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Trump tariffs, taxes and trade war making 1800s protectionism great again

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When Donald Trump announced YUGE tariffs on solar panels and residential washing machines earlier this year, he officially launched a new global trade war. Under the guise of “America First,” Trump’s used his Nationalist Populist philosophy to advance big government elitism that harkens back to Barack Obama’s approach to economic policy where Washington picks the winners and losers.

Unfortunately, Trump was just getting started. Last week, the New York liberal with an “R” after his name announced the next round of attacks on the free market–an across-the-board tariff of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum.

Facing a heavy backlash from conservatives like Sens. Ben Sasse and Mike Lee, Trump assured America that “trade wars are good, and easy to win.” He went on to say that “the steel industry is in bad shape” even though over 70 percent of the steel used in America comes from America.

Trump’s billionaire Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross, appeared on CNBC to do some damage control, and he assured consumers that the tariffs will have a “trivial” impact on prices because it only amounts to a few pennies on cans of soup and soda, and a few hundred dollars on a new car. While these amounts may be insignificant to a man worth over ten figures, to the average American family a few hundred dollars is anything but “trivial.”

Ross continued in his defense of steel tariffs by pointing out that it’s been done before, and he’s right. Most recently, tariffs on steel were tried by George W. Bush with disastrous results. Prices for products using steel rose 40 percent as the economy lost tens of thousands of jobs while saving 1700 steelworker jobs at a cost of approximately $800,000 each.

Countries affected by the steel tariff aren’t sitting idly by. For example, the European Union responded to Trump by announcing plans to target imports of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Levi Straus jeans, and whiskey producers from the U.S. Not to worry though. Trump’s “winning” response to the EU was a threat to add a Tax on cars imported from Europe which, of course, will make autos even more expensive.

Yeah, that’ll show ’em who’s boss!

Tariff is simply another word for “tax,” and when you add Trump’s interest in raising the gas tax and creating a new internet sales tax to pay for his big government agenda, you can kiss that extra money in your paycheck from the recent tax deal good-bye.

Trump promised to build a wall on our southern border to keep out illegals. Instead, he’s building a wall made of tariffs, taxes and a trade war around the US economy to keep out free trade as he makes 1800s protectionism great again.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 

David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.

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Economy

Tariffs just cost 1 million US jobs as Jack Ma backs out of promise to Trump

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Tariffs just cost 1 million US jobs as Jack Ma backs out of promise to Trump

Before President Trump was inaugurated, Alibaba’s head Jack Ma made headlines by promising the President-elect he would bring one million jobs to America in the next five years. President Trump ballyhooed the announcement as a sign that his mere presence was enough to put more Americans to work.

With new tariffs imposed this week on China, Ma is backing out of his promise.

Jack Ma: Alibaba is no longer planning to create 1 million US jobs

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/19/jack-ma-alibaba-is-no-longer-planning-to-create-1-million-us-jobs.html“The promise was made on the premise of friendly US-China partnership and rational trade relations,” Ma told Chinese news site Xinhua on Wednesday. “That premise no longer exists today, so our promise cannot be fulfilled.”

Ma, who recently announced that he will step down as Alibaba chairman within a year, added that the company would “not stop working hard to contribute to the healthy development of China-US trade.”

My Take

Using tariffs in the modern world will never generate the same results they did in the middle of last century. The negatives greatly outweigh the positives even if you take out the foreign relations challenges they create. When you add in bad blood forcing defensive decisions, you get what we’re seeing today.

A million potential American jobs just evaporated.

On top of the strain on foreign relations, there’s the question of who ends up paying for tariffs. No, it’s not the foreign companies who pay. It’s the consumers, in most cases American citizens and businesses, who end up paying higher prices to compensate for the artificial costs of tariffs.

The only valid, albeit unnecessary use of tariffs by the United States is as a deterrent for certain industries to import materials rather than using domestic alternatives. For example, sugar tariffs are intended to make food companies use American sugar in their products. It doesn’t create more jobs, but it does protect some. Moreover, it keeps the production flow from relying on foreign materials. I’m not defending this as a “good” use of tariffs or domestic subsidies, but it’s at least understandable.

We have to remember who were are and the time we’re in. America is a consumer nation. There will always be a trade deficit with everyone because we need their products and they need our money. That’s why a healthy free trade relationship is beneficial to both sides. Tariffs disrupt the synergy.

There are definitely protectionist measures that can and should be taken in certain circumstances to prevent as many jobs as possible from leaving the country, but those measures are targeted. They should be beneficial rather than detrimental; it’s better to financially encourage companies to hire American than to punish the ones that don’t.

Few in the media will publicize this huge story because both sides are having trouble reconciling a Republican administration that pushes the leftist concept of tariffs. Senator Bernie Sanders and President Trump agree on trade, so the media will be silent through the confusion.

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Economy

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the other $38 trillion

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the other 38 trillion

By now, a good number of voters have seen this video where CNN’s Jake Tapper attempts to press Congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about how she intends to pay for the generous government handouts that spearhead her platform. Perhaps more people need to see it as it’s a glaring display of fiscal ignorance.

It’s a question that needs to continue to be asked, not just of Ocasio-Cortez but of all the socialists out there running for office or promoting the untenable economic plan. Unfortunately, we haven’t actually seen a plan. We hear the promises of all the freebies we’ll get. We hear the claim that they can pay for it by taking money from the rich. Yet, we still haven’t seen anything close to the mathematics behind it or the plan to make it a reality.

This slice of an interview is a microcosm of the socialists’ biggest problem. They’re able to account for a minuscule portion of the price tag attached to their grand plans but they invariably divert and redirect any time they’re pressed on the most basic of questions: how are you going to pay for it. In this case, Ocasio-Cortez has to strain every penny from every rich person they can find in America to pay a mere 5% of what she’s promising.

Somehow, this isn’t reaching enough people. They love what they hear when they’re told they get free stuff, but they immediately plug their ears and block off the reasoning portion of their brain when details are discussed. There’s no such thing as free and despite claims the rich people can give their “fair share” to pay for it all, it simply can’t add up.

$40 trillion is a lot of money even spread over a decade. It’s more than we’re expected to take in over the next decade in total tax revenue. That means if we didn’t spend a penny on things such as defense, education, housing, community, running the government itself, or anything else other than the socialists’ agenda, we still wouldn’t have enough to pay for it all. We would need to more than double our current tax revenues.

No, that cannot be done by bleeding the rich no matter how fuzzy the socialists make their math.

Political news hounds are aware of the $38 trillion problem Ocasio-Cortez and other socialists have, but the masses in America have no idea. It’s up to all of us to spread the word and make them aware no matter how deeply they bury their heads in the sand.

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Economy

Huge minimum wage increase in Venezuela forces businesses to fire employees or shut down

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Huge minimum wage increase in Venezuela forces businesses to fire employees or shut down

Socialism rears its ugly head once again in the failed nation of Venezuela. As the country’s leaders attempt to slow their free fall to oblivion, businesses and their employees are being forced to make tough decisions.

The 3000% increase in minimum wage, announced last month by President Nicolas Maduro, went into effect this week. As a result, the economic woes for the citizens of the nation have spiked once again.

Venezuela Raises Minimum Wage 3,000% and Lots of Workers Get Fired

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-14/after-getting-3-000-wage-hike-workers-are-fired-in-venezuelaStarting this week, 7 million employees are guaranteed 1,800 bolivars a month — worth about $20 at the black-market rate. President Nicolas Maduro intended the mandate as political boost, but it’s having the opposite effect as companies, already hit by Venezuela’s epic economic contraction, tell workers they can’t afford to keep them.

While there have been many similar moves in the past, never has one been so disruptive, arriving amid hyperinflation, depression and devaluation. Some employers are restructuring costs, rejiggering pay scales and negotiating settlements with workers. Others are simply dismissing people. Much of the action happens secretively as companies try to avoid punishment by the government, which has been jailing those it believes are flouting the rules.

My Take

The failures of socialism are an easy target. If you’re reading this, chances are strong you already recognize how disastrous socialism is for any economy, even one access to more oil than any other.

Not even America could withstand the detrimental effects for long.

In lieu of attacking the easy target, it’s time we start looking for solutions. Venezuela must throw in the towel. They’re way beyond the need for aid and they can’t pay back loans. At this point, someone needs to step in and take over. This is, of course, unlikely as the socialist regime has no intentions of ever relinquishing power. They’ll allow their people to starve on the streets before they give up power.

Is a coup the only solution? Is it even possible without outside help? Where would outside help come from if it did? Can the United Nations do anything? How about the United States, China, Russia, or the EU? All have problems of their own and while the oil is an interesting enticement, nobody would risk making a deal in a country with such disarray.

Perhaps the only solution is to wait for the suffering of the people to become so pronounced they have no choice but to organize and take their country back by force. Unfortunately, this is not the type of event that is likely to yield positive results. What could they do if they were somehow able to win?

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