‘Hard to Fathom the Recklessness’: American Workers, Farmers at Risk as Trump Escalates Trade War With China

China immediately hit back with equivalent tariffs and slammed the Trump White House for "behaving like a gang of hoodlums."

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Common Dreams
‘Hard to Fathom the Recklessness’: American Workers, Farmers at Risk as Trump Escalates Trade War With China

Brushing aside repeated warnings that a rapid escalation of trade tensions between the world’s two largest economies could place millions of American jobs at risk, President Donald Trump on Friday officially dragged the U.S. into what is already being characterized as “the largest trade war in history” by imposing 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Slamming the Trump administration for “behaving like a gang of hoodlums with its shakedown of other countries,” China immediately hit back at the U.S. with equivalent tariffs, taking aim at American soybeans, corn, and other goods.

“With Trump’s tariffs on China, it’s hard to fathom the recklessness of the president and the utter failure of U.S. politics to allow one psychopath to have so much power,” wrote Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs, who described Trump’s decision last month to hit the European Union, Mexico, and Canada with steel and aluminum tariffs as a “psychopath’s trade war.”

In an analysis of Trump’s tariff moves on Friday, The Week’s Jeff Spross echoed Sachs’ conclusion that the president is recklessly rushing into a trade war without any clear objectives or endgame—aside from “putting on a show.”

“It’s worth remembering that the president was a reality TV star. And in that profession, the point is ratings,” Spross writes. “And it’s hard to escape the conclusion that this trade war is just another show Trump’s putting on. In which case, will he ever let it end?”

While some commentators argued that this first round of tariffs is likely to have massive economic effects, Trump—whose sprawling business empire continues to profit from partnerships with Chinese state-backed companies—suggested to reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday that he is planning to continue escalating the trade war with China, with the ultimate aim of imposing tariffs on more than $500 billion in goods.

After the first $34 billion in penalties, Trump said, “you have another $16 [billion] in two weeks, and then, as you know, we have $200 billion in abeyance and then after the $200 billion, we have $300 billion in abeyance. Ok? So we have 50 plus 200 plus almost 300.”

Providing an indication of the impact Trump’s tariffs and China’s retaliations could have on American jobs, the Washington Post published a chart showing that while some industries will likely see small job gains over the next several years, they will be far outweighed by massive job losses in other industries.

“One factor for the projected loss is that there are 5.1 million jobs in manufacturing industries that stand to be hurt by higher steel and aluminum prices,” the Post reports. “That compares to 313,000 jobs in the industries that make the metals and will benefit from higher prices.”

American farmers—many of whom voted for Trump in the 2016 election and still support him despite the tariffs—are already bracing for impact as China launches its own calculated retaliation against Trump’s trade penalties.

“If the trade war continues into the spring of 2019, the owners of thousands of smaller farms, many handed down from generation to generation, could face tough decisions, pitting their pocketbooks against the president’s policies,” NBC News reported on Friday.

8 COMMENTS

  1. We all know and witness the systematic destruction of America from within by the City of London.
    Here is a real event to show you what a third world country we have become at least in our political brain power.
    In the late 60s-early 70s, Somalia was lead by a two bit illiterate sargent who’s signature was his thumb print. Somalia’s only cash crop and export was banana. It had no industry and its agriculture depended on rain.
    Everything they bought was from Italy and usually on credit. So one day the someone whispered in the ear of the illiterate sargent that the balance of trade with Italy was skewed in Italy’s favor, so he imposed tariffs on Italy’s imports, trucks, autos, Landrovers (because the dealer was an Italian national), I mean they showed the Italians two can play this game and one will surely loose.
    Guess what happened? The Italians said what a deckhand? OK, no more credit and we will buy all our bananas from next door Kenya. Furthermore, we will cut off half the aid to Somalia.
    This was a ploy to send Somalia into a lethal bear hug with the USSR. The move devasted the banana producers, parts for Fiat equipment (just about everything with gears) skyrocketed beyond the purchacing power of the Somalis.
    Somalia is not the same size as America. However, the principles at work are the same and the time frame is much larger in America’s case. Brace for impact.
    Has tRump and his Wall street thuggery considered the impact of a Chinese divestment from the Dollar?

    • “He” is either incredibly STUPID, or destroying America on PURPOSE, this cunning “International Deal Maker”.

      I guess it COULD be both…

      Keep your ears open on the desirability of US currency in FOREIGN nations. Once people on the streets of Foreign countries start using another currency, all those US Notes floating around will eventually wind up in that foreign country’s bank, traded in for the new standard currency.

      Foreign Banks won’t want large holdings in US FedResNotes, they will just gather dust and tie up assets. The banks will trade large bulks of FedResNotes back to larger Charters to be redistributed in the home country (USA) OR BE MANIPULATED, either by withholding or dumping on the open market. Whatever the BIS or IMF or World Bank decides. They probably already have.

      Things could get REALLY bad.

      We have come to live in “Interesting Times”.

  2. Farmers have been under attack since the Post WW2 era.

    The average age of farmers in America is 75 years old.

    75 years old.

    Unless you have 1000 acres, so razor thin profit margins of $50-$100 an acre can get you by. With 1000 acres, you get to profit a whopping $50-100,000 dollars for the year after all that work, if you’re lucky. Small farms can’t survive through the lean years.

    Bigger farms are leased to the Major Corps. The landowner lives off the rent.

    If its a bad yield, oftentimes it WONT be harvested, just abandoned. If the cost of harvest cant make the break even, why bother? I’m pretty sure many crops are insured.

    Farmers have a one size fits all solution to low grain prices:

    Grow MORE to make up the price drop.

    That ALWAYS leads to a higher SUPPLY, and lowers the cost even MORE.

    So the answer, is to grow even MORE!

    Stupidly, US farmers have been teaching third world countries, some of which IMPORT our grain, to farm more efficiently. So then they wont need our grain imported to them. That’s gonna drive down US grain prices, MORE.

    When Corn Syrup and Soy go out of fashion, US Farmers are in trouble. Maybe small organic farms can make a comeback after the crash…

  3. Trump doesn’t care about the mom and pop farms, he’s in bed with Monsanto, Cargil, John Deere, etc. and they are the Ukrainian grain market owners now. And those big guys have grain fields all over the World. Ukraine { Monsanto/Bayer/Carghil } – top 5 growers will now sell All of their grains at a great price. Think Global Markets and kick backs and you have the Pres. of the USAs – ideology

    • I’ve heard John Deere and Case wont sell Ag tractors anymore OR let a non-company mechanic work on them.

      The Giant tractors are usually given waivers and exemption from any taxes that pay for the country roads they tear up, leaving the burden on residents. Another victory for Big Ag Corporations. Yaaaay!

      ‘Murrrkah!

  4. If Trump was to be sincere and, really he wanted to rebuild our industrial base he would tax American owned corporations which moved production to Mexico, China etc. And as happened in the auto industry, to sell in America, you must build x% of your cars in America. Benton, Arkansas is the home of Walmart. At one time (may still be true) to sell a product in Walmart stores the vendor had to have an office in Benton. Walmart’s policy changed Benton for the better.

  5. the tweet damns Trump ..
    > “the utter failure of US politics to allow one psychopath to have so much power”
    .. because of tariff blowback felt by the US.

    But, i suggest a better evidence of psychopathy could be the degree of directly inflicted international death, misery, and destruction.

    By that measure of psychopathy, Trump still has a long way to go before he joins the top tier of the most psychopathic presidents.