This is a libertarian blog. It advocates freedom, small government and free trade in goods and services. It is supposed to criticise those who want to erect barriers to competition from foreigners. And it has been a constant critic of efforts to expand government through new expenditure programs and regulations. To a libertarian the burden of proof for new government expenditure is extraordinarily high.
I hold these values closely – small government, balanced budgets, efficient taxation with low rates and free trade. Not fair trade – free trade. It is sophistry to argue for fair trade.
Yet I see examples of creeping mercantalism in this blog – surely an anathema to a libertarian? People who say that because other countries are imposing new forms of protection so should we.
That argument is a nonsense – something I would expect to see in Green Left Weekly.
If other countries are foolish enough to increase protection and add barriers to trade that’s their problem. Our solution should always and everywhere to cut tariffs and reduce protectionism. And this includes the new form of protection, that of selective specifications (eg: Australian design rules quite different to other countries, or arbitrary limits to pesticide residue unrelated to science or practice elsewhere).
We should always campaign for other countries to reduce trade barriers, but we should always pursue that in our own backyard.
The defence of Trump – who is not only increasing trade barriers but also increasing US government spending and increasing the US government deficit and debt – is sad. Why do the apologists here try to excuse his every behaviour? Sure, welcome those things he does that are consistent with libertarian thinking. But be consistent and criticise him for those which are inconsistent with libertarian thinking.
On one of the posts here, I read that Trump imposing tariffs was fine because it would help cement Republican majorities in both houses. What an absurd and appalling argument. The very premise is flawed – the US is governed best when the executive and legislature are in conflict, not aligned.
There are plenty of other blogs for those who favour larger government, more spending and protection from foreign competition. The Cat has long been the bastion against such woolly thinking. Sadly I think it is aligning itself with those other blogs.