I continue to see comments like this here at EPJ on trade and tariffs:
I believe protectionism is protecting THIS country. Protecting our STANDARD OF LIVING! By allowing... low tariffs on in incoming goods we have LOWERED our standard of living in this country. Other countries tax us and protect their jobs and manufacturing and we allow them to do that while 1/2 our work force remains UNEMPLOYED. This is what has occurred because our tariffs on incoming goods are too low : Between 2000 and 2014 70% of all new jobs went to foreignersand
Another dumb argument against renegotiating trade deals that give trading partners *regulatory advantage* over American businesses as opposed to natural comparative advantage.
Libertarians by and large have been very bad this election cycle.
There is a spectrum when it comes to trade. There is full free trade. There is crony trade and there are high tariffs and even more protectionist measures.
Crony trade is better than high tariffs and more protectionist measures. Free trade is better than crony trade.
If the U.S. allowed totally open trade, it would raise the standard of living of Americans because we would have more products and services to choose from at cheaper prices. This would occur despite protectionist measures implemented by other countries.
Thus it makes no sense to promote the idea that we should threaten tariffs to force other countries to lower theirs. We are the MF United States if other countries saw that we kept out trade borders totally open and this resulted in better products and services offered here, other countries would catch on pretty quickly or end up in the dark ages when Neanderthals roamed. That would be their problem if they chose such a path.
The idea that because a country limits imports into its country that it causes unemployment here where workers can not find new jobs is the Lump of Labor Fallacy. There are always jobs in a region where markets are free.
Free trade is, of course, better than crony trade but crony trade, though it benefits insiders, is still better than no trade. If a life-saving drug is made by 5 different pharmaceutical companies on an island nation but because of crony deals only one is allowed to sell the drug in the U.S., it is still better for the person whose life it saves versus not having the drug at all, though full free trade would be better because it would allow many firms to compete to provide the drug, which would likely result in the drug being provided at a lower price.
In short, the closer we get to total free trade, the better off we are and there is no situation where it makes sense to threaten tariffs or institute them. Tariffs always lower the standard of living domestically, regardless of what policies other nations adopt.