Trump’s Trade Wars Will Tank The Economy While Trump Voters Scream MAGA

Trump’s trade wars are manifesting as looming layoffs and nine-figure losses for the white working class. And yet, his base continues to sing his praises.
President Donald Trump speaks at the North Side Gymnasium in Elkhart, Ind., Thursday, May 10, 2018, during a campaign rally. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

President Donald Trump speaks at the North Side Gymnasium in Elkhart, Ind., Thursday, May 10, 2018, during a campaign rally. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Maybe the man who went bankrupt six times and ran every business consisting of anything more than slapping his name on something into the ground, once losing nearly a billion dollars in a single year in the process, was not the best person to chart America’s fiscal future. After leaning on Congress to pass completely unwarranted and unnecessary tax cuts in the dead of night, with new provisions literally scrawled in the margins, the country is facing rising deficits and will see the highest level of debt since 1950 by the end of this year. Worse yet, at the rate Trump and the GOP are going, that debt will exceed the size of the economy within a decade. By that point, economic growth is predicted to slow to 0.7% per year as current short-term methods of revving up the markets will be tapped out.

If you were to write a manual on how to trigger a recession, soaring debt coupled with lower revenues, rapidly rising interest rates, a slowing, more volatile stock market over the course of a year, and self-destructive trade wars would all figure prominently. While cut-and-spend budgets of Republican administrations are nothing new, they at least expanded trade to keep economic growth going. But with Trump’s advisers’ view of trade mired in toxic nationalism and xenophobia instead of good business sense, this cut-and-spend cycle is different. We’re closing the door on our own vital trade interests, and the effects are already being felt.

Harley Davidson said it will be shifting production overseas to avoid tariffs and farmers in Iowa stand to lose $624 million to China’s retaliatory measures. With Canada, Mexico, and the EU slowly and steadily responding in kind, the pain will get a lot worse even as Trump laughs off any potential economic impact, telling supporters that “we’re riding the tiger,” whatever that means. And herein lies the most asinine part of this story. Despite the trade wars surgically targeting Trump’s base with tariffs on soy, wheat, dairy, bourbon, and manufactured goods, there’s no dissent among GOP voters, nearly 90% of whom approve of him.

In fact, Harley Davidson workers facing layoffs as a direct consequence of his actions praised him, saying “he wouldn’t do it unless it needed to be done, he’s a very smart businessman.” Meanwhile, at the Mid Continent Nail Factory where customer orders were cut in half by Trump’s steel tariffs and led to 60 people losing their jobs, machinist Jimmie Coffer told NBC that while he fears for his job and that the tariffs are hurting him on a daily basis, he still has faith in Trump and that “he knows what he’s doing and can turn everything around for us.”

Let us marvel at this feat of partisan tribalism. President Obama’s policies helped create some 75 consecutive months of job growth, more than halving the unemployment rate he inherited in the throes of the Great Recession. Yet this was supposedly all a lie, and Trump claimed the real unemployment rate was “maybe 42%” to cheers, even though roughly half that rate would’ve caused another Great Depression. This is not to mention that unemployment that high would be utterly impossible outside war-torn nations or geopolitical implosions that have been completely bankrupt for years. Yet as Trump’s policies are translating into pink slips, his voters sagely nod and praise the booming economy and his business acumen in manifestations of psychological and sociological phenomena that could keep researchers busy cranking out papers for the next two decades.

To make matters even worse, President Trump has been threatening to withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organization, willfully deaf and blind to data showing that we win close to 9 out of 10 trade disputes we bring, and that leaving the trade order we set up in the first place would be a massive blow to the economy. Without any way to resolve complaints through a third party, foreign companies will think twice about putting their money into our banks and businesses and have a compelling reason to invest in other nations instead. Meanwhile, our complaints will be heard by no one, leading to ever more ruinous trade wars. This is why the WTO has 159 members. It’s how the world does business.

In his hysterical paranoia that everybody’s out to get America, even though every single bit of data shows they aren’t and trade is great for us, Trump is effectively trying to “neg” the rest of the planet into running to us with deals that damage their own bottom lines and go against their interests because “we’re America, bitch!” It’s an imbecilic dating strategy and an even more imbecilic approach to trade. But that certainly does explain the aforementioned bankruptcies and the ability to sell vodka to Russians and actually lose money. What it doesn’t explain is why anyone would possibly think that paranoid narcissism is a great economic strategy.

Forget about voting against their interests; the GOP base has crossed over into quite literally paying to crater the economy while pretending that not only is this a great thing, any other approach to governing is a communist/socialist/Deep State Illuminati conspiracy to enslave them. Even as their world is collapsing thanks to their own actions and decisions, they rock back and forth in front of a TV blaring FoxWars, read the latest headlines on InfoBart, chant their mantras that scapegoat immigrants, women, and minorities for all their problems, and hold the business world’s version of Kanye West, minus the talent, as the center of their universe. They will never be swayed to vote for anyone but the people literally selling them out, and call it a victory by gleefully turning to all the appalled liberals and centrists to utter their favorite phrase: “triggered, libtards?”

Opinion // Donald Trump / Economy / Tariffs / Trade / Trade War