Fighting the Taliban by Lowering Taxes

Matthew Yglesias suggests that one thing that could aid the fight in Afghanistan would be to lower tariffs against Afghan goods and motivate our allies to do the same.

If I’m reading these slides right then textile products made in Afghanistan are not eligible for duty-free sale in the United States. Changing that rule might encourage some factory-building in Afghanistan. Similarly we see here that some of Afghanistan’s key trade partners have very high tariffs on Afghan agricultural products. Perhaps we could persuade Turkey and India that they don’t need to be charging 50+% taxes on imports of Afghan grapes. India is Afghanistan’s largest export market right now despite those high taxes; changing it would open some additional economic opportunities for people.

One of his commenters adds that the United States could probably benefit from lowering tariffs on textiles from Pakistan, as well (which are ridiculously high). I agree with this sentiment and I think that there is a lot of benefit from dropping our short-sighted agricultural tariffs and agricultural subsidies. The benefits would just be economic–they’d improve relations and security, too.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Middle East, National Security, Terrorism, ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Hoodlumman says:

    This is a solid idea.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    I’ve suggested this before: we should be buying all of the opium that Afghan farmers can produce rather than fighting its production. There is no crop they can produce that would be more profitable for them; it would be useful; it would deny the profits to the Taliban.

  3. Triumph says:

    one thing that could aid the fight in Afghanistan would be to lower tariffs against Afghan goods and motivate our allies to do the same.

    Yeah, this is brilliant. I can’t wait to get a better price for heroin–the tariffs are killing my pocketbook.

  4. patrioticduo says:

    99% of world peace is based upon people doing business with each other. When everyone has skin in the game, everyone tends to be civil toward one another. The incentive is to be build and create, while tariffs give people incentive to isolate, blame and destroy.

  5. Rick DeMent says:

    Great idea but we are already inundated with commercials featuring middle class housewives terrified that the price of soda and juice will go up if we tax corn syrup. I mean wouldn’t eliminating the subsidies be even worse?

    Socialism in the name of cheap food additives is no vice apparently.

  6. G.A.Phillips says:

    99% of world peace is based upon people doing business with each other.

    lol, what!?

    John Adams
    2nd U.S. President and Signer of the Declaration of Independence

    “Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”
    –Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9.

  7. As Dave says, we could buy the opium crop. Or in the category of “things which ain’t gonna happen” we could legalize all drugs and let the Afghans compete with Archer Daniels Midland. See what the opium crop is worth then.

  8. Alex Knapp says:

    GA,

    “Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God … What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be.”
    –Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9.

    This seemed rather unlike Mr. Adams, devote Unitarian and Old Testament skeptic that he was. So I checked your cite. here is The Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9.

    http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/aea/cfm/doc.cfm?id=A3_9

    That quote is not present. Nor is it present in his entire autobiography that I could find using the search capability on this website.

    Now, I thought–maybe GA meant the DIARY of John Adams. So let’s look at volume three of the diary.

    Here it is: http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/aea/cfm/doc.cfm?id=A3_9

    Again, no mention.

    Now, because I’m an enterprising fellow, I did actually find something approaching this in his first diary here: http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/aea/cfm/doc.cfm?id=D1

    This is from 1756, when Adams was 21. Additionally, from the context it appears that Adams was listening to Ebenezer Thayer, a Unitarian preacher (and representative to State government) and it’s not clear if these are Adams’ thoughts or a paraphrase of Thayer’s. At any rate, this predates most of Adams’ thoughts on government by more than a decade and is not very illustrative of his later views.

    While it’s true that John Adams was a religous man, it’s also clear that he was a Unitarian Universalist who denied the doctrine of the Trinity and denied the concept of damnation. In his correspondence with Thomas Jefferson, he dismissed the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection–though he spoke quite highly of the Sermon of the Mount.

    In other words, I’m not sure his theology comports with yours, GA.

  9. So Young Mr. Yglesias believes cutting taxes on Afghans is a good idea. Interesting. Too bad he doesn’t extend this idea to Americans.

  10. Alex Knapp says:

    Charles,

    Given that tariffs are imposed by the Federal government, cutting them WOULD be a tax cut for Americans…

  11. Charles:

    Yes, cutting taxes is the be-all, the end-all, the alpha and the omega. Which is why when George W. Bush cut taxes we avoided having the ENTIRE FREAKING ECONOMY FALL OFF A CLIFF.

    Cutting taxes did not balance the budget, or help us avoid the stock bubble, the internet bubble, or the real estate bubble. It’s not magic. It’s not the philosopher’s stone.

    We need a wall of separation between economics and religion.

  12. William d'Inger says:

    Of all the things that ain’t gonna happen, I figure hiring the Taliban to police the schools in Chicago is the best option.

  13. G.A.Phillips says:

    **While it’s true that John Adams was a religous man, it’s also clear that he was a Unitarian Universalist who denied the doctrine of the***

    Trinity and denied the concept of damnation. In his correspondence with Thomas Jefferson, he dismissed the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection–though he spoke quite highly of the Sermon of the Mount.

    In other words, I’m not sure his theology comports with yours, GA.

    I’m not to sure were you get a lot of your stuff from, but I’m merely drawing a contrast between almost absolutes and then a better way if not a Province, or almost Province way to look at things.

    Were I get most of my stuff is from sites like Wall Builders, various books and what Ive picked up on over the years.Wall Builders has many,many thousands of the original documents and correspondence, not things rewriting and miscued and exaggerated or diminished.

    “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”
    –Adams wrote this on June 28, 1813, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.

    And my theology is that I’m a true believer in Christianity who has trouble doing what I know is right, I do believe in the trinity but have a hard time coming to grips with an eternal hell if thats what you meant. I’m more in line with what the 7th dayer’s see as the final resting place for evil and sin.

    Alex, Someone is rewriting something, And i’ll say or admit, If it was what I posted they did an excellent job…

    oh sorry I skewed my gold bars again:)

  14. sam says:

    Yeah, this is brilliant. I can’t wait to get a better price for heroin–the tariffs are killing my pocketbook.

    Well, I read someplace on the internets that there is a process for turning opium into a powerful, safe, and nonaddictive (though mildly euphoric) laxative. I think the generic name was something like “purgoin,” and someone was toying with marketing it under the trade name “Highdios”. (Don’t quote me on this, but I think there was even a jingle, “Do the Loosen Up”.) I don’t about the rest of you, but I think this would be splendid and the greatest of boons to that segment of our population that, owing to the current political climate, suffers deeply from the effects of clenched-buttocks syndrome.

  15. Alex, I take it you are intentionally misreading my point. The “tax cuts” for Americans vis-a-vis Afghans when it comes to Afghan imports would be what exactly? Isn’t what’s good for the goose good for the gander?

    Mr. Reynolds, the “religious” attachmentto tax cuts is in your imagination. Federal spending and federal revenue did not decline during the Bush administration, and even if it had you are for some inexplicable reasons ascribing views to me that I do not hold. Seriously, try and respond to what I say instead of what you wanted me to say.

  16. G.A.Phillips says:

    We need a wall of separation between Donkeypoop and liberal minds. They suffer deeply from the effects of clenched-buttocks in place of a head syndrome.

    But hey I like Dave Schuler’s Idea, we could put it in the liberals coolaid to slow them down a bit.

  17. An Interested Party says:

    Here’s a program right up your alley, G.A.Phillips…I’m sure you could think of many people to pray for…