Getting conservatives and Libertarians to agree on tariffs
One of the most irritating things about Libertarians is that they are often doctrinaire and immovable on topics. (I know, because I'm one.)
Tariffs, for instance. Tariffs are uncategorically bad, as they fly in the face of the gospel doctrine of free trade. Since most of conservative bent would agree with Adam Smith on most matters economic, we also agree with the premise. But for many of us, me included, our agreement is only categorical.
This is where conservatives lose most Libertarians. But one can reasonably argue tariffs beyond this point. An argument might go something like this: we agree that tariffs are bad, and we also agree that we are in favor of free trade. America benefits from buying goods from any nation that can produce goods, in a superior mixture of quality and low price, than we could produce ourselves.
We benefit. However, we would benefit more if the tariff situation was even across all trading partners, meaning no tariffs. Then we could get the added benefit of greater domestic production and sales profits, leading to greater employment, greater tax base...you know the rest.
The "demand" side of the supply curve is a tricky one. Obama tried FDR's Keynesian economic model: spend to create demand.
Did all of that spending create demand? It sure did! Big spending can be a great kickstarter to get that economic motor of demand into a higher gear. But, as anyone who's seen our national debt can attest, Obamanomics was extremely expensive and is the man's most shameful legacy.
Renegotiating trade deals has the opportunity to create no-cost demand. The same kind of demand that Obama paid through the nose for, Trump is going to get us for free.
Trump is using tariffs as a negotiating tool to ensure that the ideal scenario of no tariffs is achieved. The man's shooting for the Moon. He may not succeed to the ultimate Libertarian ideal. But he will very likely have successfully negotiated us into a much improved position over where we are now with some countries.
The question never really ought to have been if tariffs are good or bad. The question is, is the status quo satisfactory, vis-à-vis tariffs, or can it be improved?
Thus, it's entirely possible to be anti-tariff and pro-Trump while observing what he is doing here.
We have no reason to believe he won't succeed. The man's track record is beginning to speak for itself. Loudly.
So, then, the only question remaining is, "Should Trump use the threat – or even implementation – of tariffs as a negotiating tool?"
Then the conversation moves to debating "negotiation techniques," which ought to be pretty short, as negotiation is our president's raison d'être.