs/taxes have on the ones being protected - and not so easy to accept that it has consequences for the economy as a whole and we all suffer while a few get rich.

Rubio is, like other protectionists - he has NO IDEA what he is talking about.

 
At 6/21/2012 9:16 AM, Blogger Paul said...

This is so disappointing because Rubio knows better, and it's hard to forgive considering he owes the Tea Party big time. However, he also owes the Fanjul brothers for support during his Senate campaign and he's now paying them back with his vote for Big Sugar.
From Rubio's book "An American Son":

"The Fanjuls suggested I spend Labor Day weekend in the Hamptons, where many of their friends and major Republican donors would spend the holiday," Rubio wrote. "Jeanette and I stayed in Mark Gerson's guesthouse. On Sunday night, Pepe and Emilia Fanjul hosted a dinner for us on their boat, and they invited former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Rudy stayed for the entire dinner, and afterward we talked about my campaign. He wasn't ready to endorse me yet, but he was intrigued. There was no love lost between Rudy and Charlie Crist."

 
At 6/21/2012 9:18 AM, Blogger Scott Drum said...

The Canadian government made Senator Rubios's argument in its response to the Smoot-Hawley tariffs.

Sadly, the Senator confirms that his principles can be bought by a handful of rent-seekers. Sometimes I prefer Democrats who seldom bother with trying to disguise what they're doing.

 
At 6/21/2012 9:29 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

LOL...So much for the future of the GOP. If this is one of its rising stars it shows just how intellectually and morally bankrupt the Republicans are.

 
At 6/21/2012 9:37 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"So much for the future of the GOP. If this is one of its rising stars it shows just how intellectually and morally bankrupt the Republicans are."

Not really. Ron Paul loads his district up with pork for the same reasons Rubio voted on behalf of the Fanjul brothers. Rubio owes, but does he move the ball up the field overall? Yes, he does.

 
At 6/21/2012 9:50 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I will say one thing for Rubio:

He points out one of the amazing benefits of free markets: We have gotten so wealthy, we can now complain when prices are too low.

 
At 6/21/2012 9:53 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Hmmm, well Rubio understands the financial impact of sugar on his state so it shouldn't be suprising that he's taking the stance he's taking...

 
At 6/21/2012 10:10 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Just to keep a little perspective, Rubio earned a "Friend of the Taxypayer" award from the NTU with a score of "A", a“Defender Of Economic Freedom” award from the Club For Growth, an “A+” rating from Americans for Prosperity, and is rated the second most conservative senator on the Heritage Action For America Scorecard.

Now compare to Fla's other Senator Bill Nelson who stinks up the NTU scorecard with an average grade of "F" and also votes with Big Sugar.

 
At 6/21/2012 10:16 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

As a "Friend of the U.S. Consumer," I would have to give Sen. Rubio an "F" and an "A" for "Friend of Big Sugar" on this issue.

 
At 6/21/2012 10:32 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Dr Perry,

And so would I.


On this one issue.

 
At 6/21/2012 10:48 AM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Agreed.

And it helps illustrate why trade protection is so pernicious from a public choice perspective:

Trade protection has concentrated, visible and immediate benefits, which are more than offset by a much greater amount of dispersed, invisible and delayed costs.

But from a political standpoint, Sen. Rubio knows that he won't lose any votes (or very few) or political support by supporting Big Sugar. But if he votes against Big Sugar, he'll lose lots of votes, money and support from that protected industry.

So from a political standpoint, it's a no-brainer: Support Big Sugar, it has huge political net benefits.

 
At 6/21/2012 11:30 AM, Blogger Ken said...

Vange,

If this is one of its rising stars it shows just how intellectually and morally bankrupt the Republicans are

I couldn't have come up with a better example of the logical fallacy of composition if I tried.

 
At 6/21/2012 11:34 AM, Blogger Ken said...

Mark,

As a "Friend of the U.S. Consumer," I would have to give Sen. Rubio an "F" and an "A" for "Friend of Big Sugar" on this issue.

"On this issue" is a very big qualifier. What's his overall voting record on this?

After all, I'm sure when you give tests to your students you don't fail anyone who doesn't get a perfect score on tests. In fact, I'm positive you let your students get anywhere from 40-50% of the test wrong before you start handing out F's.

 
At 6/21/2012 11:55 AM, Blogger The King said...

Keeping sugar prices artificially high discourages unbridled usage. As a result our health care costs for sugar addiction are lower. I agree. Protectionism's unintended consequence is lower health care costs. How cool is that?

 
At 6/21/2012 1:01 PM, Blogger rjs said...

here's a couple hundred more special interest amendments to the farm bill:

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/vote_menu_112_2.htm

 
At 6/21/2012 1:13 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Not really. Ron Paul loads his district up with pork for the same reasons Rubio voted on behalf of the Fanjul brothers. Rubio owes, but does he move the ball up the field overall? Yes, he does.

Ron Paul has never voted for any budget. But as the Constitution spells out, if there is money to be spent each item should be earmarked by Congress.

Rubio, Romney, and the other fools and frauds that are in the GOP are taking the party down the rathole. Which is where it belongs. The Democrats may be stupid and evil but they do not hide that fact and are clear that they love big government as a solution to everything. The Republicans lack the courage to admit that they are also for big government and the same old game goes on.

 
At 6/21/2012 1:15 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

He points out one of the amazing benefits of free markets: We have gotten so wealthy, we can now complain when prices are too low.

Free market? His party increased the number of regulations and the budget for regulatory agencies when it held power. It ran huge deficits and got into conflicts that could not be paid for out of taxes. There is nothing free market about the GOP.

 
At 6/21/2012 1:18 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

But from a political standpoint, Sen. Rubio knows that he won't lose any votes (or very few) or political support by supporting Big Sugar. But if he votes against Big Sugar, he'll lose lots of votes, money and support from that protected industry.

So from a political standpoint, it's a no-brainer: Support Big Sugar, it has huge political net benefits.


The game is about political power, not principles. Given the fact that the GOP has sold its soul just like the Democrats how will the US ever implement any workable solutions that get it out of the mess that it is in?

 
At 6/21/2012 1:20 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Keeping sugar prices artificially high discourages unbridled usage. As a result our health care costs for sugar addiction are lower. I agree. Protectionism's unintended consequence is lower health care costs. How cool is that?

It is not cool and certainly not a principled position for one who claims to support free markets and liberty. But it is very hypocritical.

 
At 6/21/2012 1:48 PM, Blogger Paul said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 6/21/2012 1:50 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"Ron Paul has never voted for any budget."

Right..he just earmarks the hell out of them and then votes against them out of "principle."


"But as the Constitution spells out, if there is money to be spent each item should be earmarked by Congress."

"If there is money to be spent." WTF is that supposed to mean? Suddenly Vangel The Pure is in favor of pissing money down a pork-filled rathole because his master Ron Paul is doing it.

I can fully admit Rubio is participating in some unsavory activity here. You Ron Paul weirdos actually attempt to turn your master's political whoring into virtue because in your minds anything less than 100% purity makes one no different from a socialist .

6/21/2012 1:48 PM

 
At 6/21/2012 2:01 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

WTF is that supposed to mean?

I think that it is clear. If the government spends money all of it should be directed by Congress to specific projects, not left in the hands of the Executive.

Suddenly Vangel The Pure is in favor of pissing money down a pork-filled rathole because his master Ron Paul is doing it.

Not at all. I would never vote to spend that money in the first place. And neither did Dr. Paul. But if money is spent I would rather have a say in where it goes than the DEA, DHS, FAA, FDA, DOE, DOD bureaucrats.

I can fully admit Rubio is participating in some unsavory activity here.

Good. The next step is to admit that the GOP is for big government and deficits forever.

You Ron Paul weirdos actually attempt to turn your master's political whoring into virtue because anything less than 100% purity makes one no different from a socialist .

It is not a virtue. But as I pointed out, if the money is spent I would rather it go to something that I knew about than in some rathole where a dictator winds up with funds to buy more military equipment from companies that give a pile of bribe money to Congress, or some Wall Street executive gets bailed out because he made the wrong bet on copper futures.

 
At 6/21/2012 3:17 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"I think that it is clear. If the government spends money all of it should be directed by Congress to specific projects, not left in the hands of the Executive."

What a joke. All that happens effectively is Congress pisses away more on pork. If there's any money leftover, and there obviously isn't, it should be returned to the taxpayers or used to pay down debt. Instead, some Congressmen like Paul use it stay employed by their constitutents.

And then they and their flunkies rub salt in the wounds by claiming it's all part of the Constitutional order. Gag.

"would rather it go to something that I knew about than in some rathole where a dictator winds up with funds to buy more military equipment from companies that give a pile of bribe money to Congress, or some Wall Street executive gets bailed out because he made the wrong bet on copper futures."

It's not an "either/or" situation. All 3 things are happening anyway.

And you know it.

But you have to justify your master's actions no matter how ridiculous it makes you look.

At least Rubio is actively involved in an overall strategy to move the ball up the field. Ron Paul is busy earmarkin' and firing up his conspiracy kook and white supremacist base.

 
At 6/21/2012 4:09 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>>> "I couldn't have come up with a better example of the logical fallacy of composition if I tried."

I believe the term you're actually looking for here is "failure of inductive reasoning."

He starts with the specific (Rubio) and generalizes without any actual basis to the whole GOP.

I mean, if you're going to indict, at least be sufficiently non-CRIS demonstrative and grasp that this is endemic to ALL politicians, not just the GOP...

 
At 6/21/2012 4:13 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Free market? His party increased the number of regulations and the budget for regulatory agencies when it held power. It ran huge deficits and got into conflicts that could not be paid for out of taxes. There is nothing free market about the GOP.

Forgive me for being unclear. I was not saying anything about the GOP being for free markets. I was just making a general statement. Our (relatively) free market has allowed us to be so wealthy that we have the luxury of complaining when prices are too low.

 
At 6/21/2012 4:52 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

pfct-

"Rubio makes an excellent point - we will act in concert with other countries acting. "

here i must completely disagree with you.

your logic is essentially "i will stop punching myself in the face as soon as you do."

 
At 6/21/2012 4:54 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Keeping sugar prices artificially high discourages unbridled usage. As a result our health care costs for sugar addiction are lower. I agree. Protectionism's unintended consequence is lower health care costs. How cool is that? "

1. this is terrifying nanny state thinking.

2. no, it doesn't. it causes us to shift to even less healthful things like high fructose corn syrup. all the calories, 40% more glycemic load. if you goal is health, repeal the sugar tariffs now. can you possibly claim with a straight face that americans do not consume enormous amounts of sugar and sugar surragates? i doubt there is a country in the world that consumes more per capita than we do.

 
At 6/21/2012 4:58 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

What a joke. All that happens effectively is Congress pisses away more on pork. If there's any money leftover, and there obviously isn't, it should be returned to the taxpayers or used to pay down debt. Instead, some Congressmen like Paul use it stay employed by their constitutents.

The last time I looked the amount 'wasted' by being specifically earmarked was a tiny percentage of the total. If every item had to be put on by Congress it is likely that spending would be much lower.

And none of this is important in the context that you are talking about because Dr. Paul has never voted for any of the budgets. He is no more responsible for the deficits than he is for the acceptance of fiat money, which he also opposes, because he uses it in his daily activities or for agricultural subsidies when he eats food.

If this is all the corrupt and hypocritical big government Republicans can bring up they don't have much of an argument.

At least Rubio is actively involved in an overall strategy to move the ball up the field. Ron Paul is busy earmarkin' and firing up his conspiracy kook and white supremacist base.

He is a big-government warfare state conservative. That is why the GOP likes and promotes him. But it is people like him who have brought the US to the fiscal abyss. If he is the hope of the GOP and the US you better have a bunker somewhere.

 
At 6/21/2012 5:01 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I mean, if you're going to indict, at least be sufficiently non-CRIS demonstrative and grasp that this is endemic to ALL politicians, not just the GOP...

My opinion of the corrupt Democrats is not much better, and often worse, than the corrupt Republicans. If Rubio is an example of what the GOP is looking when it examines its future the party is in more trouble than it thinks. Actually, the worst outcome for the GOP in November is a sweep in Congress and the Oval Office. The party has no answers and is just as corrupt as its mainstream opposition.

 
At 6/21/2012 5:23 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Forgive me for being unclear. I was not saying anything about the GOP being for free markets. I was just making a general statement. Our (relatively) free market has allowed us to be so wealthy that we have the luxury of complaining when prices are too low.

Your markets are very heavily regulated. There are hundreds of regulators in the financial sector alone and none of them are very good. It would be a lot easier and more effective to stop bailouts and to let depositors, investors, and borrowers operate in a totally free market without regulation.

Industry is regulated by hundreds of different agencies and often has to deal with ambiguous regulations that are inconsistently enforced. You have administrative courts that violate the Constitutional rights as they deny the protection offered by jury trials.

Just how free can a market be when you have regulations that tell manufacturers how much pressure is permitted in a shower head or how much water a toilet tank may hold? When the government can ban incandescent bulbs and force you to buy very expensive alternatives that are full of toxic chemicals just how free is your market?

I am sorry for sounding harsh but as I got older I have found that the compromise between two evil positions is no less evil and have decided to be an advocate for total liberty. Let me note that while I defend liberty I entirely accept the fact that most Americans will choose serfdom and have no wish to interfere in American politics in any way. I still consider the US to be a great country that is among the best to live in. But I fear that the last few years have moved the needle so far towards authoritarianism that you and your fellow citizens have little time to reverse the trends before the economy and the financial system fail. I hope that I am wrong but the data that I see suggests otherwise.

By the way, Not too long ago I recommended to Ron that he listen to Jeff Riggenbach's talk on JRR Tolkien. You might benefit from it too. My son pointed out that like many others Tolkien drifted towards anarchy as he got older and older. He speculates that smart people who think about what is right and moral have to conclude that there is little justification for state regulation of any voluntary activity. Because he is only 13-years old I have cut him some slack and have not yet made it clear that there is NO justification at all. The more he reads and learns the faster he will figure it out on his own.

 
At 6/21/2012 6:38 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I agree with everything you said, Vangel. I wasn't saying that our economy is the best form. That being said, compared to other world economies, ours is quite market based. That has positioned us to become so wealthy that we can complain when prices are too low (well, they do it so we'll force higher prices so we can do it too). Could our economy be freer? Sure! And our returns would be significantly higher.

I am not making a value judgement about how free our economy is. I am not compromising for anything. All I am saying is Americans are so wealthy, we demand higher prices.

 
At 6/21/2012 10:19 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Rubio is the GOP dream candidate.

 
At 6/22/2012 6:35 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I wasn't saying that our economy is the best form. That being said, compared to other world economies, ours is quite market based.

But is it? As I pointed out, the government regulates what kind of light-bulbs must be made, the pressure that a shower head cannot exceed, and the maximum volume of a toilet tank. Every economic transaction that you make is regulated, often by multiple agencies. If people like you think that the US resembles a market system the battle for liberty is lost because you have already ceded the high ground to the left that wants even more regulation.

That has positioned us to become so wealthy that we can complain when prices are too low (well, they do it so we'll force higher prices so we can do it too).

Perhaps Americans are different than us Canadians but here I do not see many people complaining that things cost too little. More and more families have to have two people working longer hours just to stay afloat. And the last time I was in the US I saw many people in the outlet malls looking for cheaper prices. I doubt that many of them were complaining about how cheap their gasoline, food, or clothing were.

 
At 6/22/2012 11:04 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

jon-

"I am not making a value judgement about how free our economy is. I am not compromising for anything. All I am saying is Americans are so wealthy, we demand higher prices."

i think this is pretty wide of the mark.

we are not demanding higher prices.

we are favoring special interests and demostrating a lack of economic understanding.

few americans even realize that there is a sugar tariff and that it doubles our prices.

i suspect that if you went around asking "would you like to pay more for sugar?" americans would respond in the same way they do when asked that about gasoline.

 
At 6/22/2012 11:15 AM, Blogger StVIS said...

Although this may sound strange, Republicans were once the party of extremely strong import tariffs the US possessed, right from its inception and until the 1980s. The Democratic Party, oddly enough, were the anti-tarriff bunch (as they were once, strangely enough, the pro-slavery team).

Although Republicans talk a good "free market" game, part of me wonders (especially with increasing anti-Chinese sentiment in the US among the populace, and both political parties) if the Republicans won't return to their roots, and again become the pro-tariff team in a decade or so.

 
At 6/22/2012 11:34 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Vange,

"The last time I looked the amount 'wasted' by being specifically earmarked was a tiny percentage of the total."

Hahahaha, that's your defense? You sound like a liberal. By that standard, Rubio's vote for sugar subsidies is a tiny % of the total also. Yet, he's the corrupt one, while your master Paul is divine.


"And none of this is important in the context that you are talking about because Dr. Paul has never voted for any of the budgets."

Yeah, he doesn't do much of anything 'cept finger pointing and earmarking up the budgets he then doesn't vote for out of "principle."

"He is a big-government warfare state conservative. "

And yet every independent group that looks at his voting record says he's a friend of the taxpayer, one of the highest in the Senate. True, he's not a Paultard when it comes to defense, but that's a plus.

"That is why the GOP likes and promotes him."

You probably never even heard of Rubio until this post.

 
At 6/22/2012 12:00 PM, Blogger StVIS said...

Paul,

VPs normally don't have much of an influence on an administration's direction (Dick Cheney may be an exception). Romney was a big-government Republican while serving in Mass, implementing the insurance mandate that served as the inspiration for Obamacare. While he promises some spending cuts, the projected budget deficits don't improve much from Obama's.

Going back to the insurance mandate: it was the Republican ideal for "dealing" with rising insurance costs, and the uninsured, for many years. In fact, Newt Gingrich was big supporter for it during the 1990s:

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/jan/24/rick-santorum/rick-santorum-calls-newt-gingrich-longtime-support/

And he was far from the only one:

http://healthcarereform.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=004182

So, before Republicans were against Obamacare, they were for it.

My point: just as lefties complain of Democrats' hefty support for the military-industrial complex, Republicans, despite their spoken rhetoric, are in fact in pro-big government politicos, just like the Dems. There isn't as much of a difference between the two mainstream parties as most think.

 
At 6/22/2012 1:07 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"Romney was a big-government Republican while serving in Mass, implementing the insurance mandate that served as the inspiration for Obamacare."

Yep. But he's not a socialist like Obama. He's also a successful businessman. He also promises to work to repeal Obamacare if the Court doesn't strike it down next week.

You honestly don't see how that's a big diff, especially if we have a GOP House and Senate to pull him to the right?

"..it was the Republican ideal for "dealing" with rising insurance costs, and the uninsured, for many years."

No it wasn't. It was a case of some conservatives and some Republicans supporting the mandate as an alternative to Hillarycare. It originated, I believe, with the Heritage Foundation. Conservatives like Peter Ferrara,Phyllis Schlafly, Ed Crane,Paul Weyrich, David Keene, and Grover Norquist all fought against the idea. Eventually, Heritage dropped it when they were persuaded by the infringement on liberty. The Democrats picked it up and ran with it with no such concerns.

"Republicans, despite their spoken rhetoric, are in fact in pro-big government politicos, just like the Dems."

Some are. Some not. I'm sure you're aware of Scott Walker's fantastic reforms in Wisconsin. HIs challenger Barrett promised to undue them. Only an idiot would shrug his shoulders and say there wasn't a difference. We simply need to elect more conservatives, less RINO's. YOu can get past the "spoken rhetoric" by looking at their actual records measured by such independent groups as the NTU, CAGW, and the ACU.

 
At 6/22/2012 2:55 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Although this may sound strange, Republicans were once the party of extremely strong import tariffs the US possessed, right from its inception and until the 1980s. The Democratic Party, oddly enough, were the anti-tarriff bunch (as they were once, strangely enough, the pro-slavery team).

The Republicans Party came out of the dying Whig Party, which rose out of the dying Federalists. The Whigs and Federalists were pro-tariff and favoured special interests over the consumer and taxpayer. That is why they failed miserably and why the Democrats and Republicans have set up an electoral system that makes a third party very difficult to set up. The two wings of the same bird of prey metaphor is appropriate.

Although Republicans talk a good "free market" game, part of me wonders (especially with increasing anti-Chinese sentiment in the US among the populace, and both political parties) if the Republicans won't return to their roots, and again become the pro-tariff team in a decade or so.

There is very little difference between the two parties. Both hate free trade and want to manage it by agreements that run thousands of pages and have government involved all along the way.

 
At 6/22/2012 3:05 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Hahahaha, that's your defense? You sound like a liberal. By that standard, Rubio's vote for sugar subsidies is a tiny % of the total also. Yet, he's the corrupt one, while your master Paul is divine.

That is not what I said. I said that Paul has never voted for a budget in all of his years in Congress. Don't blame him for all of the spending. Blame your buddies in the corrupt Republican Party and their buddies in the Democratic Party.

Yeah, he doesn't do much of anything 'cept finger pointing and earmarking up the budgets he then doesn't vote for out of "principle."

He doesn't support high spending like Romney, Santorum, Newt, and the other fools who ran for President in the GOP. He proposed budget cuts, not increases that are a tiny bit smaller than Obama's. He is a real fiscal conservative, not a political opportunist like the candidates that you support.

You probably never even heard of Rubio until this post.

Of course I have. Fox has been gushing about him for a long time. So have people like Kudlow and most of the establishment voices in the financial media.

 
At 6/22/2012 3:50 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

My point: just as lefties complain of Democrats' hefty support for the military-industrial complex, Republicans, despite their spoken rhetoric, are in fact in pro-big government politicos, just like the Dems. There isn't as much of a difference between the two mainstream parties as most think.

No, there isn't much of a difference. Both parties put power well ahead of principle and have expanded government every time they had the opportunity to. Romney is a big-government Republican who will bring little of substance that is new and useful. If the GOP takes both Congress and the Oval Office it may find itself going the way of its Whig and Federalist predecessors.

 
At 6/22/2012 3:50 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

My point: just as lefties complain of Democrats' hefty support for the military-industrial complex, Republicans, despite their spoken rhetoric, are in fact in pro-big government politicos, just like the Dems. There isn't as much of a difference between the two mainstream parties as most think.

No, there isn't much of a difference. Both parties put power well ahead of principle and have expanded government every time they had the opportunity to. Romney is a big-government Republican who will bring little of substance that is new and useful. If the GOP takes both Congress and the Oval Office it may find itself going the way of its Whig and Federalist predecessors.

 
At 6/22/2012 4:12 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yep. But he's not a socialist like Obama. He's also a successful businessman. He also promises to work to repeal Obamacare if the Court doesn't strike it down next week.

Obama is a National Socialist. Just like Romney.

You honestly don't see how that's a big diff, especially if we have a GOP House and Senate to pull him to the right?

I certainly don't. Look to Bush to see a Romney presidency. He had the Senate and House and all you got is a much bigger government.

No it wasn't. It was a case of some conservatives and some Republicans supporting the mandate as an alternative to Hillarycare. It originated, I believe, with the Heritage Foundation. Conservatives like Peter Ferrara,Phyllis Schlafly, Ed Crane,Paul Weyrich, David Keene, and Grover Norquist all fought against the idea. Eventually, Heritage dropped it when they were persuaded by the infringement on liberty. The Democrats picked it up and ran with it with no such concerns.

LOL...The big-government Republicans got scared and compromized on principle. They got Obamacare out of it but are now pretending that they had nothing to do with it.

Some are. Some not. I'm sure you're aware of Scott Walker's fantastic reforms in Wisconsin. HIs challenger Barrett promised to undue them. Only an idiot would shrug his shoulders and say there wasn't a difference. We simply need to elect more conservatives, less RINO's. YOu can get past the "spoken rhetoric" by looking at their actual records measured by such independent groups as the NTU, CAGW, and the ACU.

The people at Cato and Reason have a different view on Walker than you seem to. In a piece titled, FRANKLIN DELANO WALKER, we read: "In short, Walker won’t end forced private-sector unionism, lighten Wisconsin’s hefty tax burden or abandon government spending to stimulate economic growth. All this would have made him a Democrat in FDR’s time. That modern-day progressives are branding him as a right-wing radical says far more about them than him."

Of course, while the talks a good game Walker may be running away from the Romney message.

 
At 6/22/2012 4:48 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"That is not what I said."

Yeah it is. You tried the "it's only a small part of the budget" defense to justify Paul's pork.

" I said that Paul has never voted for a budget in all of his years in Congress."

Yeah, and I said he sure has earmarked the hell out of those budgets he votes against out of "principle." I guess that's some badge of virtue to all the Ron Paul kooks. To me, it's smacks of utter hypocrisy and appeal for cheap applause from the fringe who support him.

"He is a real fiscal conservative, not a political opportunist like the candidates that you support."

I'll hold my nose and vote for Romney and work to get more Tea Party conservatives in the House and Senate. Americans like you will sit home wallowing in smug satisfaction, as if anyone should give a shit which way they want the wagon to go when they won't get out and push.

"Obama is a National Socialist. Just like Romney. "

And you're an idiot if you can't see the difference between them.

"The big-government Republicans got scared and compromized on principle."

Only a Lew Rockwell nutjob would come to that conclusion based on the actual history I wrote.

"They got Obamacare out of it but are now pretending that they had nothing to do with it."

Not a single Republican voted for it.

The people at Cato and Reason have a different view on Walker than you seem to."

What a load of crap that article. I've never heard of Shikha Dalmia, but her "Walker is a Democrat" argument is based on the notion that Walker's reforms haven't gone far enough.... therefore he might as well be a Democrat. Wow, she's your intellectual twin with that logic. Run with it, Vangel! Run with it.

 
At 6/22/2012 4:51 PM, Blogger Paul said...

I was quite prescient when I wrote: "I'm sure you're aware of Scott Walker's fantastic reforms in Wisconsin. HIs challenger Barrett promised to undue them. Only an idiot would shrug his shoulders and say there wasn't a difference."

In walks Vange...

 
At 6/22/2012 5:36 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yeah it is. You tried the "it's only a small part of the budget" defense to justify Paul's pork.

No. I meant that if every penny of the budget was earmarked, which is what should happen, spending would be much lower. And I pointed out that you can't blame any deficit on Dr. Paul because he has voted against every budget. Have you seen the Romney budget proposal? Spending keeps going up. The deficit keeps going up. There is no major difference between him and Obama.

Yeah, and I said he sure has earmarked the hell out of those budgets he votes against out of "principle." I guess that's some badge of virtue to all the Ron Paul kooks. To me, it's smacks of utter hypocrisy and appeal for cheap applause from the fringe who support him.

It may smack of hypocrisy to you but I believe that it is Congress, not the executive that should direct spending. That means that everything should be earmarked. As for the budget you either support it or you don't. Dr. Paul has never voted for a budget deficit in all his years of office. That makes him very consistent.

What next? Will you question his sincerity about opposing the Fed because he uses Federal Reserve Notes to buy his coffee in the morning?

I'll hold my nose and vote for Romney and work to get more Tea Party conservatives in the House and Senate. Americans like you will sit home wallowing in smug satisfaction, as if anyone should give a shit which way they want the wagon to go when they won't get out and push.

Fist, I am not an American. Second, the Tea Party is not monolithic. There are those in it who defend liberty and are primarily concerned with liberty as Dr. Paul is. There are those warfare state social conservatives who were looking for a new label. There are other groups. The difference is huge, particularly on the foreign policy issues.

And you're an idiot if you can't see the difference between them.

Difference? Where?

Both love war and believe that the President can start conflicts without a Congressional declaration.

Both would expand the size of government.

Both would have deficits for decades.

Obama's health care proposal was based on Romeny's health care plan in Massachusetts.

Both are Keynesians who are ignorant of economics.

The differences are tiny where it matters. Style does not matter. Substance does. And on that front neither man has any.

 
At 6/22/2012 5:36 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Only a Lew Rockwell nutjob would come to that conclusion based on the actual history I wrote.

History is clear. The GOP came up with a plan to fight Clinton's efforts. That plan is pretty much what Omacare is. The GOP leaders were cowards because they would not stand up for principle. Now they look like hypocrites when they deny that they oppose a plan that they had a big hand in creating.

Not a single Republican voted for it.

Of course. They did not like their own plan. But that does not change the facts that Newt and the GOP leadership and Romney as governor had plans that were very similar to what Obama passed.

What a load of crap that article. I've never heard of Shikha Dalmia, but her "Walker is a Democrat" argument is based on the notion that Walker's reforms haven't gone far enough.... therefore he might as well be a Democrat. Wow, she's your intellectual twin with that logic. Run with it, Vangel! Run with it.

I do not think that was the point. Walker increased spending. He did not really cut taxes unless you think that a 1% cut is material. And keep in mind that this criticism is coming from people who are supported by the same interests as Walker, not exactly the types that I would agree with most of the time. When it comes to Walker I take more of a Rockwell line of critique, which is nowhere nearly as kind.

Walker is not much of a fiscal conservative even though he sells himself as one. When he served as Milwaukee county executive the county spending increased 35 percent over his seven years. Like Obama he has called for the strengthening of public/private partnerships. Isn't that what National Socialism is about and shouldn't advocates of free markets let the private sector compete without having the government pick winners or losers?

Walker does not seem to realize that the state government should not meddle much in education, which is at most a local matter. He has called for, "a new class of highly qualified, well-paid teachers who will be given the opportunity to advance in their career. These highly qualified teachers will be called on to mentor other teachers, while still devoting most of their time to classroom teaching." Frankly, the local communities should have a say in how the teachers teach and what they teach. And no, they should not have to hire unionized teachers if they do not wish to.

 
At 6/22/2012 5:43 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I was quite prescient when I wrote: "I'm sure you're aware of Scott Walker's fantastic reforms in Wisconsin. HIs challenger Barrett promised to undue them. Only an idiot would shrug his shoulders and say there wasn't a difference."

In walks Vange...


I am with Walter Block on this one.

"I favor the union thugs, not the government thugs. For me, it's like Stalin versus Hitler: a pox on both of them. But, I like to root for the underdog, the weaker of the two bad guys, and that's the union in this case. I do so because I want the fight to long continue, so that both are weakened as much as possible. The state has more guns, better public relations (they have bought off more journalists, intellectuals, clergy, and others of Hayek’s “second hand dealers in ideas”) than the unions.

So, if we want the battle to weaken the both of them, we must support, ugh (no, double ugh!) organized labor. Also, it is my judgment that the government is a worse violator of human and economic liberties than are the unions, bad as are the latter."


If you think that sounds a lot like the, "I will hold my nose and hope that Romney wins," statements that a lot of you GOP apologists have provided you are entirely correct. Since you have chosen to support the lesser evil even though you accept that it is evil why not support others taking the same approach. Of course, you do not recognize that in your case the evil that you want to win is no less evil than the one you oppose. But that is a topic for another time.

 
At 6/23/2012 7:05 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

i suspect that if you went around asking "would you like to pay more for sugar?" americans would respond in the same way they do when asked that about gasoline.

I'm not so sure. How many American favor tariffs on solar panels, tires, and other Chinese goods? All you have to say is "it'll save American jobs" and you got a following.

But let's think even more generally. How many people support minimum wage laws? Rent control? Don't want Wal-Marts in their town? Support solar power? Environmental regulations? All these things raise prices, and people (for the most part) know this.

 
At 6/23/2012 10:24 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

I'm not so sure. How many American favor tariffs on solar panels, tires, and other Chinese goods? All you have to say is "it'll save American jobs" and you got a following.

Few Americans would pay the full amount for solar panels if they did not get personal subsidies so I do not understand your argument. And if you offered them a choice between cheaper tires and tires that cost twice as much but 'saved' jobs they would take the cheaper tires most of the time.

But let's think even more generally. How many people support minimum wage laws? Rent control? Don't want Wal-Marts in their town? Support solar power? Environmental regulations? All these things raise prices, and people (for the most part) know this.

Most people want a Wal-Mart to shop in because they would rather pay $2 for a screwdriver rather than $7 at their local hardware store. This is exactly why Wal-Mart is as successful as it is. And you confuse the noise made by a few vocal special interests as popular support. Most people don't think much about the issues because few of them have a major impact on their daily lives. Paying a penny more so that billionaires can get a few hundred million in subsidies is not something that most consumers think about.

 
At 6/23/2012 3:58 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Few Americans would pay the full amount for solar panels if they did not get personal subsidies so I do not understand your argument. And if you offered them a choice between cheaper tires and tires that cost twice as much but 'saved' jobs they would take the cheaper tires most of the time."

I'm not so sure. It seems to be pretty easy to convince otherwise logical people that they are doing their patriotic duty when they pay more to "protect American Jobs", and deny jobs to those "evil Chinese".

My otherwise intelligent neighbor got upset when I pointed out that I had helped pay for his solar panel system.

 
At 6/23/2012 7:55 PM, Blogger VangelV said...


I'm not so sure. It seems to be pretty easy to convince otherwise logical people that they are doing their patriotic duty when they pay more to "protect American Jobs", and deny jobs to those "evil Chinese".

My otherwise intelligent neighbor got upset when I pointed out that I had helped pay for his solar panel system.


Would your neignbour have bought the solar panel system if all of the subsidies did not make it as cheap as it was? I doubt that you would have nearly as much wasteful economic activity if the people who were purchasing subsidized products had to pay the full whack or that they would buy domestic if foreign producers did not have to pay duties.

 
At 6/24/2012 12:51 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Would your neignbour have bought the solar panel system if all of the subsidies did not make it as cheap as it was?"

I seriously doubt it. At 70 years he had no reasonable expectation of berakeven within his lifetime except for the subsidies, which he considered free money from the government. He was upset when I advised him that the free government money used to be mine.

"I doubt that you would have nearly as much wasteful economic activity if the people who were purchasing subsidized products had to pay the full whack or that they would buy domestic if foreign producers did not have to pay duties."

I'm, certain that's true.

 

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