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Trump Should Reconsider His Tariff War with China

July 30, 2018

Now let’s not get ahead of ourselves on this.

Most of us have heard that the Trump administration has a plan to “temporarily” aid American pork, dairy, and soybean farmers to the tune of about $12 billion. This is as a result of China raising its import tariffs on those American products as retaliation for Trump’s tariff increase on Chinese goods.

Many it seems have written about this as if it’s already happened. Well, it hasn’t.

As Conservative Review writes, “News of the supposed plan was leaked to the media by anonymous sources, so it is possible that this is just an idea being floated to see how the public reacts.”

However, if true, it’s a bad idea. Government “assistance,” no matter how temporary they claim it to be, is just a bailout. No different from any other bailout. And that’s never a good thing for the American people.

And as an aside, how many government assistance programs can you name that were ever really temporary? How about - none.

This $12 billion bailout, or farm assistance package, would likely be folded into the farm bill. If that is the case, and it probably would be, it would become part of the farm bill budget and renewed every year. In other words, a new permanent assistance program for a select few.

Still, farmers may be forced to take this money, through no fault of their own. It’s not their fault that our government decided to enter a trade war with China, or any other country. Whether we think it necessary or not is irrelevant.

Yet this happens all the time. Our government creates a problem which was either just a minor nuisance or where one did not exist at all. After creating or exacerbating the problem, they ride in on their white horse to save the day. Conservative Review describes it as sending the arsonist in to put out the fire that he started.

And once again, regardless of the administration in charge, the government will end up picking winners and losers. For government, all things are zero-sum. There is no win-win scenario in the public sector. They have no ability or authority to simply increase the size of the pie as does the private sector.

The winners, however temporary, will be the farmers who may be driven to bankruptcy otherwise. The losers are other farmers not affected by this particular trade war, and ultimately all of us consumers and taxpayers.

We are not hurting China by them increasing their tariffs and limiting imports of our farm products. China is hurting China. But as they are a communist country with a lifetime ruler, they don’t give a crap. Protectionist tariffs and bailouts only lead to higher domestic prices for goods and services, and as the government doesn’t have their own money, we will have to pony up the additional $12 billion - that we don’t have.

The president has thus far done a remarkable job, but this particular trade war may not turn out the way he expects.

Businessman Trump is a proven successful negotiator. But his experience is in negotiating with other capitalists. This is way different. He is now trying to force a communist regime to the negotiating table using methods designed for capitalists.

Despite the left’s insistence that free market capitalists are driven by greed alone, we actually care about others, like our customers, employees, and neighbors. It’s the communists who care little for their own people. Therefore, communist leaders like Xi Jinping will have a much greater tolerance regarding the suffering of his people than any American administration - which should mean he can hold out a lot longer than we can.

I have supported the president on many things, but a tariff war isn’t one of them.

And if this does happen, let’s just hope the $12 billion doesn’t just end up in the hands of a few well-connected agri-giants, instead of going to those who may really need it.

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Copyright ©2018

Brent Smith, "The Common Constitutionalist," offers not just conservative commentary and analysis, but a blend of politics, history, arts, science, and humor. Whoever said conservatives aren’t funny? Yeah, I know…most people. Brent is a contributing writer for numerous online publications. When he is not burning the midnight oil writing his insightful commentaries, he is raising his two teenage sons to be patriots and Conservatives.
Visit Brent Smith's website at www.commonconstitutionalist.com