So the trade war is on, then?
Well, our cognitively-impaired president hasn’t pulled the trigger, yet, but the exit of his top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, would suggest that it’s all but a done deal.
It’s a really bad idea for our economy, but it appears the world is going to have to make believers out of some of Trump’s most ardent defenders.
(Note: Everything that happens to the economy after this is Trump’s fault – not Obama’s or Hillary’s or the Deep State’s – just Trump’s.)
The European Union has announced their own tariffs on American goods, in retaliation for Trump’s mindless move.
(Let me interject that Trumpers are cheering the economic prowess of a man with 5 bankruptcies and a string of failed business ventures, right now.)
According to European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom, there’s a list being drawn up of American products that will likewise see tariffs placed on them.
Those products would be hit along with other U.S. staples like blue jeans, bourbon and motorcycles.
“Certain types of bourbon are on the list, as are other items such as peanut butter, cranberries, orange juice, etc.,” she told the Guardian. “Very soon that list will be public, so you will be able to plan your whisky drinking.”
So farmers and clothing manufacturers, along with Harley Davidson are going to take a hit.
How big of a hit remains to be seen, but that’s still a considerable hunk of the American workforce.
In a press statement from the European Commission, Malmstrom also urged Trump not to hit European countries with his tariffs, echoing arguments from many Republicans in Congress who also oppose Trump’s plan.
“We still hope, as a USA security partner, that the EU would be excluded,” she said. “We also hope to convince the US administration that this is not the right move.”
She said the main problem in the steel and aluminum sector is global overcapacity generated by “massive state subsidies” in other countries.
“This can only be addressed by cooperation, getting to the source of the problem and working together,” she said.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans have attempted to reason with Trump, and asked him to consider a more narrow, structured form of tariffs, and we may still see that, but the most recent word from the president was that the tariffs would be done in “a loving way.”
Just because he’s bending the nation over, that doesn’t make it “a loving way.”
There may still be hope, if Congress finds the guts to push back against this destructive nationalism.
Utah Senator Mike Lee introduced a bill in June that would put trade regulations back to Congress, rather than allowing for one man to unilaterally stomp on our nation’s economy.
“In a government system with checks and balances, the president should not have the power to unilaterally levy or alter tariffs,” Lee said on Twitter. “Congress needs to re-engage in the tariff process, which is why I’ve introduced the Global Trade Accountability Act.”
The bill is being discussed, with some support, and others who are holding out hope that Trump can be reasoned with, and will pare down his approach.
Senator Orrin Hatch is one such hopeful, believing that Trump will modify his original tariff plans, but he’s also warning him about the potential dangers.
Hatch sent a letter to Trump expressing “very deep concerns” about the proposed tariffs. His panel oversees trade issues in the Senate.
“You have stated that you intend to target foreign countries that are not competing fairly, and I support that goal,” Hatch wrote to Trump. “But the proposed tariffs would miss those countries whose unfair trade practices have caused global overcapacities in steel and aluminum and would hit American businesses and families instead.”
What Trump does, ultimately, depends on what he thinks will get him the most praise. He’s about to jump back into campaign mode, so it’s going to be red caps, MAGA, MAGA, MAGA, and Xenophobic overload for the next two years.
If that translates into some barely coherent campaign blather about how America does best if we just trade amongst ourselves (and the occasional Russian oligarch), then that’s what we’ll see happen.