The Consequences Of Tariffs

I know that we get nothing but rosy news coming out of Dear Leader’s mouth….we hear how much better our economy will be when he wins his trade war with the world….we will have a strong economy, more jobs, better wages, yada yada…..

But you know that there are consequences for these tariffs that have been instituted…..think not?

As the China-US tariff volley continues—China on Wednesday announced a 25% tariff on an additional $16 billion worth of US goods in retaliation for our similar move, reports CNBC—the consequences have become real for one South Carolina company. The State reports TV-maker Element Electronics is citing the tariffs as the reason it is essentially closing its doors: It intends to shut down its Winnsboro plant and lay off 126 of its 134 employees, it said in a letter to the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce—though it does have a glimmer of hope.

The letter explains the tariffs hit television components from China that it relies on, and the layoffs will commence in October unless it can get its parts off the tariff list. CNN Money cites a tweet from the company that suggests optimism: It writes that as the “only USA assembler of televisions, we believe the inclusion of our parts on the list … is accidental and resolvable.” It’s working to have the parts removed from the list. The State notes the layoffs would be a big blow for Fairfield County, which counted Element Electronics as its biggest employer, having recently suffered the loss of a Walmart and a textile mill.

The longer these tariffs are in place the more damage it will do to the workers and the consumers of this country…..will the “art of the deal” win out?

Personally, I feel that Our Dear Leader is gambling and hoping that he is right in his economic views…..

I have been a devotee to economist Henry George since the 1980’s……and he touches on tariffs in his book ……..The problem identified by Henry George, in Protection or Free Trade, is that of poverty, and more specifically, wages and unemployment. What follows from that is George’s systematic and all-embracing dissertation of the effects that protectionist and free-trade policies have on the wealth of a nation and its individuals. Naturally, he arrives at a conclusion that is decidedly in favor of free trade — as opposed to protective prescriptions — as a surefire solution to the ills of poverty.

George develops his focal point early on by posing the essential question: Are protective tariffs helpful to those who make their living via labor? He considers this the “tariff question,” calling it the “great political question of the immediate future” (George 1886, p. 3). He does, in fact, dare to say that he approves of the ends promoted by the protective tariff advocates when the ends sought are the promotion of higher wages and prosperous employment.[1] Nevertheless, he maintains that his position is to objectively determine whether or not protective tariffs are in fact favorable to those ends.

https://mises.org/library/henry-george-and-tariff-question

I would say that if more people knew of Henry George and his theories then we could do away with a lot of noise around trade and tariffs…..but that may be asking too much for it would require reading……a technique that is slowly disappearing……

Turn The Page!

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The People’s Budget

First those tax cuts that the GOP shoved down the throat of Congress….well these do very little for a peon like me about $35 a month and did everything it was suppose to do…make the wealthy more so and explode the deficit (so much for all GOP crap about fiscal responsibility)…..

Well it was so successful for the wealthy that they are planning another round of help for the Fat Cats……

Despite the profound unpopularity of the Republican Party’s tax law, pushed through last December amid loud protests directed at President Donald Trump and GOP lawmakers, party leaders on Tuesday unveiled framework for their “tax cuts 2.0” package—signaling that they are doubling down on their plans to benefit the rich at the expense of working Americans.

The framework, which House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) released, claims that it would permanently extend tax cuts for individuals that were set to expire in 2025, help families to save for college, and help small businesses create retirement plans for their workers.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/07/24/no-evidence-goptaxscam-has-benefited-most-americans-republicans-unveil-plan-double

A subject that gets little attention these days……poverty.  These days it seems the being poor makes one a criminal and most legislation rewards greed and wealth…..

In addition to padding the bottom lines of America’s largest corporations by cutting their taxes and eliminating scores of longstanding regulations, President Donald Trump is also protecting major companies’ profits by refusing to punish them for ripping off consumers and trampling federal rules that safeguard the planet.

That is the central conclusion of a new Public Citizen analysis out Wednesday, which finds that corporate America has largely been exempt from Trump’s so-called “law-and-order” agenda. Titled Corporate Impunity (pdf), the report shows that enforcement actions carried out by major government agencies declined drastically during Trump’s first year in the White House.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/07/25/poverty-criminalized-wealth-immunized-report-shows-corporate-crime-enforcement-has

I brought up this expansion of the deficit because that Progressive Caucus has released the “People’s Budget”…….

Offering an ambitious alternative to the House GOP’s “morally bankrupt” 2019 budget proposal—which demands over $5 trillion in cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and other life-saving programs—the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) on Tuesday unveiled a budget that calls for massive investments in infrastructure, healthcare, and education while proposing significant cuts to the completely “out-of-control” Pentagon budget.

Titled The People‘s Budget: A Progressive Path Forward (pdf), the CPC’s plan also calls for a ban on “any expansion of U.S. combat troops in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and many other countries,” demanding an immediate end to “the policy of funding endless wars.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/07/24/putting-common-good-over-billionaires-and-war-profiteers-house-progressives-unveil

This addresses the “Common Good” which any legislation should do…..

Now in reality this “Budget” will go nowhere….simply because it does little to benefit those that own the members of Congress.

The Coming “Farm Aid”

It will not be Willie Nelson and John Mellenkamp…..no music….no foot long hot dogs…..no crappy beer on tap……

The story making the rounds is the tale of the American farmer and how he/she is losing markets and money thanks to the policies of Our Dear Leader……but not to worry….there is relief coming from DC…..

President Trump showed off a new campaign hat on Monday—it’s green with yellow letters, reminiscent of the John Deere logo, and it reads “Make Our Farmers Great Again,” notes Politico. (See Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sporting one here.) The message is a calculated one as the White House seeks to ease farmers’ concerns that a US trade war will hit them hard. On Tuesday, the White House put the word out that its efforts will go well beyond hats, however—it’s rolling out $12 billion in emergency aid to farmers, especially those dealing with dairy, pork, and soybeans, reports CNBC. Details:

  • The money: It will come partly from a program set up in the Depression to help farmers called the Commodity Credit Corporation, reports the Washington Post. Because it’s an existing program, congressional approval isn’t necessary. Trump had asked Perdue to explore options months ago, and more details are still to be released.
  • Short-term: Perdue said the “one-time” program would help farmers dealing with “illegal retaliation” to US tariffs, reports the Wall Street Journal. “This is a short-term solution that will give President Trump and his administration time to work on long-term trade deals.”
  • The politics: The rollout comes as Trump travels to Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa ahead of the midterms, states where the agricultural community has voiced concern about the fallout of retaliatory tariffs from other nations. “The farmers will be the biggest beneficiary,” Trump said of his trade disputes in Missouri on Tuesday, per USA Today. “Just be a little patient.”
  • Criticism: The new plan isn’t sitting well with members of Trump’s own party who are worried about the longer-term picture. “What is our future down the road?” asks Senate Agriculture Committee chief Pat Roberts of Kansas. “We are trying to make the point that we don’t want aid, we want trade.” Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse: “This trade war is cutting the legs out from under farmers and White House’s ‘plan’ is to spend $12 billion on gold crutches.” But it wasn’t only politicians: “This proposed action would only be a short-term attempt at masking the long-term damage caused by tariffs,” Brian Kuehl of the trade group Farmers for Free Trade tells the New York Times.
  • ‘Welfare’ theme: Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Rand Paul of Kentucky both hit upon the same phrase in their criticism: “If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers—the answer is remove the tariffs,” Paul tweeted. “Our farmers have been in nonstop, saying they want trade, not aid, and now they’re being put on welfare,” said Corker. “Hopefully soon this ill-thought out policy will end.”

No end in sight: Most stories point out that the emergency aid is a good sign that Trump doesn’t intend to stop the trade disputes anytime soon. He extolled them again on Tuesday morning with a “Tariffs are the greatest!” tweet. And in Missouri, he said, “What the European Union is doing to us is incredible, how bad. They sound nice but they’re rough.”

There you go…the answer to crippling tariffs……agriculture welfare!  WAIT!  According to dim wits that would be creeping socialism (Humor!)…..I believe  Our Dear Leader fell asleep in the Wharton School when they taught trade and tariffs……never fear he is a genius.  (wink wink, nod, nod)

The Economy Is Booming

Our Dear Leader tells us every Tweet that the economy is booming thanks to him and his policies.  Speaker Ryan Tweets every day that the economy is good and our people are doing better and better…..

I hate to tell these two deluded slugs but just because the wealthy are making money hand over fist does not mean that the rest of us are doing so as well…..no we are not doing good…..for most wage slaves the economy is crummy at best…..

We humans have stopped waiting for the trickle down….it has not made it to us in 30+ years and I do not think it ever will…..and yet the GOP voters keep believing it will eventually get to them as they struggle every day…..I believe that Einstein had something to say about doing the same thing over and over……..

For about a year now, the unemployment rate has been around 4%. That’s supposed mean full employment, labor shortages, and rising pay. But the latest earnings report is the same old story: no gains in real hourly wages from June of 2017 through June of 2018. Most employers have been able to find new workers without having to raise pay offers.

What’s going on? There are screwball right-wing diversions and explanations. A Trump economist, D. J. Norquist, opines that it will take time for the Republican tax-cuts to work their way through the economy. As an explanation, this is nonsense. Just because the lords of creation get more money doesn’t mean more will filter down to workers. We have the evidence of forty years on that issue. Then we have Stephen Moore at the Heritage Foundation. He suggests that the economy might be creating a disproportionate number of low-wage jobs, which could outweigh rising wages higher on the job ladder. But this is not happening. And if it were, we would be right back to asking why a booming labor market was generating more lousy jobs.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/07/18/the-crummy-good-economy-and-the-new-serfdom/

Will another shoe drop thanks to the tariffs and the trade war that looms?

When it goes to Hell how long before it is Obama’s fault?  (After all that is Dear Leader’s favorite scapegoat)

More Tariffs On The Way

Closing Thought–20Jul18

Our Dear Leader has decided that his newest round of tariffs will be the auto industry…….seeing how his other tariffs have been so successful and widely loved…….

Having tangled with China on trade and angered US allies with steel tariffs, President Trump is primed for his next fight: autos. Trump’s latest plan is to consider slapping tariffs on imported autos and auto parts—a move he says would aid American workers but that could inflate car prices, make US manufacturers less competitive, and draw retaliation from other nations, the AP reports. The action has also begun to provoke a backlash among members of Congress. On Thursday, manufacturers, suppliers, car dealers, and foreign diplomats will line up to testify at a Washington hearing to try to head off auto tariffs.

After the hearing, the Commerce Department will decide whether to label imported vehicles and auto parts a threat to America’s national security and whether to recommend tariffs to the president. In announcing the auto investigation in May, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had said, “There is evidence that, for decades, imports from abroad have eroded our domestic auto industry.” Yet even General Motors and other companies that build cars in America are opposed. They rely on imported parts that would be subject to the tariffs, thereby raising automakers’ costs. “There is no automaker that has 100% exclusively US-sourced parts,” says Brian Krinock, Toyota’s senior vice president for North American factories. “It is a global business with global operations.”

He, Trump, fired the first shot earlier when he put luxury German cars on a list to be banned…..and now this…..

Nothing more fun than a trade war…..nothing is more effective than a trade war (that is sarcasm)……

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue belittled American farmers on Wednesday.

“It’s a little bit like weight loss,” Perdue said of the tariffs that are damaging the bottom line for lots of red state, U.S. farmers. “It’s going to be good to get there but it is a little painful in the meantime.”

Perdue referred to Trump’s reckless tariffs as “trade disruptions we’re experiencing,” as if they weren’t specifically manufactured and imposed by the Trump administration. His remarks echoed Trump’s dismissive rhetoric about how trade wars are “easy to win.

“Wait a minute, ‘Trade disruptions we’re experiencing.’ That sounds very passive,” stressed Axios editor Mike Allen, as he interviewed Perdue. “In fact, it’s your president, it’s your administration, that’s disrupting trade.”

Trump has also suggested it’s the patriotic duty of U.S. farmers to bear the burden of an unnecessary trade war.

“They want to hit the farmers because they think it hits me — I wouldn’t say that’s nice,” Trump said of China, as it readied its response to Trump’s sweeping tariffs. “But I’ll tell you, our farmers are great patriots. These are great patriots. They understand that they’re doing this for the country,” he added.

“We’ll make it up to them. And in the end, they’re going to be much stronger than they are now.”

(shareblue.com)

So far the only people that see any benefits for these trade things are the President and his Boyz…..the rest of the economic sector does not see the same benefits as Our Dear Leader.

The Golden Fleece

Back in the 1970’s a bunch of Senators started a thing called the Golden Fleece Award….it was an award given for the best governmental waste of taxpayer money…..one of the most popular and enduring icons of American politics, Senator William Proxmire’s Golden Fleece Award embodied both outrage and humor as it put the public spotlight on waste and abuse of taxpayer money.

Maybe it is time for the award to be picked up by the MSM and inform the public of how their money is being pissed away……

Who could forget it? There were the $37 screws (no need to say who was getting screwed), the $2,043 nut (McDonnell Douglas made it specially for the U.S. Navy), the $7,622 coffee pot, the $74,165 aluminum ladder, and the $640 plastic toilet seats for the Air Force. All of those examples of Pentagon waste were from ancient times, the 1970s and 1980s when such revelations still generated literally hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. These days, in the age of America’s never-ending credit-card wars and a Pentagon budget eternally going through the roof, stories of that sort are surprisingly rare. It’s as if that budget and the waste that goes with it has, by now, become such a strikingly bipartisan Washington phenomenon that the details hardly matter. Who’s going to be shocked? Who’s going to complain? Who would possibly contest anything the Pentagon did or spent for American “safety” and “security”?

So I recently felt a wave of almost Trumpian nostalgia for those long-gone days of American “greatness,” or at least well-publicized great wastefulness, when I stumbled across an obscure piece about the $10,000 toilet seats the Air Force is presently buying for its Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transport planes. Admit it: even taking inflation into account, that’s impressive! That’s waste on a scale that should make any American proud! Now, imagine that, as TomDispatch regular William Hartung points out today, when it comes to government investment in the American economy and our disintegrating infrastructure, there really is nothing much left but the Pentagon and its $10,000 toilet seats. It should make your heart beat faster to know that if anything is going to lift the economy long term, it’s going to be Pentagon spending. If that isn’t MAGA, what is?

https://original.antiwar.com/william-d-hartung/2018/07/01/weaponized-keynesianism-in-washington/

Maybe focus on the trillions with a “T” from the Pentagon…..

A Department of Defense inspector general’s report released last week offered a jaw-dropping insight into just how bad the military’s auditing system is.

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the behemoth Indianapolis-based agency that provides finance and accounting services for the Pentagon’s civilian and military members, could not provide adequate documentation for $6.5 trillion worth of year-end adjustments to Army general fund transactions and data.

I am sure that this is NOT the only mismanagement of taxpayers funds……why not focus on those and bring the pain to the waste?

Poverty Creeps

The political slogans of the day are all about how well the country is doing….how well the workers are doing….and that a better future is on the horizon…..

The news does not bear out the “good news” that all the Right politicos want you to believe….how shall I say that so there is NO confusing?

They are LYING!

The U.S. poverty rate in 2016 was between 12.7 and 14.0 percent. But the poverty threshold is based on an outmoded formula from the 1960s. According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the threshold should be THREE TIMES HIGHER today. And it could be even higher if the true nature of poverty is considered.

There is poverty in the diminishing quality of life for Americans who are unable to pay for medical treatment during years of declining health, and instead turn to life-threatening opioid painkillers, readily available in a nation with less than 5 percent of the world’s population and 30 percent of the world’s opioid consumption. Poverty is the lack of community support in a winner-take-all society; the stress of overwhelming debt; the steady decline of jobs that pay enough to support a family; the inability to afford a move to a desired neighborhood; the deadening impact of inequality on physical and mental well-being. The United Nations describes America as a nation near the bottom of the developed world in safety net support and economic mobility, with the highest infant mortality rate in the developed world, the world’s highest incarceration rate, and the highest obesity levels. Low-income Americans are often surrounded by food deserts, with insufficient access to clean water and sanitation, and with the pollutionlevels of third-world countries. The poorest among us are even susceptible — unbelievably — to rare tropical diseases and once-eradicated scourges like hookworm.

http://theantimedia.com/half-of-americans-poverty/

This should be unacceptable to the Right….but as usual they cannot see past the rhetoric of their leaders…..leaders that owe their souls as well as their politics to the people with the deep pockets….for lobbying, not for worker wages.

This article is just an FYI……sad that it occurs in the greatest country on the planet…..and contrary to popular Right wing beliefs….these people are not lazy or slackers or any other insult they want to throw…..they are Americans.  Period!

https://southerlymag.org/2018/07/05/the-rural-souths-invisible-public-health-crisis/

Markets do not make the economy strong….it makes those crooks running corporations wealthy….not the people.