President Trump’s Trade War is an Election Gamble

Nicholas Connors

February 26, 2020

President Trump has no strategy to win his trade war with China. Imposing tariffs and threatening to impose yet more tariffs are the only tactics he seems to know. The result of his two-year trade war is now being seen clearly, and the outcome couldn’t have been more predictable. The farm industry is getting decimated by the loss of access to foreign-markets and the tit-for-tat tariffs with China. 

With China imposing tariffs, which, make no mistake, are taxes on American goods, and America doing the same on Chinese goods, the American people are being hit with a tax on stuff they sell and a tax on stuff they buy. For American family farms, this has contributed to a 20 percent increase in Chapter 12 bankruptcies in 2019. For the last five years, American farmers have seen a downturn in their businesses, and instead of helping them, Trump has put a boot on their throat.

In response to the economic hardship of American farmers due to the trade war with China (and a dozen other countries), President Trump has successfully pushed Congress to pass legislation giving $28 billion in subsidies to those farmers who are hurt by his trade wars. The money to pay for these subsidies is coming from every American taxpayer. Taking wealth from all citizens and giving it to a select group because of an incompetent policy that has created financial woes, is the sharpest example of Washington dysfunction. It also happens to greatly resemble socialism.

Not sure you agree? Well, let’s see what President Trump said on Friday.

Beyond the bizarre use of all caps TO MAKE A STATEMENT, what’s truly disconcerting about the president’s remark is that he is enthusiastic about the fact that he has put a “massive tariff” (massive tax) on goods Americans are buying so as to give a handout to a specific group of Americans that are suffering economic hardship because of the trade war he started.

 

This wouldn’t be the first time President Trump has acted like a socialist autocrat. Just last summer, the president announced he was “ordering” all American companies to immediately “start looking for an alternative to China” to conduct business and produce goods. First, he has no authority to make such an order. Second, the Dow Jones immediately fell more than 435 points. Maybe, in a way, Bernie Sanders is already in the White House. In addition, when speaking about tariffs, it’s not just about the consequences of these taxes on the economy, it’s also about the government stepping into the market and choosing winners and losers. Steel industry you win. Farm industry you lose. Sorry, comrades.

 

If the socialist philosophy ruminating from Trump isn’t concerning enough, how about we step back and observe the simple fact that we’re in a trade war with our biggest trading partner, and the president has no plan for a true American victory. Because to win a trade war with China takes much more than simply pounding the tariff table over and over again.

Trump proponents will certainly point to the Phase 1 agreement as evidence of Trump’s progress, but they’ll point to the headline and disregard the substance. Because Phase 1 is an agreement that is conceptually flawed with... Continue Reading at The Bulwark.

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