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Thread: Ronald Reagan's Pie Fight Analogy For A Trade War

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    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    Ronald Reagan's Pie Fight Analogy For A Trade War

    Heh. I came across this amusing anecdote about Ronald Reagan in my Sunday morning's edition of The Denver Post. I will just quote the first two paragraphs of the article. And note that I may not be able to provide a link until tomorrow. I have often noticed that the links to stories in this particular newspaper are not available until a day after the story appears in print. But, anyway, here are those first two paragraphs:

    "President Ronald Reagan once likened trade wars to the pie fights in old Hollywood comedies. One pie in the face leads to another. And then another."

    "Pretty soon, Reagan said in a 1986 radio address, 'everything and everybody gets messier and messier. The difference here is that it's not funny. It's tragic. Protectionism becomes destructionism. It costs jobs.'"

    God bless my soul, but reading this actually made me miss old Ronnie RayGun, who I always was an opponent of back then.

    I always thought that Ronnie was too dumb to be President. But his pie-fight analogy for a trade war is brilliant, simple and concise: It shows the ridiculousness and absurdity of a trade war, on a level that a 3rd-grader should be able to understand.

    Ronald Reagan was actually about a hundred times smarter than Donald Trump.

    And I can guarantee you that Reagan at least took the time to read his Presidential Daily Briefings.

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    Veteran Member bajisima's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neomalthusian View Post
    Its such a disconnect and a bit of a problem for unions. They have been literally screaming since NAFTA passed about how awful trade agreements are and how they lost 700,000 jobs etc. Trump runs on exactly what they wanted and suddenly they are embarassed. Its very weird. I work with various construction union members and they really love this stuff. Many were Sanders guys, but they just love these anti trade leaders. Its an odd sight to see Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and rep Tim Ryan basically saying "we would do the same thing."
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    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    Its such a disconnect and a bit of a problem for unions. They have been literally screaming since NAFTA passed about how awful trade agreements are and how they lost 700,000 jobs etc. Trump runs on exactly what they wanted and suddenly they are embarassed. Its very weird. I work with various construction union members and they really love this stuff. Many were Sanders guys, but they just love these anti trade leaders. Its an odd sight to see Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and rep Tim Ryan basically saying "we would do the same thing."
    It is ironic that union workers in the US have been integral to the destruction of our labor unions over the past several decades via their support for Republican politicians. That said, Democratic politicians aren't really doing the union workers any favors by glomming onto the same inane bumper sticker slogans used by the Republicans. Doing so may save these Democrats in the rust belt from losing reelection, but it won't bring back 20th century manufacturing jobs.
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    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightSwimmer View Post
    It is ironic that union workers in the US have been integral to the destruction of our labor unions over the past several decades via their support for Republican politicians. That said, Democratic politicians aren't really doing the union workers any favors by glomming onto the same inane bumper sticker slogans used by the Republicans. Doing so may save these Democrats in the rust belt from losing reelection, but it won't bring back 20th century manufacturing jobs.
    Robots are glomming on to most of the 21st century manufacturing jobs.

    Very unfair competition. They don't even demand to be paid!
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    Quote Originally Posted by bajisima View Post
    Its such a disconnect and a bit of a problem for unions. They have been literally screaming since NAFTA passed about how awful trade agreements are and how they lost 700,000 jobs etc. Trump runs on exactly what they wanted and suddenly they are embarassed. Its very weird. I work with various construction union members and they really love this stuff. Many were Sanders guys, but they just love these anti trade leaders. Its an odd sight to see Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and rep Tim Ryan basically saying "we would do the same thing."
    As individuals, most people are terrified their job will be eliminated and that whatever other skills they have won't be enough for anyone else to hire them, and that they'll descend into poverty and suffering. Probably the most common deep-seated fear of ordinary people. Manifesting from that fear is attraction to policy ideas that make promises of job preservation regardless of how deleterious they are long-term, or to their overall economy.

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    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neomalthusian View Post
    As individuals, most people are terrified their job will be eliminated and that whatever other skills they have won't be enough for anyone else to hire them, and that they'll descend into poverty and suffering. Probably the most common deep-seated fear of ordinary people. Manifesting from that fear is attraction to policy ideas that make promises of job preservation regardless of how deleterious they are long-term, or to their overall economy.
    I think this is all correct; and I think the only thing, the only policy idea that I have heard of, that will 'correct' this deep-seated fear, is the idea of a 'basic income' which would relieve people of the fear that they might fall into destitution, and become homeless vagrants. I suspect that over the next decade, we are going to be hearing more and more, and yet more, about the idea of giving EVERYONE a basic annual income. Then they can negotiate with employers to supplement that basic income.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLeRoy View Post
    I think this is all correct; and I think the only thing, the only policy idea that I have heard of, that will 'correct' this deep-seated fear, is the idea of a 'basic income' which would relieve people of the fear that they might fall into destitution, and become homeless vagrants. I suspect that over the next decade, we are going to be hearing more and more, and yet more, about the idea of giving EVERYONE a basic annual income. Then they can negotiate with employers to supplement that basic income.
    I don't think that's a magic bullet either. Either it's not really enough to make a difference in the lives of the poor, meaning it doesn't materially improve their circumstances, or it's a generous amount but then prices rise, resulting the same stratification and dissatisfaction among the poor. Not to say it doesn't belong in the conversation, just doesn't seem like a magic bullet.

    The Case Against a Basic Income

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigLeRoy View Post
    Robots are glomming on to most of the 21st century manufacturing jobs.

    Very unfair competition. They don't even demand to be paid!
    They are biding their time until they are installed in numbers large enough to take over.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neomalthusian View Post
    I don't think that's a magic bullet either. Either it's not really enough to make a difference in the lives of the poor, meaning it doesn't materially improve their circumstances, or it's a generous amount but then prices rise, resulting the same stratification and dissatisfaction among the poor. Not to say it doesn't belong in the conversation, just doesn't seem like a magic bullet.

    The Case Against a Basic Income
    Basic income could be linked to inflation.

    The government can become the employer of last resort.
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