Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Exports over Imports

The benefits of exports go to producers. The benefits of imports go to consumers.

When imports are cheaper than domestic products, the benefits of those imports are widely dispersed among consumers who save money. But because the benefits are dispersed this is a difficult group to politicize. On the other hand, it's very easy to create a political rally around producers. They tend to be concentrated in companies. Large companies are easy to find. Making it easy to organize events that stir up political will.

As a result, politicians, seeking votes, will almost always prefer to meet the needs of producers over the needs of consumers. This political tendency does not measure the relative benefits that accrue to producers & consumers, compare them, and select the maximum benefit. Rather, it measures only the benefits of exports and ignores entirely the benefits of imports, because the benefits of exports are much easier to convert to political capital.

Hence, we get tariffs on tires that provide huge benefits to tire manufacturers, but raises the cost of tires for the rest of us. This will distort the market in unanticipated ways. No one could have predicted that high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) would be the response to the tariff on sugar imports - hurting American sugar consumers without actually helping American sugar producers.

The Missing Tweets

I recently went on a cruise with my wife to celebrate 15 years of marriage. It was super fun. But I missed tweeting, because I was to far away from the internet to do anything. So I kept a memo on my phone that I called "The Missing Tweets" that captured my thoughts as I had them. This post captures what I would have tweeted if I had been able to tweet them:
  1. I think I like the Inspiration's deck plan better than Glory's.
  2. Boat feels bigger but only a little.
  3. I don't know if I'll be able to cruise again w/out a balcony.
  4. SUUUSHI!!! All you can eat! Can life get better?
  5. Curtis, where are you going?
  6. Curtis, where'd you go?
  7. Woah! Curtis, did you pass us and then get waay ahead? What are those lights up there that we aren't catching.
  8. Pretty blue water.
  9. Surrounded by blue water on all sides. It's only pretty b/c we're in a safe cocoon. The ocean is wilderness w/o this boat.
  10. I'm not as fascinated by the size of the boat this time around. But I should be.
  11. God bless margaritas - Cozumel
  12. Ughh. Too many margaritas.
  13. Not sleeping sucks.
  14. I miss internet access. Can't lookup the origins of "starboard" & "port"
  15. Wife & I watched two teenagers making out in hot tub. I wanted to knock on glass & give them thumbs up.
  16. Enjoying our dinner companions, Eric & Misty.
  17. I don't get singing & dancing shows. Was more interested in the gigantic sound board we sat behind.
  18. Watched a cool lightning show tonight from ship's bow. Then made out w/my wife.
  19. Weight gain! Possibly 10 lbs. Will only be certain when get back on same scale.
  20. Passed Curtis yesterday afternoon. This AM he's ahead of us. Did he pass us along same route or take quicker route?
  21. Raining on only *part* of boat.
NOTE: I did not, at the time, or now check that these would fit in the 140 char limit. But this is what I wrote down.

NOTE2: Curtis refers to my friend who happened to leave from the same port as we did on a different boat. We saw multiple Disney boats on our cruise. I just assumed all of them held my friend.