Anyone who has had to discipline a child knows this scenario: You planned a fun activity with your family, be it a movie, dinner at a new restaurant, etc. In the run up to this activity, at least one of your children messes up. Whether you warned her or not, you have to lay down the law. “That’s it, we’re not going.”
Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Many times, however, you the parent/grandparent/guardian were also looking forward to the event. But you suck it up and stay consistent for the sake of the lesson and your authority.
This is similar to what’s going on with China.
The United States is the world’s policeman. You may not like it. Leftists and the Ron and Rand Paul’s of the world pray on their knees someone else takes the helm. But we are the world’s peace keeper, and will be for the foreseeable future. This is a good thing for if not us, whom would you trust in such a vital position?
As policeman, we sometimes have to engage with our frenemies in political, diplomatic, covert, and economic conflict. When it comes to playing nice with others, China is one of the top offenders in business, and they’re notorious for violating virtually every economic crime we have international laws for. This is not surprising since they’re communists and the percentage of people claiming no religion (73.6%) is almost identical to those in American claiming to be Christian (73.7%). Without faith, micro and macro inhibitions fall away. They steal private and government technological secrets, steal entertainment media, force software companies to hand over their source codes before allowing them to do business in their country, and use statist tactics against companies like Google by monitoring and restricting search results (admittedly, Google plays along). Despite and because of this, at $14 trillion they’re second in the world only to us.
During his presidential campaign, candidate Donald Trump pledged to do something about China. Unlike most politicians, however, President Trump is actually trying to make good on his promises. People on the right generally agree something must be done, but we split on whether tariffs – Trump’s main choice of weapon – are the best option.
As a standard definition, tariffs are taxes, duties, or fees paid on imports or exports. The theory goes that, in the USA, American industries will be protected because consumers will pay less for domestic goods than an expensive import. In practice, tariffs make everything more expensive, and the consumer always pays the bill (emphasis mine):
Most Americans think of the U.S. as a free-trade country with open markets, and countries like China and Japan as protectionist countries with closed markets. And yet the U.S. is quite protectionist, when we consider that there are more than 12,000 tariffs (i.e. taxes) on imported products that are sometimes as high as 350% in the case of tobacco (pictured above); 164% on peanuts; 100% on jam, chocolate and ham; and 48% on sneakers
I get it. America is the parent/policeman. We see bad behavior, and we attempt to correct it for our own good first, and everyone else second. Some pain is inevitable. And among their economic delinquency, the Chinese are also bad players regarding military aggression and human rights. They gladly play nice with our enemies. We’ve had enough of them cheating their way to prosperity. My point is the evidence isn’t clear whether making Americans pay more for everything is the right thing to do.
The US and China have agreed to put on hold any additional tariffs for 90 days while they hammer out a trade agreement, so those who believe in free markets can breathe a little easier. But let’s not settle for a little economic gruel now in exchange for the feast of free enterprise later.
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