Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Trump's Tariff-ic Economic Damage

The Trump Tarriffs are going to wreck the economy and the GOP knows it.  Now we have a ballpark figure of the carnage to start: Trump's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum would cost the economy nearly 150,000 jobs as a starter.

A new economic analysis of President Trump's proposed trade tariffs on steel and aluminum appears to paint a grim picture of the consequences -- some 146,000 jobs lost, according to a recent analysis.

released a report Monday predicting that there will be a net loss of thousands of jobs if the proposed tariffs on aluminum and steel are applied on imports from all countries.
The move to impose tariffs has drawn fire from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who suggested that there has to be a "smarter way" to combat steel and aluminum dumping by countries like China. 
A report put out by the Trade Partnership, which is also a consulting firm that does research on international trade, predicts that while there will be an increase in aluminum- and steel-based jobs in the U.S. because of increased demand; that jump would be far smaller than the number of jobs that would be lost in other sectors as a result of the increased cost of working with steel and aluminum. 
The Trade Partnership puts the number of jobs expected to be gained at 33,464 and the jobs lost at 179,334, resulting in the net loss of 145,870 jobs. 
In summary, the report states that more than five jobs would be lost for every one job gained.

And nearly all those losses would be in the construction, distribution and business sectors.  Automakers would also lose thousands of jobs, along with fabricated metals and the beverage industry.

Keep in mind these numbers don't count the effects of retaliation from America's trade partners, either.  If Canada, Mexico, China and the EU decide to retaliate in a full-scale trade war, those tens of thousands of job losses become hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

It will be a guaranteed disaster.  That's why Trump's chief economic adviser Gary Cohn has hung it up and is out.

Gary D. Cohn, President Trump’s top economic adviser, said on Tuesday that he would resign, becoming the latest in a series of high-profile departures from the Trump administration.

White House officials insisted that there was no single factor behind the departure of Mr. Cohn, who heads the National Economic Council. But his decision to leave came as he seemed poised to lose an internal struggle over Mr. Trump’s plan to impose large tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Mr. Cohn had warned last week that he might resign if Mr. Trump followed through with the tariffs, which Mr. Cohn had lobbied against internally.

“Gary has been my chief economic adviser and did a superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again,” Mr. Trump said in a statement to The New York Times. “He is a rare talent, and I thank him for his dedicated service to the American people.”

Mr. Cohn is expected to leave in the coming weeks. He will join a string of recent departures by senior White House officials, including Mr. Trump’s communications director and a powerful staff secretary.

Yet the departure of Mr. Cohn, a free-trade-oriented Democrat who fended off a number of nationalist-minded policies during his year in the Trump administration, could have a ripple effect on the president’s economic decisions and on the financial industry.

It leaves Mr. Trump surrounded primarily by advisers with strong protectionist views who advocate the types of aggressive trade measures, like tariffs, that Mr. Trump campaigned on but that Mr. Cohn fought inside the White House. Mr. Cohn was viewed by Republican lawmakers as the steady hand who could prevent Mr. Trump from engaging in activities that could trigger a trade war.

Even the mere threat, last August, that Mr. Cohn might leave sent the financial markets tumbling. On Tuesday, Mr. Cohn’s announcement rattled markets, and trading in futures pointed to a decline in the United States stock market when it opened on Wednesday.

GOP lawmakers in Congress, already facing a midterm bloodbath, now fear all-out extermination.

Warning of economic fallout, congressional Republicans and industry groups pressed President Donald Trump on Tuesday to narrow his plan for across-the-board tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. They said the White House appeared to be open to changes that might soften the impact.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin called for a "more surgical approach" that would help avert a potentially dangerous trade war. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said there was concern Trump's plan could lead to such disruptive turmoil.

"We are urging caution," McConnell said.

Trump said Monday that he wouldn't back down from his pledge to impose tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum, and a White House official said Tuesday that Trump's "mind is made up" about those penalties. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations.

But Republican Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, who opposes the tariffs, said after meeting Tuesday with White House chief of staff John Kelly that the administration was willing to consider his views. "Absolutely. There's an openness now," Perdue said.

"I think there's been a step back," said Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. "I don't think he's reconsidering, but I think he's trying to figure out what his best step is forward."

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers Trump was trying to balance protections for beleaguered steel and aluminum producers while "making sure that we don't do undue harm to the economy."

"We are not looking to get into trade wars. We are looking to make sure that U.S. companies can compete fairly around the world," Mnuchin said at a House hearing. 
Trump has been keenly aware of how the tariffs may play in a March 13 special House election in western Pennsylvania, part of the nation's steel belt, White House officials have said. The president is headlining a Saturday rally in support of Rick Saccone, who is battling Democrat Conor Lamb in the Republican-leaning district.

This is the key to Trump's "sudden" tarriff announcement.  Somebody convinced him this would save Republican Rick Saccone in PA-18, who has now fallen behind Democrat Conor Lamb in the polls with the election just a week away.  Republicans in Congress are in full-blown panic mode over this tariff announcement.  It could win them the PA-18 race, but would cost them dozens of other races in November and they know it.

Trump's Saturday announcement is going to be big either way.

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