Kudlow: Calm Down, There Are No Tariffs Yet

Jeff Malet/Newscom via ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

From the perspective of Economics 101, everybody hates tariffs.¹ But even among economists, there’s broad agreement that tariffs have one legitimate use: as a weapon to force another country to lower tariffs. Cue Larry Kudlow:

It’s a funny thing. There are a couple of areas where Donald Trump’s habit of bluster and bullying can be genuinely effective. One of them is illegal immigration: by scaring the hell out of everyone, he probably really has reduced traffic across the border.² Another is trade: by threatening China, he might very well get concessions that others haven’t. But having done the blustering and bullying, I wonder if he can now switch gears and handle negotiations with China with the dexterity to get what he wants? Or does China know that he’s likely to cave as soon as he gets just enough to claim victory on Twitter?

I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

¹The contemporary liberal case against trade agreements goes beyond Econ 101. Liberals don’t generally favor tariffs, which are already low in any case, but they’re unhappy over things like patent protection and corporate control of the adjudication process. If modern trade agreements were solely about reducing tariffs on goods, there would hardly be anyone opposed to them.

²Whether this effect lasts more than a year or two is a whole different question.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate