​Tariffs - Why You Don't Make Your Own Chicken Sandwich From Scratch

Do you like Chicken Sandwiches? Maybe on a toasted bun? With pickles, cheese, and tomato and lettuce as well? If so, there’s a video on YouTube you should really see. A guy makes his own chicken sandwich. From the ground up. Literally. Everything from growing his own vegetables and grain (for the bread) to slaughtering and plucking and cleaning a chicken (no idea if it was free range).

How long did it take him?

6 months.

What did it cost him in time, (labor if you will), and materials?

$1,500.00. Dollars to be clear. Not Mexican pesos. Or rupees. Or yuan.

What did the sandwich taste like?

Not bad. Not really tasty. Not awesome. Not delicious. Just, not bad.

Mr. President. This is why you don't grow your own chickens or personally run your own cotton plantations for your clothing line. We trade. For almost everything. It's been with us in some form or other since the first incipient cultures developed. It's how we exploit comparative advantage, specializing in what we can do better. Not even best, just relatively better at some specific thing compared with whoever you're trading with. We specialize and we trade. Say less than $ 10.00 of your wages for a lip-smacking chicken sandwich that you have to wait a few minutes for, once having ordered it.

Does any trading system need rules? Yes, of course. Does China exploit WTO rules for its own purposes? Yes. Is there room for occasionally using punitive tariffs - narrowly targeted ones - that help force a cheater to comply with the rules? Yes, but it's often a gamble and can lead to trade wars which can be devastating.

Section 232 which gives President Trump authority to impose sanctions, is part of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Not to be confused with the Trade Expansion Act of 1930. But definitely to be compared with. The earlier Act helped deepen and lengthen the Great Depression. The latter Act put in place by JFK's administration did far less damage. Different times, yes, but the main point is that both Acts give the executive the authority to implement tariffs. It's how they use that authority that matters.

The sudden decision by the President to use Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 to slap tariffs an steel and aluminum imports has apparently been divisive within the White House, and may not even have been put together legally. President Trump likely jumped the gun on the announcement and now has to wait and let his staff actually work out all the details and legally vet the tariffs. That's according to Axios' Jonathan Swan, and should be taken with some caution as Axios and Mike Allen are usually keen to portray this administration as perpetually on the brink of collapse.

The president is indeed fulfilling a campaign promise and playing to a key part of his base. But in doing so in a rushed and slipshod fashion (if the reports are accurate) he may end up causing far more damage than was necessary. A narrower and less punitive set of tariffs would have been preferable.

The last thing the President needs to do is punish his allies along with his far more understandable punishing of China. He could have fired a less lethal warning shot across the bow and achieved much the same purpose, with less cost. Of course, we'll have to wait for the full details of the new tariffs to emerge. It will be a tense wait for much of American industry (from automobiles to beer cans to pipelines) as well as for a few key allies.

Trade works. Even when there are some clear losers. Let's hope Trump re-calibrates the extent of these tariffs. It would be the wise thing to do.

Posted by Keeley at March 7, 2018 2:59 PM
Comment #425168
(if the reports are accurate)

That’s a key sentence, isn’t it? If the reports are accurate. Five minutes after Trump says he’s going to stick up for the American Worker the media is clutching their pearls so tight they’re turning into diamonds. The Doom And Gloom machine starts up again (not that it ever stopped).

We’ve known for decades China has been dumping steel in this country. We buy it because it’s cheaper. It’s cheaper because the Chinese government subsidizes their industry. It’s about time someone actually stuck up for American Workers (what’s left of them). One thing we should do would be to just put our partisan blinders away and wait for some facts to come out before we start hiding our children in the sewers.

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 7, 2018 3:14 PM
Comment #425174

I enjoyed your post Keeley. As you indicated, we must wait and see what tariffs are actually enacted. Tariffs can be an excellent tool when applied appropriately.

I could post numerous quotes from previous presidents, and presidential candidates, of both parties who advocated tariffs to deal with unfair trade. None of these presidents did a damn thing worth citing about unfair trade, except talk about it to hopefully gain votes come election time.

In much the same way these same past presidents, and candidates talked about reigning in North Korea and its nuclear bomb and missile technology.

All talk and hardly any meaningful action has been the norm for the United States on fighting both unfair trade and North Korea nuclear bomb and missile ambitions.

We now have a president who not only talks about fixing these problems, but has taken, or is considering serious action to resolve them.

I applaud President Trump for tackling issues and problems that have been kicked down the road for decades by other politicians too timid, or too coerced, to act.

Posted by: Royal Flush at March 7, 2018 4:11 PM
Comment #425180

Non-existent Keeley, your argument is being used about the water crisis in Cape Town, specifically how much water is used for agriculture.


Posted by: ohrealy at March 7, 2018 6:21 PM
Comment #425204

Oh wow!!! It appears amazing and extremely fun to complete! Like it! Thank you for discussing, seriously! I figured that towards the diy color shirt you need to use among the textile printing techniques however, you managed to get quite simple! If you wish to check out address to find, some face or slogan or contributing to your flag small stars you can keep studying. There’s a website with how you can do textile printing in your own home. extremely nice but requires more persistence.

Posted by: Katherine Collins at March 8, 2018 10:25 AM
Comment #425205

So the choice is possibly devastating trade wars or allowing China to continue to exploit WTO rules at the cost of jobs for American workers? If the WTO cannot get China to play fair when it comes to free trade then I say Wuck FTO and Chuck Fhina. I think it may end up, however, with the American government subsidizing the steel industry by paying WTO fines. But I’m gonna start laying in some extra food and get ready for the depression that may be the result of this tariff.

Seems Trump is going against the free trade ideology and looking to Chuck Fhina and the American corporate wh**es that allow China to rob them and us so they can do business there. The repubs in Congress are braying pretty loud against it. SO it must be good for someone other than the billionaires.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 8, 2018 12:05 PM
Comment #425209


Posted by: Royal Flush at March 8, 2018 6:36 PM
Comment #425325

We’ve known for decades China has been dumping steel in this country

US steel imports by country, 2017:

1. Canada (16% of our imported steel)
2, Brazil (13%)
3. South Korea (10%)
4. Mexico (9%)
5. Russia (9%)
6. Turkey (7%)
7. Japan (5%)
8. Taiwan (4%)
9. Germany (3%)
10. India (2%)

Chins isn’t even in the top ten.

Posted by: Elliott at March 12, 2018 5:50 PM
Comment #425393

Doesn’t refute the fact that China isn’t among the top ten exporters of steel to the US.

Posted by: Elliott at March 14, 2018 10:27 AM
Comment #425394

They’re still cheating. What’s wrong with confronting cheaters?

Posted by: Weary Willie at March 14, 2018 11:04 AM
Comment #425407
I could post numerous quotes from previous presidents, and presidential candidates, of both parties who advocated tariffs to deal with unfair trade.

Please do Royal. It will help us all to see the hows and whys of introducing tariffs into the mix. The process is a bit more complicated when we are WTO members.

The Obama administration it seems , was more prone to filing lawsuits with the WTO. But then he did in fact introduce tariffs on China.

The problem with Trump is two fold, first the timing of the announcement of steel tariffs on Chinese steel is suspect. He politicized the tariffs to give the repub running in the Penn special election a needed boost, or so it seems. Secondly it is Trump. He hasn’t been able to run the White House and his administration his first year in office. How can we trust him to determine if imposing tariffs is the right thing at the right time?

The mentality of using the “well they did it to” argument to defend Trump is wrong headed. The idea that because one president did it for a certain specific reason doesn’t give a carte blanche approval for anyone else to use this reasoning if the circumstances are different. Especially if Trump did in fact use the tariff on Chinese steel for no other reason than an attempt to gain a few votes.

Posted by: j2t2 at March 14, 2018 10:23 PM
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