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The 3 Biggest Lies Trump Told About Tariffs at His Crazy Press Conference

Trump says tariffs aren't hurting the economy, new steel plants are opening up, and some stuff about Canada. It's all wrong.

Sam Simmonds/Polaris/NewscomSam Simmonds/Polaris/NewscomPresident Donald Trump's freewheeling press conference on Wednesday evening included a number of truly surprising moments, like when the president identified a reporter from a Kurdish news agency as "Mr. Kurd," and when he offered probably the most honest assessment of his own presidency—"I was saying things that nobody in the room even understood," Trump said of a conversation with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Japanese officials.

What's not surprising is that the press conference also contained a number of outright lies about the status of the Trump administration's trade policies, and the ways in which tariffs are affecting the domestic economy and America's relationship with key trading partners. It's not surprising because the Trump administration has spent months peddling misleading claims and outright fabrications ("trade wars are good and easy to win!") to defend policies that are economically indefensible.

This is the same man who, according to Bob Woodward's recently released book, couldn't even offer a solid explanation for why he wanted tariffs in the first place. "I just do," Trump reportedly told Gary Cohn, the White House's economic adviser. "I've had these views for 30 years."

Here are the three biggest departures from reality Trump offered on Wednesday.

1. "A lot of money is coming into our coffers, and it's had no impact on our—absolutely, by the way—no impact on our economy, which I said it wouldn't."

Trump is half-right about the first part. Tariffs have brought more than $1.4 billion into the federal goverment, because they are taxes. Those payments are being made by American importers, not by China. In fact, if the current set of tariffs remain in place for a full year, they will suck more money out of the economy than the major taxes included in the Affordable Care Act.

The second clause is the big whopper here. Just hours before Trump's press conference on Wednesday, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said the tariffs were costing his company more than $1 billion in the form of higher prices for steel and aluminum—two things that you need a lot of if you want to build cars. Even though Ford sources most of its steel and aluminum in the United States, Hackett said, the tariffs on imported steel and aluminum were causing domestic producers to hike their prices as well.

This is, well, exactly what everyone knew would happen when Trump slapped a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum earlier this year. But it's not just Ford paying the price. Businesses from coast to coast have announced plans to close, lay off workers, delay expansions, move overseas, or postpone investments because of the tariffs. While the economy as a whole continues to perform well, the tariffs are an undeniable drag on dynamism, and economists warn that the latest round of tariffs on Chinese imports could have a significant impact on consumers and retailers during the upcoming holiday season.

And, of course, tariffs are meant to bend consumer behavior towards politically favored industries and firms. If tariffs truly were having no impact on the economy, they would be failing to achieve their one and only goal.

Absolutely no impact? Absolutely false.

2. "Steel is incredible. U.S. Steel is opening up a minimum of eight plants. NuCor is opening up plants. And these are big plants...What's happening with the steel industry is very exciting to me. It's being rebuilt overnight."

This claim requires significantly less parsing, because Trump helpfully provides us with clear, exact numbers. They are also completely made up. While some American steelmakers have announced plans to increase production at existing plants, there are no plans to build new steel plants—and even if there were, they aren't exactly the sort of thing that can be built overnight (or in the span of a few months).

Trump has previously claimed that U.S. Steel would open six new plants because of the newfound success they are having under his trade policies. That was false. Then he started claiming that U.S. Steel would open seven new plants. Also false. Trump's claims keep inflating, but the number of new steel plants opening continues to remain the same.

What U.S. Steel and Nucor are doing is using their political influence to direct parts of the Trump administration's protectionism. Businesses affected by the steel and aluminum tariffs can appeal to the Commerce Department for waivers from those taxes, but both major American steelmakers seem to be using their influence to block waiver claims.

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R–Ind.), whose office has conducted a review of the waiver applications granted and denied by the Commerce Department, found that not a single application has been accepted if U.S. Steel or another domestic steelmaker had objected to its granting. It's a far cry from the "fair and transparent process" that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross promised in March when the steel and aluminum tariffs were unveiled.

To summarize: Trump's trade protectionism isn't causing steelmakers to open new plants, but it is causing them to engage in more cronyism. This, too, should have been expected.

3. "His tariffs are too high and he doesn't seem to want to move, and I told him 'fuhgeddaboutit'...We're very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style of Canada."

Asked whether he had canceled a planned one-on-one meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement—something that is supposedly a priority for Trump—the president admitted in the most casual way possible to standing up Trudeau.

Canada says this whole thing is a lie and there was no plan for a meeting.

Maybe so. But the bigger lie here is that Canada's tariffs "are too high." Trump is fixated on a few Canadian tariffs—a tariff on dairy products is a favorite target—and while those are admittedly not good, the vast majority of trade between the U.S. and Canada is tariff-free.

Sinking the entire negotiation over a single issue seems like an odd way to reach an agreement, but it's no more outlandish than Trump's claim that Canada is negotiating in bad faith. After all, Trump admitted just weeks ago to having deliberately undermined NAFTA negotiations with Canada simply because he could.

If Trump wants foreign leaders to negotiate in good faith with the United States, perhaps he ought to demonstrate an ability to recognize the reality of his trade policies.

Photo Credit: Sam Simmonds/Polaris/Newscom

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  • John||

    Meanwhile there is this

    http://www.npr.org/2018/07/27/.....mber-today

    Maybe that is in spite of tarriffs. That is certainly possible. But even if it is, tarriffs can't be costing the economy very much. How much more can this ecnomy grow than 4.1%

    If Donald Trump wanted a false flag publication that made his critics look like shallow thinking morons, he couldn't do any better than what Reason actually publishes.

  • sarcasmic||

    Are disputing the author's arguments, or dismissing them out of hand because they are critical of Trump?

  • Mark Question||

    Any criticism of Trump you can dismiss out of hand. There's nothing at all to it. He's the perfect President. You know it too, but you're a Marxist traitor bent on bringing America to the gulag, so of course it's in your interest to criticize.

  • MarkW201||

    There were any number of news stories at the time explaining why the 4.1% growth rate in GDP for the second quarter was a statistical outlier and very unlikely to be sustained over an extended period. Here's one:

    https://tinyurl.com/yaxqy329

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Can we please not promote the retarded idea that the President of the United States single-handedly controls the rate of growth of the ecomony?

  • ||

    But then you might come to the conclusion that the tariffs don't constitute outright socialism or even that one socialist dictator is the same as the next.

  • Homple||

    That idea is not considered retarded when the economy goes into the shitter when a Republican president. This goes all the way back to Herbert Hoover.

  • vek||

    Obviously they don't... But passing pretty damn big tax cuts, reducing regulations, and just the general knowledge that there is ZERO chance that major new taxes or regulations will be coming down the pike for at least a few years definitely DO encourage investment and a sense of optimism.

    There is a 110% chance that all those things have contributed significantly to the growth we're seeing. It isn't enough to override all other factors, but it counts. As a business owner I'm planning on leaving the state I live in not just because of the taxes/regs we have NOW, but because of those that are obviously coming in the future. Multinationals make the same decisions off of such information. That optimism factor is HUGE.

  • Bob Meyer||

    The only way a president can control the rate of growth is by not trying to control the rate of growth. Very Zen-like.

    Letting go of the economy is the only way to increase growth. Deregulation was responsible for most of the increase so far. Tax cuts were much less important.

    Deregulation allows for more innovation and, hence, greater productivity. Tax cuts can fuel growth but only if the economy is free to invest the money in innovative ways.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Maybe you missed all the news articles about companies both here and in China rushing shipments and buying up stock now ahead of the tax increases. Do ya think that might have an effect on short term economic gains?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I thought they already did that months ago, ahead of the last tariff increases?

    For some reason these foreign companies are still purchasing US goods and service.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Every projected tax increase always generates rush orders and shipments.

  • JoeBlow123||

    Dependence on China is a national mistake. They have and will use trade as a weapon against foreign nations and if we do not do anything to combat this we play into their hands. I could care less for his belligerence towards everyone else, but his heavy handed tactics with China are long overdue.

  • vek||

    That's one of the things that naive, utopian, libertarians can't comprehend. Honestly, what some piss ant country like Cuba does is irrelevant. We could be supporting their ruthless dictatorship all day long buying cigars and the like... But China is not Cuba. China is a real global player, and basically destined to become the most powerful country in the world either way... But our actions have sped this up by decades. They're also not big softies. They're aggressive and militant, and have plans for international power which they intend to exercise.

    Building up such a nation is rather foolish in geopolitical terms, economics completely aside.

    A country like India, which will probably end up the 2nd largest economy in the world eventually, is a totally different beast. They're pro western, a democracy, not aggressive or militant, no goals of scooping up international power. I would feel a LOT different about handing money, technology, and ultimately POWER to a nation like India than China.

    But some libertarians are too stupid to see that we're effectively building up the 21st century version of the USSR with China. I'm not saying we should have zero trade with them or anything, but the way we've bent over backwards, kissed their ass, and given them the reach around... It's going to come back to bite us in the ass in the next couple decades.

  • Don't look at me!||

    Can't expect different results if you keep doing the same thing.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    1. "A lot of money is coming into our coffers, and it's had no impact on our—absolutely, by the way—no impact on our economy, which I said it wouldn't."

    The impact Trump is talking about is not what you want it to be. Its a fatal flaw with you media types. The US economy is stronger than ever in spite of tariffs.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    No, it is stronger temporarily because of buying as much as possible now, ahead of the tax increases. Watch it nosedive whenever the tariffs are projected to take effect, regardless of whether they've been canceled or not.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The market will correct, sooner or later. It might because of trade restrictions Trump instituted, it might be because of long standing trade restrictions, it might be because of new foreign trade restrictions, it might be some combination.

    The truth is the US economy is getting stronger and stronger in spite of rising tariffs. All the 'sky is falling' predictions for immediate economic collapse were wrong. Wrong.

  • Mark Question||

    You're doing god's work, LC.

    Getting libertarians to support tariffs....... wow, never thought I'd see it, it makes me think there's hope for you people yet.

    Now we just need to get you guys turned against buttsex, drugs, and the idea that left wingers should enjoy freedom of speech, and we're on our way to getting some real liberty up in here.

  • Jerryskids||

    What the fuck are you on about? Trump said it had no impact - "ABSOLUTELY, BY THE WAY" - and you're defending Trump by contradicting Trump?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Do you not speak English as your first language?

    Boehm made an assumption that fit his narrative based on the words Trump used. Trump purposes says things that mean one thing to him and his supporters and another to Lefties who are anti-Trump.

    Boehm wants "no impact on the economy" to mean something other than what Trump meant, which is that the US economy is not impacted and getting stronger.

    You people are not fooling anyone.

  • Wizard4169||

    So when Trumpty Dumpty uses words, they mean only what he wants them to mean?

  • vek||

    Literal meaning versus obviously intended meaning.

    Trump says things all the time where a sensible person who speaks the English language knows what he means, especially in context... But the press assumes the obviously silly interpretation because it makes him look bad or whatever.

    I don't like many things Trump says/does, and I think there is plenty of room to criticize him without grasping at straws or making straw man arguments.

  • Wizard4169||

    The US economy is stronger than ever in spite of tariffs.


    Well, you got something right anyway. The idea that raising taxes on American consumers is somehow strengthening the economy is nothing short of ludicrous.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    2. "Steel is incredible. U.S. Steel is opening up a minimum of eight plants. NuCor is opening up plants. And these are big plants...What's happening with the steel industry is very exciting to me. It's being rebuilt overnight."

    Trump depends on reports of business activity, as do you.

    You still have not proven that Trump was not told that information.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    And you haven't proven the opposite.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I didnt make the claim Boehm did.

    Its on Boehm to support his claim, not me.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    So you're making the distinction between Trump lying and him just being wrong?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Boehm made the claim, so he needs to investigate if Trump was incorrectly told different information, trump is lying, or Trump is right.

    Boehm and his butt buddies at Reason tend to lie. I am calling him out on it.

    Prove that Trump is lying, you piece of shit Boehm, or dont call him a liar.

    I am calling Boehm a liar because he does not support things but throws out accusations of lying. Lying takes active intent to deceive.

    Trump being given bad info and then publicly saying it is not lying.

    Obama was famous for this tactic. He was given bad info by his staff, so he could not accused of lying. Even though Obama's statements were incorrect. Trust me, I would call Obama liar any chance I could make it stick.

  • Echospinner||

    Despite the price of steel USS and Nucor are trading low.

    There is nothing incredible about steel. What a ridiculous term to use.

    I still like Nucor.

  • vek||

    You know, despite "boring" industries like steel not being all inflated in importance in peoples heads, silly things like that are in fact still some of the most important industries in the world.

    I find it really amusing how people fawn over stuff like the tech industry, entertainment/media, or whatever, when in reality websites that do stuff are actually a very small industry in terms of income, employment etc. Media is vastly smaller than tech. If you get broader and include hardware companies as tech, etc it gets to be a so-so sized industry... Including every type of media/entertainment combined is likewise so-so.

    But it's mostly in our heads. Boring shit like steel, cement, agriculture, manufacturing, etc are still massive and important industries in the world, even if some of them have shrunk in importance in the US because we outsourced most of the work.

  • Wizard4169||

    "Told" by whom? The Steel Fairy? He's the POTUS (gods help us all), he should be one of the best-informed people on earth. Yet no one else has heard of these "big" plants steel makers are supposedly opening, despite the fact that any such plans would be front page news. Face facts, Trump is a bullshit artist. He openly brags about being a bullshit artist.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    3. "His tariffs are too high and he doesn't seem to want to move, and I told him 'fuhgeddaboutit'...We're very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style of Canada."

    Some want to believe Canada's socialist government over Trump.

    You still need to prove that the information that Trump was told is false to call it false.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    If Trump wants foreign leaders to negotiate in good faith with the United States, perhaps he ought to demonstrate an ability to recognize the reality of his trade policies.

    At least you admit that "foreign leaders are not negotiating in good faith". Its a big step.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Sorry, no quotes are applicable.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    When will you admit Trump also is not negotiating in good faith?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I think Trump is negotiating in good faith.

    In fact, I think Trump is negotiating in such good faith that trading partners are super pissed about it. Trump said that the USA would end trade restrictions if they would end trade restrictions. They refused.

  • Shirley Knott||

    You think that was an offer made in good faith?
    It was a rhetorical ploy, offered up by a man constitutionally unable to fulfill it, made outside the existing framework for discussions and negotiations on trade policy.
    Tellingly, it was never repeated, least of all in a setting where it might be taken seriously.
    But you know and disregard all that because Trump.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Your citation fell off.

    I was asked my opinion and I gave it.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    June 2019, I will be advocating against ending the tariffs and returning to pre-Trump level managed trade since the USA cannot get our trading partners to lower trade restrictions.

  • Mark Question||

    No.

    Free Trade is poisonous.

    We don't need foreign dollars, foreign goods, foreign anything in this country. Never have, never will. If you think otherwise you're a lefty traitor.

    I know you mean well lc but think long term here. Foreign things are genetically predisposed to be toxic to America and American-ness. This is known.

  • vek||

    Obviously you're kidding... But the funny thing is, the USA is probably one of the only countries in the world that would actually be in a position to be completely self sufficient. We have virtually every natural resource on earth here in abundance, a large and educated workforce, and still have reasonable infrastructure. We destroyed our industrial base over the last few decades, but it could be rebuilt without much fuss if we wanted/needed to.

    Canada or Russia are probably the only other nations on earth that have the same potential to be self sufficient while being affluent like us. Canada would be knee capped by their small population, and Russia by... Well, being Russia. So that leaves us an easy #1 in being able to wall ourselves off.

    Keep in mind the USA mostly WAS self sufficient in the middle of the last century. It wasn't exactly horrible in 1950 or 1960. With modern technology we could be just as self sufficient, but even more affluent than we were then even if we did cut ourselves off from all international trade.

  • BLPoG||

    Jesus Hernandez Christ.

    The comments are filled with tariff-loving Trump apologists. I just don't get it. Why are you guys even posting here? Tariffs are totally indefensible. Trump's mental model of trade is a hodgepodge of the oldest economics fallacies.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Welcome to the Reason comment section. Since the election, it has become infected with these GOP partisan morons. There are a few libertarians left, but, sadly, we are a minority.

  • JoeBlow123||

    There is more to the world than trade. Dependence on China is a mistake, a flat out mistake. Their entire country, from their government to their military to their corporations to their economy to their judicial system, is centered around a small group of government insiders who can and do use all of their tools at thier disposal as weapons to exert influence. It is foolhardy to keep pretending they do not have ulterior motives and to keep allowing them to benefit from global free trade while at the same time using their significant trade power to bash other countries into compliance towards Chinese objectives.

    In the 1980s Reagan warned against European dependence on Russian gas. This is the same thing. The Russians have exerted political influence on, notably, Ukraine and Belarus very explicitly and less explicitly Germany to France with their gas shipments. China does the same thing with promises of market access and trade.

    Taiwan has 18 countries recognize it internationally. 18. China keeps picking them off one by one. Slowly. In the South China Sea China first killed Filipinos, claimed Filipino Economic Exclusion Zones as Chinese territory, lost a UN case, then had Duterte cozy up to them because of their cash. The list can go on and on. Keep your eyes open mates.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    It's binary politics. Trump does some things right, therefore he can do no wrong. Lefties do some (a lot!) things wrong, therefore they can do no right. Although, since both sides love tariffs, you'd think there'd be some Trumptards who would reflexively hate them.

  • Homple||

    It's not only Trumpists who love tariffs. Every country in the world, irrespective of the politics of those who run it have tariffs and import controls.

    You'd think that at least one of those governments would catch on to the fact that "uncontrolled imports make everybody richer" and get rid of all of them. But nobody does. Not one country out of nearly 200. Why is this?

  • Shirley Knott||

    Singapore, Hong Kong, Great Britain.
    Or are we pretending that the state of the world right this instant is how it has always been?
    Economic history is pretty clear on the matter, most particularly when you look at the reductions in tariffs enabling economic growth.

  • Homple||

    No, just noticing how things are done now. Pre-1914 Europe was a good example of the advantages of free travel and trade but that world didn't last and now here we are.

    It would be nice to go back to the pre-WWI days, but there's a lot to unravel to get there. Meanwhile, tariffs exist and they screw some people and enrich some others. Short of getting rid of tariffs, policy is going to be determined by how much influence the screwed and the enriched over whoever happens to govern them.

    I dislike that as much as anybody does but it isn't easy to fix.

  • Shirley Knott||

    Sure it is. Do it the way Great Britain elijminated the Corn Laws.
    Unilateral free trade.
    It's very nearly as good as bilateral, and is the only means in our scope of control.

  • vek||

    What about if you're the only economy important enough in the world to force other countries to accept free trade? Is it not worth it to use that position to "force" this positive good onto other nations?

    I mean the British Empire literally fought wars to end the global slave trade... It was an inconvenience for some Brits at the time I'm sure, but perhaps the long term positive was worth it?

    I think Trump is HORRIBLY mishandling the particulars of how he is going about this... But I don't think the general idea is wrong.

  • ||

    Or are we pretending that the state of the world right this instant is how it has always been?

    Wait, you combed all of history and came up with 3 countries and those three countries still exist but aren't currently on the 'uncontrolled imports' list? This is really between exception that proves the rule and own goal.

  • JoeBlow123||

    The United States had significantly higher tariff rates in the 1800s and early 1900s then the Europeans and had significantly higher growth. China has significantly higher tariff rates to the present day and has sustained near 10% plus growth rates.

    The correlation between tariffs and economic growth is not as solid as you wish to claim. There are numerous other factors that influence economic growth.

  • Mark Question||

    Progtard.

    You just outed yourself as a leftist by......I can't even start with this. But it's clear you want foreign people, foreign dollars in this country.

    These tariffs are good because of the wonderfully simple truth revealed by the cold light of logic:

    FOREIGN = BAD FOR AMERICA

  • Jerryskids||

    The cock crows and the Sun rises. Let us worship the cock as the cock worships himself.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Unless your an anti-Trumper and then you worship the anti-Trump cuck.

  • JeffreyL||

    Here is the bigger problem with this article. It would appear that Reason has decided to go MSM.

    None of these are "LIES". They are opinions. Potentially bad opinions, but opinions none the less.

    It would appear that the libertarian way has now died within reason.

  • Homple||

    I think libertarians are tired of being thought of as kooks and outliers and are trying to gain acceptance in what passes for polite society, i.e. left-leaning politics. To do that, a lot of libertarian principles have to be tossed.

  • ShotgunJimbo||

    Ya I don't know why they didn't go with the biggest / actual lie he told. I think it went something like...

    "But they (China) won't be dumping steel anymore, or if they do they will pay us 25% more"

    No, US citizens and businesses will pay 25% more. I don't know if he actually still doesn't understand this or he is just being disingenuous knowing his base is either too dedicated or too stupid to understand how this stuff works.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    He might just be wrong. He might not know he's lying, and thereby you are the one who is wrong for calling him out on it.

  • ||

    But they (China) won't be dumping steel anymore

    Cue massive inflow of "Vietnamese" steel.

  • Jerryskids||

    It's my opinion that USSteel closed 14 plants and laid off 45,000 employees in response to the tariffs and then declared bankruptcy last week, causing the DJIA to drop 6500 points on Thursday afternoon.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    "It would appear that the libertarian way has now died within reason."

    Is your contention that it would be more libertarian to defend the tariffs? I don't get what you're trying to say with the above quote.

  • JeffreyL||

    No. But this "fact check" was complete and utter dishonesty on Reason's part - and this is my reference to libertarianism having died at Reason. The quotes they provided from President Trump were his opinions. They should have just written the article as we don't agree with the opinions of the President on this matter, and here is why.

  • Semantix||

    "U.S. Steel is opening up a minimum of eight plants," is a statement of FACT.

    "U.S. Steel is SHOULD open up a minimum of eight plants," is an opinion.

    Did I really just have to explain that to you?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    They have a narrative to run at Reason.

    I dont see that Reason even supports free trade which is zero trade restrictions on all sides of a trade. Even if they do, how does a country get from massive trade restrictions under managed trade to free trade? One option is using managed trade to negotiated lowering trade restrictions.

    There are other options to get to free trade but they have not gotten the USA to free trade.

  • ||

    Not to mention that it's a bit oxymoronic as well. Like the border, sure it's bad that we don't let poor Mexicans across it, but it's also good that some of our laws don't apply outside of it and we normally can't use our own military inside of it. Similarly, China shoveling money on solar panel producers to soak up green energy subsidies was, technically speaking, free trade. Sure, Reason may've rightly argued that ending the subsidies was the appropriate action, but that didn't change the fact that governments can distort foreign markets indirectly and/or without manipulating trade directly.

    Honestly, tariffs seem much preferable to outright conflict and it would be interesting to see Reason stumble over itself if Trump imposed a tariff because of human rights violations. A situation where we end up with fining bakers for not baking gay wedding cakes and sanctioning third-world countries for tossing gay people off of rooftops.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Not a single anti-tariff person but want free trade has enlightened us on how to get from our current managed trade system to free trade without rough negotiation. Even that might not work.

    Talking alone does not work.
    Unilateral trade does not work.

    Trump thinks he can negotiate free trade or better terms for managed trade for the USA. I decide that I would give him 12 months to pull it off.

  • JeffreyL||

    One of the issues, and history brings this forth, is that tarriffs can and do have impacts that lead to starting of the actual shooty shooty kind between nations.

    The person below makes the argument that President Trump believes he can out negotiate our trading partners. Potentially. The President has on his side the simple truth that we run deficits with many trading partners, which means our tarrifs can hurt significantly more than their tariffs. The President also believes that the pain will be easier to bear on our end. He may be right.

  • JoeBlow123||

    "One of the issues, and history brings this forth, is that tarriffs can and do have impacts that lead to starting of the actual shooty shooty kind between nations."

    Free trade is no panacea towards global peace either. Before WWI we had "freerer" trade than we do now and look what happened.

  • vek||

    Personally, I don't think trade or no trade makes much difference in terms of war. There are times where it is obviously political and important, like us cutting off Japan before we got involved in WWII. But if you're just talking regular, course of business trade, it doesn't matter.

    As far as us being able to win, and open up true free trade... We certainly could. It's just a matter of will. If Trump could pass a law through congress to put 100% tariffs on all Chinese goods, unless they dropped to 0% across the board, which we would reciprocate, that started in saaay 180 days... We'd have free trade with China in a lot less than 180 days.

    They would HAVE to cave, because their economy would be in instant depression, with riots in the streets, if we effectively stopped importing from them. We, meanwhile, could continue to import from all the other low wage countries, and feel it as but a small bump in the road. Not that it would ever come to it, because they'd be forced to cave before it went into effect.

  • vek||

    That's how easy it would be. Trump just doesn't have the power to unilaterally do something like that, and the global business interests would freak out... Until they saw China buckle. It's all a ridiculous show, because everybody knows that's exactly how it would happen. So the real question is why DON'T global business interests want real free trade?

    Personally I think it's the leftists and their goal of lowering western standards of living, while raising up others, so we meet in the middle. It's a stated goal of many, and the only thing that makes sense.

  • ||

    You don't even understand what the term means. Free trade is between you and your own government. It has nothing to do with any other government.

  • Semantix||

    "U.S. Steel is opening up a minimum of eight plants."

    Statement of fact. Not opinion.

    "U.S. Steel SHOD open up a minimum of eight plants."

    Opinion.

    Learn the difference.

  • ||

    "...like when the president identified a reporter from a Kurdish news agency as "Mr. Kurd,"

    That's hilarious. I for one will start doing that. 'Yes, Mr. Japanian.'

    As for Canada, easy there. The Canadians haven't exactly handled their end well either.

    I will say this. Trump must have known the dairy cartel here in Canada (Canadians love their cartels when threatened by the Americans because 'Canada fuck yeah!') is a corny-thorny issue so I'm wondering if he put Canada in a corner on purpose. Add to the fact it was Justin's father Pierre who created the supply-management dairy cartel and it becomes apparent the Liberals aren't gonna lower or end the practice.

    Worse, the Conservatives under Scheer and Ford have sided with the two twits Freeland and Trudeau in defending the idiocy of supply-management.

    Which turned me off to the conservatives.

    Thank God Maxime Bernier started a party. I will strongly consider him. The odds are stacked against him but he talks a good free market game.

    In fact, Reason should absolutely cover or interview him as he considered himself libertarian.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    One thing Trump is really good at is seeing an unpopular issue by the people that is being hidden by politicians.

    He exploits it.

    All Trump needed was the US economy to rebound from the Great Depression that Obama delayed recovery from and presto... The USA's economy will be able to handle renegotiating trade with trading partners. Trump knew that China would not, Canada would not, Mexico would not, the EU would not.

    The World wont admit this but the USA is the most desirable market in the World. Its why other nations are so upset at Trump for rocking the boat when they had great access to US markets.

    If you want access to US markets, lower your trade restrictions. Its that easy.

  • MikeP2||

    Okay, Mr. Canuck. I think Trump knows exactly where to pressure Canada and I strongly suspect Trudeau is digging himself into a nonsustainable position out of personal reasons.
    Canada is slowly degenerating it's economy from a self-sufficient modern industry one to a natural resource, commodity-based one. Unless you have unusually cheap and easily accessible resources, like Norway, it is difficult to maintain a high level social welfare state on a commodity-based economy. History has them all moving toward a elite-serf have-have-not two tiered structure and/or collapse.
    I think the only reason Canada has been doing well is the extreme closeness of supply to US industrial/manufacturing centers. Any reduction in free-trade will hurt and hurt badly. Commodities just don't have flexibility.
    I think Obama was jacking Canada around with Keystone, but it was never clear if that was to hurt Canada or help Buffet and rail industry.
    But Trump is putting the screws on Canada and eventually Trudeau will break. I suspect the end results will be a freer-NAFTA but time will tell.

  • ||

    I tend to agree with this assessment overall.

    Canadians, to add, have also convinced themselves all they need to do is expand trade with Europe and other countries.

    This shows just how removed from the reality of things they are. The Canadian economy is intricately intertwined with the USA not unlike veins in the body. You can't cut through them easily.

    Trade with Europe is nice but it can't offer the proximity of the United States; never mind the shared cultural aspects of all this.

    Canadians are deluding themselves by banging on the nationalist rhetoric pots and pans.

  • MikeP2||

    Yes, the Canadian economy is almost utterly dependent on free trade with the US. Trudeau is trying to emulate the Euro soft power approach without the position to back it and it shows his childish inexperience. Best thing Trudeau could have done was kiss up to Trump, lavish him with praise and sucker him into more favorable deals. But instead, he decided to align with the EU, most of whom would throw canada under the ecomonic bus without a second thought. Its stupid, and i hope his advisors smack him around enough to wake him up. Trump can hold a very hard line as there really isnt any leverage Canada can apply that would impact the us enough to be noticed.
    Trade with the EU or China is a fart in the wind compared to the Nafta region.

  • vek||

    Well, the tough truth of the matter is that most countries in the world simply don't have the juice to get shit done. Canada just doesn't have the sway to accomplish much unilaterally with anybody on the opposing side, let alone the USA. He's grandstanding and showing how much of a libtard he is, and that's about it.

    This is the thing that all the "ZOMG the sky is falling!" people don't get. The USA DOES have the juice to get basically anything we want. If the British Empire wanted something to happen in 1880, IT FUCKING GOT DONE. Because they were the British Empire. If Luxembourg wanted something done in 1880, it only happened if the other side wanted it to. Simple as that.

    But the people who hate the USA, want to see us fail, want to grand stand, or are simply too stupid to understand this fact... Well they just don't get it. The USA could demand nearly anything of nearly any country and get it. Obviously we shouldn't be demanding the first born child of everybody in a country or anything evil, but asserting ourselves in a fair manner is not a bad thing... But even that terrifies people that hate the USA. The USA under proper leadership (something better than Trump hopefully) could do great things for the world if we tried, and commies can't stand that fact.

  • Star1988||

    "Trump can hold a very hard line as there really isnt any leverage Canada can apply that would impact the us enough to be noticed."

    Canada could just say fuck it, and change their data exclusivity on biologics to 2 years, instead of 8. They appear to have no homegrown industry for innovation, but do have a strong generics industry. I'm pretty sure that would seriously piss off important American drug companies. Sometimes countries do things that are not in their best interest just to keep their allies happy. It's part of negotiation.

  • Star1988||

    What does a freer NAFTA look like? Highly subsidized US dairy being sold in Canada? That's it? The US subsidizes dairy to the tune of $22 billion a year. That dwarfs the entire Canadian dairy market. 70% of all revenues to US dairy farmers are government subsidies.

    It might be a great political talking point, but in terms of economic scale, it amounts to nothing.

    Now if only the US would remove all tariffs on all foreign cars and trucks - then we can get some fantastic vehicles that are effectively banned here. And US producers would be forced to produce and price competitively - so the big workhorse trucks would become more affordable. That's what freer trade looks like. It certainly wasn't part of the recent South Korea-US trade deal. It doesn't look to be part of any Trump deal.

  • Dillinger||

    >>>Sinking the entire negotiation over a single issue seems like an odd way to reach an agreement

    can I agree the tariffs are stupid and still think you cross a line here unless you Eric are better at "reaching an agreement" than T?

  • MikeP2||

    Every POTUS I've ever heard exaggerated, selectively noted, or outright lied in speeches and press conferences. It is rare to hear anything but lies, or hyper-partisan skews of factoids, out of the vast majority of our elected officials. The honest truth is almost non-existent....everything is skewed.

    But to Boehm, this is somehow novel and more evidence of Trump's appalling behavior.

    Bush and Obama lied and skewed so many things that I lost any interest to hear any POTUS speak.

    I'm happy Trump is POTUS. He lies because he trying to con us into his policy directions. Like Obama before him, and Bush, and Clinton, and Bush, and Reagan. Hillary was worse and would have been worse as POTUS. She lied about everything, and by all appearances, did so solely for personal gain. There is a difference....and it matters. To date, there has not been any evidence of personal corruption (while in office) from Trump. Maybe that comes later. Who knows....but it's better than the alternative.

  • Mark Question||

    I know, right? Reason never criticized Bush or Obama. In fact they were pretty good mouthpieces for whichever party was in power until Trump got elected.

    Then libertarians started showing their true leftist colors. They hate trump because he has an authoritarian personality. Idiots. Only authoritarianism can cure the cancer that is the left and the foreign dollars and foreign goods they bring in here. People are too stupid to be properly patriotic.

  • vek||

    Anyone who can't see the difference in how they treated Obama versus Trump is a lunatic... Despite Trump being more libertarian BY FAR overall in terms of policy.

    It's demeanor. It's wording. It's respect. Silly little differences like "This policy is wrong headed, although well intentioned" in an article about Obama, versus "Our deranged president is trying to destroy the universe again" with Trump. It takes a blind man not to see.

    "Only authoritarianism can cure the cancer that is the left"

    On this point, while joking, you may well be right. Every time the left has got too far out of line, they either ended up winning and bringing massive suffering to the people... Or a hard core right wing movement came along and literally kicked the shit out of them, and usually threw a bunch of them in camps, at least for awhile. I don't think the USA is too far from this if we don't change course. If Trump were to lose in 2020, and we got another decade of staying the leftist course in this country, I suspect people will be begging for a Pinochet or Franco to come along and clean house, because as fuct as it is, it will beat the alternative...

  • vek||

    Yup. Trump is no worse than your average politician on his "bad qualities," and seems to be a hell of a lot better than most in the areas where he is good. It's just that he offends their delicate sensibilities because he just says shit like he sees it, right or wrong.

    I was saying for more than a decade before he came along that we needed a politician like him who just came out and spit fire, then along he came. His policies, and his delivery could be better, but the TDS just doesn't make any sense to me. It's clearly coming from some completely illogical perspective to think he is any worse than any other dirt bag politician.

    As far as why he isn't being corrupt... He doesn't have to be. He's worth somewhere between 5 and 10 billion, depending on whose numbers you want to use for valuing some of his real estate holdings. He's one of the wealthiest people on the planet. He already has EVERYTHING a man could want. The Clintons had to graft their way into money and power, Trump already had it all before he went into office. He just doesn't have incentive to do stuff like that. Now, he might abuse power for realz at some point, but he doesn't need cash.

  • BYODB||

    I listed to this press conference, not really by choice, and yeah Trump says a lot but parsing him is a waste of time. These press conferences are a waste of time. Picking them apart is an exercise in futility.

  • Echospinner||

    Very, very large brain.

  • Mark Question||

    Progtard.

    Your sarcasm about Trump, the smartest, most capable and patriotic President we've ever had (he's better then Reagan even), has outed you as one of the scum trying to inflict us with the Great Progressive Utopia.

    How dare you stand in the way of the Great Patriotic Utopia.

  • JoeBlow123||

    You are super annoying. FYI.

  • WJack||

    For sure, Trump does not have a clue - made a billion in business, and defeated about a dozen professional politicians to win the office of president.

  • buybuydandavis||

    "Trump is fixated on a few Canadian tariffs—a tariff on dairy products is a favorite target—and while those are admittedly not good,"

    I thought tariffs were a crime against humanity? Or is that only when it's the US putting up a tariff?
    Hate America First!

    "Sinking the entire negotiation over a single issue seems like an odd way to reach an agreement,"

    You go ahead and explain to Trump how to negotiate.

  • ShotgunJimbo||

    "For sure, Trump does not have a clue - made a billion in business, and defeated about a dozen professional politicians to win the office of president."

    LOL

    Daddy bought him his first business, then he inherited a fortune and turned it into a less impressive fortune. He wasn't some average joe who clawed his way up or innovated his way to success. He was born rich; had he just made wise/safe investments he would be worth more today than he is after trying to be a businessman.

  • vek||

    That is all inaccurate actually.

    He did get a LOAN from his dad in the earliest days. Trump became a billionaire in very short order after he took the helm of his own business. He passed anything his father had ever achieved in life in a matter of a few years. He then proceeded to shoot up very fast. Then the economy tanked, and he ended up 500 million or so in the hole... Which happens to lots of people in business. Keep in mind Apple was BK until Bill Gates bailed them out to avoid anti trust issues.

    He then pulled himself out of that hole, and steadily became a billionaire again, and one of the richest people on the planet. That whole "If he'd just bought into an index fund he'd be wealthier!" thing is BS.

    He was born on 3rd base, no doubt there... But his father was "only" worth the equivalent of a couple tens of millions of dollars in todays money. That's rich, but there are countless thousands of people just in the US with that net worth. So I ask you this: How many people whose parents were as rich as Trumps are now worth somewhere between 5 and 10 billion? NOT VERY MANY.

    He's a sales guy, a hype guy. Not my preferred type of businessman, but he's one of the best hype guys alive today, for whatever that's worth. Bag on him for being born on 3rd base, that's fine, but keep it within reason, and don't use BS lies propagated by the leftist media to slam him when they're not true.

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