I Dislike Tariffs; I Dislike Intellectual Property Theft Much, Much More
Now There’s a Thought
We’ve oft written about the abject phoniness that poses as “free trade” in Washington, D.C.
Where our trading partners impose all sorts of taxes and import limits on our stuff. And we do nothing of the sort to theirs - flinging wide open our worlds-largest-market to any and all comers.
Where our trading partners’ governments subsidize the living daylight out of their products. Which they then bring to global market - bringing with them the inherent, price-reducing advantages of all the government money behind them.
All of which woefully disadvantages our products - and their producers. Because our producers aren’t competing on anything remotely resembling a level playing field.
This decades-long inanity - has severely damaged our nation.
It has cost us millions of jobs. The Rust Belt - wasn’t always the Rust Belt. It used to be the heart of the world’s greatest manufacturing engine.
Gone are tens of thousands of plants and factories. Swap-outsourced - for government money checks, meth labs and opioid addictions.
Oh: But you can get a Communist Chinese TV at Walmart fo $20 less than you otherwise would - so that makes up for everything.
Speaking of Communist China….
Republican President Donald Trump campaigned for his current gig - against the bipartisan DC headwind: “Manufacturing jobs are never coming back.”
Trump won - and then went about the business of…bringing those jobs back. Over 304,000 such jobs have been created…and counting, as the regulatory and tax cuts continue to work their magic.
And things will additionally continue to improve - because Trump is also working on the third leg of the economy stool: Improving DCs awful trade track record.
And just in time. Because China has also been stealing the next generation of jobs - generated by and around the creation of Intellectual Property (IP). Having cornered much of our manufacturing job market - China is now moving on our world-leading IP creation.
China is working to steal our IP creation - by promising IP creators IP security…if you move your IP creation to China.
This is a protection-racket-shakedown - of trillions-of-dollars-proportions. Because China has spent the last several decades…stealing trillions of dollars of IP.
We in the US lose to Chinese IP theft about $600 billion per year. Oh - and China forces companies to “voluntarily” hand over their IP - in exchange for any access at all to China’s market.
Trump has been rightly decrying these sorts of awfulness…for decades. He campaigned for President - repeatedly denouncing China’s massive IP theft.
And after working domestically to address regulatory and tax overreach - in March Trump announced steel and aluminum tariffs on China. And did so - citing China’s IP theft as a principal reason therefore. Trump’s tariff total - topped out at $150 billion. Or…less than 25% of China’s annual IP theft from us.
The same DC fake free traders - who have spent several decades allowing to continue unabated this massive Chinese IP theft specifically and awful trade generally - screeched about Trump and his “Trade War.”
News flash, folks: We’ve been in a trade war with China…for decades. They declared it. And until Trump - only they were waging it.
I publicly, repeatedly said Trump’s tariffs were exactly the right thing to do.
If you’ve been punched in the face for half a century and done nothing about it - to get it to finally stop…you have to start punching back.
China has been Muhammad Ali-ing us forever. It’s about time we finally got up off the mat.
Now…I do not like tariffs. Nor do I like artificial government limits imposed on trade. Nor do I like government subsidies of products.
I do not like any of these things - because I like free trade. Not the fake “free trade” with which DC has for decades destroyed us. I like actual, real free trade.
But if I have to swallow some Trump tariffs - to address four times that amount in IP theft - I am all the way down with it.
Trump is threatening to tax some China fruit - to save the US IP fruit tree. Because that tree - is MUCH more important than that fruit.
If we have to pay more for steel and aluminum products - in exchange for saving domestic IP production - then hand me my wallet…I’ll happily pay.
But I also supported Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs - because I knew they would never, ever actually be imposed. Because I know - as Trump does - China needs us…WAY more than we need them.
Who was right? Trump and I - or the DC Smart Set?
China Trade War 'On Hold' as Trump Pauses Tariffs: “The administration had threatened $50 billion to $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods as a way to deter the theft of U.S. intellectual property and forced transfers of technology. Beijing countered by threatening tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. farm, chemical and other exports.
“But (Treasury Secretary Steven) Mnuchin said Sunday that the two sides agreed on a framework for reducing the U.S. trade deficit with China and addressing technology trade irritants during high-level talks on Thursday and Friday….
“U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, one of the driving forces behind the intellectual property theft investigation that led Trump to threaten tariffs on $50 billion to $150 billion worth of Chinese goods, said in a statement that the two sides have "agreed on a framework to address the very serious issues raised" in that probe. That includes putting the tariffs on hold, but keeping them in reserve if needed.”
Oh look - the Chinese blinked.
Now, I am not an idiot. Neither is Trump (despite widespread reporting to the contrary). I do not trust the Communist Chinese - as far as I can throw their Great Wall.
But we just watched them go - in just two months - from full-on bluster and threats of retaliation…to a unilateral buckling.
Because they know what we all should - that we can afford a “trade war” WAY more than they can.
And most importantly:
I think saving our status as the world leader in IP creation and implementation - is vitally, crucially, fundamentally important to our economic future.
Oh - and our national and international security as well.
5G wireless - and the all-encompassing Internet of Everything - is coming. We are but a couple of years away from everything - cars, stoplights, stoves…EVERYTHING - being online.
And the 5G world leader and standard-setter is either going to be the US - or Communist China. Guess for whom I’m rooting.
So we must do everything possible to protect everything Intellectual Property from Chinese theft.
Including threatening to pay a little more for steel and aluminum.
Which, again, we will never have to actually do.
Because as we have just seen - China needs us WAY more than we need them.
This first appeared in Red State.