Global Themonuclear Trade Wars!

Well, maybe. Today The Creature went on a tear about tariffs again.

The first shot in President Donald Trump’s trade offensive against American allies will be fired at midnight.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced Thursday morning that hefty tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from the European Union, Mexico, and Canada will go into effect Thursday at midnight. Steel imports from those places will be taxed at 25 percent and aluminum imports at 10 percent. Those are huge numbers; the average tariff rate on US-EU traded goods is under 3 percent.

The targeted countries responded almost immediately. Mexico announced it will impose tariffs on American imports in retaliation. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said in a statement that Europe would “impose rebalancing measures,” likely meaning some kind of retaliatory tariff on US imports, and take any other “necessary steps to protect the EU market.” Possible European targets for tariff increases include American bourbon, jeans, and motorcycle exports.

This is a big deal. The EU, Canada, and Mexico are (respectively) the United States’ first-, third-, and fourth-largest trading partners. While steel and aluminum tariffs alone aren’t the end of the world, a trade war — defined as the two sides getting locked in a cycle of retaliatory tariff increases — is.

What the bleep is wrong with this man? There must be an angle in there somewhere in which Trump thinks a trade war will make Trump the Company some money, but I cannot imagine what it is. Trade experts are baffled and see no point to what Trump is doing.

I understand that the global steel market is currently screwed up mostly because of overproduction in China, but Trump is not messing with China. Well, China just gave Ivanka a bunch of trademarks, after all.

The immediate impact of these tariffs will be mixed, but probably on net negative. US steel and aluminum industries will now face less international competition, which means they’ll be hiring and producing more.

But it’ll be bad for all the other US industries that depend on cheaper steel and aluminum — little things like construction and manufacturing. One study, from the Council on Foreign Relations, estimates that the steel tariffs will destroy 40,000 jobs in America’s automobile manufacturing industry alone, one-third of the entire domestic steel industry.

Speaking of the automobile industry,  there’s this:

President Trump wants to impose a total ban on the imports of German luxury cars, according to a new report from CNBC and German magazine WirtschaftsWoche.

Several U.S. and European diplomats told the news outlets that Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron about his plans last month during a state visit.

Trump reportedly told Macron that he would maintain the ban until no Mercedes-Benz cars are seen on Fifth Avenue in New York.

In 2017, 21 percent of Mercedes Benz cars sold in the U.S. were made in the U.S. That’s a lower percentage than a lot of car companies, but it’s not zero. BTW, the only 100 percent American-made car is Tesla. A lot of U.S. based companies are manufacturing cars overseas and importing them. Only 17 percent of Lincolns are made in the U.S., while 33 percent of BMWs are made in the U.S. Go figure.

13 thoughts on “Global Themonuclear Trade Wars!

  1. Not only among all credible economists, but among consumers, blanket tariffs are wildly unpopular. They invariably increase prices, inflation, and, IN AN ELECTION YEAR, it’s basically madness. Also, where most deplorables are not driving Beemers—Volkswagens, Saabs, Fiats — are all popular European cars. If you add Asia, you are talking about a large tax on >50% of new vehicle sales.

    Where’s Congress? Are the sniveling dweebs going to let Trump be Trump and screw over their own donors, the Kochs, etc? You could easily find a veto-proof majority to kill the tariffs (all the Dems / >half the GOP) if you simply took a vote.

  2. "There must be an angle in there somewhere in which Trump thinks a trade war will make Trump the Company some money, but I cannot imagine what it is. Trade experts are baffled and see no point to what Trump is doing."

    It's really very simple. He's doing what Putin's bidding, and the payoff for him is what he gets from Putin. He's either working off a financial debt or debts, or he's fufilling conditions to get this or that contract (which they may never give him), or (most probably) some combination of both. I don't know, we don't know, but it's a good bet Bob Mueller knows.


  3. "There must be an angle in there somewhere in which Trump thinks a trade war will make Trump the Company some money, but I cannot imagine what it is. Trade experts are baffled and see no point to what Trump is doing."

    It's really very simple. He's doing Putin's bidding, and the payoff is whatever he gets from Putin. Whether it's working off a financial debt or debts or whether it's fufilling conditions to get this or that contract (which he may never actually get), or (most probably) some combination of both, I don't know, we don't know, but it's a good bet Bob Mueller knows.


  4. Assume for the moment that Trump sees the presidency as a big hustle. Qatar was our best friend in the region until they denied Charles Kushner a loan to bail out the NY property. Everyone in the State Dept and DOD was in a WTF mode when Trump declared Qatar a terrorist state and helped impose a blockade (w/ Saudis). The loan to Kushner goes thru and all is lovey-dovey.

    China is an enemy, a trade manipulator and Trump says they were behind N. Korea taking a hard line against talks. No friend to the US. They put a half-billion into a Trump branded property in Asia and give Ivanka trademarks. Note they aren't being sanctioned. So the theory that international policy is being shaped around countries paying economic homage to Trump properties isn't proven on a quid pro quo basis, but all are smart enough not to put it into a contract. The evidence is still there (wink-nod) and not far-fetched. 

    That puts economic sanctions in a new light. Trump wants concessions from these countries unrelated to trade!  All seems to be negotiable if Trump personally profits, first. Policy concessions might also change US policy. (How quick would economic sanctions be lifted if Mexico agrees to talk about paying for the wall?)

    Personally, I have no doubt what Trump is doing. The question is whether he will win at it. 

  5. I think he’s just throwing red meat to his base – feeding his audience emotionally, so they can love him back. He’s used to bullying his way in NYC real estate and so it’s the same tactic applied on the world stage.

    That last paragraph with all the numbers and such? Do you think the Dotard even comprehends or cares what that means?

  6. I wrote a comment and it went into thin air. *poof*

    After the go-around with Qatar, and the half-billion from China for a Trump-branded property, all is hunky-dory with international policy when Trump personally profits.

    Is this all an elaborate hustle for money?

  7. Protectionism is something that I think Trump actually believes in, as does his base. Globalization is normally a boon on average, but the way it has been done has harmed the US (and global) middle class, and the US working class (which is part of the global middle class). Hence the elephant graph, which shows percentage gains up to about the income level of the US working class, followed by a steep decline, followed by rising gains into the stratosphere of the super-rich; the gains for the rich are reminiscent of an elephant's trunk. I think that this is the result of the capitalist playing both ends against the middle.

    Not that Trump's tariffs will actually help the middle class and working class, but he is doing something, and his base will applaud that. 

  8. If you read some of the right-wing blogs (I know who has the stomach) you'll see why tRump decided to impose these tariffs. He's been getting hit by the "all talk" label since he threatened these tariffs months ago but let almost everyone off the hook. As usual this is nothing more than a play play to the mouth breathers! The rubes don't much care for them euro's!


    All my comments lately go into the ether as well, most eventually get posted? I think maha's twit filter is clogged up!

    • Yeah, the twit filter has been putting everybody in the moderation queue lately, which is a nuisance. However, if I were to turn it off the comments section would soon fill up with pitches for male performance enhancement products. As entertaining as those are, I’d just as soon skip them.

  9. My old uncledad wordpress blog (defunct due to lack of interest) had some options where you could add certain users to a "do not moderate" list? Not sure if that is an option on your settings?

  10.  male performance enhancement products? Hmm.

    Could you send me a link?… This old gray stallion just ain't what he used to be!

  11. Swami:  None of us are what we used to be but I choose to think we are better.

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