Harley Davidson Didn't Hate Tariffs in 1983, When They Benefitted
Right off, I'm against unilateral tariffs. Period. Tarrifs are bad for the American Middle Class. Hard stop. But Harley Davidson bitching about tarrifs is hilarious for one reason. Let me take you back to 1983. Van Halen released its career-defining 1984. C. Thomas Howell lit up the silver screen with The Outsiders. Bill Cosby pitched the idea for The Cosby Show. And was apparently raping a lot of ladies.
Also, Harley Davidson lobbied Ronald Reagan to place tariffs on Japanese motorcycles.
In an unusually strong protectionist action, President Reagan today ordered a tenfold increase in tariffs for imported heavyweight motorycles.
The impact of Mr. Reagan's action, which followed the unanimous recommendation of his trade advisers, is effectively limited to Japanese manufacturers, which dominate every sector of the American motorycycle market.
Translation: Harley didn't like the competition from better-made, more popular Japanese motorcycles. So rather than make better motorcycles more Americans would buy, Harley instead bitched to the government.
The action was exceptional for protecting a single American company, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company of Milwaukee, the sole surviving American maker of motorcycles.
''We're delighted,'' said Vaughn L. Beals, Harley-Davidson's chairman. ''It will give us time that we might otherwise not have had to make manufacturing improvements and bring out new products.''
To be clear, both the tariffs in 1983 and the tariffs today hurt the American middle class. Repeated point for importance.
In one way, the tarrifs make superior, more gas efficient Japanese bikes more expensive to the American public. Who would probably prefer to purchase superior, more gas efficient Japanese-made bikes.
Secondly, Trump's tariffs of today will likely result in layoffs, and yes, raising prices on the already over-priced Harleys. Though the latter doesn't affect the middle class so much. Unless you're an idiot dumb enough to buy a $1,000 motorcycle with a $25,000 paint job. In which case we're not sorry to call you an idiot. Spare us the "Be American, buy American" tripe. Be American, buy the best. Screw penalties on better, albeit foreign manufacturers, simply because the American manufacturers suck balls.
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Unless you're an idiot dumb enough to buy a $1,000 motorcycle with a $25,000 paint job.