Quick thread on this: unless you're notorious car-guy @ModeledBehavior, you maybe didn't notice that COVID-19 has increased US demand for, but crippled N. American production of, pickup trucks. Now, even as US truckmakers are going full-tilt, supply is short & prices are HIGH /1
(Demand for sedans/SUVs has also surged, but the shortages/prices don't appear to be as bad.)

So why, you might ask, are Americans only buying trucks made in MX/CAN/USA, when there are all sorts of cool options made elsewhere (see, eg, these bad boys hotcars.com/20-foreign-pic…)? /2
Well, there are 25% tariffs on those trucks, which effectively block imports from non-NAFTA countries.

By contrast, tariffs on cars/SUVs/vans are 2.5% (or duty-free for FTAs), & we have many more options.

This difference has had predictable results during the pandemic. /3
So far this year (data thru Aug), imports of all passenger vehicles are down significantly. BUT big declines in NAFTA non-truck imports have been offset - a little - by increases (or, at least, smaller declines) from non-NAFTA countries. /4
So, the low/zero tariffs (and resulting supply diversity) have improved Americans' access to non-truck vehicles (and tempered prices) during the pandemic.

No such luck for trucks, where NAFTA imports & total imports are basically the same thing (w matching declines). /5
Back-of-the-napkin: if tariffs were high and we thus had the same 32% decline in total non-truck imports that we had for NAFTA non-truck imports this yr, we might have abt 300k fewer cars/SUVs/vans in the US mkt right now bc we'd lack other options.

So what's the lesson? /6
Tariffs haven't improved US "resiliency" (as some pols/pundits now assert); they've probably made things worse.

And "this real‐​world example... shows the folly of kneejerk plans to improve Americans’ access to essential goods by restricting the international supply thereof." /x

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More from @scottlincicome

20 Oct
Key finding: "Accounting for all taxpayers, I find that tax filing in the U.S. imposes a yearly cost in excess of 1% of GDP and that this cost has been steadily increasing since the 1980s"
His solutions are so mind-bogglingly easy, so of *course* we don't do them

Ok, fine, you'll totally guess

politico.com/agenda/story/2… (h/t @stanveuger).
Read 4 tweets
19 Oct
"How Apprenticeship, Reimagined, Vaults Graduates Into Middle Class" wsj.com/articles/how-a…
Neat look at the employer-funded FAME program (started by Toyota & others), which promotes modern ("grey collar") skills w/out a college degree. Love that last line. ImageImageImageImage
The new @BrookingsInst / @opp_america study re the FAME program's success is here: opportunityamericaonline.org/wp-content/upl…
Also noteworthy from that WSJ story: a foreign-owned auto company (which relies on domestic/imported inputs) started the FAME program, AND the highlighted FAME graduate (Mr. Brown) worked for an industry (beverage cans) harmed by... aluminum tariffs.
Read 4 tweets
21 Aug
Letting people do what they want with *their property* is totes socialism & much communism
meanwhile, asserting a personal property interest over *another person's property* is muh freedom
#realtalk: there are legitimate liberty/rights interests for BOTH existing homeowners AND developers/entrants. It's a difficult issue.

BUT the econ/other harms caused by land-use over-regulation are clear, & trying to address them - while balancing these interests! - is Good.
Read 4 tweets
18 Aug
"The rise of the upper middle class" washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-r… ImageImage
For my fellow liberal arts majors & lawyers out there, here's your '67-'16 change by group:
Poor/near-poor: -3
Lower middle: -15
Middle: -11
Upper middle: +27(!)
Rich: +2 Image
Read 12 tweets
12 Aug
This new Rubio oped bashing Biden for enabling American "deindustrialization" is a masterclass in economic nationalist myth and misdirection. newsweek.com/joe-biden-repr…

US mfg real (inflation adj) gross output & value-added increased 17% & 52% respectively bt 1997 & 2018 (BEA) /1
Durable goods (incl metals, weapons, aerospace, transportation, machinery, med goods (incl masks & ventillators), computers & tech, etc): 36% / 109%

Remove semiconductors & computers: still up 26% / 60%!
Nondurables are -1.0%, BUT driven by textiles, apparel, tobacco(!), paper products, etc - nothing that screams "national security". These sectors are also still big! (Textiles/Apparel output 2018: $72.5B). Meanwhile, the important ones (food, energy, fuels, chemicals, etc): up /x
Read 6 tweets
7 May
The same studies also note that it was market-oriented Chinese economic reforms - often in response to WTO/accession requirements (& Member demands) - that drove most of the China Shock. Other studies also show the US gained jobs in other sectors & saw big consumer/gdp/mfg gains
So is the WTO now Bad for encouraging all of those market-based reforms? Is it also Bad for providing a venue for the USA to successfully litigate disputes against China (and for China to often comply)?
Or is the WTO now Bad bc the USA & other members didn't bring more cases or pursue compliance proceedings? Is it the WTO Bad bc the US abandoned the multilateral system (and the TPP) and pursued a foolish unilateral approach? (see today's WSJ: )
Read 6 tweets

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