Want To End A Trade War Before It Starts? Buy Less Cheap Chinese Crap at Walmart


I have a question for those screamers who claim to be students of the Chicago School of Economics. Or have a gig at one of the business television networks.

What part of the Bill of Rights says “Congress shall make no law or allow no tariff abridging the right of citizens to gather at Walmart and buy cheap Chinese crap”?

To listen to most of the folks on CNBC, Fox Business and Bloomberg, you’d think they replaced the Second Amendment with that.

I’ve been in business, negotiating deals, for most of my adult life. A bad deal is when you memorialize being taken advantage of. A good deal is when all parties to the deal get something they want.

Our trade deal — from the beginning of modern time to date — with China can generously be called a bad deal.

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Apparently we want the cheapest flat screen television sets so badly we’re willing to give up our rights to sell stuff in China to get them. And if President Donald Trump thinks that’s a bad deal and wants to impose tariffs to correct it, the companies importing and selling those sets scream that the American consumer is going to take a beating. As opposed to the American worker, who of course, are one and the same.

Then, when it all is sorted out by The Wall Street Journal, that beating appears to be about $800 a year per family. And, keep in mind that The Journal is also populated by many of the same screamers on TV.

The big weekend story was that Apple could be hurt because most of its products are assembled in China.

As an iPhone user (in fact, I use just about every Apple product except the Mac) my humble suggestion to Apple CEO Tim Cook would be to build your products in, say, Vietnam or, here’s a real idea: how about Minnesota, down the street from where Mike Lindell makes My Pillows? No matter how much you say the words multi-national, living in Cupertino has to be nicer and more efficient than Beijing.

At some point, you have to realize that the word “nationalism” is not a four-letter word.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates started their companies because you can do that in the United States. They expanded to markets like China in a search for new markets.

And, let me tell you a little about our “friends” in China. They owe me and millions of other Americans millions of dollars in defaulted bonds which their government doesn’t want to pay. Those bonds were issued before China became Red China and many of us either bought them or inherited them. They were sold by Wall Street firms who today are still selling Chinese debt.

So, I’m not very sympathetic to the words “trade war” because I doubt that the Chinese have the economic muscle to cause us much pain — not nearly as much as the folks on business TV would like us to believe.

Simply put, President Trump is right and these guys are wrong. After all, God, it is said, invented Economists to make Astrologers look good.

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And if it costs us $800 a year per family — or even significantly more — to make that point to the leaders of Red China, buy less cheap Chinese crap and more stuff made in America. It will strengthen our hand and, in the long term, make our lives better.

Trump advisor Larry Kudlow explained the issues very succinctly to Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.”

“Intellectual property theft has to be fixed. Forced technology transfer and ownership of American companies has to be fixed. Cyber interventions have to be fixed. Tariff and nontariff barriers have to be fixed. And there have to be very, very strong enforcement provisions.”

To say that none of this is worth taking strong steps like tariffs is exactly like the Democratic House saying that there’s no crisis on the border.

This president fixes things. The Chinese aren’t used to dealing with a president who fixes things.

They will learn soon enough.

In the meantime, while they are dancing, pay attention to Kudlow’s observation about that, “Some of the Chinese officials have said the agreement was too unbalanced. No. The relationship has been too unbalanced and because of these problems of unfair and sometimes unlawful trading practice, we have to have a very strong agreement to correct, to right, these wrongs before we would be satisfied.”

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Fred Weinberg is the publisher of the Penny Press, an online publication based in Reno, Nevada ( He also is the CEO of the USA Radio Networks and several companies which own or operate radio stations throughout the United States. He has spent 53 years in journalism at every level from small town weekly newspapers to television networks. He can be reached at You can subscribe, free, to the Penny Press weekly email on the website.