Below is the link to an excellent article by Eric Boehm from Reason magazine’s August/September issue. It gives specific evidence that shows how international trade makes us safer in a world-wide pandemic rather than the opposite. There is a knee-jerk reaction when we have shortages to assume that we would be better off if we did not depend on other countries for our various needed products. This essay shows that the facts indicate otherwise.
I agree with the recent editorial in the Des Moines Register that we do not need the National Guard to protect our border. (See link to Register editorial below.) As you reported, the number of people caught trying to cross our border has gone down by 75% since 2000. What you didn’t report is that the number of Border Patrol Agents has increased from less than 5,000 in 1995 to about 20,000 in recent years. Additionally, just a few months ago the federal government signed a $297 million contract with the consulting firm Accenture to recruit and hire 7,500 more officers and agents for the Customs and Border Patrol agency. Surely, the cost of bringing in the National Guard, both in dollars and lives disrupted, is greater than the benefits we might achieve, if any.
If President Trump wants Mexico to pay for The Wall, he can not do it by putting a tariff on imports from Mexico to the U.S. A tariff on imports is a tax paid for by U.S. consumers in the form of higher prices. If the tariff stops the imports, it will allow the higher prices to be charged for U.S. made products. It will be a “win” for the company and its workers who get the protection, but it will be paid for by U.S. citizens, not Mexico.
Planet Money reported recently that the $1.3 billion in military aid that we send to Egypt every year is being wasted. All of the money we give them is to buy military equipment from U.S. manufacturers. Much of what they buy is duplicative and excessive for the Egyptian military and is simply being stored in crates. The primary reason that this continues is that U.S. manufacturers lobby Congress for it to continue, and Congressmen and Senators want to keep the jobs and money flowing into their States.
Dilbert, the comic in the Register, recently revealed a great tip for computer users: If you lose your data for any reason, and you don’t have your own backup or if your backup fails, then you can appeal to the N.S.A. to get a copy of the “backup” of your data that our government keeps.