Lizzie O’Leary: We are in a new round of the trade war as of today. JPMorgan Chase just estimated that the tariffs will cost the average American household up to $1,000 a year. Is that acceptable collateral damage, in your opinion?
Kevin Hassett: I think that when you look at the literature on China’s behavior towards the U.S. over the last few decades, there’s ample evidence that it has behaved in a way that’s quite at odds with certain normal trading procedures. The IP Commission estimates that between $200 billion and $500 billion a year of intellectual property is stolen from the U.S. To put that in perspective, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the art museum, was part of the biggest heist in U.S. history, where [burglars] stole, tragically, $500 million worth of art. And the IP Commission’s estimates of how much China’s stealing from the U.S. mean there’s about a heist that big, every day, 365 days a year.
The issue is just that when you see these big numbers, it’s easy to just tune them out. And the fact is that the relationship with China is just utterly unacceptable because of their misbehavior. And the president is standing up to them. Absolutely there are going to be short-term costs associated with that. But I think that the long-run benefit could be enormous.