Monday, March 5, 2018

Where Was I?


Blue collar Democrats and the average working stiff are rightly cheering President Trump's imposition of tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum.  For more than half a century America has been getting pummeled left and right with trillions in trade imbalances, none of them in our favor.  These unfair trade practices have been driving businessman Trump crazy for years, and rightly so.

World trade, by its very nature is so very complicated, made more complicated by the various free trade zones that exist around the world.  Let's look at the first two commodities, steel and aluminum, that Trump has chosen to hike tariffs on.  China and South Korea have been cleaning our clock on those metal productions for years.  And it is not just the inequities in labor and environmental laws.  Because of NAFTA foreign metal producers have been shipping production metals to Mexico and Canada, from which, because of NAFTA, they can enter the U.S. tariff free, even as the U.S. produced products are subject to import tariffs when shipped to China and South Korea.  

Well, our trading partners are upset with Trump, the most recently vocal, Germany and Great Britain.  They are fearful that Britain's 7 percent trade surplus and Germany's 24 percent trade surplus in foreign made cars and parts is under threat.  Both of our best trading friends have threatened to hike tariffs on American produced cars.  We are already hurting there too.  German assesses a ten percent tariff on American made cars, even as we impose a paltry 2.5 percent on foreign made automobiles.  And again, because of NAFTA, Germany has been cheating by setting up assembly productions in Mexico and Canada, then trucking them into the U.S. without any tariff at all.  Trump says this economic sleight of hand must stop.  Americans, regardless of political persuasion should agree.  We have already lost so much of critical production capacity in this country so that not only our economic health is threatened but so too our national security!  Shall we wait until we need tanks and guns and put in our orders with China?

Wall Street doesn't like Trump's tariffs.  But we've known about Wall Street for a long time now.  Those "universalists" on Wall Street, who long ago stopped caring about America communities, in favor of the almighty world dollar, care not how this country fares as long as their bottom line is healthy.  Politicians, whose campaigns are funded by those corporations don't much care about American jobs either, except those Democrats who need labor union money to stay in office.  Trump holds no allegiance for either side.  As inarticulate as he can sometimes be, you can be sure that, with respect to world trade, President Trump stands pretty much alone on looking out for American interest.

These Trump tariff hikes should not worry even those of you who are wary.  Trump's current tariff hikes, along with the threat of imposing more of them, will, for the first time in decades, finally force our foreign trading partners to the bargaining table.  And that cannot be a bad thing.  And we simply must revise those NAFTA agreements.  For too long Canada and Mexico have served as nothing more than a means for foreign producers to distribute their products in America tariff free.  Enough!


Craig said...

Thank you for the informative read. Hope you are doing well.

A Modest Scribler said...

I'm doing great, Craig. Hope you are too as well. Thanks for visiting!

Carol said...

Good info and well written! Thanks.

A Modest Scribler said...

Thanks, Carol! Stay warm up there, huh?

Frank R. Krzesowiak said...

Welcome back, Scribe. Nice to see that familiar "Lost in America" email. Looks to me that you are "starting" to see what 60 million Americans saw back in 2016. A "do what he say, say what he do" kind of President. If the Press backed him like they did Obama. His approval rating would be 80% or higher. People aren't used to someone who "gets er done".

A Modest Scribler said...

Thanks much, Frank. Hope you are faring well out there in "La-La Land". Just read this morning that California ranks 50th in states for quality of life and community. Nice to know we still have Americans like you still there...and fighting to make it better.