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The African Executioner


Over the past year I bought two new sets of tires made in China. I chose Chinese-made tires because they were significantly cheaper than other tires. Internet reviews assured me they would perform as well as more expensive ones. Mine have.

Now, the current President wants to deprive all Americans of the opportunity to get good tires at a great price:

The Obama team makes it a practice of releasing announcements of which they are not particularly proud on weekends, when they get buried under sports news and the commentariat are out of town. So they held off until late Friday announcing that the President has imposed a 35 percent tariff on low-grade car tires imported from China. The International Trade Commission (ITC) had responded to a complaint by the United Steelworkers Union (tire workers are members of that union) that Chinese imports have cost them 5,000 jobs by recommending tariffs of 55 percent. Significantly, U.S. tire manufacturers did not join in the complaint: they lose money at the low-end of the tire market, and most have simply abandoned it to the Chinese.

I dispute the description of these tires as ”low grade”. And it is another example of regulatory silliness. Everyone has to pay a little more so a handful of well-connected union workers can continue producing overpriced goods. If you or I want to help union labor, we can either choose to buy only union-made stuff, or more directly just hand the workers some cash. Obama doesn’t want us to have the choice.

Travis does a little math to put some perspective on the cost of this particular foolishness:

If the deadweight loss of the tire tariff is something like $400 million / year and the value of a human life, as self-assessed, is about $2 million, then Obama’s tire plan is equivalent, in value destruction, to shooting 200 Americans every year until the Chinese start charging more for tires.

His calculations are good. But instead of shooting Americans, I might have accused Barry of necklacing them.