I believe we are now just beginning to see the real world results of Trump’s policies on the economy, Wall Street and the jobs markets and I don’t think it will be pretty. Already GM has had to close factories in the US with the number of jobs lost in the thousands. One of the reasons the company cited was the increase in steel prices made manufacturing cars in the US too expensive to maintain GM competitive in the medium and long run. As you might recall the increase in Steele prices is a direct result of Trump’s policies. This explains why he reacted so poorly and even threatened to take away GM’s subsidies (something he cannot do without congress).
.. So why did I mention this? Because it tells me how this will go down. Trump has made a lot of off the cuff policy decisions based not on policy carefully crafted by experts or any any coherent economic strategy, but on what Trump thought made him look “tough” and “decisive” in the moment. His instinct is to demand and bully others into submission on the force of his will alone and Trump being the showman he is wanted to play to his base. His decisions didn’t result in any immediate negative changes so he just blew it off and went on to the next manufactured “tough guy” act without a second thought. But time doesn’t stop and all the actions he has taken are having serious consecuences that only now are starting to show, and it looks bad.
.. Already economic experts are predicting that the US is close to entering another recession, including very wealthy people who enthusiastically applauded Trump’s irresponsible tax cut Once the economy spirals into a recession and the average American feels the direct effect there will be no one else to blame but him.
.. Once his popularity falls below some magical number you will start to see how the well honed Republican instinct for political survival will kick in and they will start to abandon the SS Trump like rats from a burning ship.
Trump will lash out when he realizes his “allies” in Congress are no longer protecting him from the Meuller investigation with the same ferocity they once did. His first instinct is the call them traitors and poison the Republican well which might work to a degree but at some point he will realize that his options are truly limited.
.. Meuller is smart and he knows that Trump is trying to interfere, so he is most likely handing off investigations and lots of evidence to state prosecutors in as many states where possible crimes were commited as fast as he possibly can in order to keep them out of Trump’s reach. He also very likely has extensive copies of every single detail he has uncovered in safe places so that once acting attorney general and Trump stooge Mathew Whitaker inevitably brings down the hammer to stop the investigation all the information will be safeguarded so the investigation can resume from where it left off at some future point if and when the Democratic House appoints a special prosecutor.
.. If all else fails then it can be arranged so copies of the information can be “anonymously” sent to trusted people in The New York Times and other news media. The point is to deny Trump control of who sees the information and thus he looses control of the narrative. This most likely already has happened and he knows he has no way out. By this time he will also likely realize the prospects of him winning re-election are low and his Republican allies will not protect him. He knows that no matter what he does the information will come out and as soon as he is out of office he will be indicted.
.. Trump has a strong instinct of self preservation but like all bullies he is also a coward. He might talk the talk of insurrection and violence, but at the end of the day he will not be willing to put his orange hair to the fire. His lawyers will look for a deal where Trump can leave the presidency at the end of his term while appearing like he left on his own terms and he won’t make any more trouble and they will most likely get most of what they ask for. Those in power will want to avoid the serious constitutional crises and violence that indicting a sitting president will entail so they will see it in everyone’s best interest to just let him go away with as little fuss as possible.
.. The way I see it Trump will get a deal similar to what Nixon got and leave the presidency only to immediately get a blanket pardon by then president Pence. The criminal cases pending in state courts would be a whole different matter. Not only will he have to fight there, but his children will also be targeted, especially by ambitious states attorneys looking to make a name for themselves.
.. On the bright side for Trump (if you can call it that) he is 72 years old and not exactly the picture of health. The cases will take years before reaching any conclusion and that’s not counting the inevitable appeals and the man will probably die a free man before any case reaches a conclusion. His children though are fuuuuu…..
Consider how easy it was for Mr. Trump to get a 25 percent tariff on steel imports. His administration simply concocted a fanciful national-security narrative about why the steel industry needed protection from foreign steel imports — this despite the industry’s enjoying a 70 percent share of the United States steel market and despite the Department of Defense finding no national-security harm from global steel imports.
.. For example, for the projected impact of the steel tariffs, numbers produced by the Commerce Department show that they may increase employment in the metals industry by 14,000 jobs. But the report also says that a significantly larger number of jobs will be destroyed, as a result of these tariffs, in industries downstream from metal production.
.. Under the current system, if Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross decides to protect his friends and business interests in the steel industry, he can ignore the damage that his own data show the tariffs will inflict on some of the 6.5 million workers in America’s steel-consuming industries. His sole lawful obligation is to demonstrate that the economic fortunes of the 140,000 steel employees will be promoted by the tariffs.
.. when I.T.C. commissioners make their determinations in such cases, they’re actually forbidden by statute from considering the impact of these so-called trade remedies on downstream industries — those consumers of goods and services hit by the tariffs.
.. The good news is that there’s an easy fix: Change the statutes so that commissioners are required to consider the effects of trade restrictions on downstream industries and consumers.
.. Today, steel executives have an iron grip on the White House thanks to the deep ties of the president’s advisers to the industry.
- Mr. Ross made his fortune buying and selling steel companies and was sitting on a steel company’s board until his confirmation as commerce secretary.
- Robert Lighthizer, a private lawyer who represented the steel industry for years, is now the United States trade representative.
- The upper levels of both the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the Commerce Department have predictably been populated by other individuals with close ties to Big Steel. And the
- trade adviser Peter Navarro’s 2012 documentary, “Death by China,” was funded by one of the top beneficiaries of these tariffs — the steel producer Nucor.
This cronyism explains how the steel industry is directly involved in deciding which companies do or don’t receive exemptions from the steel tariffs and why so few exemptions have been granted.
On Friday, Aug. 10, President Donald Trump announced he would double steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey. The WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib explains how this political move could backfire. Photo: Getty
Farmers use a lot of steel, which Trump subjected to a 25 percent tariff in March. Combines, grain bins, fencing and cattle gating, which we are constantly upgrading and replacing, have become significantly more expensive as steel prices have jumped because of the tariffs. This has taken a painful bite out of our already-slim profit margins.
.. More than one-third of U.S. soybeans, the second-biggest crop in the nation, goes to China — about $12.4 billion worth. Since May, soybean prices have dipped about $2 per bushel to about $8.50 as export markets have dried up. For every dollar lower a bushel, farmers lose about 10 percent of their revenue.
.. pork exports to China are down nearly 20 percent this year. China is an especially valuable market for pork farmers because it purchases the lower-value portions of the hogs, such as the tongue and ears, that are difficult to sell elsewhere. As a result of the limited export markets, meat is piling up in U.S. cold-storage warehouses. Since May, prices of lean hog futures have fallen by 14 percent.
.. Congress should rally behind potential legislation by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) that would give lawmakers more say in U.S. tariff policy, in line with the U.S. Constitution. This will allow elected representatives from American manufacturing and farming communities an opportunity to make their voices heard and deliver the message that farmers want trade, not aid.
.. Such legislation would also return tariff power to Congress, whose enumerated powers under the Constitution include the “Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises.”
.. Trump must listen to his manufacturing and farming constituents who put him in office and pursue trade agreements that help us increase our gross and net earnings without corporate welfare. That starts with shelving plans to open a new front in the trade war with China.