Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The latest round at LKMP on free trade

My latest comment over at Larry Kudlow's Money Politic$ (see the first round here, and the second here). I don't want to flame, but some people don't get it. However, he did unintentionally flatter me by accusing me of being Kudlow, posting anonymously:
IMPT, why don't you just declare that it's your party and you'll cry if you want to? Your real name isn't "Stanley," is it? Because if anyone's a tool here, you are.

For heaven's sake. I hope you were joking, because you're bordering on paranoid delusion. Larry is not my father, but I'd have been proud to be his son. Moreover, don't you think he has better things to do than make anonymous comments on his own blog? Had you bothered to spend 30 seconds and do a quick comparison of writing styles, you'd see he and I are not the same person. Never mind that clicking on my name would take you to my blogger profile, with a link to my own blog. There's a picture of me there, and somehow I doubt Larry would create that, or have an employee or friend set up an entire blog for your fantasial facade?

A rational person would conclude that Larry has better things to do than fake an entire persona, let alone an up-and-coming blog he doesn't even link to. Then again, a rational person wouldn't have accused me of being Larry in disguise.

I've never met Larry, let alone had dinner with him, but I'd have the thrill of my life to have lunch with him and, say, Donald Luskin the next time he's in NYC.

It's a relatively simple matter to check Larry's Townhall.com archive. Don't you know how to do research?

Apparently not, because you're evidently not aware of the several major studies about the steel tariffs, both pro and con, which concluded just about the same numbers. Even the most pessimistic ones estimated $100 per car, and a few bucks per refrigerator -- and they did account for additional feedback from the initial levying of tariffs. I read these studies.

When you yourself start reading economic studies, you'll find that opposing studies on the same issue sometimes reach the same numerical conclusions. That's because the figures aren't as important as the interpretation: which is preferable, x or y?

Economics teaches that there's always a tradeoff. Is an extra $100 per car worth paying so a few steel workers can keep their jobs, though the total cost to society is more than what those jobs produce? Protectionists argue that the jobs have greater value than their tangible output. I happen to believe otherwise.

You claim that two senators are powerless to get anything passed. Actually, it only takes one -- one to sponsor a bill and drum up support. How do you think Robert Byrd gets so much federal money for West Virginia? (Taxfoundation.org calculates that West Virginia receives over $1.80 for every $1 that its citizens send to the federal government.) I suggest you look up "logrolling" and think about its prevalance in Congress. Do you think Byrd, or Ted Stevens, get support for their respective states' projects because the other senators are altruistic?

How do you think the atrocious McCain-Feingold "campaign finance reform" got passed, including with Bush's signature? Because that, and tariffs, are two of several issues that can easily become political blackmail. If you don't support "campaign finance reform," even if it's a bad law like we have today, your opponent in the next election will portray you as supported by special interests. If you don't support a tariff, your opponent will pull a John Kerry, accusing you of willfully denying jobs to Americans.

At least you're correct that much of Congress wants "a level playing field." That's also what Hoover and Congress wanted in 1930. There's no such thing, nor should we attempt a "level playing field." Stephen Roach complains incessantly about "global imbalances" that must be corrected, when in fact it's imbalances that push an economy forward. It's our differences, on an individual and national basis, that allow someone to do a task better than another.

Take the Schumpeterian entrepreneur as an example. He sees an opportunity that will create an imbalance in his favor, because he's not satisfied with the status quo, and he thinks he can earn a living that way.

You just can't deny that Larry opposed Bush's steel tariffs from the beginning. That's the bottom line. You made an allegation that turned out to be untrue. Do you enjoy the taste of your toes that much? Because I see your foot's in your mouth again.

As far as "too much time," I work long hours but still manage to balance family, friends and my blog. A few minutes a day helps keep the mind sharp.


Blogger TKC said...

A Mises institute article on protectionism.


The Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal on Bush's disasterous steel tariff policy.


Protectionism is bad economic policy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 4:01:00 PM  

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