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What Argentina’s President Can Teach Us About Trumponomics

By: Guest Contributor - Mar 29, 2017, 9:06 am
What Argentina's President Can Teach Us About Trumponomics
The promise of Trumponomics isn’t lower cost goods. The promise is jobs. Did it live up to its promise in Argentina? No.

By David Libertas

Try to think of a country that elected a populist president: someone who wants to boost manufacturing jobs, insists that domestically-sold products should be made domestically, and threatens to use tariffs to shut off foreign competition. How would that work out?

I am, of course, referring to President Cristina Kirchner of Argentina, not President Donald Trump.

It’s too soon for Trump to have implemented his economic plans, but we can see how Trumponomics will work by looking southwards to Argentina. It is a portent of the doom that awaits us.

Argentine Protectionism

Argentina instituted a 35% tariff on imports, exactly the same amount Trump has suggested. How did this turn out?

President Kirchner pushed through laws mandating that certain items sold in Argentina must be made there. Presumably, if you try to sell a foreign made product at market value then the strong arm of the Argentine state will use violent force against you, including deadly force if necessary, similar to how Eric Garner was slain by the state for selling untaxed tobacco. That is the Trumponomics promise.

For one example, the Argentine law mandated that cell phones be built domestically. Imports faced a 35% tariff, exactly the same amount Trump has suggested would work for America. How did this turn out?

Results

As should be a surprise to no one, Apple completely pulled out of Argentina. This doesn’t mean Argentines can’t have the latest Apple gadgets since, of course, banning something never makes it go away: agorist-supplied black market iPhones now go for the bargain price of $3,500.

But some cell phone makers stayed. Remember BlackBerry? It’s the company that remained on the cutting edge of 20th-century technology, supplying the highest end 1999’s era communications gadgets while Apple was rolling out the iPhone. This eidos of mediocrity saw a Trumpian opportunity to keep their beacon of failure burning brightly.

They opened a factory on the tip of South America near Antartica where the manufacturing cost was 20 times more expensive than Mexico. The Argentine factories were so slow and inefficient that the fastest they could get models out was two years behind the Mexican-made product line, making the black market BlackBerries from Mexico leaps and bounds better than what could be purchased legally.

Naturally, keeping the superior Mexican BlackBerries from crossing the Argentine border was about as ineffectual as keeping Mexican Marijuana from crossing the US border.

It’s worth noting at this point a hidden cost to society to enforce all this economic destruction: the border and customs agents. I’m sure the Argentine taxpayers were forced to fund an army of well-paid agents doing an ineffectual job at preventing Argentines from enjoying low cost Mexican electric goods!

Muh Jobs!

Maybe I’m being unfair. The promise of Trumponomics isn’t lower cost goods. The promise is jobs. Did it live up to its promise in Argentina?

In a word: no.

With all the black market BlackBerries crossing the border, legal sales of the BlackBerry crashed until all the factories closed up. This happened within two years of the first Argentinian BlackBerry coming to market. The end result was higher prices, worse products, a lower standard of living, and massive job losses. So much for all those jobs the government promised!

So that’s Trumponomics in a nutshell: economic recession, unemployment, cell phones north of $1,000, and still no iPhones. But at least President Kirchner didn’t bankrupt Argentina by building a giant futile wall along its border.

David Libertas is a writer for Libertas.Liberty.me. This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Top Colombian Government Negotiator with FARC to Run for President

By: Julián Villabona Galarza - Mar 28, 2017, 5:03 pm
It is extremely likely that top government negotiator de la Calle will be launching an independent presidential bid (

Español Humberto de la Calle was in charge of leading the peace process with the FARC. Despite having been away from public life for a while, his recent spot in the limelight reintroduced him in Colombian public opinion, and he enjoys quite high favorability among those who supported the agreement between the Colombian government and the guerrilla. It is little secret that Humberto de la Calle is one of those who is planning to throw his hat into the ring for the presidential elections of 2018. Journalist Vicky Davila of W Radio assures that De la Calle will be in the electoral mix, but will not do it with the endorsement of his party, the Colombian Liberal Party, but rather as an independent. Read More: Colombians Increasingly Pessimistic About Government, FARC Deal, Political Class Read More: Colombia: Ex Vice-President Vargas and Ex-Mayor Petro Lead Presidential Field The journalist says that Humberto de la Calle will be ending his contract with the government on March 30, and that at that time he will be free to seek the presidency, a fact that was partially confirmed by his communications team, which said that his contract was ending soon, but that did not necessarily mean that it would signal the start of a presidential campaign. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); Dávila clarified that Humberto de la Calle would not be running for president from his departure, but said that his sources confirmed that at some point will aspire to the country's top political office, a fact that he himself has denied in interviews in the past. However, his presidential ambitions have been widely discussed in the Colombian media. Humberto de la Calle was vice president of the republic during the Government of Ernesto Samper, minister of government during the tenure of Cesar Gaviria, National Registrar of Colombia during the government of Belisario Betancur, and head of the negotiating team of the Colombian Government under the leadership of President Juan Manuel Santos. A recent public opinion poll places former vice president German Vargas Lleras, and former Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro, at the head of the pack. Source: El Tiempo

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