Trump: How does a giant 45% tariff on all the cheap Chinese goods you buy sound?

posted at 4:41 pm on January 7, 2016 by Allahpundit

So the average Joe gets to pay way, way more at the store and gets to worry about losing his job after China inevitably retaliates with tariffs of its own, shrinking foreign demand for U.S. goods? That sounds like a plan.

Four years ago, when Trump flirted with running for president, he suggested a 25 percent tariff on Chinese goods. Now it’s 45 percent. Is that based on an economic calculation or is it just Trump getting a little crazier with the protectionist cheez whiz to prove he’s more populist now than ever?

“The only power that we have with China,” Mr. Trump said, “is massive trade.”…

“I would do a tax. and the tax, let me tell you what the tax should be … the tax should be 45 percent,” Mr. Trump said.

China is on a path this year to surpass Canada as the biggest single trading partner of the United States, and its factories provide American consumers with lower-cost products ranging from clothing to computers, so such steep tariffs could hurt the pocketbooks of many Americans.

This CNN Money piece from 2011 concisely addresses the weak points in the tariff idea. If Trump is eyeing it as a bluff, to scare China into ending its currency manipulation, that’s one high-stakes bluff. Would China’s leadership bow to an overt economic threat from a new U.S. president upon his taking office, knowing what kind of signal that would send about Chinese resolve towards America? If they call President Alpha Male’s bluff, then he has no choice but to implement the tariff and the trade war is on. And as the CNN piece explains, a U.S. market that’s effectively closed to Chinese imports wouldn’t necessarily turn to U.S. manufacturers and U.S. workers to fill the void. More likely it’d turn to other developing economies with lower labor costs to supply those cheap goods. Result: Tension with China, pain for American manufacturers who’d suddenly find the Chinese market closed to them, and less than what was promised by Trump about a revival in American manufacturing. (China could also challenge the tariff in the WTO, but I assume Caesar Trump would pull the U.S. out of that if the ruling didn’t go his way.) As for whether this represents good, old-fashioned “conservative” economics, let’s not even bother analyzing it. We’re well past that point of Trumpmania now.

Here’s something else to raise an eyebrow from Trump’s meeting with the NYT editorial board today:

In addressing the Oregon standoff, Mr. Trump also spoke about the “great anger out there” that appears to be fueling the situation in Burns, Ore.

“I think what I’d do, as president, is I would make a phone call to whoever, to the group,” he said, adding later, “I’d talk to the leader. I would talk to him and I would say, ‘You gotta get out — come see me, but you gotta get out.’”

“You cannot let people take over federal property,” Mr. Trump said. “You can’t, because once you do that, you don’t have a government anymore. I think, frankly, they’ve been there too long.”

President Trump would directly negotiate with people who are illegally occupying federal property? That’s an incentive for every radical across the spectrum to create hostage situations, knowing that the president’s direct involvement in resolving it would be a huge media spotlight for their cause. If Black Lives Matter seized a federal office somewhere tomorrow and Obama decided to speak with them directly, we’d be killing him today for legitimizing the takeover by granting them a presidential audience. Trump’s smart enough to understand that, but his ego’s too big to let him absorb the lesson. Because he’s convinced of his own supreme competence in all situations, he thinks that him talking directly to Ammon Bundy would obviously be the easiest way to end the standoff expeditiously. As for what he means by “they’ve been there too long,” he told the Times that he wasn’t necessarily calling for military action but that “at a certain point you have to do something.” Er, like what? Obama and his deputies have played the Oregon standoff smartly by waiting Bundy and his crew out; a new Ruby Ridge would be a disaster for all sides. As it is, by being patient, the feds have put Bundy in a position where he’s already talking about leaving voluntarily at some point. Trump, forever impelled to “show strength,” might choose the Ruby Ridge option simply because he couldn’t tolerate the perception of weakness in strategic patience.

Via Andrew Stiles, here’s Trump floating the tariff idea back in 2011. If you’re at work, be advised that there’s an F-bomb (actually, an MF-bomb) to come. Here again you see the core of Trumpism at work: The tariff might not work if a guy with a high-pitched feminine voice is pushing it, but if President Alpha Male pushes it, those puppies in Beijing will roll over and let him scratch their bellies. There are no tough guys in China’s brutal authoritarian top tier, after all.


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Comments

This comments thread is yet more proof that Trump supporters are just as bad as Obama supporters in the candidate-accountability and critical thought departments. Their guy can do no wrong, even when he is objectively wrong.

CanofSand on January 8, 2016 at 3:49 AM

Agreed. Big government health care and tariffs. Trump has the instincts of a NYC lib democrat. And Trump supporters want us to vote for him because no one else is conservative enough.

Look, if Trump came out and said he wanted internment camps for Muslims, we all know Trump supporters would find themselves defending that one too.

pearson on January 8, 2016 at 6:32 AM

Goods and services cross borders or men with guns and missiles cross borders. It sounds like either Trump doesn’t know history or is trying to start a war with China.

deimos on January 8, 2016 at 7:27 AM

Remind me again, who is the isolationist…?

JohnGalt23 on January 8, 2016 at 8:10 AM

The nations early economy featured tariffs. It aided American businesses. Time for a great many of those good paying jobs to come back home. I think most Americans would gladly pay a bit more to ensure economic survival.

phadras on January 8, 2016 at 8:27 AM

If anyone thinks a 45% tariff is going to bring the jobs back home, you’re living in a Fantasy Land.

pearson on January 8, 2016 at 9:14 AM

If anyone thinks a 45% tariff is going to bring the jobs back home, you’re living in a Fantasy Land.

pearson on January 8, 2016 at 9:14 AM

Like all progressive hearted people, the tariff is not meant to accomplish what you think it will. It is punishment for success.
Much like progressives do not care that they are on the wrong side of the Laffer Curve and raising rates will not get them more money. It is about punishing people they do not like.
Maybe China deserves to be punished, but it is not about accomplishing anything meaningful for Americans. China must have screwed over Trump at some point and he wants his pound of flesh.

Constitutionalist on January 8, 2016 at 9:32 AM

Truly one of the most ignorant policies presented…

And from the “guru of business”, he proposes this.

Not removing regulations, not removing fines and fees, to help our manufacturing, but an idea to help the unions, and raise our prices.

He may have gone to Wharton, but not the MBA program, that for certain…and his undergraduate degree, he might as well gone to a two year college, he would have learned more about economics.

right2bright on January 8, 2016 at 9:57 AM

Because the “Tariff of Abominations” was all sunshine and rainbows, right?

TDSchemer on January 8, 2016 at 12:47 AM

The “Tariff of Abominations” helped build the American textile industry. It was opposed, and so-named, by the Southern/agrarian/slave-holding states because, as a Third World commodity producing region, they produced no manufactured goods, which they needed to import. Obviously, they preferred the cheapest imports, even if they came from Great Britain. But the tariff was good for the country as a whole:

Despite the sufferings of the South, the US experienced net economic growth with US GDP increasing from $888 million in 1828 to $1.118 billion by 1832 largely due to growth of the Northern manufacturing base.

Nice to see you siding with the slaveholding agrarians and the Democrats on this issue, Schemer, rather than with the capitalists and Republicans.

Joseph K on January 8, 2016 at 10:26 AM

Populism tRumps economics once again.

Did he learn the joys of protectionism at Wharton too?

MJBrutus on January 8, 2016 at 10:36 AM

It sounds like more Trump BS that will never happen, that’s what it sounds like.

But it sounds GOOD, and that’s all that matters to the dupes.

Moesart on January 8, 2016 at 11:22 AM

Moesart on January 8, 2016 at 11:22 AM

It is the drug required to make drones out of the weak minded.
Like, Deport them all. Ban all Muslims.
The original statement starts strong, or looks strong at first glance, but in the end, the actual policy is watered down to be meaningless.
Deport them all, but bring most of them back quickly, we need them.
Ban all Muslims, but only for a short period of time, then it is back to business as usual after some supposed corrective theatrics.

Constitutionalist on January 8, 2016 at 11:28 AM

Says he will make Apple build their factories in America.

Crowd starts chanting “USA! USA! USA!”

Magicjava on January 7, 2016 at 8:33 PM

LOL! How exactly is he going to do that? By executive order?

Does Donald the Clown even realize the USA! isn’t the largest market for key Apple products such as the iPhone anymore? Guess where iPhone’s largest market is now? That’s right… China.

And would it hurt China much? No. China has domestically based smartphone manufacturers such as Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi that can easily fill the void. Would probably suck for the US consumer though, unless they decided to make their next smartphone purchase a Huawei or Xiaomi. Even with a 45% tariff they’d still be a bargain.

DarkCurrent on January 8, 2016 at 12:14 PM

Does China actually import anything made in the USA, other than dollars?

I’m more concerned that China will stop financing our Federal budget deficit, and we might start having to live more within our means. Oh the humanity!

s1im on January 8, 2016 at 1:53 PM

Does China actually import anything made in the USA, other than dollars?

I’m more concerned that China will stop financing our Federal budget deficit, and we might start having to live more within our means. Oh the humanity!

s1im on January 8, 2016 at 1:53 PM

Only about 120 billion dollars worth a year.

(On a per capita basis the US exports more to China per year than the other way around.)

DarkCurrent on January 8, 2016 at 2:19 PM

Most of that is probably soy beans and chicken feet, but still imports from the USA.

DarkCurrent on January 8, 2016 at 2:22 PM

So, when 3-D imagining and 3-D printing gets going strong in China what are the odds the people there go on a shooting spree with the guns and ammo they will be able to make.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on January 8, 2016 at 5:10 PM

So, when 3-D imagining and 3-D printing gets going strong in China what are the odds the people there go on a shooting spree with the guns and ammo they will be able to make.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on January 8, 2016 at 5:10 PM

Oh, but the Trump supporters are going to try to ban 3D printing because technology is scary and blue-collar jobs are at stake.

TBSchemer on January 8, 2016 at 6:12 PM

I consider myself a libertarian as well, I fully believe that the government should stay out of my bedroom and stay out of my wallet. However TBSchemer, tends to think that all theories and laws work for everything without recognizing the fact that we don’t live in a vacuum. Example, in physics, a pound of rock, should drop at the same speed and hit the ground at the same time as a one-pound feather, in a vacuum, (on the moon) that works, but on earth it does not because you have other external forces, (air resistance). IN the economy, yes given all other variables are neutral, free trade should work where each country would play to their comparative advantages to make the trade equally beneficial, but in reality there are external forces that don’t let that happen fully (U.S environmental laws, govenrment subsidy of industry). Therefore you need to adjust that thinking to correct for the current environment. I do believe that right now in the current environment, we as America, must tell these other countries, if you really want to play fair, you need to do x for us, or we are going to do y to you. You don’t win a war by unilaterally disarming yourself.

Leopard1996 on January 8, 2016 at 6:19 PM

IN the economy, yes given all other variables are neutral, free trade should work where each country would play to their comparative advantages to make the trade equally beneficial, but in reality there are external forces that don’t let that happen fully (U.S environmental laws, govenrment subsidy of industry). Therefore you need to adjust that thinking to correct for the current environment. I do believe that right now in the current environment, we as America, must tell these other countries, if you really want to play fair, you need to do x for us, or we are going to do y to you. You don’t win a war by unilaterally disarming yourself.

Leopard1996 on January 8, 2016 at 6:19 PM

No, that is entirely incorrect. That line of thinking is exactly what leads the liberals to believe a big regulatory welfare state is necessary for the “free” markets to function.

The economic data clearly shows that the more economic freedom a country has, the more prosperous its citizens. There is no exception, and there is nothing we have to use government intervention to “balance out.” Any interventions the government makes to try to manipulate what people can buy only destroys prosperity.

When China puts tariffs on imported goods, they’re hurting both us and them. They actually suffer more from this arrangement, because our own markets can still sell to businesses in other countries if the demand from China drops too much. But to think we need to go to war over that is just as nonsensical as thinking we need to invade Iraq or North Korea to turn these countries into trading partners. It’s nonsensical, neocon bullsh!t. Starting a trade war over a foreign country’s tariffs is choosing to hurt ourselves even more in order to somehow(?) stop other countries from hurting themselves. It’s absurd to the highest degree. If you want other countries to reduce their tariffs, the solution is to craft free trade agreements like NAFTA and TPP, not join in the stupidity of tariffs.

But Trump supporters hate all free trade agreements, because they just want more protectionist tariffs. Their end goal is not to force other countries to participate in free trade, but to get our government to punish our own citizens for buying from foreign countries. Trump supporters are nothing more than nativist, national socialist idiots.

TBSchemer on January 8, 2016 at 6:45 PM

So where are our jobs?
China.
Everything I buy seems to be made in China.
Ya know, if we slap Tariffs on them, brought the work home, employed our own and got them off Welfare, Food Stamps and Unemployment…
We would be well ahead
We have nothing to lose.
Oh, you want your $2.00 clock from Wal-Mart..
And you are willing to pay for massive social programs along with that $2.00
It ain’t the great deal it looks like, and I would rather spill a dollar amongst my Countrymen than save a penny in a Communist Country, or any other Country for that matter.

Snowshooze on January 8, 2016 at 9:13 PM

Snowshooze on January 8, 2016 at 9:13 PM

So you believe the reason Americans aren’t working is because they’re just not taxed enough? Nonsense.

TBSchemer on January 8, 2016 at 10:04 PM

Shared this thread with a group of Chinese friends. They got a great laugh out of it :D

They can’t wait to see Trump elected POTUS. I assured them that he has a very good chance of being elected

DarkCurrent on January 10, 2016 at 10:35 AM

Everything I buy seems to be made in China.

I would rather spill a dollar amongst my Countrymen than save a penny in a Communist Country, or any other Country for that matter.

Snowshooze on January 8, 2016 at 9:13 PM

There’s a huge disconnect here. Are your synapses connected?

Why aren’t you already exclusively buying made in USA products? I’m sure you could if you and the like-minded were willing to spend enough…

In fact there would be no need for tariffs or talk of trade wars if enough consumers in the USA just decided they were willing to pay as much as possible to avoid buying anything made outside the US. They could collectively put their money where their mouths are.

DarkCurrent on January 10, 2016 at 12:19 PM

Poor TDShcumer. He was forced to scurry away after getting his arse kicked in arguments about economics – again. Heh…

blink on January 10, 2016 at 2:29 AM

Heh. blink’s on the blink again.

TBSchemer was here while you were apparently in hiding somewhere. Notice the comment immediately preceding yours quoted here. It’s by TBSchemer, over 4 hours before you poked your little rodent head back up.

DarkCurrent on January 10, 2016 at 12:25 PM

He scurried away from the argument, Idiot.

blink on January 10, 2016 at 12:44 PM

He was here. Perhaps he just realized talking to rodents was a waste of time and moved on from you.

DarkCurrent on January 10, 2016 at 12:59 PM

You never tried to answer the question about the color of the sky. Are you too scared to even try?

Actually I asked you that. You asserted you had an answer, but never provided one. You blinked away like a mouse.

Let me give you another opportunity: What color is the sky blink?

Hey, you never answers me when I asked if you were going to give your sockpuppet name, AsianGirlInTights, to Selena.

blink on January 10, 2016 at 2:42 PM

I know AGIT, not sure who you mean by Selena? A friend of yours?

DarkCurrent on January 10, 2016 at 3:04 PM

Actually, I asked civildiscourse that. You saw me ask and then asked me.

Right, and you still don’t have an answer, do you?

What color is the sky blink?

not sure who you mean by Selena?

Heh, of course you do.

blink on January 10, 2016 at 3:35 PM

Yeah, pretty sure I don’t. Or did you mean Selina?

DarkCurrent on January 10, 2016 at 3:50 PM

blink, did you mean my daughter and got the spelling wrong?

DarkCurrent on January 10, 2016 at 4:02 PM

busy burrowing and blinking blink?

DarkCurrent on January 10, 2016 at 4:34 PM

I love how effortlessly I can knock you to your a$$ and rip you apart at the seams.

blink on January 10, 2016 at 5:03 PM

In your long-winded pointless imagination :D

DarkCurrent on January 10, 2016 at 5:59 PM

blink, are you an old virgin? You come across like a very frustrated guy (?) without even a microgram of humor.

You should make friends. I could help with that.

DarkCurrent on January 10, 2016 at 6:03 PM

If you had any confidence engaging me, then maybe you’d attempt to claim that my answer isn’t as sophisticated as I’m making it out to be

blink on January 10, 2016 at 5:03 PM

I might laugh at your answer to your own question if you had one …

as usual blink shoots blanks

DarkCurrent on January 10, 2016 at 6:07 PM

Trump is also (willfully, or just ignorance?) ignoring the role of the exchange rate in international trade.

China continues to be an important contributor to US economic growth. In 2014, US exports to China totaled $120 billion, making it the third-largest export market for US goods behind Canada and Mexico, our neighbors and NAFTA partners.

————-

Meanwhile In Shanghai Residents Form Lines To Sell Yuan, Buy Dollars

On Thursday, as the world was focusing on the collapsing Chinese exchange rate, we noted that in a more troubling development, in December Chinese FX reserves declined by a record $108 billion, bringing the total drop for 2015 to over half a trillion, and the cumulative decline since Chinese reserves starting dropping in mid-2014 to just shy of $1 trillion.

One thing is certain: there is much more depreciation to go. As we reminded readers yesterday, one month ago we predicted at least another 15% in CNY devaluation, something Bloomberg agreed with over the weekend. And as China devalues more, it will face even more outflows: at least $670 billion which will drastically cut the country’s pile of FX reserves at the worst possible time – just as China’s banks are forced to begin recognizing the huge pile of non-performing loans as a result of a tsunami of pent up corporate defaults mostly in the commodity sector.

—————–

About 460 million square meters of buildings may have been demolished ahead of their designed service life in China annually from 2011 to 2015, with associated costs likely to have hit 460 billion yuan ($69.8 billion) each year, according to China Youth Daily.

The paper reached these estimates based on a report released by the China Academy of Building Research (CABR) in 2014. It said that a total of 4.6 billion square meters of buildings were demolished in China from 2006 to 2010, 2 billion square meters of which had been in service for less than 40 years when removed.

In early December, media reports unveiled demolition plans for three skyscrapers — at 137, 188 and 208 meters in height — which are still under construction in North China’s Tianjin. Their developer was being investigated on suspicion of breaking the law and for being financially incapable of continuing the project. The buildings also had potential signs of serious safety risks, the paper said.

If the buildings in Tianjin were unsafe, then why weren’t building inspectors aware of that while they were being built?

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 10, 2016 at 6:24 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 10, 2016 at 6:24 PM

I’ve been waiting in line to sell my yuan for months.

AsianGirlInTights on January 10, 2016 at 8:05 PM

Heh, says the guy that’s always trying to nag me. …

blink on January 10, 2016 at 8:05 PM

Let’s reduce blink’s dosage to 2 milligrams per hour. Let me know if he regains consciousness.

DarkCurrent on January 10, 2016 at 8:13 PM

What’s the point? This is a waste of time! There are viable patients we could be helping!

AsianGirlInTights on January 10, 2016 at 8:16 PM

It’s my decision.

DarkCurrent on January 10, 2016 at 8:17 PM

China Contagion Spills Over To Hong Kong Banks As HIBOR Explodes To Record High, Stocks Tumble

————–

Asia Stocks Fall to Lowest Since 2011, Extending Global Selloff

Asian stocks declined, with a regional measure falling to its lowest level in more than four years, as concern about China’s growth outlook continued to fan a global selloff.

The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index tumbled 2.1 percent to 374.20 as of 9:44 a.m. in Hong Kong, heading for its lowest close since October 2011, after sinking 7.1 percent last week. Markets in Tokyo are closed Monday for a holiday. Turmoil in China’s markets rippled around the world in the first week of 2016 as the securities regulator scrapped an equity circuit breaker after just four days and the central bank set a weaker yuan fix for eight days in a row, escalating fears of a global currency war.

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 11, 2016 at 12:37 AM

blink on January 11, 2016 at 12:39 AM

blink, you’re a particularly boring idiot

DarkCurrent on January 11, 2016 at 11:43 AM

If the buildings in Tianjin were unsafe, then why weren’t building inspectors aware of that while they were being built?

Dr. ZhivBlago on January 10, 2016 at 6:24 PM

Read what you quoted:

In early December, media reports unveiled demolition plans for three skyscrapers — at 137, 188 and 208 meters in height — which are still under construction in North China’s Tianjin.

DarkCurrent on January 11, 2016 at 1:06 PM

Dark Current, you know that you’re a freak.

blink on January 11, 2016 at 1:30 PM

blink, do you really think you should be using that word? I found this picture of you online.

DarkCurrent on January 11, 2016 at 1:43 PM

“The only power that we have with China,” Mr. Trump said, “is massive trade.”…

“I would do a tax. and the tax, let me tell you what the tax should be … the tax should be 45 percent,” Mr. Trump said.

This article is badly written. The discussion with NYT is based on the Trump’s statement in the last debate.

Pundits and conservatives alike are one in concluding that 45% tariff is a unconservative and a misspoke from Trump.

I digress. Trump was actually arguing about “free trade” and our present dealings with countries esp. China. That may also include Iran.

He clearly argued that free trade with China is not actually “free trade” and China always has preferential treatment based on our federal laws. Is it correct? Of course. We reserve a very significant share of our import volumes especially for China only. But we don’t get any especially in terms of quality of products since most Chinese products are substandard.

Where did the 45% come from? Like what he has reiterated at NYT, Trump will use “tariffs” as a tool correct the current imbalance on US-China trade.

But what does Trump really mean? TRUMP IS EMPHASIZING THAT AMERICA MUST NEGOTIATE TRADE WITH CHINA THROUGH STRENGTH SIMILAR TO CONSERVATIVE APPROACH AGAINST TERRORISM: And tariff of say 45% will be a powerful negotiating tool to a President Trump. IT’S 100% CONSERVATIVISM.

In fact, this is the characteristic of Trump that everyone should be applauding and emulating: He’s a fighter and he’s not afraid of China; he’s willing to take necessary measures to get what he wants. A President Trump will always put America on a very advantageous position and on the side of Victory. That’s very conservative too me.

TheAlamos on January 16, 2016 at 1:50 PM