Donald Trump

Trump's Trade Policy Could Leave the Economy in Tatters

Trade wars are always costly.

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President Donald Trump claimed in a tweet that "trade wars are good, and easy to win." Unfortunately, the Chinese government's swift response to his administration's decision to impose tariffs on 1,300 Chinese goods with its own set of tariffs on U.S. goods sent to China tells us that his claim may be put to the test sooner than we think. The reality, I'm afraid, is that trade wars are always costly, and the pain is magnified when trade wars are waged against authoritarian regimes, such as the one in China.

Tariffs imposed by any government are, first and foremost, penalties on its own citizens who buy imports (or import-competing domestic goods, whose producers can then freely raise their prices to just under the new price levels set by the import tax). President Trump's tariffs are therefore penalties imposed on Americans. Yes, some Chinese companies will suffer from the imposition of these import taxes. But make no mistake; this policy set by Uncle Sam will force Americans to pay higher prices for goods they choose to buy, and it will also cost American jobs.

Likewise, the Chinese tariffs announced on dozens of categories of American goods (such as pork, fruits, soybeans, nuts, and sparkling wine) are penalties imposed on the Chinese people buying U.S. goods, even though the retaliatory taxes are exclusively advertised as a way to hurt American firms. The bottom line is that this tariff fight between China and the United States is the trade version of arm-wrestling, wherein each country demonstrates how much it's willing to abuse its own citizens.

Yet in this high-stakes game, the Chinese government probably has the upper hand. China will be less likely to flinch than the Trump administration, largely because its officials bear no political costs for the tariffs and the costs they impose on the Chinese people. In fact, I'm sure the Republican legislators who will face American voters in November already understand how much heat they may get thanks to the reckless actions of this administration—actions that are being made worse by the ricocheting effects of Chinese retaliation.

Interestingly, when Beijing made its first announcement Monday, the stock exchange in China went up—signaling that at least for now, investors aren't worried about tariffs affecting the Chinese economy that much. The same can't be said of the Dow Jones industrial average, which went down, eliciting headlines like this one from Bloomberg: "Stocks' Second-Quarter Start Is the Worst Since the Great Depression." The president, who spent much of last year touting the stock market uptrend, has decided to remain very silent about its recent fall, along with investors' anxiety over this newfound uncertainty.

After all, no one knows how this will end. So far, the Chinese have been firm but moderate, targeting retaliation toward a small portion of U.S. goods exported to China. But they're sending a clear message that they won't hesitate to take further and more punishing action—against U.S. farmers in particular—if the president sets in stone the triggers to impose Section 301 tariffs as he has repeatedly said he wants to do.

It's true that having a trade bully in the White House who doesn't seem to care about (or understand) the dire price paid by the American people for his tactics has prompted some needed dialogue between the U.S. and China. However, can we trust this administration to close a deal fast enough to avoid the serious economic consequences of the current trade dispute? Considering its size and its impressive and growing economy, China isn't so easy to push around as other countries.

Negotiations require a good-faith effort and some discipline. It means that Trump may get only a small fraction of what he wants from the country, in spite of his aggressive tactics. Even if trade negotiators will be the ones leading the process, this president's tendency to fly off the handle on Twitter without caring about the consequences when he's not getting his way could jeopardize the efforts.

Time will tell us the answers to this question. But until it does, Americans will be held hostage and pay a heavy price. We should hope that this battle doesn't actually devolve into a full-fledged trade war with China, because we would then find out how wrong the president really is.

NEXT: Back from the Galapagos

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  1. Yes, tariffs are taxes on domestic consumers. But from the way foreign exporters howl, it’s obvious others are also arbitrarily hurt. Not that this makes a tariff war reasonable, but it dies make it understandable.

    Look at how this one is progressing (just as all others have no doubt also progressed). Trump thinks Chinese trade restrictions on foreign (including US) goods are unfair to the US, when we have fewer restrictions on Chinese imports. So he proposes higher tariffs. Everyone howls that this will start a trade war and hurt economies everywhere. A lot of the specific detailed complaints are of individual companies forced to raise their prices as the prices of their inputs rise.

    Then the Chinese propose countering tariffs on whatever will make Americans howl the most — farm goods from Trump states, for instance. And what are the detailed complaints now? They are again of Americans, who this time can’t export. Not Chinese who pay more and buy less.

    Trump’s tariffs play right into Chinese hands; China’s tariffs play right into Trump’s hands.

    1. Re: Scarecrow Repair & Chippering,

      Trump thinks Chinese trade restrictions on foreign (including US) goods are unfair to the US, when we have fewer restrictions on Chinese imports.

      It’s a given that Fascists talk in collectivist terms always: Unfair to the U.S., unfair to us. Better for the U.S., better for us.

      Nowhere is it written that the whole population should suffer together with the poor exporters in solidarity. Only Fascists and Trumpistas would believe that such a thing is law.

      1. Fascists, Trumpistas, Marxism’s, by you on every thread regarding Trump or border restrictions. You seem intelligent enough to make a point without the ad hominems. How about I refer to you as Old Beaner until you cease the character disparagements? Fair enough?

        1. Re: Harvard,

          Fascists, Trumpistas, Marxism’s, by you on every thread regarding Trump or border restrictions.

          Yes, yes I am. And?

          And it’s not only border restrictions, which entail the notion that the State owns my decisions. It’s also trade, basic economics, free speech, honesty… all the things the Cheeto-man is against.

          You seem intelligent enough to make a point without the ad hominems.

          They’re not ad hominems. They’re terms of derision.

          There’s really no functional difference between a Marxian and a Trumpista, except in this sense: Trumpistas are much less honest about their anti-capitalist views.

          1. Old Beaner it is then.

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      2. So are you are an absolutist utilitarian here? What is your assumption here?

        That ‘WE are better off with no tariffs’?

        Or that ‘YOU are better off with no tariffs and therefore WE should just let that be while YOU decide what is best for WE?”

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  2. From the perspective of generating posts, tariffs are the new civil, eh, War of Northern Aggression.

  3. Trade War: When governments compete over which one can do a better job of destroying their domestic economy.

  4. As much as I agree that tariffs are bad, do we really need 5 articles per day which are basically preaching to the libertarian choir about how good free trade is?

    1. The many conservatives in the Peanut Gallery here don’t agree.

    2. Re: Leo Kovalensky II,

      I don’t mind even SIX articled a day if that affords me the pleasure of seeing John going batshit crazy and start calling anyone who believes in free trade a “racist”. Right after tacitly arguing that Division Of Labor, Specialization and Comparative Advantage are terms made up by America-hating kooks to undermine our great culture and our belief in a benevolent Gawd… Or something or other. Anyway, it’s so damned funny to watch!

      1. Just what we need, John vs Tony, version 6093

    3. I’d rather hear from de Rugy on trade than the rest of them put together.

    4. SOMEONE needs 5 articles a day pretending that prohibitionist looter asset forfeiture had nothing whatsoever to do with the 1929 Crash, Depression, 1987 ditto, 2007 ditto… pure coincidence. Oh, and pay no attention to those Flash Crashes behind the curtain. The Kleptocracy has enacted a Stock Market Enabling Act to stop those from tipping its hand again.

  5. So much pants shitting over what is so far only a negotiating tactic…

    “…the Chinese government probably has the upper hand. China will be less likely to flinch than the Trump administration, largely because its officials bear no political costs for the tariffs and the costs they impose on the Chinese people…

    1. They are the net exporter by a large margin so while they don’t have to worry about pesky voters, they stand to lose much more economically.

    2. We shouldn’t bother negotiating with totalitarian governments? Just bend over and accept whatever unfair practices they wish to engage in?

    1. We don’t have a free trade agreement with China. How are they “cheating”?

      1. They are cheating by doing nefarious things to unfairly lower their prices, resulting in consumers having access to cheaper goods.
        Nobody should stand for cheaper goods!
        Dammit!
        We need to spend more!
        No! More! Inexpensive stuff! No! More! Inexpensive stuff!

        C’mon Trumpistas! Join the cheer! Nobody needs cheap stuff!

        1. “C’mon Trumpistas! Join the cheer! Nobody needs cheap stuff!”

          Wada we want?
          HIGH PRICES!!!!

          When do we want it?
          NOW!!!!

          1. that about sums it up

        2. They are cheating by doing nefarious things to unfairly lower their prices, resulting in consumers having access to cheaper goods.

          They are not cheating. But what you are doing is pretending that there is some arm’s length transaction between you (consumer) and a Chinese producer that involves no one else. That ain’t true. That producer uses yuan as a currency and a unit of account. That is what they actually price their goods in. Unless you actually are earning yuan yourself, you can’t buy their stuff. Which means both you and they need to use intermediaries – banks – to exchange the currency you have for the one they want and for them to price their goods in the currency you have.

          And THAT intermediary is where the trading system gets overtly manipulated – to benefit you as a consumer of Chinese crap. And that ain’t a free lunch (or even a positive-sum game). You want that to continue – but that merely means you want those who are losing out in the manipulation to keep losing out. And you want to coerce that because – freedom?

      2. Are you responding to me? The word “cheating” doesn’t appear in my comment.

      3. When you say we don’t have a free trade agreement with China, it’s almost like you’re completely ignorant of GATT and the WTO.

    2. “2. We shouldn’t bother negotiating with totalitarian governments? Just bend over and accept whatever unfair practices they wish to engage in?”

      Unfair practices like selling us stuff for low prices?

    3. Re: I can’t even,

      So much pants shitting over what is so far only a negotiating tactic

      a) It’s a lousy tactic and
      b) Who gave that imbecile permission to negotiate on my behalf? It’s MY MONEY.

      If I want to spend it in Chinese or Vietnamese goods, who THE FUCK are YOU to tell me anything? Who THE FUCK is the president to tell ME anything when it comes to MY GAWD-DAMNED MONEY? He ain’t my mommy. So fuck you!

      1. 1, A better tactic would be…?

        2. The U.S. Constitution and the 30 states that cast their electoral votes for Trump?

  6. “Yet in this high-stakes game, the Chinese government probably has the upper hand. China will be less likely to flinch than the Trump administration, largely because its officials bear no political costs for the tariffs and the costs they impose on the Chinese people.”

    I appreciate the point that Xi Jinping doesn’t need to worry about election results, either in the midterms or getting reelected in 2020 like Trump does, but I think he has more to lose if the costs imposed on the Chinese people prove too high.

    If Trump loses reelection, he goes back to Mar-a-Lago and plays more golf.

    If Xi Jinping loses power, he’ll be lucky to get a show trial like the Gang of Four.

    Trump may be more likely to lose this trade war, but Xi Jinping has more to lose if he loses.

    Hitting American soybean imports was telling–something that hits poorer Chinese where it hurts the most. Either the Chinese were trying to signal that they’re in such a strong position that they’re willing to suffer higher food costs, or they’re so completely out of touch, they’re oblivious to what increasing the price of animal feed and cooking oil will do to people in the street.

    1. The only thing protecting Trump from prison is his being president and nobody being sure whether that means he’s accountable for his crimes.

      1. Your off topic and delusional rantings are welcome somewhere, I’m sure.

      2. Crimes?

        I hate trump as much as any red-blooded American but don’t expect any criminal activity from him.

        Money laundering is problematic for him but he has been caught doing it before and was only fined.

        1. They say it’s very easy to commit a crime when you work in the White House.

          Presumably that’s even more the case when you’re a corrupt idiot who can’t get any decent lawyers.

        2. “…only fined.” That or made to sell the Goo Oh Pee platform when none of the Usual Slushpects could get elected dog zoner even WITH the Dems threatening to ban electric power and make CONUS a huge Puerto Rico.

      3. Poor lefty shitbag, hardest hit:

        “When will the media accept that Trump is not a criminal target?”
        […]
        “In terminal medical cases, doctors often deal with patients who move through “stages” that begin with denial. These so-called K?bler-Ross stages can be a long road toward acceptance. A weird form of K?bler-Ross seems to have taken hold of the media. Rather than refusing to accept indicators of impending death, many journalists and analysts seem incapable of accepting signs that the Trump presidency could survive.”
        http://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/
        381593-when-will-the-media-accept
        -that-trump-is-not-a-criminal-target

        1. Assuming he doesn’t do too much harm to the country in the process, the best outcome from my perspective is Trump staying in office till 2020. He’s the single best motivator for Democratic voters in history.

          1. “…He’s the single best motivator for Democratic voters in history.”

            I seem to recall reading this same line of happy-horseshit just before 11/9/16.
            Denial, Tony, that’s what you’re all about.

            1. He hadn’t been witnessed being president yet. Of course the Russians could always steal this election too.

    2. Hitting American soybean imports was telling

      It was telling, but not for the reason you state.

      Trump put tariffs on aluminum/steel because he alleges the Chinese subsidize them to the point that they drive US manufacturers out of business (this is also where he gets the “national security schtick). And it’s true, China subsidizes the fuck out of metals.

      The Chinese placed their tariffs on farm products to point out Trump’s hypocrisy in the matter.

      1. I don’t think Trump hit steel because of China’s subsidies. I think Trump hit steel because his chances of being reelected may hinge on doing well in western Pennsylvania.

        I suspect the Chinese are also targeting industries that are likely to cause Trump reelection headaches–if they’re smart. Why wouldn’t they pick items that are most likely to get them the most leverage?

        Making soybeans 25% more expensive has got to hurt China’s poor dramatically. They’re hurting their own people a lot more than they’re hurting Trump voters with that–and surely they’re either doing it because they’re dismissive of the potential for protests or they’re doing it to show Trump their level of commitment.

        “Mucius thrust his right hand into a fire which was lit for sacrifice and held it there without giving any indication of pain, thereby earning for himself and his descendants the cognomen Scaevola, meaning “left-handed”. Porsena was shocked at the youth’s bravery, and dismissed him from the Etruscan camp, free to return to Rome, saying “Go back, since you do more harm to yourself than me”. At the same time, the king also sent ambassadors to Rome to offer peace.[2]”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaius_Mucius_Scaevola

        Why try to pressure people into doing something when they’d rather set themselves on fire than give in?

        I think China is thrusting its hand into the fire.

        1. The two are not mutually exclusive. China IS subsidizing metal. It IS driving US manufacturers out of business. They happen to be the people who elected him. Trump is sucking their dick.

          BUT…China’s retaliation was strictly to point out US hypocrisy wrt US farm subsidies.

          1. Who cares about hypocrisy?

            1. Only those who wish to be credible and hold the high ground.

              1. Neither the Chinese nor Trump cares about the high ground.

  7. “Never start a trade war when your president is the dumbest fucking person on the planet.” –Lao Tzu

    1. You’re the president?

      1. All in good time.

    2. So, Tony is pro-free trade with China now?

      LOL

      1. Well, Tony is pretty much a left imbecile ALL the time.

        1. But he’s criticizing Trump for doing all the things Tony has wanted the president to do.

          Paul, yesterday, linked to a bunch of stories about how the progressives are having a hard time attacking Trump’s trade policy because he’s doing all the things they’ve been calling for since forever. On free trade, Trump is making Obama look like a do-nothing, fake progressive.

          Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, and Liz Warren won’t go after Trump on trade, but Tony’s going pro-free trade with China now?

          If Donald Trump embraced democratic socialism tomorrow, Tony might become an anarcho-capitalist.

          1. I’m sorry I’m not the caricature you want me to be. I’ve long tilted toward the free trade side of things. I used to argue with the Bernie cult over TPP.

            1. “I’ve long tilted toward the free trade side of things.”

              This is horseshit.

              We’ve read your posts everyday for years, Tony.

              You’re probably lying to yourself, too.

              1. I don’t recall ever before expressing a protectionist worldview here.

  8. The reason dictators spend so much money and resources putting down student protests, outlawing meditation movements, and monitoring what people say about them online isn’t because they don’t need to worry about the political costs of their decisions.

    It’s because any of those things can lead directly to putting the dictator’s head on a pike.

    With Xi Jinping being president for life, the party will have a harder time simply replacing him to appease the angry mob, as well.

    P.S. If Trump loses office because of a trade war, it will be despite people’s understanding of how trade works, not because of it.

    I.e., people will be reacting to higher prices–not consciously to Trump’s bad policies. Markets are smarter than the people who participate in them. People who vote against Trump because their paychecks don’t stretch as far as they used to will vote against Trump–even as they praise him for standing up to China.

  9. You forgot to add ‘Women, children and minorities may be hit worse” to your headline.

  10. It means that Trump may get only a small fraction of what he wants from the country, in spite of his aggressive tactics.

    So China is this big bad authoritarian government who is just so crazy you can’t mess with them, but you will get something from them in spite of standing up to them? If they are so crazy and unreasonable, how will rolling over to them help?

    It’s true that having a trade bully in the White House who doesn’t seem to care about (or understand) the dire price paid by the American people for his tactics has prompted some needed dialogue between the U.S. and China. However, can we trust this administration to close a deal fast enough to avoid the serious economic consequences of the current trade dispute? Considering its size and its impressive and growing economy, China isn’t so easy to push around as other countries.

    Let the equivocating begin. When none of the dire consequences reason and hacks like deRugy happen, we will hear all about how close we were to them. These people never hold themselves accountable when they are wrong. They just memory hole it and pretend it didn’t happen.

    1. You said Trump gets to go back to his golf addiction if he gets booted from office.

      1. Oops, my face got attacked by a squirrel as I was trying to respond to Ken.

        John, why even bother typing words when Trump could turn the entire planet into a scorched wasteland and you’d still be defending his every move?

    2. When the serious (you’re the only one using words like “dire”) consequences come, you’ll either deny or blame it on something else. Your intentions are good, how could the results be bad? That’s a quality usually I come to expect from useful idiots. It doesn’t look good on you.

    3. “So China is this big bad authoritarian government who is just so crazy you can’t mess with them, but you will get something from them in spite of standing up to them? If they are so crazy and unreasonable, how will rolling over to them help?”

      And when is the last time somebody stood up and said “no” to China? They’ve been appeased at every opportunity since the 2001, at least.

      They haven’t had a recession since joining the WTO.

      There are number of real life events post-WTO China hasn’t experienced yet. Dealing with a president who is [insert whatever] enough to stand up to them is one of them.

      We used to have this guy in our office who was a natural at what I’d call the fuck-brain offense. You’d send him into a meeting with a city manager or somebody with instructions not to concede on x, y, or z, and he’d make up the most ridiculous reasons imaginable–under intense pressure. And he’d say these ridiculous things with such conviction, you’d start to wonder yourself if you were the one who was crazy. The ability to talk that way came naturally–because he did it all the time. He rarely, in life, knew what he as talking about, but always talked about it like he was an authority.

      Trump may be like that–consciously or otherwise, using the fuck-brain offense. His trade policy is a kamikaze, which is indefensible–but demanding more might work anyway. I hope it does. For the sake of the country, I certainly don’t want him to fail.

      1. Re: Ken Shultz,

        And when is the last time somebody stood up and said “no” to China?

        Hey, Ken:

        NOBODY CARES.

        The only people who may care are the president and Trumpistas who believe his B.S.

        Thr president is playing with MY MONEY. MY MONEY!!! If I want to buy goods from China, what’s it to him? Or to you?

        Stand up to China? Please. Do that with YOUR OWN FUCKING MONEY. Stop trying to be everyone’s mommy.

        1. That was in direct response to John’s observation, and I think it does matter within the context of figuring out what, if anything, we’re likely to get from China out of this.

          I also think China’s support for North Korea should be taken into consideration.

          Yeah, I think avoiding any and all conflict with China and never calling them on their bluffs probably has real consequences in the real world–even if I don’t like Trump’s kamikaze trade policy.

          1. Re: Ken Shultz,

            and I think it does matter within the context of figuring out what, if anything, we’re likely to get from China out of this.

            Why are you talking in collectivist terms? Who the hell is “we”? “We” are getting nothing. Trade is between INDIVIDUAL HUMANS OF WILL, not between nations. And Trump is not my mommy.

            I think avoiding any and all conflict with China and never calling them on their bluffs probably has real consequences in the real world

            Share your delusions and paranoia with someone who bills by the hour. Leave my buying decisions to ME, the person whose mind and money I own, not you.

            1. “Why are you talking in collectivist terms? Who the hell is “we”?”

              In this case, “we” is talking about the American people.

              And “we” isn’t a collectivist term. It’s simply the first person plural in standard English.

              Are you trying to invent some kind of libertarian politically correct speech code or something–complete with a guide to pronouns? The PC police may try to force non-gender specific pronouns on us, but even they aren’t trying to get rid of the third person singular entirely.

              Is “they” a collectivist term to you, too? To me it’s just third person plural in standard English.

              1. I’ve been seeing a lot of this nonsense from other commenters than just OM here lately. If you talk about “the American people” you’re an evil collectivist who is trying to claim he speaks for them, because we’re all just atomized individuals.

                1. And in the meantime, we’re talking about what Trump is doing with trade policy for the whole country.

                2. Re: Kivlor,

                  I’ve been seeing a lot of this nonsense from other commenters than just OM here lately. If you talk about “the American people” you’re an evil collectivist who is trying to claim he speaks for them, because we’re all just atomized individuals.

                  Stop equivocating. You’re not talking about the American people. You’re using them as an excuse to justify Trump’s actions.

              2. Re: Ken Shultz,

                In this case, “we” is talking about the American people.

                Why do you think that makes a damned difference?

                I understand you were replying to John’s insane retort but, Gawd, can you at least not use a Lumping Fallacy?

                Are you trying to invent some kind of libertarian politically correct speech code or something–complete with a guide to pronouns?

                No, I want to make it clear that Trump is not negotiating for “us” and going against “them”. He’s playing chess with a board that doesn’t belong to him and using us as pawns. And that you are tacitly enabling this travesty by talking as if we’re all inside the same dingy. “We” are not. Not even the American people are on the same dingy, as each is an individual.

                1. “I understand you were replying to John’s insane retort but, Gawd, can you at least not use a Lumping Fallacy?”

                  Suggesting that Trump fighting a trade war with the Chinese might have an impact on “we” the American people is not any kind of fallacy, much less a lumping fallacy.

                  You’re off your rocker.

                  “No, I want to make it clear that Trump is not negotiating for “us” and going against “them”.”

                  Yes, Trump is slapping tariffs on them impacting us, and China is slapping tariffs on us, which impacts them–and that’s whether you (second person singular) like it or not.

            2. “Share your delusions and paranoia with someone who bills by the hour. Leave my buying decisions to ME, the person whose mind and money I own, not you.”

              That you got that from anything I wrote suggests you’re the one that should seek professional help.

            3. Take it from an old boricua, cumpai, Christianofascist infiltrators are here solely to deflect votes away from libertarian candidates. Collectivism follows from their platforms of 1920, 1928, 1932 and 2018. Convincing voters that “libertarian” means Trump, service pistols pointed at doctors, coathanger abortion amendments and death to potheads and nonwhites is The Product. The product is not selling, so no worries. The 1972 LP birth control plank is still American Jurisprudence and LP spoilervotes wreck bad laws.

  11. Trump also believes that bankruptcy and not paying your bills is a good thing, and an easy way to get rich. This is a guy who mocked Carly Fiorina for driving HP into the ground, despite that fact that she made a shitload of money driving HP into the ground (and garnering enough name recognition in the process to become a viable candidate for the GOP presidential nomination), while at the same time arguing that the Trump Mahal deal was a great success because he made a few million bucks pissing away a billion dollars or so of OPM.

    1. Didn’t President orange fatso also have something to say about her looks?

  12. Do you know who else liked tariffs?

      1. South Carolina in 1832? Justin S. Morrill in 1861 and 1894?

  13. We can live without an extra gadget. They’ve got a billion plus mouths to feed. Tariff away yellow man, tariff away. We’ll just eat extra bacon.

    1. Re: Benitacanova,

      We can live without an extra gadget.

      Again with the “we”.

      There’s no “we”.

  14. Veronique omits things. How do we know tariffs cause disasters? Protective tariffs did in 1832 and 1861, but that says nothing about a revenue tariff as opposed to a communist manifesto income tax. That income tax–that arrived on the same Altrurian White Horse as the prohibition Amendment–definitely wrecked the economy. Once Mabel Willebrandt explained asset forfeiture to Americans in AUG-SEP 1929, the market never recovered until after the Liberal Party repeal plank became law. The French were quicker on the uptake. Their securities markets tanked in February, and most European stocks tanked when the Income tax trumped the 5th Amendment in 1927. If Ku-Klux prohibitionism really wrecked the economy, would you expect a signed confession to that effect from the DemoGOP Kleptocracy?

  15. We’re already in a trade war with China, and have been for the past 20-25 years.

    It is true that Chinese officials have the upper hand in the short term because they don’t have to answer to constituents as do American politicians — and November is closer than you think.

    In the long term, who knows… …either way, it reminds me of a game of chicken.

  16. Fact is we could obliterate China and make them bend to our whim in literally a week if we wanted to. Their entire economy would collapse if we saaay slapped 200% tariffs on ALL goods from China. Us? We could still import shit from India, Vietnam, etc etc etc and hardly even feel it. But Trump is being just enough of a dick to look like a dick, but not enough of a dick to actually force China to bow down like they would have to if he really busted out the proverbial big guns.

    Frankly I wouldn’t mind if he did just straight up demand they drop ALL tariffs on US goods, and we would do the same for them, with the stick in that situation being insanely high tariffs across the board. He’d accomplish more for REAL free trade in a week than idiot politicians have done in a century.

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