Donald Trump

Trump: 'There will be a major border tax on these companies that are leaving and getting away with murder'

In first press conference, president-elect uses the bully pulpit to make Hillary Clintonesque threats against insufficiently patriotic companies


Mooooooooove it the left! Yeah. ||| ABC News
ABC News

Taking seriously but not literally the trade-related comments that President-elect Donald Trump made at his long-overdue, frequently bizarre, and eminently watchable press conference today, a pro-trade observer might linger for a moment on the term Trump used to describe the act of moving a manufacturing facility from America to somewhere else. "There will be a major border tax on these companies that are leaving," our next president warned, "and getting away with murder."

What purpose does such over-the-top figurative language serve? Well, it's entertaining, for one, and Trump has derived enormous value from being able to hold our attention. (My favorite such moment from today was when he called BuzzFeed a "failing pile of garbage.") It's also a pretty direct political signal to his Rust Belt voter base that the incoming president takes their job displacement personally. He was explicit about that linkage today:

[T]hat was a beautiful scene on November 8th as those states started to pour in. And we focused very hard in those states, and they really reciprocated. And those states are gonna have a lot of jobs […]

[W]hat really is happening, is the word is now out, that when you want to move your plant to Mexico or some other place, and you want to fire all of your workers from Michigan and Ohio and all these places that I won—for good reason—it's not going to happen that way anymore.

A third and more far-reaching use of such hyperbole is that it probably helps in Trump's audacious yet preliminarily promising project (from his point of view, not mine) of transforming the Republican Party's fundamental views on capitalism, trade, and economics. While former free traders like Mike Pence, Reince Preibus, and Steve Moore look on and applaud, the standard-bearer of the GOP is mouthing words that would fit snugly in a Hillary Clinton speech:

Speaking of Democratic talking points, Trump in his opening remarks singled out Big Pharma as his second major industrial target, after the auto industry. Check out the lefty:

We've got to get our drug industry back. Our drug industry has been disastrous. They're leaving left and right. They supply our drugs, but they don't make them here, to a large extent. And the other thing we have to do is create new bidding procedures for the drug industry because they're getting away with murder.

Pharma, pharma has a lot of lobbies and a lot of lobbyists and a lot of power and there's very little bidding on drugs. We're the largest buyer of drugs in the world and yet we don't bid properly and we're going to start bidding and we're going to save billions of dollars over a period of time.

There's that "murder" word again….

Trump has been making this pharmaceuticals-bidding argument for a while now, and as Peter Suderman pointed out last year, his approach thus far has not been tethered to realism. And his browbeating of companies, sometimes on an individual level, is already becoming a recipe for crony capitalism, as Eric Boehm has pointed out here. But the big policy kahuna—and therefore the biggest threat to all Americans—will be his strong desire to enact a border tax:

You want to move your plant and you think, as an example, you're going to build that plant in Mexico and you're going to make your air conditioners or your cars or whatever you're making, and you're going to sell it through what will be a very, very strong border […] not going to happen. You're going to pay a very large border tax. So if you want to move to another country and if you want to fire all of our great American workers that got you there in the first place, you can move from Michigan to Tennessee and to North Carolina and South Carolina. You can move from South Carolina back to Michigan.

So will Republicans go along with the Hillaryification of GOP economics? Many of their voters appear ready, as Reason TV recently found:

NEXT: Will Baltimore's Police Reform Agreement Survive Under Sessions as A.G.?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Fuck your protectionist bullshit, Trump.


      1. Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this - 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link,

        go? to tech tab for work detail,,,,,,,

  2. Way to harsh my prog-tears buzz. Can't we wait until he is sworn in before reality comes crashing down?

    1. I with ya. Whatever the opposite of "Trump Derangement Syndrome" is, I'm afraid it is among us. Too many people are drunk on proggy tears. I admit, it's tempting to take a sip -- but come 1/20, the rubber meets the road.

      1. You can't do anything about what Trump does or doesn't do, so just enjoy the good parts.

        1. It's been fun so far, hasn't it?

          1. Not the Sessions part, no, not at all.

    2. I officially start rehab.....on inauguration day!!!

  3. Typical. Just when I'm in a jovial mood after the three-ring circus of a presser today, a theatrical tour de force, whereby these nutcases in the media try to rationalize their gossip columns as thoughtful and civic duty, all the while the blowhard manhandles them as the children they are, then reality strikes at my heart: His economic illiteracy is the bridge that will cajole the left and right into their shared statist stupor.

  4. I seriously don't see what the Clintonistas are so upset about. They got the same thing as Mrs. Clinton who wears ties with better pantsuits. He might owe her a royalty on that BIG PHARMA talk.

    1. Hush with that talk now before you get yelled at about FALSE EQUIVALENCIES YOU BIG MEAN RACIST!

      1. If the leftoids didn't have false equivalencies they would have no equivalencies at all.

    2. Because much like modern day libertarians, all they really care about is virtue signaling.

  5. Those glorious progtears are going to cost us quite a bit in the end, unfortunately.

  6. Meh. Trump talks a lot. No one who talks that much is going to do everything he says he's going to do. Especially a president. Jury is still out for me, I just don't have any idea what this guy is going to do, and I honestly don't think anyone else does either. But telling CNN they suck, that's a +1 for Trump. Let's put it this way, I'm not nearly as worried as I would be if Hillary would have won. That's some terrifying shit right there.

    1. He gets a big +1 on disparaging the intelligence agencies. Let's see if he sticks to it.

      He gets a big -1 on reneging upon "lock her up". Let's see what he does.

      1. I honestly don't think he should lock her up. Watching her wallow in misery is great, why would we want to miss that? I'd love to see her run and lose again. I can't get enough of her losing.

        1. It would be awesome if she ran for mayor of NYC and lost. Also, it would be Huma and Weiner and Podesta emails all day every day.

          1. Would be enormously amusing to see the NYTimes criticize the mayoral decisions of the same person they wanted in the Oval Office.

            1. So it's your theory that the NYT would criticize mayor Clinton? I'm skeptical but open to the slight possibility.

          2. Actually, I think it would be awesome if she ran for mayor of NYC and won.

            Unlike the offices she has held before, being a mayor is a position where incompetence really shows.

        2. Whither equality of justice?

          Should those who make and enforce the laws not be held accountable?

          1. of course, they should Mike; but do you really believe Hillary would be treated as such? And how much of that sideshow does the nation leave? Her losing - and to Trump, of all people - is quite likely the worst thing that can be done to her because it cost her power. Power.

            1. Believing that she will be treated that way is one thing. Of course I do not believe that she will.

              Seeing to it that those in power are held accountable is a way to keep violent revolution at bay. Don't you think the more the general public has confidence that the laws apply to everybody, including Hillary, the more peaceful society would be?

        3. I don't think she's going to ever stop running. As long as some sort of heathen technology can keep her mostly alive, she will run. Again and again and again.

          The best Hillary Clinton death-bed scenario is this: she's surrounded by friends and family. (And Barack Obama, because he's going to have to share his experience of witnessing her death to the media. Bill, of course, is down the hall, hitting on the cute, chubby blonde nurse) She's physically incapable of speaking at this point, but she's using what remaining motor skills she has left to approximate a death glare at Obama.

          As she joins the silent majority, her last thoughts: Fuck you, asshole. 2008 was my year. MY year.

            1. The post merits an A, but not an A+.

              1. I only needed a B to pass the class, so I'm good either way.

    2. When it comes to his protectionist stance, I take him at his word. Maybe not every detail or proposal, but I think it's evident he ideologically opposes the free movement of capital, at least outside of the country. I don't believe there is some free market ideologue hiding within.

      However, I am somewhat pleased with a few of cabinet picks, and he seems to recognize the growth of the regulatory state and the problems it creates. On the foreign policy side, I'm happy that Trump seems to want rapprochement with Russia. It's tough to pin down what exactly Trump believes since he seems to be all over the place.

      1. I've heard him rattle off some free market talk too. I think I'm going to try to ignore him like I did Obama. It's not like I can do anything about it.

        1. It would be worth the price of admission alone to see if he is really serious about reducing the level of regulatory lockup in the economy.

          Unfortunately, every POTUS since Gerald Ford has promised to lower the regulatory burden and the only one who did was Jimmy Carter.

      2. He understand the destructive power of the tax and regulatory state, because of his extensive work in the private sector. That shit can be felt on a microeconomic level. Trying to explain macro stuff would sound like Chinese to him.

  7. Trump is an economic retard. What's really sad is that the market keeps reacting to his idiotic statements that have no basis in reality. I don't get why the stock market always makes it a point to react to the dumbest shit it possibly can in almost every scenario.

    1. Because anybody can own stock.

      It's actually wonderful if you're intelligent. Quick profits on shit like Brexit are money in the bank because a bunch of morons start selling off in fear.

      1. Exactly this^ I have a trading philosophy based entirely on bad news. I short sell stock or sell puts on companies that get some unexpected bad publicity. I make good profits.

        1. Buy puts you mean?

          1. No I sell them for a credit, with a few caveats, the stock must be in a company I wouldn't mind owning at the current price, and it must be liquid.

            1. If I get put the stock, I consider it a discount purchase.

          2. Why buy when you can sell? I produce nothing other than a promise to buy shares in a company if the price dips below a certain point on a certain day. Selling options is where it's at.

  8. Because anybody can own stock.

    But who actually does most of the buying and selling? You've got institutional investors, brokerage firms, and the like who are making the actual trades. Your Average Joe may have a 401K or IRA, but he isn't actively trading.

    You'd think sophisticated investors wouldn't spook so easily.

    1. One would think, but institutional investors whole job is to wonder what other people think about.

  9. such over-the-top figurative language

    Sorry, Matt, but "getting away with murder" is/was a fairly common and benign figment of speech for the oldster generation (particularly for the New York set). Unbunch your undergarments, for now.

    1. Has snowflake America banned the phrase getting away with murder?

      I wouldn't be surprised
      I thought Matt was being ridiculous getting his panties in a wad over it

      Now get offa my lawn?

  10. So... Democrats a-la Chuck Schumer are totally for this, right?

  11. I just read this:

    NEW YORK (AP) ? In a combative and freewheeling news conference, President-elect Donald Trump said for the first time Wednesday that he accepts Russia was behind the election year hacking of Democrats that roiled the White House race.

    Did Trump actually accept this?

    Oh, and here's the headline, which is factually incorrect-- certainly rhetorically incorrect, that is essentially changed in the body:

    Combative Trump concedes Russia's role in election hacking

    Were the Democrats hacked or was the election 'hacked'. And if it's the latter, what was the vector of attack?

    God fucking Jesus mother of God I fucking hate the "lamestream" media right now.

    1. Fuck the fucked up use of the word 'hacking'. But since we're misusing it, here's an honest-to-god way to "Hack Your Life" I just read on

      "Before you throw away that post-it, run it between the keys of your keyboard to [*clears throat*] collect crumbs and stuff [sic]"

    2. "Use a coozie to cover your stick on hot days"

      Now that's a lifehack I can get behind.

    3. Most of the fake news is coming from the Washington Post.

  12. [W]hat really is happening, is the word is now out, that when you want to move your plant to Mexico or some other place, and you want to fire all of your workers from Michigan and Ohio and all these places that I won?for good reason?it's not going to happen that way anymore.

    Man, I can't wait until Atlas shrugs.

    1. It was an alarming press conference.

      1. Atlas shrugged

        1. He did?

    2. If art deco comes back, it might be worth it.

      1. I was always more of a Prairie School/Usonian kinda guy, myself.

    3. Yeah, all the high powered CEOs and technical geniuses are going to disappear into a cave or something and only come out when the country has wrecked itself.

      As always, those guys will figure out how to prosper and they'll do as well under Trump as they would with the ghost of Calvin Coolidge as president.

  13. UGH!

    Trump...the libertarian choice!

    1. All I can say is: I was happier with the fact that Hillary lost than I was angry at the fact that Trump won.

  14. Calling Buzzfeed "a failing pile of garbage" in a Presidential press conference is pretty hilarious.

    1. What would a winning pile of garbage look like?

        1. Nick Saban, after winning last year's college football national championship.

        2. I was expecting someone to say "Reason," but this is obviously the correct answer.

      1. american socialist?

        1. Oops. Misread winning as failing. Get an edit button dammit!

  15. Does this mean there will be a tax only on goods coming into the country from companies that have first moved out of the U.S.? While Trump probably hasn't a clue what he means, the way such a tariff tax is applied could have grave consequences not just for consumers but for any company operating the U.S. that won't exist if it can't stay competitive if forced to keep its prices above its foreign competition.

    1. I think the general rule should be to ignore shit Trump says, and pay attention to what his subordinates do.

      1. I know this commenter has me on ignore, which is fine (but really how thin-skinned do you have to be to just scroll down past posts that you don't care for), but is his only purpose here to make excuses for whatever God-awful caudillo politics Trump engages in, because that's pretty much all I see from him/her.

    2. Worry not, my magic 8 ball declares that cronyism is "yes"

  16. Its 9 days before receipt of the explosion-prone jalopy and already the proponents of buying this piece of shit over the 2008 Toyota Corolla are having buyer's remorse. Too bad. No refunds, rubes.

    1. Sorry, there's nothing that Donald can do that is in line with his election promises that would make me wish that the the harpiest presidential wife, the least relevant senator and the most incompetent SECSTATE ever, had been elected POTUS.

    2. 60 days of that hag not having a chance to screw up the US, and we are a happy lot!

  17. Securing jobs for the American people really is not one of the Constitutional duties of the President of the United States.

  18. So if you want to move to another country and if you want to fire all of our great American workers that got you there in the first place, you can move from Michigan to Tennessee and to North Carolina and South Carolina. You can move from South Carolina back to Michigan.

    We. Are. So. Fucked.

    1. Hey fella, there are fifty states, and you can move anywhere you want as long as it is to one of those fifty states. It is called competition.

      1. DC and territories not applicable?

        1. You can do anywhere ? you've got a lot of states at play; a lot of competition. So it's not like, oh, gee, I'm taking the competition away. You've got a lot of places you can move. And I don't care, as along as it's within the United States, the borders of the United States.

    2. Sounds good to this socialist. Trump keeps getting better and better.

      1. You think it sounds good that we are so tucked? No wonder people here hate you.

        1. Fucked. Edit button. For real guys.

        2. No, I was referring to Trump. You mean he's actually going to protect jobs here in the US by punishing companies that outsource their labor? Long overdue, in my eyes. You go, Mr. Golden Showers.

          1. I like how you're now referring to him as "Mr. golden Showers" even though that story was proven to be false.

            1. It was? Where? I give it a 20% chance of being correct. Please, please, please. Wouldn't that be great to watch this douche have to defend himself from the videos that anyone could watch on spankbang?

              1. Ya know, no one has proven that Obo doesn't fuck sheep; I read that he did somewhere while the Woki watches. Can you prove he doesn't?
                Wouldn't that be great if he did?

              2. american socialist|1.11.17 @ 7:42PM|#
                "It was? Where?"

                Here, you imbecilic asswipe:
                "Back in October, a political operative and former employee of the British intelligence agency MI6 was being paid by Democrats to dig up dirt on Trump (before that, he was paid by anti-Trump Republicans). He tried to convince countless media outlets to publish a long memo he had written filled with explosive accusations about Trump's treason, business corruption and sexual escapades, with the overarching theme that Trump was in servitude to Moscow because they were blackmailing and bribing him."

    3. And hey, is it just me, or does this:

      "and if you want to fire all of our great American workers that got you there in the first place"

      ...sound just a little bit like telling business owners that You Didn't Build That?

    4. When american socialist is landing palpable hits, yup, Trump gone done fucked up and you're gonna be paying for it.

      1. I've noticed a distinct lack of Trumpertarian appearances on this thread.

        I wonder if they even comprehend the similarities between AmSoc's and their arguments.

        1. You guys are already in a state of denial. Laughable. Good luck with this walking train wreck

          1. You're the one cheering him on.

            You realize than once Trump ends affirmative action even more Asians will get into Stanford?

            You might want to rethink your support for him.

            1. Hey, you know, it's all bitter sarcasm on my part, right? I. Fucking. Hate. Trump. You'll have to look up Gilmore and his pals here to see someone really defend this grotesque blowhard.

              1. So, you don't support labor and trade protectionism? Are you willing to go on record with that?

                1. And if he does, what difference? Unless you want him on the record so you can sample him for your next Krugman rap...

                2. Why are you feeding?

                  1. Again, a curious silence from the Trumpertarians.

                    This is one time I don't want AmSoc to shut the fuck up.

                    I want to watch them squirm.

                3. Amsoc is quite possibility the worst socialist I've ever had the pleasure of reading. I mean, I don't mean worst socialist as in he's Stalin or anything, but worst as in he's absolutely garbage at actually being a socialist. Lenin is rolling in his grave, and quite possibly assembling a zombie firing squad to deal with these counter-revolutionaries.

                  1. It's not that it's a bad socialist, it's that it's a poorly-constructed sock. I don't sense any creativity, intelligence, or actual knowledge, just randomly thrown-together slogans and overly-recycled ad homs.

                  2. His pain over watching that hag go down in flames is quite amusing. I'm sure he'll spend the next 4 or 8 years whining on a daily basis.
                    The rest of us can bitch about Trump when he screws up in the full knowledge that as bad as it is, it's far, far better that what that crooked hag could ever have done.
                    Hey, asswipe! Ya LOST!
                    HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA.

  19. The Bloombergousie were chittering away about Trump's putative "border tax" this morning. The consensus of opinion seemed to be some sort of magical currency adjustment will make it invisible to the American domestic shopper. No mention of the effect on exporters.

    1. "The consensus of opinion seemed to be some sort of magical currency adjustment will make it invisible to the American domestic shopper."

      Maduro eagerly awaits the details.

    2. NAFTA is the law of the land, so Trump can't impose his border tax unless the U.S. withdraws from NAFTA. Even then it would take an act of Congress, but with the Republicans controlling both houses, he might get that. So how long would it take to withdraw from NAFTA? Most treaties require advance notice, typically a year, for a country to withdraw. So I'm thinking the earliest he could impose such a tax would be around March of 2018, figuring a year to withdraw from NAFTA and a couple of months to get his tax through Congress. Mexico now says it wants to "renegotiate" NAFTA, but we'll have to see what that means. Since Canada is also a party to NAFTA, they would have to be involved in any renegotiation as well. I think the U.S. had a free trade agreement with Canada before NAFTA extended it to Mexico, and that would presumably remain in place even if the U.S. withdrew from NAFTA. If no renegotiation was concluded, NAFTA could remain an agreement between Canada and Mexico, but I'm wondering if they'd be able to ship goods through the United States.

      1. The president has pretty wide latitude to impose trade sanctions

        Build that wall!

  20. 'Fighting for us' doesn't mean what the progs think it means.

    It means she's fighting for her kind and Clinton Inc.

  21. From Breitbart "Jiang Jianguo, head of the State Council Information Office, told a symposium hosted by the World Trade Organization in Geneva that [Chinese] President Xi would go to Davos to push for development, cooperation and economic globalization in order to build "a human community with shared destiny."

    "With the rise of populism, protectionism, and nativism, the world has come to a historic crossroad where one road leads to war, poverty, confrontation and domination while the other road leads to peace, development, cooperation and win-win solutions," Jiang said."

    It's pretty bad when Chinese communists are showing us the way forward and turn out to be the sensible ones. Jesus Christ, what a shitshow this country is going to be in the next 4 years. CalExit, please.

    1. Yes, we know it's the "Chinese" part that really bothers you.

      1. American socialist or Canadian socialist?

        I kid, amsoc writes better.

        1. I'm pretty sure they both happened to have severe concussions on the exact same spots of their heads at a young age.

        2. That's just fuckin' lovely. It looks like the Trudeaus never met a dictatorship they did not like.

          1. I'm pretty sure they hated Pinochet.

      2. The commies finally came off the dime on Maoism? When did that happen?

        1. 1979?

          But to translate from Chinese Commie, what he's saying is "we intend to continue our colonization projects in Africa, keep our trade barriers at home, steal any technology or process we can, claim half the Pacific Ocean is our inland sea and whine like babies any time anyone else tries to copy our shtick."

          1. All this 1970s research has me stuck in the wrong decade.

    2. "CalExit, please"

      AssExit, please.

  22. So I'm thinking Trump speeches are going to be an emotional rollercoaster for me. My reaction this time was full-on glower over the protectionist garbage, followed by belly laughter as the soon-to-be President of the United States called Buzzfeed a failing piece of garbage. Then more glower.

    1. Buckle up buckaroo!

    2. I've had a pretty good rule for the past 16 years, if the president is talking, turn the channel. Works with Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless too.

  23. I didn't watch the presser because I figured it would be a bunch of reporters living down to their reputation for going for the facile gotcha questions instead of questions a serious person might want to ask of a PEOTUS, like his priorities and plans and so on, but I must say I was disappointed.

    This morning CNN had a countdown clock to the presser and I had to laugh - I would have bet my left nut Trump had meetings scheduled this morning and the presser scheduled for 1:00 but told the press it was scheduled for 10:00 just to fuck with them. Have somebody come in and tell the reporters every 10 minutes Trump had had "something important" come up and he'd be with them soon. Yank their chain, let them know who's the boss, let them know "important stuff" comes first and they ain't important stuff. And then when he shows up "3 hours late" and they ask what the important stuff was, tell them it was deep dark secret stuff, yugely important stuff, stuff only he was competent to deal with, and he couldn't talk about it. But it involves arms sales to the Vatican.

    And somebody seriously needs to get that guy into rehab and off the pills. Or on pills - it's gonna get pretty damn old pretty damn fast having a hyperactive 12-year old President who sits up until 3 in the morning tweeting "I know you are but what am I" to every random person that calls him a fathead.

  24. When in doubt, tax your own people more for what they buy. Somehow they will thank you for it.

  25. I was hoping he would at least wait until he took office to disappoint. Ah, well, it was inevitable.

    *Places order for scotch, teqila, gin, and rye.

  26. George Washington would be a more apt comparison of Trump's trade policy than Hillary Clinton

    His policy was specifically aimed at raising wages through tariffs

  27. Talking about Trump changing the GOP's fundamental views on trade ignores that for most of its history, the GOP was the more protectionist of the two parties. Its conversion to free trade was relatively recent (even Reagan wasn't unambiguously pro-free-trade--he talked about free "and fair" trade) and more superficial than conventional opinion recognized. OTOH, the fact that Trump is acting in a long tradition (dating back to the Federalists and Whigs before the Republicans) should hardly make him immune from libertarian criticism and hardly justifies the bizarre belief of some that every libertarian criticism of Trump is somehow "proggie." After all, libertarians were traditionally *opposed* to the Federalist-Whig-Republican mercantilist-protectionist approach. They did not hesitate to criticize Washington and Lincoln (not to mention Hamilton) on this score--yet now they are supposed to bow down to Trump?!

    1. start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this ? 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail?


  28. This is a nice hit piece on Hillary who lost the election.
    What, can't find ways to shield Drumpf?

  29. Ella . although Margaret `s article is super, on friday I got a new McLaren F1 after having earned $4887 this-past/four weeks and just over ten grand last-month . this is actually my favourite-work Ive had . I actually started six months/ago and right away began to earn minimum $82 p/h
    . Read more on this site.....


  30. The best part of work is from comfort of your house and get paid from $100-$2k each week. Start today and have your first cash at the end of this week. For more info Check the following link


  31. My best friend's wife makes Bucks75/hr on the laptop. She has been unemployed for eight months but last month her income with big fat bonus was over Bucks9000 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
    Read more on this site

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.