Category Archives: Media Appearances

Will Trump’s Tariffs Spell the End of Free Markets?

The short answer: no. But the new and upcoming tariffs certainly don’t help matters, here or abroad. I tackle that question in a piece for Inside Sources:

The president’s threats must be fought, but the good news is America’s fundamental institutions will withstand Trumpian bluster. For one thing, our economy remains a powerhouse. America’s $19 trillion economy already withstands an annual $1.9 trillion in annual regulatory costs from Washington. On top of that, Trump’s tariffs will cost “only” a few billion dollars. In short, the economy is dragging along a big, deadweight burden, but it can still get the job done…

Even in trade, where the Trump administration poses the greatest threat to free enterprise, America has been liberalizing for more than 75 years. The Smoot-Hawley tariff bill of 1930 raised America’s average tariff to more than 60 percent and worsened the Great Depression. But today tariffs are closer to 5 percent (source: Douglas Irwin, “Clashing Over Commerce: A History of U.S. Trade Policy,” p. 8), and Trump’s targeted tariffs likely won’t raise that figure more than a decimal point. Trump is reversing a long history of openness, but so far it’s small potatoes. If economists, Congress, and the World Trade Organization all do their jobs, it will stay that way.

In the meantime, defenders of the classical liberal enlightenment traditions of international openness and free trade will be very busy standing up to the administration’s latest populist outburst. Read the whole thing here.

For more CEI tariff coverage, see here by Iain Murray and here by me. For more on Trump’s threat to the values that made America great, see Steven Pinker’s book “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.”

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Media Appearances

Trade and regulation have both been hot issues lately. Since those are two of the main issues on my beat, I’ve been pretty busy lately:

  • Inside Sources is syndicating an op-ed arguing that America’s classical liberal institutions are stronger than Trump’s passing populist fancy.
  • CEI press release on President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs.
  • Which was quoted in an Investor’s Business Daily editorial.
  • And in City AM, a daily newspaper in London (see p. 3, cont’d from a story on p. 1).My recent post about Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro was quoted on CNN. Don’t know what day or which program, but one of my colleagues sent along the following transcript:

[00:25:07] To put it another way, it cost about $400,000 per job saved in the steel industry. OK, and the outcome this time doesn’t look much better. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the levies could save as many as 33,000 jobs in the steel and aluminum industries, this comes at a great cost. Downstream industries that use steel and aluminum such as automobiles, construction (inaudible) will face higher costs, passed on to consumers with higher prices, could cost those other industries 179,000 jobs.

I’ll post more as they come.

On the Radio: Income Inequality

Regular readers know that Iain Murray and I recently released a pair of papers on economic inequality, People, Not Ratios and The Rising Tide. I had the opportunity to sit down with RealClear Radio Hour‘s Bill Frezza to discuss them while in DC recently to attend CEI’s annual dinner.

My segment was sandwiched between Clemson University economist Bruce Yandle, of Baptist and Bootleggers fame, and Steve Forbes. I deserve no place on such a billing, and can only consider it an honor.

The show, as aired, is here. Yandle and Forbes, as always, are essential listening.

An extended version of my segment is here.

Minimum Wage Is No Panacea

I recently spoke to a reporter about the minimum wage’s tradeoffs: it helps some people, but at the cost of hurting other people. Here’s the writeup.

Regulation in the News

An otherwise-excellent Daily Caller writeup by Michael Bastach cites some of my research on the recent surge in regulatory activity.

Inequality Coverage

Iain Murray’s and my new papers on inequality, People, Not Ratios and The Rising Tide, have gotten some good coverage.

Kudos to CEI’s communications team for all their hard work. More to come.

Seattle’s $15 Minimum Wage

A short writeup of Seattle’s new $15 minimum wage quotes me.