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 Richmans' Trade and Taxes Blog

Peter Morici: Trump's Got It Right on Trade
Howard Richman, 1/30/2016

U. of Maryland economist Peter Morici, former chief economist at the USTR, endorsed Trump's trade plans, in a commentary this week. Here's how he begins:

Donald Trump has been savaged by economists and media aligned with establishment candidates for tough positions on trade — including a 45 percent tariff on imports to force China to the negotiating table.

Actually, he’s got it right.

Establishment Democrats and Republicans embrace free trade because it puts free markets first with benefits any decently trained economist should extoll. Unfortunately, trade with China and many nations is hardly market-driven.

It hurts U.S. growth and victimizes America’s families.

He estimates that just this year, the growth in the U.S. trade deficit with China cost by $25 billion cost an additional 200,000 U.S. jobs:...


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How to remove moderator bias from the presidential debates -- we're published in American Thinker this morning
Howard Richman, 1/29/2016

We begin:

The 2016 presidential primary debates are arguably at a breaking point.  Donald Trump's refusal to participate in Thursday night's Fox News/Google debate raises to a new level expressions of candidate dissatisfaction with debate questions and debate format. 

The problem is that the current format gives moderators and the news organizations that they represent way too much power.  They engineer the questions to be asked.  They control which candidates have an opportunity to answer what question, and for how long, and at what time.  They even pick members of the public to ask biased questions.  As a result, debates have gotten quite unfair.  For example:

  • Donald Trump.  The leading candidate in the Republican race pulled out of Thursday's debate after Fox News included Megyn Kelly as a questioner over Trump's objections, which stemmed from the question that she asked at the outset of the first debate.  In addition, some argue THAT Fox News and Google stacked the deck against Trump in advance of this week's debate with questions to be asked by an illegal immigrant U.S. Army veteran and by a Muslim-American – both young women.
  • Jim Webb.  The lone moderate in the Democratic Party's race dropped out of the Democratic campaign almost immediately after a frustrating first Democratic debate in which he felt he was ignored and poorly treated. 
  • Bernie Sanders.  According to Dick Morris, the format of CNN's final Democratic primary debate kept Bernie Sanders from challenging Hillary Clinton's lies.  And one of the "town hall" questioners revealed that he had been told to ask the softball question for Hillary that he asked.
  • Mitt Romney.  CNN moderator Candy Crowley and President Obama enacted what appeared to be a prepared script to get Obama off the hook for misleading the American people about the terrorist nature of the Benghazi attack, which left several dead Americans.
As these examples demonstrate, moderators and the organizations that they represent use their power over the process to tip the scales in favor of one candidate or the other.  Anti-establishment candidates appear to get targeted during the primary election debates, while Republicans get targeted in the general election debates. 

To read the rest, follow the following link:



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Climate change commitments to be added to NAFTA not TPP
Howard Richman, 1/25/2016

An article from IBTimes quotes the top U.S. trade official saying that the Paris climate commitments would not be added to TPP, because doing so could kill TPP:

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said Friday an embattled 12-nation trade deal was not an appropriate vehicle for fighting climate change.

But it then quotes the top Canadian trade official saying that, instead, strong North American commitments on climate would be added to NAFTA:...


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US-China Trade: National Review is the "buffoon" not Trump -- Ray and I are published in the American Thinker this morning
Howard Richman, 1/25/2016

We begin:

In one of National Review’s hit pieces against Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump (What Trump Doesn’t Understand – It’s a lot about our Trade with China), correspondent Kevin D. Williamson called Trump a “dangerous buffoon” because he would threaten tariffs upon China’s products, and thus risk a trade war with China. But it’s not Trump that is the buffoon on trade; it is the National Review!

Trump plans to take on the huge U.S. trade deficit with the world, and especially with China. He threatens to place upon Chinese products a tariff that is like the 45% tariff that China recently placed upon some U.S. cars. Such a threat could lead to negotiations between the U.S. and China about balancing trade, and Trump wrote the book on negotiations.

When an article tears into a candidate for having his facts wrong, the magazine that prints it probably should check to make sure that the candidate is actually wrong. But National Review failed to fact-check this piece. Its correspondent Kevin D. Williamson wrote:

China did put a punitive retaliatory tariff on some cars made by GM and Chrysler…. That was a 12.9 percent tariff, incidentally, nothing like the 45 percent that Trump imagines, and it is being withdrawn. Chinese buyers in fact love American cars — a Buick is a much bigger status symbol in China than in New Jersey.

But Chinese tariffs on big-engine American-made cars were in addition to China’s already existing 25% tariff on all U.S.-made vehicles. The Guardian, a British newspaper, got it right when the new tariff was announced. It reported on December 14, 2011:

General Motors faces the greatest impact, almost 22% extra on some sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and other cars with engine capacities above 2.5 litres. Chrysler faces a 15% penalty, while a 2% levy will be imposed on BMW, whose US plants make many of the cars it exports to China.

Existing taxes and duties already push up the cost of US imports by 25%, and the new levies make it even more expensive for Chinese consumers to buy American.

Let’s add up the numbers. China’s base tariff on American vehicles is 25%. In 2011 it announced that it would add an extra 22% on some cars. If you add 22% to 25%, the total is 47%, which is much closer to the 45% that Trump stated than to the 12.9% claimed by the National Review.

The U.S.-China Trade Relationship

The unwritten rule of U.S.-China trade is simple. The U.S. buys Chinese products, but China won’t buy American products unless they can’t be produced in China. As a result, the U.S. trade deficit (goods and services) with China has been growing, ever since President Bill Clinton gave China “most favored-nation” status and WTO membership in 2001, in return for reductions in China’s tariff rates.

During the year from October 2014 to September 2015, as shown by the right-most line in the graph below, the U.S. trade deficit with China was a record $338 billion:

To read the rest, go to:



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Sarah Palin to endorse Donald Trump at Iowa rally tonight
Howard Richman, 1/19/2016

According to the New York Times, Sarah Palin is going to endorse Donald Trump at a rally in Iowa tonight. Palin, like Trump, advocates balanced trade. Here's what I wrote in a a post on this blog on June 7, 2011:

The Los Angeles Times reports that Governor Palin met with Donald Trump during a May 31 visit to New York. In her remarks, she told reporters that she advocates balanced trade arrangements:

"What do we have in common? Our love for this country, a desire to see our economy put back on the right track," Palin told reporters. "To have a balanced trade arrangement with other countries across this world so Americans can have our jobs, our industries, our manufacturing again. And exploiting responsibly our natural resources. We can do that again if we make good decisions."...


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Had Pres. Bill Clilnton Banned Muslim Travel to the USA 9/11 Would Not Have Occurred
Raymond Richman, 1/5/2016

Candidate Donald Trump called for the United States to bar all Muslims from entering the country until the nation’s leaders can “figure out what is going on”. Saying that “hatred” among many Muslims for Americans is “beyond comprehension,” Mr. Trump said in a statement that the United States needed to confront “where this hatred comes from and why.” “Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life,” Mr. Trump said.

According to the New York Times, “Repudiation of Mr. Trump’s remarks was swift and severe among religious groups and politicians from both parties. Mr. Trump is “unhinged,” said one Republican rival, former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, while another, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, called the ban “offensive and outlandish.” Hillary Clinton said the idea was “reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive.” Organizations representing Jews, Christians and those of other faiths quickly joined Muslims in denouncing Mr. Trump’s proposal…Mr. Trump made his remarks a day after President Obama delivered a national address from the Oval Office urging Americans not to turn against Muslims in the wake of the terrorist attacks.”

All seem to have forgotten that Muslims from many Mid-east countries participated in terrorist attacks in the U.S., attacks on U.S. passenger airplanes, attacks in friendly countries like the Philippines and France. The Muslim terrorists involved in those attacks came from Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Pakistan, Chechenia, and others with Muslim populations.

Had the ban been imposed by Pres, Clinton after the first bombing of the Word Trade Center in 1993 and after the warnings he received from the Philippine Police after the attacks in the Philippines in 1995, we would have avoided the attacks of Muslims in the U.S. during the past two decades and saved thousands of American lives. According to Wikipedia, the following Muslim attacks took place in the U.S. since 1993:...


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  • [An] extensive argument for balanced trade, and a program to achieve balanced trade is presented in Trading Away Our Future, by Raymond Richman, Howard Richman and Jesse Richman. “A minimum standard for ensuring that trade does benefit all is that trade should be relatively in balance.” [Balanced Trade entry]

    Journal of Economic Literature:

  • [Trading Away Our Future] Examines the costs and benefits of U.S. trade and tax policies. Discusses why trade deficits matter; root of the trade deficit; the “ostrich” and “eagles” attitudes; how to balance trade; taxation of capital gains; the real estate tax; the corporate income tax; solving the low savings problem; how to protect one’s assets; and a program for a strong America....

    Atlantic Economic Journal:

  • In Trading Away Our Future   Richman ... advocates the immediate adoption of a set of public policy proposal designed to reduce the trade deficit and increase domestic savings.... the set of public policy proposals is a wake-up call... [February 17, 2009 review by T.H. Cate]