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In Utter Confusion on Tariffs, Trump Endorses Taxing American Consumers

Offering even less useful commentary than the blog comment sections David Newquist criticizes in Donald Trump, who has yet to say a single instructive sentence during his entire time in the White House. We don’t really learn anything about public policy from his pronouncements to reporters and rallies. His ejaculations (a word that perfectly describes whatever comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth) provide no reliable basis for policy-making or even a clear explanation of what’s happening. Consider this absurd and woefully incomplete statement on why escalating the trade war with China is a good idea:

Speaking at his Florida rally, Trump suggested the U.S. would be fine if there’s no deal and the trade war with China continues.

“If we don’t make the deal, nothing wrong with taking in over $100 billion a year, $100 billion, we never did that before,” he said [Everett Rosenfeld, “Trump: China ‘Broke the Deal’ in Trade Talks,” CNBC, 2019.05.08].

If anyone is listening to the actual words here, we’re hearing the Republican in the White House say that taking more money out of Americans’ pockets and transferring that money to the government is good for America. We’re hearing that complete contradiction of the Republican platform frosted with the meaningless claim that “we never did that before.” The latter is nonsense: we’ve done tariffs before. We’ve taxed Americans for buying products made elsewhere and tanked the global economy doing it. Now Trump is playing Smoot-Hawley again, raising taxes on American consumers, making it harder for regular folks to buy shoes, toys, iPhones, and all the other Walmart purchases that drive our consumer economy, increasing costs for some of the world’s most productive manufacturers, beating down U.S. agriculture, and driving up the chances of a global recession.

To keep the situation in tangible terms, the backpack you got for your daughter last summer for $40 will cost $50. An average family of four will pay $767 more in taxes to the Trump trade war machine.

Meanwhile, the U.S. trade deficit with China, which Trump consistently exaggerates in amount and impact, has risen to new record highs each year of Trump’s noisy and flailing protectionism. And the $41.3 billion in tariffs ($23 billion from tariffs on Chinese goods) that we took out of working people’s pockets in Fiscal Year 2018 was less than the $113 billion he added to the federal budget deficit last year and funneled via tax cuts largely to rich pals who don’t produce nearly as much shared economic stimulus with those dollars as we would have.

Donald Trump doesn’t give accurate numbers, accurate explanations of policy, or accurate interpretations of his own party’s platform. The economy and the federal budget get no net gain from Trump’s policies, and we get no net gain from Trump’s words. It’s time to tune him out and throw him out in favor of policymakers who will benefit both our common understanding and our commonwealth.


  1. o 2019-05-09 08:26

    A YUGE issue with President Trump and foreign tariffs is his misunderstanding (some have called it him lying – I think he doesn’t understand and his bubble/echo chamber will not correct him) of how tariffs work. He believes that these tariffs are paid by China directly into our Federal treasury. To use Cory’s example, Trump would say that $40.00 backpack is still $40.00 to the Us consumer – AND China then pays $10.00 into the US treasury.

    That level of misunderstanding is a problem.

  2. mike from iowa 2019-05-09 08:40

    Drumpf’s biography will be called “The Rat of The Deal.”

    Booksellers want his books re-labeled as fiction.

  3. jerry 2019-05-09 09:04

    o nails it and the three dumbbells who represent us in Washington, simply either don’t understand tariffs or don’t want to understand what they mean to the economy. I would suggest they ask a farmer, but it is starting to look like they don’t get it either.

  4. Bob J 2019-05-09 09:58

    Only in Tumpworld, does any of this make any sense. Our delegation to DC are enablers. How far down will we have to go before congress ends these illegal tariffs? If they would have stood up to Trump immediately we would not be this far along, in the destruction of the US economy,and world trade.
    Yes, I am a Farmer,no I did not vote for Trump,or his SD Enablers. Ms Noem is showing her true loyalties,the Koch Brothers come to mind. Amazing to me, is how little it took to buy these lawmakers.

  5. jerry 2019-05-09 10:39

    Bob J, I apologize. Not your fault, take a read at this and tell me if you think that it is time to put this crook out to pasture. Organize and put folks into office that will defend the farmer and producer. The deck is stacked against you and it is not the fault of Democrats and never has been. Organize and resist, the phone should be ringing off the hook to these Republican crooks and liars like the three amigos we have here. They do not represent us, they are in it for themselves. No more of this.

    “Economists in the Agriculture Department’s research branch say the Trump administration is retaliating against them for publishing reports that shed negative light on White House policies, spurring an exodus that included six of them quitting the department on a single day in late April.

    The Economic Research Service — a source of closely read reports on farm income and other topics that can shape federal policy, planting decisions and commodity markets — has run afoul of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue with its findings on how farmers have been financially harmed by President Donald Trump’s trade feuds, the Republican tax code rewrite and other sensitive issues, according to current and former agency employees.”

  6. Porter Lansing 2019-05-09 11:16

    O – President Clown doesn’t even remember why he initiated the tariffs. He specifically said the tariffs aren’t to punish China. The tariffs are to entice American manufacturers to bring their factories back to USA. Notice that Trump has zero advisors from Wharton, where he cheated his way through. Just like his election, where he cheated his way through. Expert economists from that fine school would have told him that tariffs only pass the pain onto consumers. Tariffs won’t bully washing machine makers into coming home.
    MFI – Trump’s biography will be the only book ever printed with five chapter elevens.

  7. Debbo 2019-05-09 14:59

    “five chapter elevens.” Good one Porter.

    Bloviating Bigot isn’t SD’s only problem in DC, as others have already said. 538 has come out with their PARS ratings– Popularity Above Replacement Senator.

    “PARS is calculated by measuring the distance between a politician’s net approval rating (approval rating minus disapproval rating) in her state and the state’s partisan lean (how much more Republican- or Democratic-leaning it is than the country as a whole).”

    The highest is Joe Manchin, D-WV, +35.

    Minnesota’s Sen. Klobuchar is #3 at +30. Sen. Tina Smith is #13 at +16.

    Roundy is -3 and Thin is -7. Does that mean they’re vulnerable? Is this a good time for the SDDP to replace a very weak DC delegation with South Dakotans who are for South Dakotans and will stop Bloviating Bigot from trashing this state’s economy?

    I’m guessing 538 will publish PARR soon. (Popularity Above Replacement Representative) I’ll let you know how Dusty does.

  8. Debbo 2019-05-09 15:05

    “[E]verybody’s going to be worse off,” said Federico Kaune, head of emerging markets fixed income at UBS Global Asset Management. “There is no way around it. Protectionism … is bad for everybody.”

    Losers: “American farmers, who are the targets of China’s proposed soybean tariffs, will be hurt as they lose access to the Chinese market.
    Chinese and American consumers, who will see higher prices if tit-for-tat tariffs keep escalating.”

    No paywall, very brief.

  9. T. Camp 2019-05-09 15:28

    As a progressive I am appalled. We live to tax and take money out of the pockets of Americans and give it to the government. Taxing and growing revenue is our mission.
    So now we rebel when TRump takes a page from out play book? Suddenly we are now outraged? As progressives we must be consistent, otherwise we look like hypocrites.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-05-09 19:04

    Mr. Camp, from your comments this afternoon, I’m not convinced you’re a progressive, or anything other than a provocateur looking to start a fight.

  11. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-05-09 19:08

    If you are a progressive, you’ll read my post more closely, and you’ll see that I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of a republican claiming he stimulating the economy by raising taxes. I’m critiquing that Republican claim and asking why Republicans aren’t lambasting Trump for it.

    You’ll also read woven into my original post the actual Progressive and empirically proven position which is that if we’re going to cut taxes and increase the deficit all for the sake of economic stimulus, then we must cut taxes first on the lowest income people to put more money in Their pockets, because they will spend every penny they get and stimulate the economy much more than the rich people to who Trump is giving tax cuts.

  12. o 2019-05-10 15:02

    T. Camp: “We live to tax and take money out of the pockets of Americans and give it to the government.”

    Your tongue-in-cheek misses the mark here. Progressives do not see government as the end of the tax dollar; we see the social welfare of our fellow man and woman and non-conforming is the final resting place for those tax dollars: dollars that come out of our pockets (plural inclusive) as well.

    Any day, ANY day you want to have a real discussion about the needs of a civil society and the obligations to meet them versus the crass money grubbing selfishness of the conservative 1% worshipers, I would love to engage in that discussion with you.

  13. mike from iowa 2019-05-10 17:23

    Drumpf says US will buy farmer’s crops and he wants more aid for them this year. Fiscal responsibility, huh?

    Drumpf is the luckiest guy in the world. Doesn’t know anything. Doesn’t want to learn anything. Thinks he knows it all and has the answers for everything. The world is crumbling and Drumpf be stumbling around.

  14. mike from iowa 2019-05-11 17:54

    Drumpf, the billion dollar loser, has a new nickname, which Elizabeth Warren can appreciate- Brokeahontas.

  15. Debbo 2019-05-11 17:58


  16. leslie 2019-05-15 22:53

    boy oh boy, gone up the country a few days and Napoli shouts down Kristi and her lewtentant. Funy, funy stuff.

    Cory wins for us all but doesn’t Kristi’s riot boosters law aim at the same thing–George Soros? Regardless, well done Cory and Jim Leach Esq. But I have been paying attention to our idiot-in-chief criminal Trump. KOTA puts on Jim Bohannan, crowding out its only syndicated liberal talk show host week nights, and oh what a shill for Trump, Barr and McConnell. Rapid City Republicans are sooo vapid.

    Hats off to Nadler, Schiff, and the rest of our congressional committee members focused on the ultimate impeachment question. And all the SD GOP antics to avoid accountability for EB% and MCEC murders and fraud. Just like what Trump’s administration pulls every day.

    10,000 lies, 29 investigations.

    Kristi loses in Federal Court, Trump loses over and over. Malignant narcissist.

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