Free Trade

As 'Tariff Man' Attacks Stock Market, Justin Amash's 'Liberty Man' Is the Hero We Need

Tuesday's tweets demonstrate that Trump still doesn't understand that Americans, not foreigners, are paying his tariffs.


Amid a series of morning tweets that seemed to contradict his administration's claims about a supposed trade deal between the U.S. and China, President Donald Trump declared himself to be "Tariff Man."

The internet had a lot of fun with that one.

The stock market was less enthused.

U.S. markets rallied on Monday following the Trump administration's claim of an imminent truce in the U.S.-China trade war, only to fall sharply on Tuesday as presidential tweets and contradictory messages from senior administration officials indicated that the "deal" might be less firm than previously thought. The Dow finished the day just a hair over 25,000 points—meaning that the stock market has been basically flat since March 1, when Trump announced the first round of tariffs and the Dow was sitting at 24,600 points.

As I noted yesterday, the agreement between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping seemed to be little more than a series of vague goals with no concrete timeline or definitive way to measure progress. According to details released by the White House, Trump agreed to postpone a planned January 1 escalation of tariffs on Chinese goods for 90 days, while Xi agreed to buy more American agricultural goods in the meantime. The deal is, at best, really just an agreement to keep talking—a significant enough achievement after months of icy relations between the two major trading partners, but hardly an indication that the trade war is winding down.

Even so, Trump is once again going to under-perform even the lowest of expectations. On Tuesday, the president questioned "whether or not a REAL deal with China is actually possible"—throwing cold water on the hopes that it was the first step towards a trade war truce. Trump also repeated the threat of imposing more tariffs on China after the 90-day deadline expires.

Meanwhile, Trump's own top economic advisers seem confused about exactly when that 90-day period would begin and end.

Larry Kudlow, head of the White House's National Economic Council, added to the confusion when he said on Monday night that there was not a "specific agreement" that would lead to China lifting its tariffs on American cars—directly contradicting Trump's tweet earlier on Monday that claimed, "China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S."

Jokes about "Tariff Man" aside, Tuesday's tweets demonstrate that Trump still doesn't understand that it is American consumers and businesses that pay his tariffs—not China, not Chinese exporters, and not people or business that "come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation," whatever the president means by that. This fundamental misunderstanding of economics, combined with his reckless announcement of the detente that wasn't, scared investors and continues to undermine his administration's efforts at reaching a real trade deal with China.

If the stock market continues to slide and prospects of a deal with China prove fleeting, Congress may finally be motivated to take action against Trump's unilateral power to set trade policy. Already this week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has suggested to Axios that he would support legislation that limits the president's ability to impose tariffs.

Lacking that, we may need a hero to stand against the threat of Tariff Man.

NEXT: Columbia University Students Kick Former SNL Comedian Nimesh Patel Off Stage For Making Unsafe Jokes

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  1. Damn. All I had to do was buy SPY puts and I could have made a bundle. I just didn’t think it would be so sudden.

  2. Cue the economic illiterates to back up Trump. I’m surprised they haven’t been flooding this post already.

    1. Well, we have the economic illiterate Lefties commenting.

      Trade restrictions do magically go down, after all.

      1. loveconstitution1789|12.3.18 @ 10:20AM|#

        Do you need me to link the rules of NAFTA and USCMA so you can compare and contrast the “worseness” for us?

        Keep on Keeping Your Promises.

      2. Trolls just refusing to do any work.

        1. As a troll yourself I can see how that kind of poor performance by your peer would offend you, Ivan.

        2. Poor Hihn takes trolling to whole new level. He even gets banned for it on a website that rarely bans people.

          1. I most surprised how well LC1789 can fit Trump’s and Hannity’s cock in his mouth and Hillary’s up his ass all at the same time.

            He is nothing more than a fucking mindless statist.

          2. I am NOT surprised that this new troll can fit Hillary’s cock and Trump’s yuge cock into his mouth.

  3. Anyone who doubted Paul Krugman’s prediction must be feeling pretty dumb right now. Drumpf continues to run our economy into the ground, which is especially alarming when you realize he inherited the Obama economy ? possibly the best this country has ever seen.


    1. You mean the prediction the night after the presidential election that Trump as president would cause a worldwide recession that would end “maybe never?” How did that work out?

      1. Maybe Trump is trying to make Obama look good on the stock market to make up for the birtherism?

        If so, it’s working (unlike tariffs).

  4. As ‘Tariff Man’ Attacks Stock Market, Justin Amash’s ‘Liberty Man’ Is the Hero We Need
    Tuesday’s tweets demonstrate that Trump still doesn’t understand that Americans, not foreigners, are paying his tariffs.

    DOW Jones
    19,827 (Jan 20, 2017)
    25,027 (Dec 4, 2018)

    Boehm and his man crush Amash still can not provide any concrete strategies to get trade restrictions lower for trade into and out of the USA. Maybe it will happen magically.

    1. loveconstitution1789|12.3.18 @ 10:20AM|#

      Do you need me to link the rules of NAFTA and USCMA so you can compare and contrast the “worseness” for us?

      Keep on Keeping Your Promises.

    2. Any good economic news from 2017 was the result of leftover momentum from the Obama years. Now that it’s becoming the Drumpf economy things are falling apart.

      Democrats will be back in the White House by 2021 at the latest. The economy will improve then. I only hope Krugman made one of his rare inaccurate predictions when he said the market would never recover from Drumpf’s (illegitimate) victory.

    3. Poor trolls and their tenuous grasp of American English.

    4. Since we’re taking useless data points, and incorrectly attributing them to the POTUS, here’s one you forgot, Comrade1789.

      DOW Jones

      6,507 (March 9, 2009)

      1. lc1789 and John have backtracked on that, and now say that stock market stats are meaningless and they would never have quoted such meaningless stats.

        1. Of course they wouldn’t……..unless they think they can get away with it.

      2. DOW Jones
        14,093 (Oct 12, 2007)

        1. Trump’s economy is up and up.

          Even when a market correction hits, after that short period, it will be up and up again.

  5. Why does the president have power to set tariff rates at his own whim? When was that brilliant piece of legislation passed?

    1. There are several different acts at issue:

      A variety of laws ? including the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917, the Tariff Act of 1930, the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, the Trade Act of 1974, and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 ? had the same basic framework: Congress would lay out the circumstances that would justify a tariff, and then say that if the executive branch did its research and issued a finding that those criteria were met, it could go ahead and impose the tariff. This gave the president an enormous amount of leeway. how-congress-handed-trump-trade-tyranny

  6. Of course Trump knows Americans are the ones paying the tariffs and not those dirty stinking ferriners, but why tell the truth when a lie works so much better? Some people are ignorant enough to believe it, some will twist logic as much as it takes to insist he’s telling the truth, some just don’t give a shit if he lies, some figure if there’s an argument going on then the truth must be a matter of opinion.

    The fact is, Trump has presided over the greatest economic recovery in history – unemployment is down 95%, economic growth is well over 12%, real wages are up over 30% for the average middle class family, inflation is at a paltry .2%, taxes have been cut by 45%, over 12,000 new businesses employing 30 million new workers have been created, and the stock market has exploded to record heights, up over 16,000 points since Trump took office. How can you doubt his geniusosity, why would anybody doubt the man knows what he’s doing? Only a tiny handful of skeptics doubt him.

    You wouldn’t know all this from reading the mainstream media, of course, those people universally hate Trump so much so that they refuse to report the news that Trump’s approval ratings are over 87%, edging out George Washington’s 84% approval rating for most popular President in history. They ignore this the same way they ignore Trump’s landslide election victory and the record-setting 2.8 billion people who showed up to watch his inauguration. The media just lie, lie, lie about the man. Sad!

    1. Trump just can’t handle good news. He needs to learn to shut the fuck up sometimes, but he’s just not capable of doing so. The boy’s got a sickness…?..

    2. Bwwaaaahahaaa….that was awesome.

    3. “…

      They ignore this the same way they ignore Trump’s landslide election victory and the record-setting 2.8 billion people who showed up to watch his inauguration. ”

      I don’t know… that figure seems a little high…

  7. So, we’re back to regime uncertainty.
    That sure was healthy for the economy pre-Trump.

  8. Blah blah blah… Because if you want the guy on the other side of the negotiating table to take your threats SERIOUSLY, you TOTALLY should post on Twitter that you’re totes kidding and would never ACTUALLY do the things you threaten to do.

    How fucking stupid can you be. In order for China to break, (WHICH THEY HAVE TO, because we have the upper hand with them… We can buy from any cheap labor nation on earth, but they cannot replace us as a market to sell into…) they MUST believe we will follow through with massive tariffs and obliterate their economy.

    None of you moron journalists have ever negotiated a business deal apparently… I have. Many hundreds actually, that shiester Trump has me beat by a country mile in number of deals and the scale. If there is one thing he probably is actually decent at, it is hustlin’ niggas.

    Not saying it WILL happen, as he is being undermined to high heaven… But I’m still going to laugh my ass off if he gets China to drop tons of their bullshit protectionist measures, and our exports to China skyrocket after a new deal is made. Time will tell.

    1. IN OTHER NEWS: Even Adam Smith admitted that under certain circumstances free trade is not ALWAYS the best thing to do. One instance he was fine with was going into a trade war, provided you had good odds of winning. Which we do. So if Adam Smith is on board, I’m totes cool with the idea too.

    2. Signficant trade ties to China is a risk and should be avoided. They will make a show of opening up their economy possibly at some point only to slam it shut once again once they have the cards to make their play. Their is no parity in dealing with Chinese Communists, their entire economy is state directed. They have no checks and balances on them like we do, there is no business that can tell the CCP to stuff it like Google or Apple does here. Any concessions or ties we have to them will only be used by their dictators on the Politburo to blackmail us to play nice with them on their pet issues (such as the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Xinjiang and Tibet, the militarization of international waters in the South China Sea, the ongoing economic blackmail of Western nations, and the One China Policy farce that will eventually end with an invasion of Taiwan).

      China is playing a very long game, one with a mind on the humiliation caused in the 19th and 20th Centuries by Western imperialist powers and how to turn the table. We are all superbly fooling ourselves if we think the current crop of nationalists creeping up in China with a mind to settle decades old scores with Japan and the USA has any interest in integration with the world. They do not. They have interest in power whether it comes from a gun or bond or deed.

      “It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice.” Deng Xiaoping.

      1. Pretty much. Purist libertarians with blinders on seem to like to ignore the fact that there are things that go beyond mere economics that exist in the world. They think everybody else is thinking about everything exactly like they do… That the economics might be a secondary thing to achieve other goals for some nations, like global hegemony, doesn’t even occur to them.

        I really hope the Chinese people topple the communist regime in China, because I really like Asians and their traditional cultures… But as it stands now, they’re clearly moving towards being a militant, aggressive nation in the future, and everything they’re doing it to that end.

        India, for example, is very much NOT doing that. They’re being cool, and just trying to become not poor. People who can’t see the difference between India and China are fools. We’re basically doing the equivalent of pumping up Nazi Germany in the 30s right now with respect to China. It’s just not going to be a good idea long term, quarterly profits be damned!

        I’m not saying we should embargo them or anything… But we should definitely not be going out of our way to treat them BETTER than friendly, democratic nations, which is what we have been doing for a couple decades now.

    3. “None of you moron journalists have ever negotiated a business deal apparently… I have. Many hundreds actually, that shiester Trump has me beat by a country mile in number of deals and the scale. If there is one thing he probably is actually decent at, it is hustlin’ niggas.”

      This is the totes stupidest thing I’ve read all week.

      1. Here’s a tip for you comrade; in the USofA the only people that use the word ‘totes’ are 16 year old girls.

        1. Why do you hate 16-year-old girls?

          1. I dislike (presumably) grown men impersonating 16 year old girls……of course, I suppose, she could actually be a 16 year old girl, in which case, I apologize.

            1. You fail to rebut his/her/its point

              1. Which is what? That we must BREAK China..or at least be willing to break China? There is nothing to rebut. We’ll either break them, they’ll break us, or we will both go broke. Personally I prefer neither one tries to break each other, but it seems that ship has sailed. Should be interesting to watch. I hope Trump is the great negotiator many of you seem to think he is. I have my doubts.

                1. “Personally I prefer neither one tries to break each other, but it seems that ship has sailed.”

                  Yes it did.
                  Decades ago.
                  And there was really never a time when your fantasy was even possible

        2. Never heard of the idea of saying something stupid sounding on purpose? Cuz that’s what I did there! The whole point was to say it in a way that it sounded silly, like a 16 year old girl might say, for instance. That’s the very same reason I threw in the bit about hustlin’ niggas.

          As to the actual point, as Nardz points out, we’ve BEEN in a trade war for decades… We just refused to arm ourselves. What do you call protective tariff walls erected against your products if not a trade war? Forced transfer of IP? Forced partnerships with local firms?

          We never should have agreed to any of this shit. If they wanted market access in the west, the US/Europe should have demanded an immediate end to all that BS… Or we should have kept barriers higher on our end.

          In a negotiation, you don’t give away all your carrots before getting anything in return… Which is what our so called leaders did. They said “Here take everything we have to offer gratis! We don’t even want anything in return! But it would be nice if you lowered barriers to entry someday…” Idiocy plain and simple. The US would have surely lost many jobs anyway even with real free trade, but we likely would have retained millions of manufacturing jobs that pay better than the service jobs they were replaced by.

          Since past leaders were fools, we’re going to have to deal with it now, which is far more painful than if we’d done it before we were intertwined… But dealing with it now beats never dealing with it.

  9. So, GM lays off 14,000 jobs partially because of the cost of the steel/aluminum tariffs, and Trump decides to double down on his tariff stance by naming himself Tariff Man.

    The man is a buffoon.

    1. GM laid off employees because their cars suck and are not selling.

      Nissan is not laying off 14,000 employees.

  10. Americans, not foreigners, are paying his tariffs.

    If that’s true, it follows that Chinese and Canadians are paying the tariffs in their countries. The implication being pushed is that their tariffs don’t hurt U.S. businesses at all. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the market for U.S. built cars in China! Except that’s ridiculous. If you have to use tariffs, or their threat, to relieve tariffs or other disadvantageous laws on your own exports, then so be it.

    Additionally, people are more than economic units. It’s possible to have a policy that’s harmful for overall GDP, but helpful for a large share of Americans.

    Finally, governments need revenue. Before the passage of the income tax amendment, tariffs and excise taxes were the major revenue source for the federal government. That wasn’t a bad scheme. It was self-limiting by how much of a burden you could put on trade. Now the government just steals confiscatory amounts of money direct from citizens. Is that supposed to be better? If a few bucks in tariffs would mean a few bucks less in income tax, that would be great. Of course, it doesn’t, because the government’s demand for revenue in the era of income tax is never satisfied, and its ability to outspend its revenue is apparently unlimited. Until disaster strikes, and our politicians are kicking that increasingly gargantuan can down the road as much as they can.

    1. The founders, according to the Federalist Papers found it a danger to allow the Federal government to lay Taxes on Individuals, it was a State right. ( see 16th amendment), how a real Republic was supposed to run, (17th amendment killed the states influence in senate) it was bitterly fought over since the 1880’s.. it won because of socialists ..( calling themselves Progressives). in order to centralize power, that they could more easily control the populace..with lying promises..

  11. “Additionally, people are more than economic units. It’s possible to have a policy that’s harmful for overall GDP, but helpful for a large share of Americans.”

    So what you’re saying is recessions and depressions are sometimes “helpful for a large share of Americans”? How does that work?

    1. So what you’re saying is…

      Cathy Newman, is that you?

      1. Well you got me. I honestly have no idea what you were trying to say.

  12. 2016 – the year conservatives finally dropped the pretense that they are for free enterprise. Trump Humpers 4-Ever!

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  14. China, as I’ve said before, will be the toughest fix in trade, up and down, no way around their wanting to be the single World Power in Asia. there will be a lot of starts and stops.. and a lot of pain for us. but if we don’t do it now, when do we do it??? like congress? kick the ball down the field?? (debt)… where do we go ?? they’ve destroyed Billions of companies worth and tens of thousands of jobs in our country, using unfair trade practices(Gov. subsidies) and very poor environmental controls.. WE are suppose to pay the world money for the Paris accords and IGPCC, yet they pay nothing as a developing country??? who dreams up that Lunacy??


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