The ghost of Smoot-Hawley

The ghost of Smoot-Hawley

Well, it's finally happening. Illegitimate president* Donald Trump is exacting his revenge on global elites who also happen to be US allies by slapping all sorts of tariffs on steel and other products.

A brief glance of the reaction.

Oh, but it gets worse.

According to The Hill, Trump is considering banning all imports of German luxury cars.

President Trump wants to impose a total ban on the imports of German luxury cars, according to a new report from CNBC and German magazine WirtschaftsWoche.

Several U.S. and European diplomats told the news outlets that Trump told French President Emmanuel Macron about his plans last month during a state visit.

Trump reportedly told Macron that he would maintain the ban until no Mercedes-Benz cars are seen on Fifth Avenue in New York.

Yes. He's considering this just to get back at the New York elite who have snubbed him his entire life so that it's denied it's BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes.

It's in these actions that we see most clearly how Trump is a Putinist puppet. Slapping tariffs on our allies is beyond stupid. All it will do is isolate us from countries we need to manage the global system. These are states which have been US allies since the end of World War II. But they are also states which look upon a Trump presidency with horror, shocked that such an ignorant buffoon is in charge of the world's most powerful country. They've tried to educate and cajole him, making him feel like a dullard, and it has not gone unnoticed. This is Trump's payback.

Of course, Trump has no understanding of economics or history. When the US enacted the Smoot-Hawley tariffs at the beginning of the Great Depression, they killed off the global trading system, making the depression even deeper and more destructive. Fortunately we're not in a downturn (for the moment). But these tariffs will not only turn allies into adversaries, but might finally cure the markets of their illogical exuberance. Trump, who promised annual growth rates of 4%, is on his way to causing a recession all by himself.

What this shows, though, is that when Democrats retake the House and hopefully the Senate, the first order of business is to kneecap the executive's power to impose tariffs, without permission from Congress. If any good things are to come out of the wreck of this regime, a diminution of the imperial presidency would be one of them. Congress wasn't envisioned as a rubber-stamp for the president, but as a co-equal branch of government and a check on the Great Leader. And I say this even if there's a Democratic Congress and President in 2021. Unlike those who tattoo MAGA on their foreheads, I in fact do place country over party.

Buckle up, kids. The ride's going to get even bumpier.



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