Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by Sean Hayden » Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:43 am

Hermit wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:38 am
Sean Hayden wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:44 pm
I don't understand why it's pointless for consumers to pay more. Weren't we opposed to the exploitation that has kept prices low till now?
We're talking about rising prices due to tariffs just now, right? Are you suggesting that tariffs improve the lot of poorly paid workers?
Sean Hayden wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:44 pm
Plus, how much of your price is the result of unrealistic expectations for profit?
Unrealistic expectations for profit do not add a a cent to the price of goods or services. Actual profit does. How much? How long is a piece of string?
To the first no, just that if you were upset by the exploitation of cheap labor then something which hurts companies that do it may not be so bad.

I think it's important to restate my emphasis on expectations. To your second point if executives expect or are expected to maintain a certain profit then they will do what it takes to achieve it. In this way expectations drive their decisions. If our expectations have been unrealistic, and many have said they are, then adjusting them should be beneficial. At least I don't expect to see arguments against something like tariffs for example stating that they will hurt the expected profits of these badly behaving companies! --good! They're insane and driving us off a cliff, aren't they?
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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by Tero » Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:55 am

pErvinalia wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:02 am
laklak wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:49 am
They're an economic weapon, and like any weapon can be useful when properly used. Whether or not Trump is doing that remains to be seen. Mexico has cut a new deal, and Canada appears likely to do so. No idea what China will do, inscrutable, that lot.
Trump might hold the upper hand, as the US imports way more stuff from China than China does from the US. I don't know what else there is to consider in the equation, but it seems to me that China has more to lose than the US.
They have other partners. Some 30% is major others. They can up the percentage of each. If countries are importing Chinese goods with no tariff, they can easily increase sales there, rather than selling here.
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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by Hermit » Wed Sep 19, 2018 3:33 am

laklak wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:49 am
Mexico has cut a new deal, and Canada appears likely to do so.
Nobody has signed anything yet, and no details of the proposed deals are publicly known either.

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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by Hermit » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:00 am

Sean Hayden wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:43 am
Hermit wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:38 am
Sean Hayden wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:44 pm
I don't understand why it's pointless for consumers to pay more. Weren't we opposed to the exploitation that has kept prices low till now?
We're talking about rising prices due to tariffs just now, right? Are you suggesting that tariffs improve the lot of poorly paid workers?
Sean Hayden wrote:
Tue Sep 18, 2018 11:44 pm
Plus, how much of your price is the result of unrealistic expectations for profit?
Unrealistic expectations for profit do not add a a cent to the price of goods or services. Actual profit does. How much? How long is a piece of string?
To the first no, just that if you were upset by the exploitation of cheap labor then something which hurts companies that do it may not be so bad.
Well, OK, I guess a vengeful and vindictive mind will get a warm feeling out of seeing companies hurt. I don't know where you want to go with that, though.

As for me, while I utterly hate Apple Corp for its unbridled greed, especially since one of its executives was quoted as saying: "You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories, or you can reinvent the product every year, and make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards", forgetting to mention that the company has redistributed between 20 and 25% of its total revenue to its shareholders by way of dividends and its upper level executives by way of stock options and other bonuses (which amounted to $45.7 billion in 2016), I will take no joy if the company get "punished".

Karma for Steve Jobs, though. I shed no tears when he died. His first act after he resumed leadership of the company was to cut all of Apple's charitable programs. No surprises there. After all, he was a California Buddhist.
Sean Hayden wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 2:43 am
I think it's important to restate my emphasis on expectations. To your second point if executives expect or are expected to maintain a certain profit then they will do what it takes to achieve it. In this way expectations drive their decisions. If our expectations have been unrealistic, and many have said they are, then adjusting them should be beneficial. At least I don't expect to see arguments against something like tariffs for example stating that they will hurt the expected profits of these badly behaving companies! --good! They're insane and driving us off a cliff, aren't they?
Expectations are even less efficacious than promises. It's the actually achieved bottom line that makes a difference.

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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by pErvinalia » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:06 am

The only expectation regarding profit from executives is as much as humanly (and often inhumanly) possible.
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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by Hermit » Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:18 am

pErvinalia wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:06 am
The only expectation regarding profit from executives is as much as humanly (and often inhumanly) possible.
Martin Shkreli was an extreme example of that, though not the only one.
Nirmal Mulye, CEO of the small Missouri-based drug company Nostrum Laboratories, raised the price of bottle of nitrofurantoin from $474.75 to $2,392 last month. The drug is a decades-old antibiotic used to treat urinary-tract infections caused by Escherichia coli and certain other Gram-negative bacteria. The World Health Organization lists nitrofurantoin as an essential medicine.

In an interview with the FT, Mulye went on to say it was also a “moral requirement” to “sell the product for the highest price,” and he explained that he was in “this business to make money.”

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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by Sean Hayden » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:12 am

The actual expectation from when I read about such things depended on the industry and the company's position in it.

Encouraging companies to seek mature leaders with long term and realistic goals seems like a good idea to me. Work to remove the absurd expectation to not only have big profit margins year after year but to be growing them. Allow them to think long term.

As to the point about hurting companies, I'd see it instead as removing the incentive to buy goods made by exploited laborers. If the two are comparable in price then why not buy the one made by the better treated workers?
Last edited by Sean Hayden on Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by Sean Hayden » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:14 am

Joe wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 1:16 am
Maybe. Our government could do a lot to help people out with drug costs, but they haven't. It seems like a no-brainer to use it's purchasing power to drive prices down, but one thing I've learned from watching this stuff for decades is that things in Washington are as they are because powerful interests made them that way, and keep them that way.

I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but it's not a slam dunk, where the tariffs are seen as negative by the majority of economists surveyed. When I weigh the risks versus hypothetical benefits, I'd rather not risk bringing in the next economic downturn any sooner than necessary, and keep it as shallow as possible.

Besides, Trump doesn't want tariffs to deter Chinese bad behavior. He wants to eliminate our trade deficit with them, which is an idea that was refuted in mind-numbing detail in 1776, when Adam Smith published The Wealth of Nations. It still stands as an effective argument today, but don't rush off to read it. :biggrin:

Here's a pretty humorous TL;DR.
I thought the last downturn was brought about by irresponsible bankers. What do these bankers think about the tariffs?
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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by Hermit » Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:49 am

Sean Hayden wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:14 am
I thought the last downturn was brought about by irresponsible bankers. What do these bankers think about the tariffs?
Why would irresponsible bankers care one way or another about tariffs when their junk bond schemes work as well in their absence as their presence?

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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by pErvinalia » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:01 am

Sean Hayden wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:12 am
The actual expectation from when I read about such things depended on the industry and the company's position in it.

Encouraging companies to seek mature leaders with long term and realistic goals seems like a good idea to me. Work to remove the absurd expectation to not only have big profit margins year after year but to be growing them. Allow them to think long term.
I'm afraid that's incompatible with capitalism, in all likelihood.
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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by Sean Hayden » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:06 am

Hermit, they tend to have their fingers in many pies don't they?

It seems a lot of people are getting rich riding a wave just in front of any major problems China's behavior may cause. One concern of mine is that they'll happily sell us out, ergo the talk of encouraging more responsible behavior.

I don't know how that relates to the irresponsible bankers. It would be interesting to find out.

I brought them up because Joe's posts seemed to suggest we are choosing what we think is the lesser of two evils to avoid a crisis.

Well, let's remember what actually caused the last one and also just how often we have been fooled the by the lesser of two evils pitch.
Last edited by Sean Hayden on Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by JimC » Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:16 am

pErvinalia wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:01 am
Sean Hayden wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:12 am
The actual expectation from when I read about such things depended on the industry and the company's position in it.

Encouraging companies to seek mature leaders with long term and realistic goals seems like a good idea to me. Work to remove the absurd expectation to not only have big profit margins year after year but to be growing them. Allow them to think long term.
I'm afraid that's incompatible with capitalism, in all likelihood.
Perhaps it is not incompatible with what one might call the Nordic model of social democracy, still with free enterprise, but with strong government intervention. But, given the power of the US corporate world, it is unlikely to become an American option...
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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by Svartalf » Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:33 am

Hermit wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:18 am
pErvinalia wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:06 am
The only expectation regarding profit from executives is as much as humanly (and often inhumanly) possible.
Martin Shkreli was an extreme example of that, though not the only one.
Nirmal Mulye, CEO of the small Missouri-based drug company Nostrum Laboratories, raised the price of bottle of nitrofurantoin from $474.75 to $2,392 last month. The drug is a decades-old antibiotic used to treat urinary-tract infections caused by Escherichia coli and certain other Gram-negative bacteria. The World Health Organization lists nitrofurantoin as an essential medicine.

In an interview with the FT, Mulye went on to say it was also a “moral requirement” to “sell the product for the highest price,” and he explained that he was in “this business to make money.”
As a man who has had E Coli based urinary tract infection, there's only one reaction I can have to that : :lynchmob:
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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by cronus » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:16 am

Prices go up but tariffs are a excuse not a reason...
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Re: Tariffs, Tarrifs, Tarrifs!

Post by Rum » Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:45 am

cronus wrote:
Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:16 am
Prices go up but tariffs are a excuse not a reason...
Well - no surprises but that isn't actually true.

If a company is charged 20% of the value of goods to get them into a country, it might take a bit of a hit and absorb some of the new costs - notionally say 10%. That leaves the same goods costing 10% more in the marketplace. Trump is hoping (apparently) that this will either result in more of that sort of stuff being made locally or the country of origin accepting more American imports to 'balance' the trade difference. It is a blunt and very dangerous strategy.

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