Monday, June 18, 2018

Solving The Country's Biggest Problem (Yes TRUMP, But Nothing To Do With Mueller)


On Friday, writing for New York Magazine Andrew Sullivan found yet another way to call Señor Trumpanzee a liar: "making us all live in his delusional reality show." The ugly fascist swine "believes," wrote Sullivan, "what he wants to believe, creates a reality that fits his delusions, and then insists, with extraordinary energy and stamina, that his delusions are the truth. His psychological illness, moreover, is capable of outlasting anyone else’s mental health. Objective reality that contradicts his delusions is discounted as 'fake news' propagated by 'our country’s greatest enemy,' i.e., reporters. If someone behaved like this in my actual life, if someone kept insisting that the sea was red and the sky green, I’d assume they were a few sandwiches short of a picnic. It’s vital for us to remember this every day: Almost no one else in public life is so openly living in his own disturbed world.

My friend Jerry Leichtling mentioned in passing the other day that "Trump said he’d get Mexico to pay for the wall. He didn’t say he’d make them pay with their children." He added that "These refugees have nothing. And Trump is stealing their children as bargaining chips to gain funding for his wall. The President of the United States," which is what he calls Trump, "is trafficking in children." Raise your hand if you think Señor T has an iota of empathy. As Helen and I have explained dozens of times, Trump is the very definition of "Narcissistic Personality Disorder." And that's on display ever day in every way. Even those tariffs he just levied... who do you think is going to suffer most? Has there ever been a successful trade war? Yesterday the NY Times noted that as his filthy illegitimate regime "imposes tariffs on allies and rivals alike, provoking broad retaliation, global commerce is suffering disruption, flashing signs of strains that could hamper economic growth. The latest escalation came on Friday," when the ugly and low IQ fake president "announced fresh tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods, prompting swift retribution from Beijing," just as all of our other trading partners had done. These tariffs get paid by American consumers not by the government. "As the conflict broadens, shipments are slowing at ports and airfreight terminals around the world. Prices for crucial raw materials are rising. At factories from Germany to Mexico, orders are being cut and investments delayed. American farmers are losing sales as trading partners hit back with duties of their own." Yes, he's a moron and yes, his enablers in Congress are too scared to slow him down. The Times also noted in an editorial yesterday that the tariffs are already hitting Trump voters hardest and quickest.
In Iowa, where farmers raise 40 million to 50 million pigs annually, President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum from Mexico have already cost producers $560 million, according to an Iowa State University economist. How can that be, you ask. Mexico has threatened countervailing tariffs that include a 20 percent tariff on American pork. That prospect alone sent hog prices tumbling. If you like barbecued ribs, this could be a great summer for you. If you raise the pigs, you may be eating more barbecued beans.

Soybean growers throughout the Midwest are nervously watching as China, which buys a quarter of American soybeans, takes aim at their crop in response to the Trump administration’s announcement that it will move ahead with $50 billion in tariffs on “industrially significant technologies” in more than 1,000 categories. Trade between the two countries has been “very unfair, for a very long time,” the American president said in a statement. Mr. Trump vowed that he would add to that list if China retaliated-- which is what most countries do in this situation. Indeed, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce has said to expect as much. Oh great, Middle America collectively sighs.

Local newspapers across the heartland are full of similar tales of value destruction and lost income as a result of Trump trade war tweetism. In Great Lakes states, traditional steel makers might benefit from the administration’s 25 percent tariff on foreign steel. But for steel users, it’s an entirely different story. Shortly after tariffs were announced, steel suppliers, no longer as fearful of price competition, began jacking up prices-- they’re no fools. That has meant a 40 percent increase since January in the cost of steel for their customers who use it in their finished products, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They can either pass that increase on to you or be less profitable.

...Trump’s obsession with Canada is particularly strange, and his outburst directed at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (“Very dishonest & weak.”) is particularly petulant. When you tote up the goods and services traded between the two nations in 2017, the United States counted a $8.4 billion surplus. Canada buys more American agricultural exports than any other nation, $24 billion worth. The Canadians sent $7 billion worth of steel here last year while we sold a similar amount to them.

...These are not small or isolated examples, as Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross seems to believe. The losses are real now and could become enormous in the future. Job losses from the metal tariffs alone could top 400,000, according to an analysis by Trade Partnership Worldwide, a nonpartisan consultancy that supports free trade. So while U.S. Steel can celebrate the restart of two blast furnaces in Granite City, Ill., and bring back about 800 workers, 12,000 jobs will be lost elsewhere, the consultancy estimates.

None of this reality seems to have registered with the president, who is obsessed with the trade deficit. “Why should I, as president of the United States, allow countries to continue to make massive trade surpluses, as they have for decades, while our farmers, workers & taxpayers have such a big and unfair price to pay?” Mr. Trump tweeted.

As any number of Nobel economists have tried to explain, a trade deficit by itself is neither good nor bad. American citizens benefit from being able to buy competitively priced Mexican produce, Japanese cars and Canadian steel. And foreign countries use the earnings from those sales to invest in American stocks, bonds and industries. Our currency stays strong without our making our export products too expensive. Japan ran trade surpluses for 30 consecutive years until 2011, but that did not prevent its economy from sputtering.

And as for protecting American workers, with a 3.8 percent unemployment rate, the number of job openings now exceeds the number of people who are unemployed, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Republican lawmakers, long proponents of free trade, portray themselves as impotent to halt the president’s trade warmongering. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has said there’s not much he can do, even as the European Union has put his state’s thriving bourbon industry in the cross hairs with a proposed 25 percent tariff. Kentucky and Tennessee sell $1 billion worth of liquor to foreign countries. In Wisconsin, home state of House Speaker Paul Ryan, companies that make fishing boats and motorcycles (Harley-Davidson) are also being targeted. So are cranberry growers. Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, got nowhere when he proposed legislation requiring congressional approval of tariffs that are imposed in the name of national security, as the recent ones were.

...Threatening an all-out trade war, insulting our next-door neighbor and ally, will not change the nature of our economy, only damage it. In Wisconsin and Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, farmers who need to maintain access to foreign markets are hoping that Mr. Trump’s bluster is just that, a negotiating tactic, and that cooler heads will eventually prevail.

Goal ThermometerDon’t bet the farm on it.
There's a solution to every problem brought up in this post-- from trafficking in children at the border and the danger to the country from Trump's Narcissistic Personality Disorder to the trade war he's starting and the recession he's about to start. And, until 2020 when we all get to vote him out of office, it is literally the only realistic way of solving these problems: defeating every Republican in every election for every office can can vote for in every part of the country. The ones who are left may notice and may look at their constitutional duty to protect the country a little more seriously. I'm sure you see that Blue America 2018 congressional thermometer on the right. Please click on it and contribute what you can to congressional candidates who take putting a check on Trump seriously. Never tried it before? Give it a shot. There's no such thing as a contribution too small.

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At 5:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Between the tariffs and the family separations, the media has plenty to be taking
Trump apart down to the molecular level. But instead, they continue to pussy-foot around as if Trump was a saint whose good works are fragile and wouldn't withstand the shock.

The only conclusion to draw is that the media ownership likes what Trump is doing and won't do anything which does not aid that effort.

At 6:08 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

MEGALOMANIAC, Trump is, along with a long list of psychiatric disorders. A good part of our American citizens are Nazis in waiting. And it will ONLY GET WORSE until he is stopped. If he is stopped. If he is not, America as we know it is finished and the Constitution will be in the shredder.

At 6:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, history shows us many examples of the likes of trump. History also proves that trumpism must be stopped BEFORE it becomes embodied. Trump himself is a perfectly predictable consequence of what America has allowed itself to become.

History also shows us that once a society becomes 'trumpist' and that becomes embodied, it is nearly impossible to stop without a great deal of violence or some other form of upheaval.

Think Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia. The former was catalyzed by the global depression. The latter had to suffer a 'great depression' which created the vacuum that elevated Putin. Ours, the Nazis and putin could never be removed without another depression or war.

The last chance to prevent our trumpism was obamanation and the 'crap congress in 2009. And they refused, actually opting instead for more greed and corruption and war and torture.

But you still think that electing a plurality of democraps this time will bring different and opposite results... don't you?


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