NO TARIFFS! NO TARIFFS! YOU ARE THE IMAGINARY, NONEXISTENT TARIFFS!
We know that Donald Trump lies all the time, but even by the debased standards of Commander Gaslight, this one's a whopper. See if you can spot the point where this interview with the Wall Street Journal went all the way off the rails. (We're kidding. It was already crazytimes when Trump said he might have to fire Fed Chair Jerome Powell for looking happy about interest rate hikes.)
Mr. Trump said he views tariffs, which have been a centerpiece of his "America First" economic and trade agenda in his first two years in office, as a negotiating tactic and vastly understated the size of the tariff regime put in place by his administration.
"We don't even have tariffs. I'm using tariffs to negotiate," the president said, describing the tariffs on steel and aluminum he imposed this year as "small." The U.S. this year imposed tariffs on steel, aluminum, washers and solar panels, as well as tariffs on an additional $250 billion of Chinese imports. Some businesses have supported the tariffs, but many have said they hurt their profits and could lead to higher prices for customers.
Vastly understated? Ya think? In the second quarter alone, the Congressional Research Service says the government collected $1.1 billion from a 25 percent tariff on imported steel, and another $344 million from a 10 percent levy on aluminum. Just last month we enacted a 10 percent levy on $250 billion of imported goods -- and that's set to ramp up to 25 percent by the end of the year. By our ladybrain math, that works out to $50 billion per year, although we didn't buy our way into Wharton like some people.
Trump himself bragged that we're totally paying down the national debt with money we extorted from foreign trade importers on bogus "national security" grounds.
So weird how we're paying down the national debt with NONEXISTENT TARIFFS! And Ford is just imagining the $1 billion hit to its bottom line this year after Trump's tariffs, which don't exist, spiked the price of steel 28 percent this year. Ditto the increased cost of the cars -- estimated between $1,409 and $2,057 per vehicle -- which consumers hand to Ford, and Ford hands to the Chinese/German/Canadian steel exporters, and the exporters hand to Uncle Sam, who treats it as a happy windfall from a benevolent American God. Will Ford's new slogan be, "Buy A Ford, Pay Off the National Debt With Imaginary Steel Duties, Thank You For Your $1,409 to $2,057"? Hmmm, Sterling Cooper might need to tweak that a smidge.
"Where do we have tariffs? We don't have tariffs anywhere," Mr. Trump said when asked about the risks tariffs pose to the economy. "You know what happens? A business that's doing badly always likes to blame Trump and the tariffs, because it's a good excuse for some incompetent guy that's making $25 million a year."
Oh hai, Iowa and North Dakota! Sorry the price of soybeans has dropped 10 percent since the Chinese enacted retaliatory levies on corn and soy to offset Trump's tariffs, which do not exist anywhere, like Schroedinger's cat. Trump wants you to quit being "babies" and nut up for America. Sure those Chinese pig farmers have shifted their feed orders to Brazil and Russia, but they'll definitely be back just as soon as this nonexistent tariff kerfuffle blows over. Or not. Anyway, don't blame Trump if you're incompetent! Blame Kim Reynolds and Kevin Cramer!
He said the threat of tariffs had helped his administration renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement as well as begin talks for a trade deal with the European Union. "I could never have done it without tariffs," he said of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the revised Nafta deal that the three nations reached earlier this month, but which requires approval from Congress.
Does he ... does he mean that he's just using the threat of tariffs to gain leverage? Is he saying that the tariffs are so fleeting, like a fart in the summer wind, that they hardly count and we should all pretend not to smell them?
"I'm talking tariffs, I'll use tariffs," he said. "I mean it."
Okay, we're not getting anything out of the syphilitic mongoose eating Trump's brain. Please to enjoy this picture of Wilbur Ross, a regular guy even though he's the billionaire Commerce Secretary, explaining that you'll still be able to afford your lunch, plebe.
Because Wilbur Ross washes down his Campbell's soup with Budweiser every day, you bet. And there are no tariffs, so shut up you incompetent baby. And all Donald Trump's branded swag is made in China, but you should pay off the national debt by forking over an extra grand per car. GOT IT?
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.