Days of Change

A Case of the Feels | March 10, 2018

The tariff stories tend to highlight the level of confirmation bias for and against Donald Trump. The mainstream media is dancing around the idea of tariffs themselves, because that kind of protectionism is a foundation of the liberal handbook. A lot of the criticism has been about how hasty the decision was or how it will plunge us into political turmoil. In reality, these decisions happen all the time and the world moves on. OPEC raises prices, Venezuela confiscates the assets of US oil companies. The notable thing is how political considerations have switched sides because of the tariffs.

If you follow the “right wing” websites, you know there are people who either criticize Trump at every turn or praise him for every minor event. That group includes Don Surber, who praises a union boss because he praised Donald Trump and attacked Democrats who didn’t impose tariffs. Surber waxes poetic about his hometown and the strong unions it had decades before. Well, those unions benefited from protectionist trade policy that ended with Republicans. It makes one wonder why this guy writes conservative posts.

The case for tariffs is not a slam dunk. If it were, there would be no NAFTA agreement and all our cars would be American (and cost $100,000). The European economies conservatives have been trashing for years have “fair trade” where imports are limited by law to a certain level. The governments compensate for higher prices and fewer jobs by putting people on the dole. In this case, the government hands out make-work jobs to steel workers who can charge 25% more for steel without fear of economic reality.

For good or ill, Trump is using the much-maligned “feelings” argument in the case of tariffs. Democrats have been trying to exploit empathy for others or fears of global collapse to pass their agenda. Trump is exploiting the fear of losing traditional America and the visceral satisfaction of getting back at the people causing America’s woes.

 

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