Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday Quick Hits

Here are several headlines that are well worth your time:
  • So the US and Mexico have apparently resolved their cross-border trucking dispute.  By my math, it only took the President two years - and many millions of dollars worth of needless tariffs on US exports - to "end" (only half the tariffs were immediately lifted) the dispute, and his big "solution" actually appears to be worse (i.e., more trade-limiting) than the program his party unlawfully eliminated back in 2009.  In that way this new "fix" is just like the President's solution to the US-Korea FTA - long delays, tons of lost export opportunities, and a worse agreement than the one his predecessor negotiated many years prior.  (Hey, are we seeing the emergence of an "Obama doctrine" on trade?)
    • Simon Lester absolutely dismantles the latest trade-skeptical piece from Princeton's Uwe Reinhardt, which bizarrely characterizes the free trader's view of the world as "a giant cattle farm to be managed in ways that maximize the collective weight of the cattle."   Lester also gets in a good shot on everyone's favorite protectionist punching bag, Ian Fletcher.
    • Speaking of Fletcher, Cafe Hayek's Don Boudreaux pens yet another devastating-yet-simple criticism of Flether's latest protectionist screed (be sure to read Don's enlightening follow-ups in the comments section);  AEI's Mark Perry follows-up by pointing out the basic economic ignorance of protectionism.  (I'd also note the utter insanity of Fletcher's assertion that mainstream media journalists "are well-paid and 'lean right' on trade."  Umm, WHAT?)
    • Cato's Sallie James heartily fisks Sen. Sessions' silly press release extolling his new legislative "fix" to the GSP program.  I'd only add that, according to the his presser, Sessions is apparently proud to be aligned with this guy on the GSP issue.  (Err, congrats, Senator.  Way to think that one through.)
    • Mark Perry highlights a fascinating study on the changing dynamics of the American and Chinese manufacturing sectors, and the fact that "some manufacturing is being brought back to the U.S. from China, especially for smaller American firms, because of: a) rising labor costs in China, b) inconsistent quality, c) shipping costs that have doubled in the last year (see chart above), and d) the lack of safeguards on intellectual property."  Put another nail in the "outsourcing" coffin. (Note: as I've previously noted, these "in-sourcing" and "re-shoring" phenomena have been happening for a while and seem to gain steam when energy prices are high.)
    • EconLog's David Henderson efficiently undermines the misguided notion that unionization promotes the "middle class."  (Of course, one need only notice the unions' uniform opposition to free trade to realize the absurdity of that notion, but still....)
    • The Examiner's invaluable Tim Carney mercilessly details how all those super-neato green subsidies aren't "driven by tree-hugging activists, earnest liberal bloggers, or ecologically minded citizens" and instead flow "from the lobbyists and executives of well-connected multinational corporations and built-for-subsidy startups that see profit in the loan guarantees, handouts, mandates, and tax credits Congress creates in the name of saving the planet." Shocking, I know.
    • I think I'll be passing on this, uh, interesting business opportunity, thanks.
    Enjoy, everyone.

    1 comment:

    John B said...

    Fletcher proposes a 30% flat tariff on all goods and services imports. I'm more than a little surprised that he doesn't know that there are no tariffs on services.