05/15/19

Tariffs — Some Straight Talk

If you read the current drivel on the imposition of tariffs on the Chinese — notorious thieves of intellectual property, currency manipulators, erectors of hurdles to access to their market, a despotic Communist regime — you would think the entire economy is about to explode. Let me give you some facts.

Here’s President Trump putting the squeeze on President-for-Life Xi. Ouch!

Image result for images trump xi

Tariffs are taxes, right, Big Red Car?

Yes, dear reader, a tariff is a tax. The USA depended primarily on tariffs from its formation until the first income tax.

The first income tax imposed in the US was enacted in 1861 — 3% on all incomes over $800. It was rescinded in 1872.

In 1874, the US Congress enacted a flat rate Federal income tax that was promptly found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

The Sixteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, passed in July 1909, papered over this defect, but it wasn’t ratified until February 1913.

A Federal income tax was enacted immediately after ratification and has been enshrined in the funding of the Federal government since then.

Big takeaway — we didn’t really have an income tax until 1913.

So, we lived on tariffs.

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10/24/18

Canadian Softwood Lumber Tariff Revisited

Canadian Softwood Lumber Tariff — what ever happened?

Big Red Car here on a drippy and rainy gray ATX day. It has been raining for almost a month.

Today, we talk about what really happened by the imposition of the Canadian Softwood Lumber 20.8% tariff back in May 2017.

Of course, the Canadians and the Americans – National Association of Home Builders – immediately began to cry foul predicting that the price of a US home would go up by $9000.

The business press said “Trump is an idiot. This will cause a huge trade war.”

Now, of course, we have some firm evidence as to what did happen. In fact, after hitting a peak of $653 per thousand board feet, the current price of lumber is $313.40/thousand board feet.

That’s right lumber has gone DOWN after the imposition of the tariff. Here is the price of a thousand board feet of lumber from the inception of the tariff until today.

Chart

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06/21/18

China, Tariffs, Trade War

China, tariffs, trade war – hello, America!

Big Red Car here on a gloriously sunny Thursday contemplating recent developments in regard to China, tariffs, and a trade war.

China is a bad actor and has been for years. They have been stealing American technology – both from an espionage perspective and an industrial/commercial perspective – for half a century.

But, it is not just the “big stuff” like software, hardware and military gear.

If you are going to be the King of the Jungle, you have to act like a lion.

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04/25/18

Tariffs and the American Market

Tariffs, Big Red Car? Really?

Big Red Car here thinking about tariffs. I am sure you are interested in tariffs. They are an effective tool to control access to the world’s best and biggest market – the United States of America. That is the big win for the rest of the world – access to our market.

Until 1913, tariffs also funded our government, before the advent of the income tax. They are an important element in the history of the US.

As you can see, the US had high tariff rates until the time of the World War II Era Bretton Woods Agreement. Starting in 1970, the US lowered its tariffs dramatically in support of notions of free trade.

Free trade should, also, be fair trade. As you can see, during times of higher tariffs, the US trade balance was positive. Since the advent of lowered tariffs, the US trade balance has gone and stayed negative.

I support the Trump admin’s efforts to drive equilibrium back into the trade balance with the strategic use of tariffs.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just an American made Big Red Car. Be good to yourself and think about tariffs, free trade, and fair trade.