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Friday, March 09, 2018

We already have 12,000 tariffs

To hear Never Trumpers (and a few Trumpkins) tell the story, Donald Trump is the first president since Hoover to impose a tariff on imported products.

But Gus Lubin of Business Insider in 2010 reported, "The International Trade Commission lists over 12,000 specific tariffs on imports to America. Hundreds of agricultural, textile, and manufacturing items are highly protected. So are obscure items like live foxes."

From a 4.8% tariff on live foxes to a 350% tariff on tobacco, America protected its industries in 2010.

Tobacco is very important to the states and federal government. Smokers cough up more than $15 billion a year in cigarette taxes. Government must save Big Tobacco, even as it demonizes it.

Tariffs are a shell game. Literally. We slap a 131.8% tariff on unshelled peanuts. With shells, the tariff is 163.8%.

Imported French jam, chocolate, ham, European meats, truffles, and Roquefort cheese are among those products that come with a 100% tariff.

Obama's economic adviser Austan Goolsbee told CNBC a tariff "destroys more jobs than it creates."

If so, then Obama was a prolific jobs destroyer. There was a 31% tariff on Chinese solar panels. There was a 35% tariff on Chinese tires.

That last one destroyed 100,000 jobs.

In China.

"Obama's decision may affect the employment of 100,000 tire workers in China and may bring an aggregated loss of $1 billion to China's tire exporters," Fan Rende, chairman of China Rubber Industry Association, said at the time.

We give presidents the power to impose tariffs.

They use it.

And they help the United States in the continuous trade wars.

Everyone plays the game. We must join it -- and win.


The media chose to go to war with Donald John Trump in 2017 rather than accept him as president.

The media chose poorly.

Fake News Follies of 2017 shows how and why.

What readers are saying:

Rob Miller: "What we have here is nothing less than a detailed, well written chronicle of exactly how the American press abandoned all semblance of scruples and journalistic ethics once Donald J. Trump became president. Like Surber's other books, this one will have you laughing out loud and you will find it difficult to put down."

PSD: "Like his other books, it is written with wonderful wit filled insight, rare in political commentary today. The style is one of gentle humor and common sense. It is refreshingly devoid of malice and partisan contempt, easy reading with not a few laughs along the way."

rurallbob: "Another winner from Don Surber."

Richard: "Funny, well written and well organized, Fake News Follies is an entertaining and thoughtful look at the news coverage provided by the press to the American people. Clearly they are not playing it straight. Sure, the press makes mistakes. It's inevitable. But when the totality of news stories not hewing to the known facts is collected and presented as it is in this volume there is but one explanation. Fake News. Don Surber brings to the subject insight that only a veteran newsman could provide. I wish this book would be read by everyone but especially people opposed to Trump because I think it would be sufficient to challenge even a closed off worldview."

A. Brogden: "Unlike Kurtz 's book, Media Madness, which sought to justify and explain away the lies and prejudices of the anti-Trump MSM, Surber relentlessly and methodically documents the tsunami of BS the press has served up since the upset victory by President Trump. Almost without exception everything Trump has done as president has been distorted, mischaracterized, or flat out lied about for over a year. This is how you get 90% negative reporting. This is how you get the press with 28% trust ratings. And by God this is how you get eight years of Trump as President."

A Kindle reader: "Easy read, a great compilation of biased new coverage of Trump before and after the election. I started out anti Trump and reluctantly voted for him for one reason only, He was not Hillary. This book is a great reference when people claim the MSM is not biased and does not publish fake news. It reinforces Glenn Reynolds description of the press as Democrat operatives with bylines."

Fake News Follies of 2017 is available on Kindle and in paperback.

Autographed copies are available. Email me at for details. I am including a "director's cut." I will give you the original Chapter 1 that I cut because while the chapter was amusing, it really had nothing to do with the Fake News Follies of 2017.


  1. It's basically an economic version of Trump Derangement Syndrome:

    "Anybody...Anybody...Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act.." (notably, Ben said tariffs were bad a idea a few days ago)

    I was in my local discount liquor store a few days ago (getting ice, of course), and I asked the young woman behind the counter what her cheapest cigarettes were. One brand is a well known brand by an Northeastern Indian tribe, and the cheaper one was a lesser known brand made in...wait for this....Korea.

    So, with the tariff that Don shows above, ask yourself how it is that a brand made in Korea is cheapest in the store?

    So, we see here a practical example that defies the rampant gaslighting regarding higher tariffs and higher prices. There are many other examples.

    Tariffs certainly have contributed to war(s), but as we've so often seen them say..It's not the end of the world as we know it.

    1. Tahoe Golds, brother...Tahoe Golds. A good Virginia tobacco for less than $5 a pack. Ask that they get stocked.

    2. "So, with the tariff that Don shows above, ask yourself how it is that a brand made in Korea is cheapest in the store?" Probably because no one would buy it if it were more expensive.

    3. Maybe the Korean brands are untariffed, untaxed contraband. It certainly wouldn't be the first time cigarettes were smuggled in to be sold where they shouldn't be.

  2. Perhaps I'm just naive (or stupid), but it seems to me tariffs on some imported items, like cars for example, would have a good effect by encouraging a foreign company to move its production facilities into the US in order to avoid the tariff, thereby adding to our nation's employment. So while some non-manufacturing jobs might be lost when a tariff is imposed on imported goods, other jobs in manufacturing might be gained. With tariffs, there's a tradeoff: which kinds of jobs pay best and are the most desirable? Applied judiciously, tariffs could further The Donald's goal of getting US citizens back into the work force.

    1. I believe this is why we have Honda, Toyota, and Subaru plants here.

    2. Exactly. Toyota vehicles are, at the very least, put together in San Antonio, Texas, using American labor.

  3. The entire opposition to the steel and aluminum tariffs is based on concern for a few large international traders, when the concern should be for American jobs and manufacturing. Give our steelmakers a level playing field and they will kick the snot out of foreign gubmint owned and subsidized steel peddlers, both in value and quality. As more plants in the US convert from electric furnaces to low operating cost natural gas fired mills, watch for a Renaissance in American steel production.

  4. 12,000!! Holy cow. Thanks Don. We sure wouldn’t hear about this through mainstream or never-Trump channels.

  5. I can't get my head around the tariff on live foxes. And it's only 4.8 percent - not exactly prohibitive, is it?

  6. Linked back from my little place. Found you by the Woodpile Report.

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