Categories
Business

Trump’s Treasury secretary just admitted the tariff rationale is hogwash

Loyal allies, such as Canada and Britain, were understandably offended to learn that their metal products somehow threatened U.S. national security and would thus be tariffed.

Classic Car Convertible

Meanwhile, in non-impeachment news, Catherine Rampell, The Washington Post reports:

Perhaps distracted by the beauty and billionaires of Davos, Switzerland, this week Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin let slip an embarrassing admission: President Trump’s justification for his trade wars is hogwash.
For two years, the administration has offered increasingly ludicrous explanations for its tariffs. Sometimes tariffs are designed to shield pet U.S. industries from unfair competition. (Those industries are still shuttering plants despite the tariffs, but no matter.)

Sometimes, tariffs are instead intended to raise revenue from abroad. (That additional tax revenue is being paid by Americans, not foreigners, but whatever.)

Perhaps the most farcical rationale, however, has been that massive tariffs are necessary to safeguard America’s “national security.”

First, the Trump administration argued that it needed to impose worldwide tariffs on steel and aluminum on these bogus “national security” grounds. After all, Trump explained, “If you don’t have steel, you don’t have a country,” whatever that means.

Loyal allies, such as Canada and Britain, were understandably offended to learn that their metal products somehow threatened U.S. national security and would thus be tariffed. 

Last year, at Trump’s request, the Commerce Department produced a report determining that imports of autos and automotive parts somehow also put America at grave risk, and that it thereby needs to do something to increase “American-owned” production. Precisely how your Subaru or Honda, or some foreign-made part buried somewhere in your Ford, compromises U.S. security is unclear; that Commerce Department report has never been released.

To be clear, the auto industry does not want these tariffs. Industry groups — comprising both U.S. and foreign companies — have called them “absurd” and “spurious,” particularly because these imports support millions of American jobs in auto manufacturing, parts and sales.

(click here to continue reading Trump’s Treasury secretary just admitted the tariff rationale is hogwash – The Washington Post.)

Chrysler Imperial

Bullshit from these professional bullshit artists. And yet corporate America still supports the political party that regularly screws them because, you know, tax cuts for millionaires is popular in most corporate boardrooms.

Rust Bucket

And Mnuchin’s “slip of the tongue”:

At a Davos panel Wednesday, Mnuchin finally acknowledged the obvious: that the administration’s official rationale for auto tariffs was made up, a legal fiction designed to let it bully or retaliate against opponents whenever Trump felt like it. In the context of a discussion about digital service taxes proposed by European countries, Mnuchin told the audience: “If people want to just arbitrarily put taxes on our digital companies, we will consider arbitrarily putting taxes on car companies.”

GM

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.