The Evening Campaign Update
(Because The Campaign Never Ends)
So, President Donald Trump spent all day Friday getting hammered by the fake news media, Democrats and many Republicans in congress, and leaders of other countries all over the world for his announcement Thursday afternoon that he plans to implement tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum next week.
If that reaction mix sounds familiar to you, it should. It’s exactly the same reaction from a very similar mix of players he received last summer when he announced he was pulling the United States from the Paris Climate Accords. Coincidence? Not really, no.
Think about it: What did President Trump say when he cancelled Barack Obama’s probably-illegal executive agreement that committed an entire country of 330 million people to the Paris Accords with no review or vote from congress? He identified the Paris construct as nothing more than a wealth redistribution scheme that would suck trillions of dollars out of the U.S. economy and redistribute that wealth among the other nations who were signatories to the agreement.
In saying that, the President was 100% correct. The Paris Accords have literally nothing to do with “saving the climate” by convincing countries to reduce their air emissions. If it did, then why have none of the other nations who remain in the Accords met their emissions commitments under the deal? That should give you a clue.
President Trump looks at the import/export equation on steel and aluminum in exactly the same terms. He sees a situation in which a country like China gets to export its steel into the U.S. while paying no tariff at all, while at the same time levying a 50% tariff on U.S. steel coming into China, and sees that as just another scheme to redistribute U.S. wealth and jobs to another nation. It’s the same concept.
The hilarious part of all of this is that so many members of congress and in the news media were shocked at the President’s Thursday announcement, just as almost all of the same people were shocked last summer about the President’s Paris decision. Good lord, he promised on at least 100 occasions during the 2016 campaign to place tariffs on imports of all manner of goods, including steel and aluminum, if he were to win the election.
Since becoming President, Mr. Trump has been laser-focused on keeping the myriad promises he made during that campaign. As many have detailed, he has already, just 14 months into his term in office, kept the great majority of those promises. So why is anyone surprised in any way, shape or form that he is now going about keeping his promise to America’s steel and aluminum industries? It would have actually been a real surprise had he not chosen to do so at some point soon.
I personally have mixed feelings on the tariff issue, and am not endorsing these tariffs just as I do not endorse the President’s recent implementation of tariffs on imports of solar panels. But to Mr. Trump’s credit, he was completely open and honest about his plans to implement such tariffs during the campaign, and it is also to his personal credit that he remains committed to keeping his promises, whether I or anyone else agrees with him on the issue or not.
So, tariffs and Paris – there’s your analogy. It even sort of rhymes.
[Addendum] The other thing we must remember is that, with Donald Trump, literally EVERTHING is a negotiation. This is not the end game in his mind – this is the start of a negotiation with China mainly, but with other countries as well. His goal is not to start a trade war, it is to change behaviors. He also very likely has in mind using these tariffs as an item to trade in exchange for something else down the road.
The setting of these tariffs is not the ending point for Mr. Trump, it is the starting point.
That is all.
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