With friends like us, who needs enemies?
There was a time when being an ally of the United States carried certain benefits. That time ended in January 2017. There are no sanctions against Russia despite overwhelming evidence that they interfered in our elections — not even steel and aluminum manufacturers there.
However, President Donald Trump just announced huge tariffs to be imposed on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and Europe.
It makes no sense.
We are already watching gas prices rise. These protectionist tariffs will have an inflationary effect on the economy and make all construction and a lot of food production more expensive.
That is before the allies we just attacked in a trade war retaliate against our manufacturers and farmers. No one will win here.
Michigan Republican Justin Amash isn’t a big fan of Trump’s tariffs that will have a big effect on the automotive industry.
“Tariffs raise taxes on Americans,” Rep. Amash said. “Economic protectionism and other forms of central planning harm our economy and erode liberty.”
Even Speaker of the House Paul Ryan broke with the president on this issue.
“I disagree with this decision,” Ryan said. “Instead of addressing the real problems in the international trade of these products, today’s action targets America’s allies when we should be working with them to address the unfair trading practices of countries like China.”
The newspaper industry has been under attack by the Trump tariff program for months now. Our tariffs are already in effect.
The paper your newspaper is printed on now costs about 30 percent more than it did at the start of the year and trying to receive a shipment is no small task.
That can mean thousands of dollars a month even for mid-sized daily newspapers.
Many conservative trolls online love the attack on “the liberal media.” But these tariffs don’t hit the television crowd.
The people hit hardest will be the small town newspapers whose publishers are real conservatives who value free market economies and not fake conservatives who use protectionist policies to benefit their friends in business.
I have tried to find out if Sen. James Lankford supports these tariffs for more than a month to no avail. I’m sure his position will be that he regrets the tariffs but he will still vote to keep them. That’s been the standard, lately.
Sen. Lankford makes television appearances and says all of the right things before voting all the wrong ways.
Never forget that one of Trump’s close friends, Carl Icahn, sold off more than $30 million in steel stocks just before Trump announced his first round of tariffs this spring. What an incredibly fortunate totally coincidental good break for Icahn. Of course no investigation is being conducted.
Trump has taken insider trading to new levels as he began touting the great job numbers that were coming out Friday well in advance of their release. He tweeted twice about his anticipation of their release, signaling his pals in the stock market that Friday was going to be a good day.
Of course there is a federal regulation that no one in the Executive Branch may comment publicly about the data they receive in advance until at least one hour after the public sees it.
Trump was obviously wrong, but when Trump’s entire presidency is due to collusion and he has spent more than a year enriching himself and his family and friends at the expense of the country, will anyone really notice this minor violation? If President Barack Obama had done it, FOX News would have spent months on it and congressional committee would have been convened. But in Trump’s America, the rule of law is that there are no rules.
It’s the latest norm and appropriate behavior of the President of the United States that has been totally eroded in less than 18 months.
The best thing to happen to America’s enemies for America to crumble from within. The next best thing is a trade war with its allies that weakens all of our economies while leaving the enemies untouched.
With Trump, our enemies get the best of both worlds and Republicans stand by in silent complicity.
— Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.