TRADE, GUNS AND RHETORIC
Monday, 5 March:
So, now it's trade.
The strange thing about all the hysterical repsonse on the administration's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum is that they didn't see this coming. Donald Trump has been talking about unfair trade practices since the 1980's.
He promised them in the primaries and during the campaign as well.
So, when his advisors went on the Sunday shows and explained the hosts looked gut shot. 'How could you' they shrieked, as this negates the tax cuts somehow. This is the classic zero sum game of the conservative rank and file.
Anything that restricts free trade is a blow to capitalism, which is utter nonsense. The key phrase Trump used in one of his prodigious tweet storms on Saturday. He said:
'if you don't have steel you don't have a country'.
For some odd reason this point seems to have gotten lost. Red China makes about 50% of the world's steel; they pay their people 50 cents an hour or so to produce it. In the US steelmakers make about $50 k a year.
The Chinese can overproduce and dump excess steel on the market. They are doing exactly that. However, this glut, while making consumer products cheaper -which is good- is outweighed by the need to have a viable steel and aluminum production here in the USA.
This is the National Security aspect, and it cannot be overlooked. The Chinese have made no bones about 'The Long March' which is their desire to be the world's leading power. Going back to Mao this has been their policy.
The trade deficit with the Communist country was $365 billion last year. It was $566 billion worldwide.
The question of mounting debt as a national security issue has been an issue for awhile; the Pentagon has even weighed in on it. This is a start on addressing this, and the impact of these moves will be small.
Saving these industries is of paramount importance. Trump has already assured the country of energy independence by opening up development. Targeted tariffs was eminently predictable as a result.
The screaming and hollering you're hearing is from those who want to outsource jobs to Indonesian sweat shops to give the investor a better bottom line. This is not 'capitalism' as it was invented. This is predatory manufacture shopping.
Capitalism is a mechanism to produce for a free society. It is incompatible with Communism, yet here we are kowtowing to the Red Chinese. Keep in mind Marx said 'we will sell them (the capitalists) the rope we will hang them with'.
Conclusion: Right move, NAFTA is being renegotiated and the tariffs could disappear with the right agreement. Nobody is going to get into a trade war with a robust US economy; they will cede their business to someone else.
As for buying Levis and Jim Beam all tariffs will do is make them more desirable.
Much ado about nothing, save for keeping necessary infrastructure alive.
Then, of course there's still the gun issue. Once again, it is amazing how many people -conservatives, too- miss the point here. They are all focusing on Trump seeming to attack the NRA and cozy up to Diane Feinstein.
He said some incendiary things, true. The same thing occured with the DACA/immigration deal. It's classic Trump 'art of the deal' negotiation. Seize the initiative, throw out some talking points that knock both parties off their game and then get to work hammering something out.
Because of his audacious behavior the Dems own the failure of DACA and now the gun seizure attempt is fizzling after Trump gave them all cover. He did meet with NRA officials both before, and after the televised meeting in the West Wing.
Meanwhile the schools are becoming hardened targets. No gun laws will be passed, other than some tightening of the background checks which are admittedly overdue.
So, don't worry. Be happy. Like the song goes.
Trump may seem like he's in a chaotic mess but that guise seems to allow a lot of forward movement...
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