President Trump has already proposed $50 billion in tariffs on China and now wants to seek an additional $100 billion. I’ve noticed that people don’t seem to have much of a sense of scale with tariffs. It’s understandable–tariffs haven’t been a central issue in American politics for a while. We’ve forgotten how to talk about tariff policy and now we’re being made to re-learn. So, without further ado, let’s talk tariffs.
When I talk to President Trump’s supporters about how they anticipate the president will bring back lost manufacturing jobs, I tend to hear the same argument over and over. It goes something like this:
Trump will cut corporate tax and other taxes that primarily hit investors.
Firms and investment will return from abroad to take advantage of the low tax rates.
It is possible to demonstrate that this is false. Here’s how to do it.
It’s been announced that President Trump will seek to increase military spending by $54 billion, taking this money out of the budgets of other federal departments (the specific programs these departments would cut has not yet been decided). This is a significant amount of money–it’s enough to build the Trump wall twice over, and it’s nearly three times the size of the NASA budget. It’s nearly enough to pay for tuition-free college, which costs $70 billion. The cuts are still in the proposal stage–congress must pass a budget which incorporates these changes before they would become law. Nevertheless, it’s worth taking a moment to emphasize just how unnecessary and wasteful this is.
It has become increasingly popular for Hillary Clinton supporters and even the wider media to blame Russia for the result of the US presidential election and to suggest that Donald Trump’s desire to repair relations with Russia must be motivated by some sort of sinister conspiracy. This position is deeply flawed on many levels. Here are just a few of the best ways to undermine this argument.
Stock markets have been stumbling this week. To some degree, this is happening because corrections are needed, but one of the key reasons these corrections are happening right now is China. China’s stock market has been in a tailspin lately, and the Chinese government has taken a series of measures to prop up its stock market, all of which are only succeeding in making the situation much worse. Right wing commentators in the west are pointing at China and claiming that government intervention in the economy doesn’t work. This is a simplistic and reductive response–the problem is not that China is taking action, but that the specific actions that China is taking are the wrong actions.