Last week, master dealer in self-delusions Donald Trump announced plans to increase tariffs by another $300 billion on Chinese products.
Jason Easley of Politicus explained: “The additional 10 percent tax that Trump is imposing on US consumers will hit the iPhone….because Donald Trump still doesn’t understand that China does not pay his tariffs. The Trump tariffs are a tax on US consumers.”
Neil Cavuto of Fox News was just as blunt: “But just to be clarifying, China isn’t paying these tariffs. You are. You know, indirectly and sometimes directly,” he explained to Lou Dobbs.
So, is our president so dense that this truth can’t sink past the yellow-orange helmet covering his brain?
On June 11, Mary Papenfuss of the Huffington Post reported, “President Donald Trump let fly a jaw-dropping lie in a chatty interview with CNBC Monday, saying that because of his get-tough trade war with China, the Asian nation’s economy has lost ‘$15 to $20 trillion in value since the day I was elected.’
“The Chinese economy is worth an estimated $13 trillion (it was $12.2 trillion in 2017, according to the World Bank). To wipe out 150 percent of China’s GDP would erase the country from the world economy and would be pretty ― incredible.”
Trump then bragged that his actions would cause Chinese currency to lose value. China lowered that rate Monday and our stock market dropped 600 points within three hours.
CNN Business reported: “The cheaper yuan ignited fear on Wall Street….Investors are particularly concerned that the Trump administration could try to devalue the dollar, sparking a currency war that could weaken Americans’ purchasing power.”
Mark Sumner over at The Daily Kos summed up last week’s announcement thusly:
“Donald Trump has admitted that his negotiations with China have gone nowhere…. To repeat, Trump’s crack negotiations, the negotiations which he has claimed were on the brink of success over and over, have generated: no trade deal; no agriculture deal; no restrictions on the production of opioids.”
Reuters noted on June 25 that, “Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue acknowledged that American farmers are ‘casualties’ of President Donald Trump’s trade war with China”
Trump has designated $16 billion in taxpayer money to try to bribe the farmers his policies threaten to ruin.
And, of course, in true Republican fashion, Papenfuss reported Friday that, “Billions of taxpayer dollars in farm subsidies aimed at mitigating the damage of President Donald Trump’s trade war with China have ‘overwhelmingly flowed to the largest and most successful farmers’ rather than aiding struggling operations, according to a new report.
“More than half of the farm bailouts went to just one-tenth of the recipients in the program, according to a study by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. The top one percent of farmers were paid an average $183,000, while the bottom 80 percent averaged less than $5,000.”
Master negotiator? As the late, great Townes Van Zandt once observed: “No deal. You can’t sell that stuff to me.”
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: scdpok.us or facebook.com/SCDPOK/.)