Friday, March 11, 2016

They're "Steeling" From Us!

I wrote the short essay below the other day on impulse and never sent the email. Protectionist rhetoric is reaching fever pitch and now I simply can't resist.

This notion that other countries are somehow "beating us all the time" in trade is utterly ludicrous! All one has to do is consider the American lifestyle versus those of the supposed winners and one realizes how, frankly, idiotic such remarks turn out to be. And don't let the word "versus" fool you. Trade itself is not a contest. The fact that the lives of folks in producer countries are improving as well does not in any way diminish the virtually immeasurable benefits that flow to the U.S. consumer. In fact it fosters them!

Beyond what your eyes clearly tell you, consider the simple fact that you aren't beaten when you purchase a product at the best possible price. In fact, you have "won!" And, we'll assume, the producer---having priced its product to its own benefit---"wins" as well. But it doesn't stop there; when the producer hails from other shores, your country "wins" too. For the dollars you send abroad must come home (never forget, U.S. dollars are claims on U.S. stuff), to the coffers of U.S. exporters (who employ U.S. citizens), to the sellers of U.S. assets, and to the issuers of U.S. debt (keeping interest rates at bay).

And, not to mention, when you have the world market at your disposal and you therefore find what you need at the best possible price, you have more resources than you otherwise would that afford you and your family a materially richer life experience, as well as benefit the sector that is truly the backbone of this country---small businesses: The restaurants, the clothing stores (sure, the clothes (like Trump ties) are made in China, but the store owner and his/her employees are your neighbors), the movie theater, the airline, the cruise line, the car lot, the flower shop, the jewelry store, the homebuilder, the pool guy, the math tutor... you can take it from here.

They're "Steeling" From Us!

So, tell me, if you heard that Home Depot overbought, say, fencing, and felt like they needed to unload the extra inventory in a hurry and therefore slashed the price by 50%, would you shun the opportunity to replace your rotted fence on the cheap because it wouldn't be fair to the fencing department of Lowe's? And what if Lowe's had an in with a top politician and successfully convinced him/her to lobby for, and get passed, a 50% duty on Home Depot fencing (effectively upping the price so as to destroy HD's price advantage), would you see that as a good thing?

So China has an oversupply of steel, and, therefore, its offering it to us at a crazy low price. The U.S. buyers of Chinese steel thus get a steal and the aggregate U.S. economy benefits measurably from the savings (i.e., it gets spent/invested in other sectors of the economy). It's truly a win for us! Ah, but it's a lose for U.S. Steel and a few other American steel manufacturers whose stocks soared yesterday on the news that the politicians whom they've bought and paid for succeeded in imposing a 266% tariff on steel imported from China.

Yes, folks, whenever a politician suggests that the imposition of import restrictions is a good thing, he/she's right, but only for his benefactors---the rest of us get screwed. Sad thing is, it seems like most of the rest of us truly don't understand it!

No comments:

Post a Comment