Trump likely won’t take responsibility for tariffs’ negative effects
■ By Tom Hastings / Contributed
Now comes the Trump Trade War, his “bellum omnium contra omnes” – war of all against all. It is the most spiritless, cynical, pessimistic perspective on human nature and international relations imaginable. It is also doomed to simply amount to an alienated attack on American consumers and workers.
I’m an old man who developed a hearing problem over the decades. I’m well into my senior citizen years and on my fourth generation of hearing aids, each improvement changing my life, saving my ability to work, and rescuing me from what would be increased social isolation. Trump’s tariffs affect the import of high tech gear, including the most advanced components of state-of-the-art hearing aids. Do I care where components of my hearing aids are made or where they are assembled into the final product? I do not. Do I care if Trump alters not only the price of my hearing aids but possibly the quality? Yes, I do.
If you have a device such as a phone, a laptop, any notebook or tablet, Trump is stepping on you. He is driving up the price and possibly dragging down the quality of what you can purchase and use. Thanks, Dear Leader.
Making cars, motorcycles, and other consumer goods that sell big in China—or Canada, or any of the countries Trump is hitting with tariffs, is now going to see a radical reduction in markets. From soybeans to distilled spirits, the exports from the U.S. are going to plummet as erstwhile trading partners respond in kind to Trump’s “eff you, everyone!” Did you vote for him? Trump speaks for you. Trump is your leader. Trump is taking you right over the cliff. Trump’s momentary success living in the White House as unemployment drops is now about to snatch failure from the jaws of victory. Hear that snap, crackle, pop? That is the giant bubble-bursting sound with the Trump lurch into trade wars that he says are “easy to win.”
This is a guy who makes glib promises and instant blame-other excuses for his many failures, including, by the way, six declarations of bankruptcy. He refuses to own his mistakes and calls himself clever for taking advantage of laws that unfairly stick everyone else with the losses and debts. So when his trade war bombs and you are jabbed with the costs and consequences, Trump will refuse to be accountable. I mean, this is a guy who orders children snatched from their parents at the border and then repeatedly blames “the Democrats.” Huh? He did it, no Democrat, not one. He could fix it. His cruelty and obdurate rationalizations are epic and inexcusable.
Indeed, the only possible way to hold him responsible is to impose all possible penalties, from indictment to impeachment. He will assume no component of culpability that is not simply brought down on him, and he will go kicking and screaming, but he must go if we have an ounce of collective common sense and decency.
Tom Hastings, Ed.D., is assistant professor and co-coordinator of the undergraduate program in Conflict Resolution at Portland State University. He is a former member of the Governing Council of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA), former co-chair of the Peace and Justice Studies Association, current member of the IPRA Foundation Board as well as the Academic Advisor Committee of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. He is founding director of PeaceVoice, and has written several books and many articles about nonviolence and other peace and conflict topics.