With trade negotiations with both China and Mexico bogged down in trivial minutae, it was beginning to appear that Trump’s campaign promise to impose tariffs on both was nothing more than a ploy to win votes. After all, we’ve seen this movie dozens of times over the past decades: endless talk about intellectual property rights, labor laws, unfair government subsidies. The list goes on and on and, in the end, our trade deficit gets bigger and bigger while our manufacturing sector withers.
Then, a few days ago, the above-linked report appeared. Perhaps Trump has just been giving the “globalists” one last shot at negotiating something meaningful so that, at least, they can’t say he didn’t try. But it seems that he’s getting fed up with the lack of progress.
Reportedly, in the presence of the “globalists” on his economic team – U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Economic Council director Gary Cohn, among others (which perhaps included daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner?) – Trump told chief of staff John Kelly:
So, John, I want you to know, this is my view. I want tariffs. And I want someone to bring me some tariffs … I know there are some people in the room right now that are upset. I know there are some globalists in the room right now. And they don’t want them, John, they don’t want the tariffs. But I’m telling you, I want tariffs.
Do it, John! Draw up a tariff plan. Help President Trump implement it and our long, long nightmare of trade policy idiocy will finally be over! Then, instead of debt ceiling and budget negotiations getting deadlocked over how to pay for everything, our congressmen will have a new problem – what to do with all the additional revenue.
Let’s not give up hope yet.