By Mason Mohon | USA
It was bound to happen sooner or later.
The Donald had been looking up for me, to be honest. As a radical libertarian, I am always hesitant to put my support behind any president, but the man almost swayed me. Almost.
During the election cycle, I was hard-set against Mr. Trump mostly for his protectionist trade outlook. It was a call-back to the Republicans of old: promote business in the U.S. by removing regulations (yay) but also increasing tariffs (boo!).
On inauguration day, I walked away from the Washington Mall fuming with disappointment and anger that I just saw the new president give a speech focused on promoting the American worker and “bringing jobs back” to the United States. Protectionist rhetoric of this sort always tends to set off the alarms in my Hazlitt-filled mind, so it was understandable that I felt this way.
To my surprise, though, he didn’t seem to carry out very publicly any of these grand promises. On the other hand, his first week was filled with executive orders, some nasty and authoritarian, but some glorious, particularly his order that every new regulation put in place would need to repeal two existing ones. While this doesn’t make much sense as an actual policy action (regulation was barely defined), it did set a precedent for what the Trump presidency was going to look like.
At that point, though, I was still extremely hesitant.
Then nearly a year later the tax cuts came around. The Republicans had seemingly proven themselves to be incompetent when it came to repealing Obamacare, but they cut taxes with flying colors. That is, flying colors as compared to their regular uselessness.
I thought to myself: “Man, that is pretty awesome. Taxes are hella theft, so thank god these are going down.” I began to budge. Trump had taken a pretty positive stance in my view, but this all changed very quickly.
I looked at my phone yesterday only to see a news notification that Trump is putting a 30% tariff on solar cells and washing machines.
Obviously, his intention is to save jobs in the U.S., particularly those in manufacturing. This fallacious reasoning has been debunked many times over – these jobs are outsourced to foreign nations because it is cheaper to make them there. If they are cheaper to make there, they will be cheaper to buy here, meaning that real wages will go up. If they are built here, they are more expensive because of wage and labor laws, in addition to an evolving workforce. Real wages are driven down, and U.S. citizens have less wealth to spend on other things that will boost the economy.
To add insult to injury, this isn’t even going to work. The Guardian reported that this tariff will cost the United States jobs, not give it more. Our real wages are going down, we have fewer jobs, less wealth is able to be used, and we lose out on a valuable source of energy.
Whoop dee doo.
Donald Trump is an immensely successful businessman and a charismatic speaker, two things I admire a lot. He is not an intellectual nor an economist, though, which is showing through in his actions.
There are still three years left, though, which means that there is time to make up for this blunder. Whether or not that will happen is not something that I know.