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 Richmans' Trade and Taxes Blog

COVID-19 shows that imbalanced trade is killing US - we're published in today's American Thinker
Jesse Richman, 3/29/2020

by Jesse Richman and Howard Richman

We have been warning of the costs and dangers of imbalanced trade for decades.  With the election of Donald Trump, U.S. voters showed they got it.  But our country's elites in Congress and the bureaucracy have dragged their feet.  Perhaps with COVID-19, U.S. elites will recognize that imbalanced trade is killing the U.S. and finally get behind President Trump to fix it.

When a country configures its policies so that it consistently buys almost a trillion dollars more in goods from abroad than it sells, several things happen.  First, it stops making stuff.  Second, it goes deep in debt to foreigners.  Third, it becomes less resilient in the face of disasters and threats.

The consequences of imbalanced trade are dramatically apparent in the manifold weaknesses revealed by the current pandemic.  When China fought the virus, its medical workers had available top-quality respirators and full-body protective suits.  Millions of face masks were sent to the people of Wuhan, allowing each person to play a role in reducing transmission of the virus.

When American companies produce abroad, their factories may be taken over by the countries where the factories reside.  In fact, that is exactly what happened in China during the COVID-19 epidemic, as President Trump's economic adviser Peter Navarro pointed out in an interview with Maria Bartiromo on February 23 (see the 2:15 mark):

In terms of the immediate issue, face masks — the N-95 face masks, China put export restrictions on those masks and then nationalized an American factory that produces them there.

As the U.S. attempts to fight the pandemic that spread from China, our hospitals have dwindling supplies of the most basic protective gear and no possibility of providing our medical workers with the kind of protection China's doctors and nurses had available.

[Click here to read the rest on the American Thinker website.]


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Deborah Brix announces breakthrough -- FDA has agreed to let at-home testing resume later this week
Howard Richman, 3/24/2020

Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force said the following at the press conference yesterday:

There has been a breakthrough today, and I think you will see this from the FDA. For all of you who are waiting for self-swabbing options, those are going to be available sometime this week, to enable individuals to do their own tests.
You can see her say it on this video, starting at the 26:20 mark:


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FDA shuts down at-home tests for COVID-19
Howard Richman, 3/23/2020

Proving again that they are part of the problem, not part of the solution, the FDA on March 21 shut down the at-home tests for COVID-19 that had been developed by several companies according to

While a number of companies who currently offer at-home medical and health diagnostics had rushed to produce kits that would allow for self sample collection by people who passed a screening and believed they might have contracted the new coronavirus, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration  (FDA) has updated its Emergency Use Authorization guidelines to private labs that specifically bar the use of at-home sample collection. This means startups including EverlywellCarbon Health and Nurx will have to immediately discontinue their testing programs in light of the clarified rules.

The FDA issued the updated guidance on March 21, and though some of the companies had already begun to ship their sample collection kits to people, and even begun to receive samples back to their diagnostic laboratory partners, even any samples in-hand will not be tested, and will instead be destroyed in order to comply with the FDA’s request....

All three of the companies we spoke to that were working to distribute these tests had partnered with labs that were approved under the FDA emergency guidelines to perform COVID-19 diagnostics, and it was the understanding of all parties that at-home self collection via swab kits was included in the authorization. All three also said they were offering their tests at-cost, and seeking ways to defray even that cost to consumers through potential healthcare agency partnerships. Each also offered telehealth consultations for both the sample-gathering process, as well as for delivery of the results....


Comments: 1

Stop slow-walking synthetic vaccines! Our bureaucracy is killing us! - we're published in American Thinker this morning.
Howard Richman, 3/22/2020

by Howard Richman and Jesse Richman

The world is entering an economic recession and health crisis partly due to the continuing lack of imagination and capability among experts in the bureaucracy. Perhaps these supposed experts are suffering from a disease first named by C. Northcote Parkinson several decades ago: injelitance or the rise to power of incompetents who are skilled only in the arts of preventing problems from being solved by the capable.

The now legendary failure of the CDC to manage the task of developing an effective test for the virus is being compounded by the efforts of state and federal government bureaucrats to block Americans who developed their own tests, including the heroes at the Seattle Flu Study.  U.S. public health officials have advised Americans not to wear face masks  that work and can be made at home, and even though some countries are requiring masks to slow virus transmission. 

Many millions of Americans now on lock down are paying with their liberty for the freedom accorded to a few hundred thousand travelers from China and Europe over the last two months by incompetent government agencies like Homeland Security, despite President Trump’s clear intention to close the border to the disease.

And now health bureaucrats are slow-walking their testing of possible vaccines.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the lethargic actions of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Massachusetts-based Moderna Therapeutics completed the world’s first candidate COVID-19 vaccine in just 42 days and rushed the first vials to NIAID on February 24. But then NIAID bureaucrats started slow-walking it. They told TIME that they and the rest of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) couldn’t possibly prepare the vaccine for human testing before April, at the very earliest. Finally, perhaps due to intervention by the Trump administration, they discovered that they could, after all, begin human testing on March 16.

Meanwhile, NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci has repeatedly told reporters that no vaccine could possibly be approved in less than a year to a year and a half. In fact, one of the first times he said this, he was directly contradicting President Trump who had just said that he expected a vaccine in months, or a year at the most. The question becomes: Is Fauci’s bureaucracy intentionally slow-walking the approval process?

But the problem is not just bureaucratic lethargy, it is also a regulatory system which was designed to protect the public from vaccines made from attenuated pathogens, not vaccines that are synthesized in the lab. Attenuated viruses are dangerous. Sometimes they mutate within the body so that they can reproduce themselves and produce a disease. The following appears in a 2019 medical journal article, available on the NIH website:..

[Click here to read it on the American Thinker website]



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Our Pharmaceutical Industry needs Surgical Mask Protection -- we're published in American Thinker this morning
Howard Richman, 3/19/2020

by Jesse Richman and Howard Richman

Search Amazon today for face masks and the product will be unavailable, dramatically marked up, and/or shipping from China. In the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, masks are an essential component of the equipment medical professionals need but one that some hospital systems are also struggling to procure. And if they were widely available, face masks could potentially help Americans reduce the risk of infection as well, since one of the main infection pathways is through breathing the virus in, and masks substantially reduce exposure.

One of the reasons why masks have been in short supply in the U.S. is inevitable – any time there is a major pandemic involving a respiratory infection, there will be mask shortages. Part of it also involves decisions about trade policy that have systematically made the U.S. more vulnerable to political, economic, and health shocks....

To read the rest on the American Thinker website, go to:


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Human trials for US Vaccine moved up from April to today!
Howard Richman, 3/16/2020

The human trials for the U.S. vaccine, Moderna's mRNA vaccine, will start today. According to The Online Citizen:

The first participant in a clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine will receive the experimental vaccine on Monday (16 March), a United States (US) government official said.

The official also spoke on the condition of anonymity as the trial has not been publicly announced yet, according to an AP report earlier today. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is funding the trial which will take place at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle.

The trial is aimed to test whether the vaccine will show any potential side effects and to set the stage for a larger test. It will start with 45 young and healthy volunteers, in which they will be given different doses of shots co-developed by NIH and Moderna Inc.

Originally, according to TIME magazine on February 25, the first human trials were not going to start until April:

Moderna Therapeutics, a biotech company based in Cambridge, Mass., has shipped the first batches of its COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine was created just 42 days after the genetic sequence of the COVID_19 virus, called SARS-CoV-2, was released by Chinese researchers in mid-January. The first vials were sent to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, which will ready the vaccine for human testing as early as April.

My guess is that somebody in the Trump administration intervened to get NIAID and NIH moving.


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Israelis moving quickly to get out a COVID-19 vaccine - I'm published in American Thinker this morning.
Howard Richman, 3/15/2020

Israeli scientists at the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute had worked for four years and had successfully developed a coronavirus vaccine for chickens which passed clinical trials. When they saw the genetic sequencing of the COVID-19 virus, they realized that they could quickly adapt their chicken vaccine to the human virus. Ella Dagan, a spokesman for MIGAL told europorter:

When the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus COVID-19 was published, the researchers realized that the two viruses have the same infection mechanism similarities so they can use it, with small amount of adaptation, to achieve an effective human vaccine in a very short period of time.

Dr. Shahar, one of the scientists at MIGAL, saw God’s hand in this. He told

It’s a little bit like fate that we were working on this coronavirus vaccine at the same time that the world was suddenly hit by this epidemic of coronavirus for humans.

MIGAL created its vaccine by synthesizing two proteins. Unlike vaccines that are created by injecting a dead or weakened disease-causing virus, there is little danger that a synthetic virus will give patients a disease.

Its vaccine creates antibodies in the mucosal immune system of the body which consists of thin permeable barriers to infection in the lungs, gut, eyes, nose, throat, uterus and vagina. Dr. Chen Katz, MIGAL’s biotechnology group leader, gave europorter a detailed cellular-level description of how MIGAL’s vaccine works:...

To read the rest at the American Thinker, go to:



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God's Providence at work: The Israeli COVID-19 vaccine
Howard Richman, 3/11/2020

Israeli scientists have developed an oral COVID-19 vaccine. The latest report is from, a website that reports Israeli innovation news:

While working on the avian [coronavirus] vaccine, the scientists [at the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute] said they identified a possible COVID-19 vaccine candidate as a by-product of the [avian] vaccine and have made the “required genetic adjustments to adapt the vaccine to COVID-19, the human strain of coronavirus.”...

“It’s a little bit like fate that we were working on this coronavirus vaccine at the same time that the world was suddenly hit by this epidemic of coronavirus for humans,” [Dr. Shahar of MIGAL] says.

The MIGAL vaccine was created by synthesizing two proteins. Unlike vaccines that are created by injecting a dead or weakened disease-causing viruses, there is very little danger of the MIGAL vaccine giving patients a disease.

The main danger with synthetic vaccines is that they will only work in the test tube, not in-vivo. But the researchers at MIGAL have already proven in clinical trials that the avian version of their vaccine works in live chickens.

Most vaccines create antibodies in the bloodstream – not this one! This one creates antibodies in the mucosal immune system which consists of thin permeable barriers to infection in the lungs, gut, eyes, nose, throat, uterus and vagina. The website quotes Dr. Chen Katz, MIGAL’s biotechnology group leader saying:...


Comments: 1

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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]