The author of the conservative Bulwark called columnist Andrew Egger on Donald Trump's rationale for his decision to hold on to any tariffs he plans to impose on China – and actually said the president is backing because he now realizes he has dead wrong when it comes to the impact on American consumers.
On Tuesday, the White House announced the deferral of Chinese imports that included cell phones, laptops and video game consoles scheduled to take effect on September 1 – and postpone the date until 2 weeks before Christmas.
As Egger notes, the rationale was to "let American retailers fulfill Chinese goodies for Christmas before prices are pushed up."
This excuse is "pure baloney," Egger explains.
With Trump refusing to admit that manufacturers and consumers are the ones who really pay for these tariffs – and insisting that the surcharges hurt the Chinese even more – the columnist argued the president effectively blasted his own argument with the delay.
Quote Trump told the press, "We are doing this for Christmas, just in case some of the tariffs would have an impact on American consumers. So far they have had virtually no. The only effect has been that we have collected almost 60 Billions of dollars from China, compliments of China. But just in case they can have an impact on people, what we have done is that we have postponed it so that they will not be relevant to the Christmas shopping season, "Egger sarcastically swayed the president.
"And hey – that's great! After years of hearing the President insist that only fools would ever think that tariffs could hurt Americans, it was strangely nice to hear him admit that, yes, okay – this could really sock you, so we care, "he wrote before getting to the heart of the matter.
"There is no mysterious economic law that states that tariffs are a free fall for a nation, except when they are in stock," he wrote. "If the president's ordinary trade war narrative were accurate, the White House should have shrunk to to ensure that the tariffs were in place long before the Christmas shopping season – after all, a succulent US economy means more money in hand for donors, and shouldn't we encourage them to buy American? "
" It is a purely economic truth that Trump's tariffs are a tax if grossly paid by US consumers. It's still unclear if the president knows this – Trump has shown a remarkable ability to hold on to demonstrable false beliefs in the face of a mountain of countervailing evidence – but it is undeniable that the people accused of actually creating and implementing White House trade policy know that, "he added.
According to Egger, Trump's economic advisers are likely looking to save face and kick the tariff can affect the way.
" It's a dishonest strategy from top to bottom, and one with a sell date fast approaching. The more tariffs the president is hoping for, the fewer places his advisers will have to hide the ball, and the less effective the play will be, ”he wrote. President Trump has made tremendous political high out of the strong economy he has led so far during his term. It may not prove to be a winning strategy if he is forced to ask the American people: Who are you to believe – me or your profitable checkbook? ”
You can read the whole piece here.