The empirical case for limited government is that although human beings have something in common – human nature – they are different in capacities and aspirations. From this it follows, not logically but practically, that government cannot hope to provide happiness to all. The most it can reasonably expect to provide are the conditions under which happiness, as each defines it, can be pursued.
Back in 2016, I pushed back against the conventional wisdom that Americans were opposed to trade and that this explained the rise of Trump. Even then the polls didn’t show that. Of course I was viewed as naive—the zeitgeist was all about the China shock, deindustrialization in the Rust Belt, the rise of populism, etc. Didn’t I know that neoliberalism was passé, it had failed us? OK, so how do things look today?
So do you guys still believe that Trump’s views on trade (“trade wars are good, and easy to win”) represents the wave of the future? Am I just an old foggy who doesn’t understand how bad globalization has been for average people?
The estimates imply that trade with China increased U.S. consumer surplus by about $400,000 per displaced job, and that product categories catering to low-income consumers experienced larger price declines. [emphasis added]
I bolded the low income part, because if trade is good for efficiency then equity is the only issue at stake here.
PS. I notice that the current zeitgeist is all about “progressive” ideas like wealth taxes and fiscal stimulus. Unlike certain publications, I don’t swing with the political winds. Taxes on capital income always have been evil, and always will be. All taxes are consumption taxes. The only difference is that some consumption taxes tax future consumption at higher rates than current consumption. Those bad consumption taxes are called “income taxes”, “capital gains taxes”, “wealth taxes”, etc. Instead we should tax higher levels of consumption at higher rates. That’s a truly progressive agenda.
Stick to your principles when the rest of the world is losing its head. In the long run, they’ll come back to you. Stable NGDP growth, free markets, free speech, free trade, progressive consumption taxes, externality taxes. Those principles aren’t going to change.
"In 2017, the U.S. exported about 14.5 million metric tons of scrap recyclables to China, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, an industry trade group. That dropped to around 9.4 million metric tons in 2018. Since China implemented its new policy at the start of 2018, U.S. states and cities have felt the brunt of falling prices on certain recyclables. The average price for mixed paper in the U.S., for example, dropped from $67 in August 2017 to negative $2 in August 2019."
"municipalities have sent some recyclables to landfills and stopped accepting certain kinds of plastic or incinerated items."
"Maine could soon require package producers to support recycling programs and cover at least 80% of the cost of packaging materials sold in the state that aren’t easily recyclable."
Americans forbid themselves titles and hierarchy in their present lives, but they indulge their inner lives by dreaming of forbidden past lives. The presidency is weak magic compared to the hard stuff; an ex-president totters away to a golf cart and book tour, but Meghan Markle will always be a duchess. Providing it’s kept in its proper place, this undemocratic recidivism is, as a masochistic carpenter might say, a harmless vice.
The proper place for the contemplation of these matters is PBS on a Sunday night. The unspoken secret at the heart of liberal media is that PBS exists for only two purposes, neither of them to do with the news. One is making children’s programs with a cryptically soft-left moral. The other is buying in ‘Masterpiece’ costume dramas, packed with reactionary, sexist and discriminatory content that makes Laura Linney’s nostrils flare when she introduces it. The first of these import hits was Upstairs, Downstairs, a saga of masters and servants in the early 20th century. The most recent is Downton Abbey which, being a saga of masters and servants in the early 20th century, is Upstairs, Downstairs reincarnated.
The milking of the Downton phenomenon has now produced a movie.