I’ve been waiting a long time for this – my whole life, really – and now it seems to be happening. Trump seems to be finding his footing in making good on his promise to end the “free trade” rape of America’s economy and workers. In the wake of imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum, this week he also edged closer to slapping tariffs on $60 billion worth of Chinese imports. And the whole community of globalist trade parasites that has fed on the American economy for decades is freaking out.
It’s been amusing to watch the reaction and threats of retaliation. First, the EU (European Union) threatened to slap tariffs on American exports of bourbon, Levi’s blue jeans and Harley Davidson motorcycles. Trump responded, “go ahead, and we’ll put a 25% tariff on imports of European cars.”
Let’s stop right there and take a look at this situation. In 2017, the EU imported $839 million worth of bourbon whiskey. Sounds like a lot of booze, right? And while I can’t separate Harley Davidson motorcycles from other brands and bicycles, I can tell you that the EU imported $802 million worth of motorcycles and bicycles in general from the U.S. And how many pairs of jeans did they import? None. Zilch. Why? Because virtually none are made in the U.S. It’s kind of pathetic, actually, that EU officials can’t even name three American imports without getting one of them wrong. I’m sure that the folks at Levi’s had puzzled looks on their faces and, at the same time, officials in Bangladesh or wherever Levi’s are made these days cringed. By contrast, the U.S. imported $43 billion worth of cars from Europe – half coming from Germany alone. Upon hearing Trump’s threat to slap tariffs on their car imports, the EU backed off fast from further retaliation threats.
You might ask, couldn’t the EU then respond with tariffs on imports of American cars? Yeah, but they only imported $8 billion worth of cars in 2017. The whole idea of “retaliation” is to strike back in a way that hurts at least as much as what’s been done to you. Therein lies the problem for anyone with a huge trade surplus with the U.S. It’s impossible to “retaliate” in any meaningful way. In the above scenario, where the U.S. puts $1.6 billion worth of bourbon and motorcycle exports at risk, the EU stands to lose twenty-five times that much in auto exports. The U.S. could actually just hand Jim Beam and Harley Davidson $1.6 billion to make up their loss, and still be way, way ahead.
Then there’s China or, as I’ll refer to them from now on, “Red China.” That’s how they used to be known under Chairman Mao Tse Tung, until the U.S. began making overtures to them in the hope of turning them into a more free and open society. But, in my opinion, with Xi Jingping’s power grab, making himself China’s communist dictator for life – just like Chairman Mao – China no longer deserves that respect. From now on, they’re once again “Red China” and “Chairman Xi.”
So, anyway, back to Red China. Trump is threatening to slap tariffs on $60 billion worth of their exports, and it would probably escalate from there. Already, Red China has threatened to retaliate with tariffs on soybeans, and then with tariffs on an additional 127 American products. And the Chicken Littles of globalism are freaking out with dire warnings of the consequences of a trade war.
So, just like we did with the EU above, let’s take a detailed look at this situation. In 2017, Red China imported $12.4 billion worth of soybeans from the U.S. The other 127 products total up to $3 billion for a grand total of $15.4 billion worth of retaliation to America’s tariffs on $60 billion worth of Chinese exports. So, once again we see that Red China is incapable of mounting any kind of real retaliation at all. With over $500 billion in exports to the U.S., while only importing $130 billion, there’s simply no way for Red China to retaliate in any meaningful way. If all trade with Red China were halted completely, the U.S. wins by $370 billion. Hell, we could just hand soybean farmers $12.4 billion and still be ahead by $357.6 billion!
Oh, by the way, the threat of tariffs on American soybeans would hurt the Chinese more than Americans. Does Chairman Xi think that his people will simply eat less? Of course not. He’ll have to get his soybeans somewhere else, like Brazil, and now those countries who imported soybeans from Brazil will turn to the U.S., probably bidding up the cost of soybeans. No skin off of our noses, Chairman Xi.
Not so fast, the free trade advocates and globalists warn, American consumers will be hurt by higher prices in a trade war. Oh, really? Not if you factor quality into the equation and the fact that cheap junk from Red China has to be constantly replaced. Last year, I replaced the faucet in our bathroom, which had been there for thirty years. We wanted to replace it with the exact same model, since it’s used in other bathrooms in the house and still goes well with the other decor. Already it’s falling apart. The handles keep coming loose because the threads were cut too sloppy (as is often the case with Chinese products) and the hot water handle squeaks like a rusty gate. So the cheap Chinese version barely lasts a year while the old, American-made version held up for thirty.
This week, while doing a wood-working project, my lightly-used, Chinese router quit. I wanted to replace it with a good, American-made router but I found out, sadly, that none are made in the U.S. Not only that, no power tools of any kind are made in the U.S. anymore.
So, no sooner did I buy a cheap Chinese router, than my printer quit on me, just past its warranty. New printers have become an almost annual purchase for me. To summarize, I’m really getting sick of dealing with poor quality Chinese junk, just like virtually every American is. A boon to U.S. consumers? Baloney!
Of course, the real reason that the claim of lower costs for American consumers is a lie is because cost is relative to income, and our huge trade deficit and corresponding job losses with Red China have held down and even cut American incomes more than it has reduced costs.
Trump has used “national security” as his rationale for levying tariffs on steel and aluminum. Why stop there? Look at clothing. Virtually none is made in the U.S. Isn’t it a matter of national security that we might all be running around naked during a war? Well, we could make our clothes, right? Nope. No fabric is made in the U.S. either.
Or how about the example of power tools I talked about above? It takes tools to make things. We don’t even have the tools it takes to make tools! Where would we get them during a war? Let’s face it. If a war broke out right now, we’d soon find ourselves fighting it naked with nothing more than clubs. Maintaining a healthy manufacturing sector – one capable of manufacturing everything that we need – is a matter of national security.
A trade war? It’s impossible for the U.S. to do anything but win, and win big. Come on, President Trump, let’s get it started!