Someone Should Tell Donald Trump About America’s High Tariffs

In accusing other countries of cheating the United States, the president misleads the public about a complicated subject.


Comments: 196

  1. The problem with this editorial is that it does not dig into the facts. It sounds like the editorial board agrees that China is ripping us off. They do not offer broad statistics for the rest of the world. I am very curious how European tariffs compare to U.S. tariffs. Anecdotes are nice, facts would be nicer.

  2. Your's is the second comment calling what is presented here as anecdotal. You are incorrect. It is a refutation of Trump's lies. Trump lied and the Times corrected those lies with the facts. That the facts do not comport with what you want to believe is not the fault of the editorial board.

  3. The real problem is that Trump, Republicans and their propaganda outlets deal exclusively in anecdotes, not facts, and have buried the truth so much that many Americans cannot recognize truth or separate it from conservative lies. Lies aren't nice, truth would be nicer. Truth will never come from conservatives.

  4. Max,

    So what do you really think about your fellow Americans? (Irony here!) Your stated view makes our winning necessary to stay alive!

    You may just discover how small a group agrees with you if you ever try to set up “re-education camps”! (Think China here!)

  5. I don't think the president cares about the American people except for those he needs to support him. I don't think his minions realize that he doesn't care and they will have to learn this from first hand experience via losing jobs and money. Too bad there is no longer such thing as "American Exceptionalism".

  6. Pres. Disgraceful is engaging in subterfuge by calling a new set of taxes unilaterally imposed by him 'tariffs' - they are taxes that will directly hurt his base, which pain will be compounded by retaliatory taxes imposed by our global trading partners.

    The statement: "President Lyndon Johnson imposed a 25 percent tariff on imports of pickup trucks in 1963, which remains in place today" should be illuminating to GOP'ers, who aren't widely known for copying LBJ's economic policies.

  7. "In accusing other countries of cheating the United States, the president misleads the public about a complicated subject"

    Wow, that is a first! Usually he is so open and honest with his very knowledgeable base.

  8. Thank you NY Times for this clarification. It would be great if you could narrate the script of this article at the next Trump neo-Nazi style rally. But alas, I don't think his audience has the brains to digest it. Maybe instead, the content of this article can be inserted as poolside banter on some reality TV show with a bikini-clad blonde bimbo discussing trade statistics. Or maybe have some Guatemalan migrants violating the tariff rate quota on butter when they try to sneak across the Rio Grande. The possibilities are endless.

  9. The US beef and sugar industries are heavily protected to avoid much foreign competition.
    I don’t hear Trump confessing to restrictive US trade policies.

  10. I love the tariffs. I hope he institutes even more and China et al respond in kind. I’m willing to pay more for stuff if it hurts the red state businesses and its idiot voters.

  11. The tariffs and reciprocal tariffs will hurt everyone, here and in affected countries.

    Trump supporters hurt everyone, they may have broken the world.

  12. Yes!

  13. "Let's make a deal Donny!" Donny chooses curtain number 3, tariffs and trade wars? What have the American people won Donny? Higher prices and fewer jobs for everyone!

    When does all the winning start?

  14. And this is exactly why Trump declared long ago "I love the poorly educated": he knows that they don't have the capacity or the motivation to look for the truth.

    They're willing to blindly believe his lies and will follow him off the cliffs or into the deepest pits of hell, even if it causes them hardship. When they find out they can't eat their false pride, it will be too late.

  15. The US isn’t fooling anyone except its own citizens.

  16. Trump is confused or a liar or both on the US trade/tariff conundrum. Probably both. Trump is very much a false prophet and he therefore creates problems where there aren’t any to paint himself as the “guy” for everyman. He becomes the “usurper” that his supporters are seeking. He creates chaos to make more chaos and his supporters celebrate.

  17. Thank you for this editorial. It is no surprise that Trump has been lying about trade as he lies about almost everything. The question is whether or how this information can be communicated to Trump supporters or even if it will make any difference. I expect it will make no difference whatsoever because most of the Republicans in Congress know this information about trade. Trump's supporters are unmoved by facts.

    It is interesting that LBJ's tariff on pick-ups survives and Trump is not trying to undo it. Trump is trying to undo most of LBJ's legacy (Obama is his decoy). Recall that LBJ signed the civil rights act, the voting rights act, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, Head Start and the law which bars immigration discrimination on the basis of race, religion or national origin. All of those laws are to varying degrees targets of Trump. LBJ was president when Trump was at his beloved Penn.

  18. Well, Robert, Canada charges an average of 0.8% on all imports, half the US average (1.6%). Which market is more open?

  19. Those numbers by themselves don't really say anything about your question. Are they weighted by actual imported item value? If so they could be artificially low because they have tariffs or other barriers that result in 0 imports in certain categories. Whereas if that is a simple average of category tariffs it could be artificially low because of 0 tariffs on stuff that Canada has a competitive advantage in.

  20. The Trumpyssey

    Take the man who is dumbest in class
    A recidivist grabber and crass
    ,And with little notice
    You make him your POTUS
    One who second grade couldn’t pass.

    You give him a Nation to run
    A buffoon whose dimness would stun,
    Signs writs with a flourish
    Race hatred doth nourish
    Most wrong choices made? He’s the one.

    A worldwide trade war sets in place
    Tweets torrents of tripe at high pace
    His Cabinet choices
    Avaricious voices
    Of honesty nary a trace.

    A base that on lies does depend
    That non-white immigrants would rend
    No soupçon of Science
    On Fox has reliance
    To believe every Trump lie does tend.

  21. Larry, one of your best!

  22. Larry,

    What the President wants is clear!
    What did Obama do here?
    The “hot mike” with Putin was fake?
    His Wall Street “friends” weren’t on the take?

    The angst from the Left is clear!
    Generations of work lost here!
    Next time try passing laws
    Using the Courts is a flaw!

    Elections have consequences, indeed!
    A candidate who can win, you need!
    Some ideas would help that too!
    Past we loath the President’s Crew!

  23. In other words, Trump is claiming other countries are unfairly profiting off of the US in order to justify ripping them off in some way or another — one of a piece with his failure to pay so many people who worked for him. He's a crafty and avaricious pirate. Health Canada also promotes breast feeding babies — maybe Trump could use that to rip off another couple of percent on trade.

  24. It would be helpful if NYT would publish a more comprehensive list of tariffs, both ways, and let the reader decide, rather than mention a few anecdotes. It should be easy enough for one of your journalism interns to do this.

  25. That would be an impossible task, or at least would take up thousands of pages.

    For example, take the "270% tariff" claim:
    Yes Canada does impose this but only on "blended dairy powder" (on milk the maximum tariff is 241%).

    This 270% tariff is the maximum tariff on US dairy powder imports above the quota.
    This in response to the massive amounts of subsidies US farmers receive from their government: US government farming subsidies are approximately $22 billion a year and account for 3/4 of farmer income. Canadian farmers do not receive any government aid. These subsidies allow US farmers sell their produce far below production cost, giving them an extremely unfair advantage over their Canadian counterparts.

    In addition the US limits imported dairy to just 3% of total domestic consumption. The US doesn't allow Canada (or any other country, including New Zealand that has absolutely no farming subsidies or tariffs making it the only truly free market in the world but still blocked by the US government while Trump spittles about how 'unfair' everyone is to the US) to sell dairy products in the US domestic market above a set (and very small) limit. In addition everything under this 3% limit is still subjected to tariffs, making foreign entry into the US domestic market very difficult.
    Canada does allow the US to sell as much of its heavily subsidised dairy products as it likes, but with increasing tariffs.

    There's more but character restrictions limit me!

  26. Tariffs aside, years ago the 50's and 60's, if a product had a "Made in Japan" label on it, you'd avoid it like the plague. As time wore on Sony, Honda, and Toyota arrived, then France and the UK designed and built the Airbus. Then South Korea came along with Hyundai, then China and Mexico with inexpensive labor markets along with India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and a host of others. Yet the U.S. redesigned itself, over and over, and we continue to compete well in a world market.

    We don't need tariffs, we just need innovation that is funded largely, yet indirectly by the Federal Government. As it always has.

    What's going now is just outright stupidity to satisfy some campaign promise.

  27. On the other hand, maybe Trump does know what he's doing. Who benefits? Follow (most important) the money and follow (also important) the riling up of the base. I'd like to see that analysis. I'm waiting

    Thanks again, Bruce, for your rationality and knowledge.

  28. Good points all around, but sadly, the truth is dead.

  29. This piece ends with " a president who has shown he can’t be trusted."

    But ... that's exactly what he HAS done! He can be trusted to do what he claimed in his campaign. E.G. what he did almost exactly 24 hours ago: nominate a staunch judicial conservative to the Supreme Court. He also promised to raise tariffs on countries that use non-tariff barriers on us.

  30. A man that lies on average six times per day cannot be trusted by any measure.

  31. It's not just tariffs that the US maintains that other countries can point to in order to show the weakness of Trump's position, it is also the subsidies that the US government continually gives out - with agriculture being one of the largest.

    American farmers have a massive advantage over other farmers that don't receive such large subsidies. If Trump wants a level playing field, end the $20 billion a year in farm subsidies.

  32. Trump only plays to his "perpetually persecuted" base, who like Trump are constantly looking for scapegoats as to why their dreams of wealth have not been fulfilled. This scapegoating and victimization is broadly promoted by Trump's RW media sycophants.

    Reminds of the student that never prepared for the test and then blamed the teacher for asking the wrong questions.

  33. So if Ford were to import it's Ranger here that small truck would be tariffed at 25%. Which won't happen because Ford is stopping small vehicle production to satisfy American hunger for big gas guzzling pickups and SUVs. Another dumb move because gas may still hit $5pg during a major war. Or some other catastrophe. Then it's back to crawling for more tariffs on small foreign imports like they did in the 70's. History is not stupid. Those who repeat it are.

  34. It's already over $4 per gallon in California!

  35. Good explanation with this article, but I feel it leaves out one key component which really drives all tariffs (taxes) overall. - that is the buying habits of Americans.

    Nothing can be ''dumped'' into the American market (predominately from China) unless there is immense demand. What happens is there is an influx of a certain product which is bought up at a significant pace, which dramatically hurts the bottom line of any business/sector in the U.S.

    They invariably put pressure on their reps/Senators or trade lobbyists (with some arguments going as high as the WTO) and there is an reflexive reaction of some new tariff.

    This is what is happening with this administration on a massive scale with a large deconstruction effect on the retaliatory tariffs/trade war being waged. There are winners and losers, but some are now questioning if the losers are being promoted to later snap up their businesses later for pennies on the dollar.

    If you want to change all of the above, then simply buy local.

  36. I, for one, will buy ketchup that is owned by a Canadian company, made of Canadian tomatoes by Canadian workers at a Canadian plant.
    Heinz (and all of its products) is off the table completely.

  37. The bottom line is that it is impossible for Mr. Incompetent to tell the truth. It is always an exaggeration, a half-truth, or a complete fabrication. Additionally the man will shoot from the hip having a small bit of information that he will blow up and use to fit his own biased narrative. You will never hear the truth coming from his mouth. Awful that a man like this leads our country.

  38. He is awful because the powers that corrupt and support him are awful. In fact he is the perfect president for the usa.

    Awful man ; awful people ; awful country.

    Perfect

  39. Americans don't study history. Americans don't study science. They do not need that stuff. They have Beyonce and Lebron. What else do they need? Oh, I forgot: netflix!

  40. Why the slap at Bey and Lebron? Not only do they have Nothing to do with this discussion, they are incredibly positive role models in their communities and industries.

    The uninformed electorate is the problem, as is the skewed skewed skewed opinion-about-news media. Our fellow citizens are being brainwashed as we speak by twisted pundits who are laughing all the way to the bank. Color (orange) by number media outlets are doing irreparable harm.

  41. That's OK - we stopped buying them in Canadian stores long ago (even boycotting Canada's oldest company, the Hudson Bay Company, which refuses to stop carrying Ivanka), regardless of where they're actually made (China).

  42. Trumps rants are a reality show presented for is base. His base loves his antics and at each new presentation it enhances their devotion.

    Unfortunately, that behavior works well when selling a reality media show, but not in real negotiations in international economics. The US needs international trade both for imports of items that we can produce inefficiently and exports, mostly services, that we do better than them.

    Even if the US could become an isolated state and ignore the rest of the world it would take us many decades to generate the infrastructure, factories, trained workers, and educated consumers who could adapt to much higher prices for many products.

    Trump's reality show clown act produces a frenzy among his base and contempt from our worldwide customers. We may be on our own, whether we are ready for it or not.

  43. Even more importantly, someone should explain to Trump that large government deficits and trade deficits go hand-in-hand...And hence his tax cut package has helped ensure larger trade deficits for years to come. But even if he actually cared about either deficit, that type of analysis is way beyond our president’s abilities, I fear.

  44. Despite his truth and fact challenged character—or perhaps because of it—President Trump is a masterful political strategist. He has re-made the GOP in his own image and likeness. The GOP base supports him with unswerving and unprecedented loyalty. In Republican primaries, Trump’s loyalists torpedo his critics and thereby silence would-be GOP opposition.

    He has GOP legislators right where he wants them. Has any politician ever so thoroughly transformed a major political party within so brief a time?

    One of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures is watching Trump supporters and enablers attempt to defend the indefensible on cable TV. Do these people actually believe that all voters are “low information voters”? ( “Low information voters” is my nominee for “Euphemism of the Century.”)

    An almost equally guilty pleasure: Listening to those who voted for Trump whistle their way past the graveyard that was the GOP, but which is now the Trumpublican Party.

  45. This editorial is also a gross oversimplification of trade. In the space allowed, it cannot possibly cover all aspects of trade. But one omission is the content of exports that have imported content. In fact, this imported content is what allows many American products to be cost competitive on a global basis.

    My little company uses electronic and electrical parts made overseas. Half of my sales are exported, mostly to the EU, Pacific rim nations and our arch enemy Canada. Trump's tariffs will put me at a severe price disadvantage and cost sales. Or I can eat the costs and cut my margins way down. Either way I lose and so will thousands of other companies, from the largest to the smallest.

    The American consumer will lose and pay higher prices for goods. The tariff is essentially a sales tax that we will all pay. Super! That's one way to drive down the deficit. Give huge tax breaks to the wealthy and force the woking class people to pay for them with a new sales tax.

    Then there are the supply chains where materials traverse many borders before they end up in someones kitchen. Ore may be mined in Peru, smelted in India, turned into refined materials in China, fabricated into parts in the US, then put into products and shipped to France. Materials constantly crisscross the globe. There is no such thing as sole source content. The milk cows may have been fed with feed from Brazil.

    Trump doesn't have a clue what he is doing and all of us will suffer for it.

  46. It all makes sense if he's being guided by Russia's playbook.

  47. I've seen this in dozens of companies in the S.F. Bay Area: lower cost H1-B Visa workers from India and Pakistan taking over U.S. jobs. Great for companies who want to lay off their higher-paid workers including folks over age 50.

  48. To which I add, the GOP gloats over its wonderful and useful idiot. He will keep them in power for decades if he can survive November. It might be enough to turn the most patriotic into preppers.

  49. Trump lies through his teeth, but it doesn't do any good to mislead in return. Saying that other countries don't levy tariffs on our services doesn't change or excuse the tariffs they put on manufactured goods, precisely the kind of good that offers high paying jobs to blue collar workers. And your own newspaper ran a compelling article on just how obscenely lopsided our trade agreements with the third world are.

    I would be here all day if I outlined all of the ways we are cheated by third world countries like China, from lopsided tariffs and taxes to intellectual property theft -- many of them, again, reported in your own newspaper.

    And that so that American workers can "compete" with third world workers who earn starvation wages, work under conditions that would be illegal here, and breathe toxic brown air.

    Say what you like about Trump (and there is not much to like), but the failure of the post-Clinton Democrats and establishment Republicans to address the harms of globalization and inequitable trade deals had a lot to do with why he was elected president, and why he retains his popularity among the suffering blue collar workers who watched as factory after factory closed.

  50. Excuse me but what does your comment have to do with tariffs on Canada? At this time, Canada, not the EU, not China and certainly not a third world country, is by far and away the country which is being most harmed by US tariffs. And by the way, the US has a trade surplus in goods and services with Canada, not a deficit.

  51. I would add one additional item included in the international trade in services: Service income earned by large corporations are profits they earned by producing overseas that get counted in US income. Profits not remitted are not counted as service income.

  52. Donald Trump campaigned on spite and he's governing by spite.

    Policy details are unimportant to him and the minority of voters who voted for him.

    What's important to Donald is perpetuating a constant stream of resentment toward others, perpetuating grievances, perpetuating a sense of white male Christian American victimhood...who only Donald understands and will save with his 'incredible' business expertise and Very Special Snake Oil.

    He campaigned on the Birther Lie...which encompassed Donald's personal white spite toward a black President 1000 times more dignified and appealed to the cancerous white spite coursing through Donald's voter base.

    He campaigned on Hillary Hatred...channeling Mad Men misogynists nationwide who can't stand smart women.

    He campaigned on 'Mexican rapists'...impugning the great people of Mexico and other Central Americans who do the backbreaking daily work that holds the American economy together.

    And now he's governing by spite, ginning up xenophobic spite toward Canada and other allies while rolling in the mud with every dictator in sight.

    As long as Donald feeds his clueless masses the Recommended Daily Allowance of white male Christian American spite, they will happily roll in the mud with him all the way to bankruptcy court, at which point a few of them will wake up and realize they were duped out of their life savings.

    That's the way it goes with cheap Snake Oil Salesmen.

    "I like the way he talks" says the proverbial Trump voter.

    Sad.

  53. "...the great people of Mexico", thank you.

    It's too bad that decades of bridging two Nations together have been thrown to the dustbin of history. Some people here are now looking at the North with the same spite we've been thrown at.
    Sad, very sad.

    (Who gains from this?)

  54. Actually if the Trump administration would read the existing "free" trade agreements, they would find the agreements are already written in the US favor.
    In fact, the trade agreements are negotiated in secret not to keep the information from US citizens, but because the trading partner's citizens might protest the agreement terms.

    International trade has always been based on economic power, not on principals of fairness.

  55. I wonder why the US media is not providing more factual information on US restrictions on trade, which are substantial. Most Americans believe that the US has been uniquely open in its trade regulation, but this is far from accurate. As an example I have pasted in below a Canadian description of US trade restrictions on sugar.

    "Unlike Canada’s free market sugar policy, the U.S. government intervenes in its sugar market to support domestic production of cane and beet sugar. The policy artificially supports U.S. domestic sugar prices above world and Canadian price levels, restricts imports and uses a special “re-export program” to encourage exports of sugar and sugar-containing products.

    The sugar program uses three tools to ensure that U.S. growers and sugar processors receive a minimum price for their sugar.

    1. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) makes loans available to U.S. processors of sugarcane and sugar beets at set loan rates that support the market price above world prices.

    2. “Marketing allotments” are set to limit the amount of sugar that processors can sell in the U.S. market but do not limit the amount of production so the excess must be stored or exported

    3. Quotas (TRQs) restrict the amount of foreign sugar allowed to enter the U.S. market.

  56. Wow. Facts! How refreshing.

  57. Living here in Louisiana where sugar cane is a large agriculture product, I've watched the cane farmers get wealthy and retire early, all on the programs you've listed. But not to worry, they are good republicans and are against welfare, SNAP, etc, anything that can help a poor person.

  58. Don't even get us started with the drug prices! The US is it's largest and most dangerous drug cartel which feeds on the very blood and sweat of it's population. The protectionist and ultra-restrictive pharmaceutical industry is literally killing Americans, more so in drug infested red fly-over Trump states, and they are so brain damaged they can't see what is hitting them. No chance!

  59. And while we're at it, how about all those subsidies the US pays its farmers? There are more ways to distort free trade than just tariffs.

  60. Another $200 Billion in the pipeline. Somebody should tell Trump that Trump Tariffs are a TAX on Americans. Its not the Chinese that are paying higher prices... it is the US citizens buying those goods. So many of these tariffs are hurting American businesses and American consumers more than China. China can sell to the whole world, but we can in many cases only buy from them or not buy at all. Can you say "recession"? Trump seems determined to undermine the international stature and prestige of the United States, and degrade and strain our international trade. And he's sure he's going to get along well with Putin... its almost like Trump is actively working against the interests of the United States. Of course the Trump propaganda is saying exactly the opposite - but how well are they going to convince the soybean farmers, nail plant workers, and soon the tens of thousands more facing job loss because of Trump's Tariffs? Lie, Donny, lie - and keep talking fast and throwing out distractions - maybe nobody will notice how you're degrading and diminishing the United States with your every decision. Putin likes it, though.

  61. The rescue of the 12 Thai boys took the cooperation of an international team.

    There is a lot of lessons there about international economics too.

    In a world of inter-dependent countries, America can not win at the expense of the global community.

  62. Wait, wait, wait.

    Are you suggesting that trade is a nuanced subject and that neither Trump nor his supporters care to examine the intricacies?

    I don't know, something seems off about that asser.... hah, no, but seriously. Stop the presses!

  63. Mr. Trump’s incessant lying - to his principal stakeholders, the citizens of the United States, is a breach of his fiduciary duty. Kudos to him, though, for having the nobility to resurface that argument by nominating its author, Brett Kavanaugh, to the Supreme Court. Of course, Mr. Kavanaugh was referring only to lies about adulterous behavior. Now we have that PLUS lies about policy, economic data and other official aspects of the presidency.

  64. whaatever trump was doing at wharton, it wasn't studying economics.

  65. Editorial Board, please stop with the essays providing reason and logic. They're useless in the political climate we're in. The cult of Trump controls this nation. Nearly half our citizens could be told every fact in your essay, every day, and they would not care. Ever.

    They know that but for Republican intransigence, our nation could have an affordable health care system for all of our citizens. They know that they'll never get their manufacturing jobs back. And they know Trump's tariffs will do them more harm than good. But repeat after me -- they do not care.

    And as long as they control this country, no reasoned, thoughtful opinion will ever carry the day. Congressional Republicans are terrified of them. Trump voters are still in lockstep with Trump, for only one reason - race. As long as he assures them that as whites, they are the "true" Americans, and the rest of us are second class citizens, they're happy. They would gladly pay five times more for consumer goods because of his tariffs, as long as he tells them they're superior to the rest of us.

    So save your cogent, thoughtful essays for another time. Another time far into the future, when the Trump regime is overthrown. Because his voters, many heavily armed, will ensure that he will remain in power as long as they want him to, elections or not.

    We are very much in "Rhinoceros" territory. And we very much need an American Ionesco. Trump isn't driving our nation off this cliff, his voters are.

  66. The GOP, hello?

  67. Excellent article. But sadly the only readers are those who know this. The far right doesn’t care and those who dislike Dems on social agenda or immigration issues don’t care either. So truth is ignored since there are other issues that matter to voters.

  68. When folks were warning that voting for trump would mean that you’re voting against your own self-interests, many shrugged. So shall ye reap.

  69. I see this only as more smoke to hide the fact that this president is just trying to keep from going to jail and to keep the fortune he has amassed by being an agent of Russia. Another reason that so far this has worked for him is that Wall Street is trading a record highs from the buy back stock that the tax cut gave to big business. This will be proven when the bubble bursts like it always does.

  70. I just went to the small local lumber store. The owner said lumber was up 30%! He said steel was going up by 25%. I can't imagine building a house at this time especially for the hard-hit napa area. He said the money would go to only a few people. As trumps sister once said. He is P.T Barnum, selling dreams to naive people.

  71. The breathtaking and moronic hypocrisy demonstrated by the new American approach to trade tariffs makes negotiating with the US utterly pointless. In addition, it is interesting that the Americans never seem to acknowledge that the massive US government subsidies given to numerous American industries make tariffs a necessity for many countries. Ever wonder why American dairy producers can annually dump millions of gallons of milk and stay in business?

  72. All countries maintain some market and industry protectionist policies, usually in the form of duties ir tariffs, in the US it appears these come about due to strong lobbies and/or political connections. A few examples...
    - 81% on sugar,
    - 100+% on nuts,
    - 300+% on tobacco

    Do duties/tariffs need to be addressed, sure the do, but not in the Trump manor!

  73. I agree with your statement, but please don't mistake all Americans for trumps America.

  74. Most trump products are made outside of the USA.
    Trump's lies and hyperbole is nothing more than cheap rhetoric meant to stir up his emotional base. And, it works. Trump's base doesn't look at trump business practices, and FOX propaganda sure isn't going to report on it. Would be nice if NYT would report on it.

  75. Thisi all one giant deflection, accepting to create havoc on US business, covering up the looming Mueller revelation.

    And he will not hesitate to go even further.

  76. Numbers are hard.

  77. This cunning foreigner play into Trumps own foolish fantasy the he is the miracle Americans Genius who is the anointed one. Only the Trump can solve this problem other mortals lake his genius. It is his and his handlers narrative. It is a very simple answer demanded by his base. Complexity and nuance are not his or his fan bases strong points.

  78. "And yet the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, doesn’t bellyache incessantly on Twitter about unfair American dairy tariffs."

    The Canadian prime minister isn't 7 years old, or insane.

  79. Rather than writing this:

    “Much of what the president has said is malarkey.”

    the editorial staff should just come right out and write what everybody already knows:

    President Donald Trump lies.

    It will have no effect on Trump’s supporters, who know full well that Trump lies and have no problem with it. But the media should repeat it over and over again. Lies, lies, lies. There’s no reason to find unique ways to describe what Trump and the Republicans are doing. It’s simply lying.

  80. "It’s far less obvious why he believes that countries he has subjected to such baseless attacks will negotiate favorable trade agreements with a president who has shown he can’t be trusted."

    This is just a postulation and obviously not a knowledgeable accusation. The One reminds me of a "friend" who's not only a psychopath, the real and dangerous thing but also a pathological liar, likely the real thing as well. He lies about anything even when it's obvious. Aside from feigning indignation when challenged, anger can result. What's more interesting is there seems to be some thrill he feels when lying and the lie is obvious, some feeling of bravado, invincibility and immunity along the lines of some superpower.

  81. Someone should tell Donald Trump to resign.
    Better still, someone should tell Donald Trump he's been impeached and convicted, and now must face criminal charges.

  82. According to trump university math 0.8 >1.6

    That is how he ran his business.

  83. This ceaseless, systematic uttering of boldface lies, devious falsehoods, careless misrepresentations, and suggestive inaccuracies by Trump has gotten way out of control. It has now reached the climactic point where almost anything he says cannot be taken at face value. Never, in the history of our country, has the public been faced with a President beset by such a destructive and amoral pathology. Trump’s reprehensible habit is undermining the constitutional office of the president. This cannot go on.

    Surely if he is impeached, this overwhelming history of truth aversion and duplicity should be placed as the first entry in his articles of impeachment.

  84. "Someone Should Tell Donald Trump about America’s High Tariffs"

    He wouldn't understand.

  85. And we are supposed to believe this guy went to Wharton? Mr. President, didn’t Wharton teach you David Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage and why countries engage in international trade? Surely, you’ve heard of opportunity cost – which is why your Mar-a-Lago resort is requesting federal permission to hire an additional 38 temporary foreign workers. Anybody grudging the Trump organization for taking advantage of some third world nation’s cheaper labor there, Mr. President?

    Mr. President, it’s high time you stopped playing these zero-sum games that divide us at home and create unnecessary friction with our allies and trading partners abroad!

  86. Humm...Trump never went to Wharton, itis another lieTrump was at the University of Pennsylvania but not to Wharton.Trump is a liar, as all the people know.

  87. I would just like to take this opportunity to clarify my position, and that of innumerable other readers of the Times, and media in general.

    Nobody needs to tell Trump anything. It would be like mixing cocktails in a sieve.

    Donald trump doesn't 'mislead' anyone. Some people believe anything he says, and the rest of us are, well...intelligent. Sorry.

    Trump neither believes nor disbelieves. He neither knows, nor does he not know. He neither thinks nor does he not think. He is a reflexive, unthinking Me machine, and nothing he says or does interests me. If that sounds callous or irresponsible, please remember that he is only a reflection in a mirror. He doesn't really exist.

    He is a concoction made from his followers and his enablers: the "mass" of his cult, and the engine of the Senate and House. He is nothing without them.

    Just once I would like to hear someone respond to his idiotic rants about NATO, the economy, or any other serious subject: "Perhaps that's true, but how would you know?" Because he doesn't, can't, "know" anything. His philosophy, his insight, his essence was summed up perfectly on his wife's jacket: "I really don't care. Do U?"

  88. Two possible explanations exist for Trump's actions on tariffs: Either he's stupid or he's a liar.

    If he's stupid, then someone, or some sort of congress (is there one still?), needs to step forward to explain the facts of life to him. But seeing as that's never going to happen with this impotent government, we are all basically snookered.

    If he's a liar, and doing it solely for attention, then someone, or some sort of congress, needs to step forward to explain the facts of life to him. But seeing as that's never going to happen either, we are all basically snookered.

    The third option, of course, is that Trump's a liar because he's stupid. Stupid because he cannot read; stupid because he cannot speak or write coherently, stupid because he's a raging narcissist with nothing better to do than Tweet bitter, insulting comments to an increasing number of people, peoples, and countries who are all a whole lot smarter than he is.

    Being in a world of one has got to be awfully lonely, the poor dear.

  89. Not malarkey, the word is lies.

  90. "The American dairy tariff can in fact exceed TK percent." Surely there's a more sanitary way to make editorial sausage.

  91. This is just more NYT political reporting. Publish the actual trade with China and Europe save the editorial. Drive thru Upstate New York and report the USA lost the trade war 20 years ago.

    Thankfully we are finally pushing for fair trade.

  92. If you read the article the facts and figures are there. They are not political but simply data. Learn a bit more about economics and economic history. Many of the same complaints lodged against China were lodged against Japan in the 1980s for many of the same political reasons. Would the US today be better off producing overpriced televisions? Just try to be open to ideas that run counter to what you want to believe or are based on your own anecdotal experience.

  93. Trade deficits have many causes and Trump does not understand any of them. Basics for America is that other countries do not want to buy American goods. The other reason is that American public has a very low savings posture-all up front to buy, buy. Why is it so hard for Americans to understand that other countries do not want their automobiles.

  94. So America has a natural right to be richer than the rest of the world?

  95. Trump is a fool. He attacks with impunity and lies incessantly. When will his many supporters and enablers wake up and realize they have been duped?

  96. This is the very silly narrative Trump honestly believes in. He believe only he the Genius Trump can save Americans from duplicitous foreigners. Most Americans know Trump expectations greatly exceed his abilities but he bets his minority of true believer will salvage his crusade. When the prices go up and the layoff commence he will blame Obama and all will be right in Trumplandia.

  97. "Scratch the surface of many of the president’s statements about trade, and it’s hard not to conclude that he is either trying to confuse the public or is rather confused himself."

    Most grifters are deviously smart and will recognize a rube when he sees one. Trump however, is vindictive, devious, and deviously stupid, as he attempts to con America's rubes into believing they are being taken, in particular, by our closest allies. Sad.

  98. Sadly, whatever the truth is on any international deal, Trump talks to his dumb twitterers/red-state/Fox listeners and they hear nothing else. Not a word. If he says something is bad/anti-American/a rip-off, then that is all they will ever hear. Everything else is faux. (But of course, they don't know what 'faux' means).

    As W.C. Fields would have said: "Suckers"

  99. Methinks he "don't care" what we think.

  100. BINGO!

  101. The lessons of the fall of the Weimar republic are ringing in all this editorial and other articles that are being published. The question is will you be able to recognize what a modern day Reichtag fire looks like? And if you can't, how do you know it hasn't happened yet?

  102. What is always missing from Trump's rants and tweets about real or supposedly unfair trade practices? The central role of many big, supposedly All- American companies in outsourcing so many manufacturing jobs. Think that your Ford or Chevy is US made? For years now, many are not. Apple Macs, iPhones, Dell or HP laptops, Nike sneakers? Almost none of these supposedly American brands actually manufacture their products in the US. Now, some of that is part of being a player in the global economy. However, the main reasons are a. because they make a bit more money this way, and - b. because they get away with it. Now, Trump could actually speak and tweet about that, shine a spotlight on Apple and others, forcing them to at least defend their decision not to manufacture here in the US. Alas, he isn't, because doing so would require some intestinal fortitude, which he seems to be sorely lacking.

  103. Doing so would also draw attention to Trump family outsourcing of jobs to produce their products and influence to gain favored trademarks abroad.

  104. Agree w you, but in order to do that two things need to happen: (1) investment in education that promotes engineering, math & sciences so companies don't need to go offshore to find manufacturing talent (2) a tax environment that encourages companies for bringing their operations stateside.

    Both are the opposite of what's happening now. The new tax code actually reduces the rate for companies offshoring their operations and investing in education doesn't seem to be a priority for this administration.

    I know I'm preaching to the choir here.

  105. Not to mention, he should lead by example.
    Is there anything in Trumps brand made in the USA?

  106. Where the US lost in trade are areas where it is no longer globally competitive. Japan and Germany make better cars. Lift your game if you want to increase trade.

  107. The fact that tariffs are a big federal tax is lost on Trump and his devotees. For a president and party that pride themselves on cutting taxes in general - supposedly to help businesses, tariffs are taxes that harm businesses. It's not a sensible way to generate revenue and a tax is a tax, even if it's called a tariff. In addition, trade is an active process - the loose change left over at the end is the deficit or surplus - it is the volume that is important.

  108. Actually this may all be a ruse intentionally undertaken at the advisement of Paul Ryan.

    The GOP Tax bill has resulted in deeper cuts to revenue than originally expected and the tariffs would be a short term cash cow to offset those cuts.

    Notice though that Congress has stayed silent on the issue.

  109. Speaking of dairy, let's not forget that American dairy farmers are heavily subsidized by the government which gives them a leg up on the foreign competition.

  110. Unfortunately, most people are too young to remember Nixon and his milk scandal.

  111. I have a trade imbalance with Amazon. I buy from them, but they don't buy from me. I think I'll ask Amazon to charge me more money on some products I buy so I'll buy less from them and more from Walmart. That'll teach me! Thanks for showing me the way to prosperity Mr. President.

  112. Brilliant!

  113. Yes, it has been obvious that the President is lying about other nations cheating us. But he has been saying that successfully for two years and no one has stood up to counter that. Neither has the press insisted that Mr. Trump answer why he believes other nations are cheating us, at least so his reasoning can be evaluated in public. It appears we have allowed Mr. Trump to escape any kind of scrutiny or responsibility for his own actions, and we continue to allow that kind of behavior by the putative leader of the world. The narrative must turn on Trump's mendacity and ineffectiveness in advancing American interests, while he advances and advances and advances Russian interests all over the globe, including in North Korea.

  114. The press cannot do an effective job at challenging Trump's assertions, not because they are too timid. He makes his outlandish assertions on Twitter and to the friendly folks of Fox and Friends. His press secretary refuses to address the proven baselessness of his assertions and the Dear Leader rarely places himself before the real press either in press conferences or interviews.

    This is the authoritarian's approach to communication with his populace.

  115. The general complaint about unfair tariffs goes back generations. It has only intensified as our trade imbalances have become a frequent point in the news. At one time, most of federal spending consisted of funds collected as duty charges at the various Customs Houses. Once the income tax was allowed, the burden of federal spending fell to corporations and individuals. That has been shifting onto individuals ever since.

  116. It is the press's role to report the news - it is the responsibility of the electorate and those we vote into office to hold our leaders to account.

  117. This really would have been useful to have ready
    and be published the day he announced the first tariffs. It
    could then have been republished for each and every subsequent tariff announcement, fine tuned to address
    the ostensible purpose of each.

    By now it may be too late to do anything to counter
    the wave of propaganda that has accompanied each of
    these diktats.

    This also needs to be connected to the corporatization
    of the economy, the way large corporations, in particular,
    are able to tweak things ever so subtly to their competitive advantage by calling upon their armies of K Street suited warriors to convince congress to do their bidding.

    On a different note, I am surprised the markets have
    behaved as they have during all this tariff sturm und
    drang. Is anyone else? There seems to be a type of psychological disconnect with the effects this will have down the road a bit in dampening demand, affecting profit
    estimates, etc....but there hasn't even been
    any effect on volatility. So this seems rather odd.

  118. Stock buybacks account for a lot of the market activity.

  119. Let us not forget the 131.5 % tariff on imported raw peanuts. This tariff is clearly in our national security interests. Not!

  120. Trade and Tariffs, the basics

    1. There has been NO free trade in agricultural goods since the 1920. The US is no exception .

    2. The ONLY reason that FORD still is profitable in the US is because domestic US pick up truck production is protected from global competition by a 25% tariff. As the NY Times published on 4/25/18 Ford will end passenger car production , except for the Mustang, in the US, because it can not compete with imported cars made at Chinese and Mexican wages

    The 3 best selling vehicles in the US in 2017 were the Ford 150 (896,764 sold), the Chevrolet Silverado (585,864 sold) the Ram Pickup (500,723 sold)

    The top of the line GM car, on the other hand , the Cadillac CT6 hybrid, is now manufactured exclusively by GM in China at Chinese wages, and imported into the US at 2.5%

    4. Protectionism had to spread from agricultural products to manufactured goods for reasons that Peter Drucker (founder of Management Theory) explained in 2001. It is a consequence of globalization, that in turn led to the election of Trump.

    5. Econ 101 : In a global economy , with unlimited free trade, US wages must over time fall to the global average wage- roughly the level of China. That applies increasingly even for knowledge workers. See the NYT , 9/28/17, "IBM Now Has More Employees in India Than in the U.S." Key quote "The work in India has been vital to keeping down costs at IBM" . " Keeping cost down means" keeping wages down.

  121. umm...canada and the EU have higher wages and benefits including universal healthcare. The US isn't a victim at all. Those countries should complain about unfair trade and labor practices !

  122. The wages issue is one reason why it makes sense to have universal health care. It is cheaper overall and provides support for employers, which is why many companies actually support it.

  123. Isolated examples of higher US tariffs are indeed easy to find as the article points out - the 25% tariff on trucks. However, the overall average tariff rates published by the WTO show that the US has one of the lowest average tariff rates in the world at about 3.5%. Canada is close at 4.1% but the EU's average rate is over 5%, Mexico is 7% and China is 9.9% If China wants to play in the big leagues of the WTO, perhaps it's time to behave like it and cut tariff rates and stop stealing intellectual property.

    One thing not noted. President Trump already proposed total elimination of all tariffs as a solution. Anyone counting how may takers have volunteered for that deal aside from the German auto makers? You won't need both hands.

    Every nation is opposed to tariffs except for the ones they love & impose themselves.

  124. Face it. Trump is actually right. He's just bad at finding solutions to the problem.

    The US has one of the lowest applied mfn tariff rates in the world. (the EU's is 40% higher and China's is 300% greater). The US really did not start this trade war, rather other countries have been spoiled but the US low tariff rate (except for Canada which has a similar rate).

    Then there is China. Besides the fact they debase their own currency for cheap labor, intellectual property theft in the country is absolutely terrible and needs to be dealt with. Just ask Micron - which lost a patent law suit (in China) by a Chinese company even though the the Chinese firm had stolen the info from Micron. Or Segway - which got bought out by a Chinese company using money entirely made from infringing on Segway's patents. The Chinese company only offered to buy because it was a better deal then facing Segway's pending suit. It's only getting worse as China tries to build up its chip manufacturing industry.

    Of course, we will have to wait to see whether Trump's actions will fix anything (though I doubt it).

  125. A competent top-kick executive, which Trump certainly is, does three things well: s(he) defines a direction, picks and empowers a good implementation team (who are the ones who actually get into the weeds), and rides them effectively to get ‘er done. Someone undoubtedly has explained to Trump that tariffs are far from a trivial matter, indeed are tremendously complex, but here an experienced top-kick executive also knows that there are endless lawyer-types and “experts” who will provide all the good reasons in the world why something CAN’T be done. If you want them done, you need to find ways to get around those very good reasons while staying out of jail. This usually means you ride your team harder.

    There’s that, but then there’s also the buried lead.

    The trade differences with our allies (but not necessarily with China) may not be what Trump seeks to resolve. He may be after bigger game, and he might be willing to largely disappear the trade disagreements with mere face-saving agreements if he can bag that bigger game. The trade issues may have been the necessary entry-point to apply leverage to secure OTHER objectives, because a U.S. president doesn’t have a lot of other direct leverage to get a German chancellor to dramatically increase defense expenditures, or a Euro Community to better support Israel, or to come to the table to negotiate a replacement for the Paris Accords that does more to combat Global Climate Change in a manner that is more balanced and …

  126. @Richard, before the election you asked readers to give Trump the benefit of the doubt. He has since used that up with making executive decisions without preparation - Muslim ban, refugee family child separations etc.. Please provide evidence that the N.Y. Times is “out to get Trump”.

  127. What do they all have in common? Empowering Russia. Makes ya wonder why, doesn’t it?

  128. Richard, I stopped reading at "A competent top-kick executive, which Trump certainly is ...." I was laughing too hard!

  129. Well, from day one - it was made clear that he was not really interested in briefings, or being surround by experts, or going through those briefing books (the ones Obama was trying to instruct him on) - so, how can he possibly be making policy decisions using facts? Tell him about Tariffs? Tell him about the rule of the law, maintaining alliances, all American history, the Scientific method, and the deleterious psychological impact of taking young children away from their parents. Talk about a learning curve - we simply can not afford that kind of time.

  130. While there may be many areas to question on the Trump Administration’s trade policies, it is a bit rich to suggest that Canada is playing completely by the rules when it comes to dairy products.

    When the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed to limit agricultural exports subsidies during the Uruguay Round, Canada was one of the first countries to violate the new rules to try to increase dairy exports (despite domestic prices that were much higher than US prices). The WTO agreed with the US when we took the issue to a dispute settlement panel. More recently, Canada undercut US dairy exports that managed to get around its high import tariffs by implementing a new pricing regime that most likely violates the WTO prohibition on import substitution schemes and may also be a prohibited export subsidy. Some reasonable people would call that cheating.

    Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, doesn’t bellyache incessantly on Twitter about unfair American dairy tariffs, because the US dairy industry has pushed for years to eliminate tariffs in both directions (which happened for most other products under our free trade agreement).

  131. You speak of the US dairy industry lobbying to eliminate all tarrifs. How about if that is done in concert with eliminating all agricultural subsidies?

  132. Trump has a personal relationship Chinese President Xi Jinping, and wouldn't have followed through on trade war threats without Congressional and popular support. Chuck Schumer, Marco Rubio, and Lindsay Graham are as warmongering as Trump, judging by their unremitting anti-China rants. And Trump’s base genuinely appears to believe that China is somehow responsible for some or all of their economic woes, despite the fact that the trade war will financially harm them more than China or any other Americans.

    Trade wars will only result in making America economically weaker. History shows that populism, political misinformation, and trade protectionism were largely responsible for the Vietnam and the Iraq wars (not to mention WWII), for which Americans paid dearly. The 1930 Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act, which raised US tariffs on over 20,000 imported goods, destroyed American manufacturing and jobs, and lead to the Great Depression. Blaming China for manufacturing and job losses is equally faulty because past policies toward China have only ever had the exact opposite effect.

    The GOP has long been itching for military action to dampen China's rapid, massive accumulation of wealth and power, and perhaps this is the GOP contemplating future possibilities in that direction.

  133. President Trump repeatedly cherry-picks or misrepresents a selected element of a US trade relationship with other countries in order to scapegoat them for domestic partisan political purposes. He does this in a manner & with a frequency that leaves the inescapable impression that he:

    (a) is intent on continuing the trade dispute for the foreseeable future rather than seeking a basis for an equitable settlement of differences, &
    (b) sees no agreement the US has made during the watch of earlier Presidents or, presumably, even himself as having any continuance beyond the next moment he wants to reopen matters by an offhand comment or tweet.

    The purported purpose of all this is to make America great again but it is increasingly difficult to see how these patterns of willful nihilism advance that end.

    What is even more unsettling to foreigners is that no coherent, articulate, effective domestic opposition within the US appears to be coalescing. Surely the American democracy is capable of rising to this challenge.

  134. The many protests against Trump and his administration are a start.

    Much more action, coherent and engaging policies, and credible candidates will be needed , to vote out the Trump oligarchy. Plus a high voter turnout, of course.

    It's not just the future of the US at stake here. The rest of the world is watching, waiting, and hoping for positive change in the US. The merry band of Donald Trump and His Mendacious Minions surely cannot Be Best....or are they?

  135. Trump has said he wants to see all tariffs abolished. But if that were to happen, in many cases U.S. trade deficits might grow rather than shrink.

    For example, Germans are not much interested in American cars while we love Mercedes, BMW's and Audi's. And as the article says, we have a 25% duty on pickup trucks, which are the most popular, and profitable, type of vehicle sold here.

    If that tariff was eliminated, it's likely we would see pickups exported here, which obviously would put the market share for domestic companies at risk.

    Currency valuation has much to do with trade balances, but the economic reality is that as long as we have the global reserve currency, which is something we definitely want for it's strategic value, the demand for dollars is an important factor which tends to keep it overvalued relative to other currencies.

  136. Trump has used a similar tactic to what he is trying to do with tariffs in his real estate dealings. He has been known to negotiate a lease, and only after the renter has moved in and would incur serious time and money costs to break the lease, demand that the lease be re-negotiated in his favor. He has been known to use threats such as cutting off services that the renter expected (and that the lease stipulated) such as elevator service, heat/AC and the like as a way of forcing a re-negotiation.

    Why would anyone who knows anything about his "standard business practices" ever deal with him?

    Our "allies" and treaty partners are now learning that lesson. We will be paying the price for his misdeeds for many years.

  137. Increasing America's tariffs to protect American jobs and industry does seem to be a simplistic approach to a complex issue since it may result in many unintended consequences.

    So far what the president has done seems to be leading to other countries retaliating with their own tariffs on us which is hurting certain businesses like steel and agricultural crops like soybeans in this country, increasing the tax levied on certain goods and services being imported which can drive up their costs, raising the price on imports, and it could lead to discouraging competition and foreign investment, as well as influence our international relations with trading partners, and may end up having a negative overall consequence on our economy so leading to a loss in jobs rather than protecting them.

  138. In the years 1974 and 1975, US Steal started to layoff its workers. US Steal had a plan.

    That plan amoung other US corporate manufacturers gutted our manufacturing jobs.

    It has never been about the foreign governments taking advantage. We, the US market place, and Wall Street, sought out China for one thing - cheap cheap cheap super cheap labor.

    We started all of what exists today.

    If China has in a material way taken advantage of the great opportunities that the US solicited them to take, then I say they are innocent of wrong doing because we so sought them out. Trump is deluded about the prime movers of the trade imbalances between the US and China. Anyone who worked in the steel industry in the 1970s knows.

  139. You are right on, RR! I remember those days, too.

  140. Trump generally isn't supported politically by high paid workers on the service export economy, from entertainment to financial to software to legal/consulting.

    But his giant tax cuts most directly benefit those service economy workers and wealthy investors, so he needs tariffs as a cover to show he is helping workers in the goods industries.

    But the tariffs actually will make things worse for US workers in manufacturing and agriculture, with high prices for steel, auto parts and other intermediate goods, as well as shrinking export markets for US agriculture.

    Its vintage Trump flim flam. He always escapes with his medicine show to the next small town and blames his enemies when the truth catches up to him.

    PT Barnum had nothing on Trump.

  141. I live in China. There are many American companies and products here - there is an Apple store right below me, a Subway down the block, Burger King, KFC, etc. Watching the World Cup on Chinese TV, I see constant ads for Cadillac, Jeep, and Chevrolet. I see those cars on the street (we don't do as well as the Germans - their luxury cars are as popular here as elsewhere).

    The point is, China is a market of 1.2 billion people with a still emerging middle class. If I wanted to sell stuff, I wouldn't alienate such a country with a pointless "trade war".

  142. China's trade rules are unfair. It politely acknowledges this and then does nothing to address it.

  143. It's complicated enough for there to be truth in what Trump is saying. For example, China has restrictions that lead to unfair advantage. This is the status quo and the target of Trump's moves. I don't blame him. His critics will always find reasons to defend the status quo and argue why change is bad.

  144. Simplicity sells. How many Americans do you think can even follow the complexities of trade? What Americans crave is simplicity which is why Trump maintains his popularity. I know the world is complex and if you really want to understand something you have to do a deep dive. But that is difficult. Americans are exhausted with complexity. They would rather believe in someone who presents the world to them in simple terms even if it harms them economically. Populism I believe is the word.

  145. To the extent that the US runs perennial deficits, it means that foreign countries are effectively giving away stuff without ever getting anything in exchange. To me, that's a "win" and I wouldn't complain about it.

    Just wait till the day when the US has to ship stuff back in greater quantities like Trump wants. That's a "lose" if you ask me.

  146. "Scratch the surface of many of the president's statements about trade, and it's hard not to conclude that he is either trying to confuse the public or is rather confused himself."

    Take a good look America. This is where we are: There is reasonable debate about what combination of simple-minded delusion Trump suffers from as opposed to intentional confusion he chooses to inflict on the public discourse.

    As far as I can tell, Trump has been correct about one thing: The rest of the world is laughing at us.

  147. DJT: “I love the poorly educated”.

  148. Considering the CBO estimates on this year's budget and rapidly accumulating deficits, and Trump's penchant for trade tariffs, now the mention of another $ 200 Billion on China, expect prices to continue to rise (products produced in the US use parts from other countries) and loss of jobs as companies retool in a more austere economy. And layoffs. It will be interesting to see if the signs of a recession occur about the time of the midterm elections. I predict they will.

  149. Someone should focus on how all the corporate profits produced from this trade is taxed. The current arm's length pricing between subsidiaries is what allows multinationals to say (with a straight face) that their highest profits are "located" in Luxembourg, Ireland, Isle of Man, the Netherlands and other tax havens. Watch "The Town that Took on the Taxman" or "Taxodus" on YouTube to learn how simple and easy it is for multinationals to move profits to subsidiaries purposely locate in tax haven countries or British Crown possessions.

    The remedy is unitary taxation aka worldwide combined reporting which determines which profits belong in which country by the percentage of sales, payroll, and real property in each country - a measurement of substance rather than form. Unitary taxation has been approved at the state level by the US Supreme Court three times but only the state of Alaska currently utilizes it.

  150. In the time of global chains and their implicit value transfers among countries it does not make any sense to keep counting in traditional ways. Furthermore, counting individual prices confuses even more the unsuspecting public because there is always a difference between price and value (the latter more representative of the average of global prices)

  151. We don't need protection from China (much less Canada). We need protection from General Motors, Walmart, and even Boeing, each of which is doing everything it can to dispose of the American workers in its supply chain and replace them with low cost foreigners.

    Even those of us who despise Trump should be able to agree that policies that push American corporations to hire Americans are good not just for the individuals who get the jobs, but for the communities in which they live.

  152. Amen!

    Not to mention that Trump continues to hire *foreign* workers for his resorts when there are readily available American workers.

  153. All you need to know about Trump policies is that the strong arm tactics he uses don't apply to him or his family. The entire Ivanka line is produced elsewhere. There are no tariffs on any of her products and no American jobs will be created to manufacture her products here in the U.S. . And watch, her products will increase in price as if tariffs were being imposed on them. In addition, foreign workers are not welcome here. Unless they work at one of Trump's properties. Then they are fine to be here. More shots fired on Fifth Ave the base doesn't care about.

  154. It is the president's job to prepare Americans for the real world which begins with a globalized economy. In recognition of that, he would be wise to encourage US industries to identify jobs of the future, i.e., jobs that will remain in the US as the economy changes and help to train workers for those jobs. The US economy depends on consumption. If US workers can't afford to consume, the whole economy will fall apart. Even the captains of industry who are busy collecting their bonuses should be able to understand that.

  155. The overarching reality of how free trade benefits everyone appears lost to Trump. Classical economics talks about how each country producing what it is best at along with free trade leads to the greatest good for all. To be sure there are knotty circumstances that complicate the picture but the fundamental truth remains. However, there is a new even more powerful reason for cooperation to work.

    We are more than just on the horizon of breakthroughs in technology and medicine which is creating a slave worker force that can produce for all without complaint.

    Machines with super artificial intelligence, robots with incredible strength and gentleness mean bounty without lifting a finger. And scientific cooperation mean cures for Alzheimer’s and cancer, and the million and one ailments which plague life.

    When we are working as a team we are advancing these possibilities vs when we are working against each other. That is why free trade and the accompanying cooperation is so valuable.

    If Trump must have someone to go to war with and conquer let it be robots – at least for now they don’t feel pain. Let him call for an alliance to have mankind conquer them.

    The real threat is overpopulation.

  156. It's quite amazing how many people here in Canada are now avoiding buying American products. Yes, we're a small country and it won't make much of a difference but add in all the US' other allies and it will add up.

  157. I guess reading The Times or watching a movie made in Hollywood does not constitute consumption!

  158. The US is the strongest and largest economy in the world. Even Trump should see that that wouldn't be possible if international trade and NATO agreements were placing the US at a significant disadvantage. Therefore, using anedotal, data driven, and eye witness evidence shows that it's not hard to conclude that Trump is both, "trying to confuse the public [and] is rather confused himself."

  159. PS. Trump must think those farmers are pretty stupid if he expect them to believe him rather than their own balance sheets and bank accounts.

  160. "Scratch the surface of many of the president’s statements about trade, and it’s hard not to conclude that he is either trying to confuse the public or is rather confused himself."

    I just think he's dyslectic when it comes to numbers, and what he hears gets transposed to fit neatly into his grievances.

    Yelling that the US is getting ripped off and he, Donald Trump, will right the world's fiscal sins against us is playing extremely well at rallies.

    Remember that rally-goers aren't fact checkers and are so in love with this demagogue that they take his words at face value.

    But for a man who ostensibly understands the financials of real estate deals from his days studying in a special program taught by Wharton professors, he displays an incredible lack of fluency with the specifics of trade.

    How can he continually leave out "services" when he should be including them in what we export?

    I think maybe he just doesn't care because his base is easily swayed, and he's never seriously corrected by the cowardly Congress.

    But his lack of knowledge on what should be one of his signature issues is, to put it mildly, a huge embarrassment on the world stage.

  161. Trump offered at the last G7 meeting to drop Tariffs to zero between all G7 economies.

    Nobody thought he was serious and ignored him.

    He seemed serious to me - in one fell statement, he resolved the issue.

    Maybe the other members of the G7 actually like Tariffs.

  162. Trump says lots of things all the time; often, they are off-the-cuff, one-time comments, such as that about no tariffs.

    He has never repeated that and instead rails against fictional issues, much like Don Quixote attacking windmills!

    Re-read the editorial. Trump is lying — again — and ignoring the U.S.'s own tariffs!

    He has also started a trade war that is going to hurt the U.S. economy and millions of workers...

  163. save the farms, where did you come up with the idea Trump offered zero tariffs at the G-7? I have read many articles about that summit and do not think he made such an offer. Actually he is the sole one to cause this tariff war. Why do you support higher inflation and lost jobs?

  164. At this point in his presidency and life I find it amazing that anyone would believe anything trump says or trust he will honor any deal he makes. I believe the world is holding it breath just hoping we here at home come to our senses in November and 2020.

  165. For years the GOP and it’s right-wing think tanks and pundits railed against Obamacare because of the “uncertainty” it was causing to businesses they were unable to invest and expand.

    What is this trade war doing to create uncertainty, not to say, paralysis when it comes to business investment and expansion?

    Can the US economy really afford to withstand several years of retaliatory tariffs against our goods and services? Moreover, will the chaos caused by lobbyist-influenced exceptions to our own tariffs make US trade policy seem not only corrupt but completely incoherent?

    The answer to both questions is “yes”—and the purpose that it serves is to stir up even attacks on immigrants and the environmental as the cause of this self-created disaster. Then come cuts to Social Security and Medicare because of the dire effect a depressed economy coupled with unnneccessary tax-cuts will have on our deficit.

    Is deliberate malfeasance vis a vis the economy a high crime or misdemeanor?

  166. Informative and didactic editorial by the NYT.

    I want to add a unique privilege/feature of US international trade. America is the only country in the world who pays imports with its fiat issued currency, the dollar.

    America import essential goods and services and ship back tons of $100 dollar bills (nowdays the operation is done electronically).

    Dollars spent on import of goods and services are, eventually, recycled back to the American economy. As long as US trading partners continue to accept the greenback, trade deficits are irrelevant.

    Remember the energy crises of the 70s when the Middle East oil exporting countries or Japan in the 80s were poised to take over the American economy?

    The US face off is not to eliminate trade deficits. The challenge is how to create millions of well-paid jobs in a new era of stiff global competition and labor-replacement technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence.

  167. Have you read the label on the back of your shirt lately? It's not made in the USA!

  168. For those of us in the service sector, we do provide our professional services to all who are able to pay for it. This includes domestic and foreign entities. We do this based on the unique "know how" that we have.

    The US has maintained an edge in "knowledge based" enterprises, but this advantage IS NOT SUFFICE to offset the deficit in manufacturing.

    With respect to The Times Editorial Board, we (as a nation) generally cannot do the same thing with goods, especially durable goods. The cost to build plants, the cost to comply with regulations, the cost to properly compensate a talented staff/work force, etc. often make it virtually impossible to compete with those whose enterprises are based in other countries.

    What I stated in the previous paragraph has been the driving force to manufacture products closer to the point of sale.

    The basic fact is that WE (the USA) helped to rebuild Germany, Japan, et al. after World War II. This WAS the right thing to do (after the devastation/horror of war was made known to all). The reality that POTUS Trump understands (even in his ham-handed way) is that THE WORLD IN 2018 IS A VASTLY DIFFERENT PLACE THAN THE WORLD THAT EXISTED IN 1948.

    Seventy (70) years is a long time and tweaks in how international trade is done ARE LONG OVERDUE.

  169. Trump is hardly doing “tweaks”!

    He's trying to *blow up* the international economic order — for Putin's benefit!

    Re-read the editorial —Trump is lying outrageously about tariffs and trade and hiding the U.S.'s own high tariffs!

  170. @dmanuta
    Waverly, OH

    Ever heard of comparative advantage? At one time the US had a comparative advantage in the manufacture of many of the goods you describe. That started to erode in the 60's. I'm afraid even the constantly lying Trump cannot lie comparative advantage out of existence and any attempt to do so via the medium of higher tariffs will simply increase the price of goods to American consumers (you think US made washing machines will be cheaper?) and reduce the overall global level of trade so that other countries will be relatively poorer and thus less able to purchase those goods (eg. planes and ag products) and services where the US does enjoy a comparative advantage. Compris?

  171. Every demagogue needs a bogey man to whip the masses into a frenzy, almost always entirely fictional. Trump is the walking definition of demagoguery. He does not even try to appeal to reason, as there is none behind his "policies". It's all gut reaction, all the time. America, our gut is showing, and it isn't pretty. It's time to get fit again.

  172. I do not understand the NYT position here. First, if you believe in global warming, why would you want heavy industry pushed to China where they emit 50% more CO2 per unit of output than the US.? That is before it is put on huge cargo ships that are environmentally unregulated. Second, if you believe that the wage gap in the US is a major problem, why would you want a system where companies can just move manufacturing overseas instead of paying workers better wages? Trump is right on trade. His stance helps the environment and middle class wage earners. Maybe you pay $1 more for a tee shirt, but if you make $1 to $2 per hour more, it is a better deal.

    Another point is that you could argue that the Euro is a way for Germany to depress the value of its currency. It teams up with weaker economies, so it can keep its export juggernaut working. Then, like in Greece, the weaker countries become indebted to Germany and it influences great control over them.

  173. The NYT position is anti Trump. Their daily childish ranting is getting very tiresome.

  174. Misleading is not even close to reality; reality is far worse. Soybeans, not included in this article, have dropped in price by 24% as of today. China’s retaliatory tariffs are impacting my neighbors, small farmers not agribusiness. Their decision now, do they maintain this crop and harvest it or do they cut it and let it mulch the fields. No farmer can absorb a 24% drop in prices of a crop. The question that is being asked locally is whether the fuel and equipment costs of harvest warrant clearing the field. Some farms may not survive.

  175. Amen.

    Trump’s temper tantrum tariffs make it difficult, if not impossible, to make strategic decisions for next year.

  176. Without addressing the structural bottlenecks of the US economy and its mounting fiscal deficit, or correcting the serious governance deficits of his own chaotic rule, wolf crying and accusing others, allies and adversaries alike for the problems at home will simply add to the US isolation and decline with deep disaffection of Trump in the world that's learning to live and progress without the US, at least till Trump is at the helm.

  177. Trump can create alternative realities all he wants, but we can’t change the laws of accounting and the reality of economics. When his trade and tax policies result in an exacerbated recession or depression, real-life reality will thwart his perceived realities.
    Then the question will be where he targets the blame and how much support he will acquire in taking more drastic means of addressing reality. At some point, he will have to be held accountable. That’s up to the citizens of the U.S. and no one else.

  178. Neither Trump or his advisers can dispute the facts. So they cherry pick and hope that his supporters will not fact check him. Their strategy is to take credit for the healthy economy that they inherited from Obama and when the economy goes into a tailspin blame it on the Democrats. The base will buy it, hook, line, and sinker.

  179. While I am sure there is plenty to complain about in regards to Chinese practices, especially in the realm of intellectual property, allow me to present at least one side of the solar panel conversation.

    Solar panels are made of PV Polysilicon (Photo-voltaic grade). Back in 2004 and 2005, China actively recruited solar production experts from the US. I worked as a supplier in one of the largest US producers of polysilicon and observed this directly. Workers offered multi-year million dollar contracts took those jobs to help China get their PV polysilicon industry off the ground. There was no way that American manufacturers could have offered similar deals to keep local talent.

    Presumably those workers were under non-compete and NDA agreements regarding intellectual property, and they kept those agreements. But much knowledge may not have been proprietary. Is this theft, competition, or putting food on the table? We have been seeing the results of those specific actions for a decade now, with price reductions, declining American production effecting the entire supply chain and reduced competitive ability.

    Is this market competitiveness or theft? Can we live, grow, and learn in a world economy? We better figure it out.

  180. Are the trump campaign materials sourced from China subject to the tariffs? What about ivanka’s name-brand products?

    This whole episode is like an organized crime story and the tariffs are a substitute for protection payments.

    I guess it also shows that if you yell it loud enough, and with great conviction-correct or incorrect - some people will actually believe anything you say.

    In the meantime, I haven’t heard any crowing about stock market gains. That’s because they’re dissolving.

    Not a bad distraction from the Russia/obstruction of justice investigation.

  181. I think Mr. Trump should consider that perhaps American made goods are just not as good as he believes them to be, and perhaps that's why other people don't buy them?

    The reason people in Europe or Japan don't drive American cars isn't tariffs, it's that in most cases they're not anywhere near as useful to us as European, Japanese or Korean made cars, which are smaller, cheaper and more fuel efficient. Tesla is doing well over here, so maybe if other American companies saw hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles as something worth manufacturing, they'd be doing better.

  182. Donald Trump simply doesn’t understand complex issues. Worse, he doesn’t understand that he doesn’t understand complex issues, but continues to carry on like he’s uniquely qualified to handle matters that are vastly beyond his grasp.

  183. Is anybody in the world capable of understanding the complex issues?

    If you can understand them, those are not complicated at all.

    The issues are complex only if we cannot understand them…

  184. Please,

    remind us again who accurately predicted the Great Depression and the Great Recession...

    If the people understood what they were doing, they would not harm themselves.

    If somebody intentionally created the crisis, those individuals should have been arrested and prosecuted.

    Was anybody arrested in 1928 or 2008?

    Is there anybody who truly understands the complex issues?

    If we cannot do it, how can we claim that the other side is wrong if we don't know what is right?

  185. It is in HIS interest to paint us a victims. The voters he counts on swim in a sea of resentment and victimhood. He is their white-knight who is going to save them from evil (liberals, foreigners, non-whites etc.). Since they tend to believe that "the truth" is to be had only from Trump (and his sycophants like Hannity), they hear and swallow what he says all else being labeled "fake news."

    So, it is in HIS interest. However, the interests of the nation are not even in sight. All that matters to Trump is "Trump wins."

  186. There is a problem with trade, especially with China, which is linked with our outsourcing. And, there is a very serious problem with the way Mr. Trump approaches the solution of these issues and also , of course, with his analysis of the nature of the problems. He demonizes the actors, lies about the nature of the problem, and uses the problems for political purposes. But please Editorial Board, do not ignore the nature of the problems. Otherwise, why do you think Trump won in the "blue wall"? This service economy you are talking about is not working for the working class. It is working for the financial markets, and all the companies which are outsourcing labor and becoming immensely rich with the low salary they pay to foreign workers, and now with Trump's tax cuts, which they are not investing in our country but buying stocks back.
    Mr. Trump is a demagogue, great at bashing people, but we should no fall in his trap and confuse analysis with political attacks.

  187. This is a very complex issue. I'm not sure anyone really has a handle on it, although I was impressed by Commerce Sec'y Wilbur Mills' recent testimony to a congressional committee. The Senators generally also seemed relatively ignorant on the subject, only familiar with the particularities of one tariff or issue important to their state, and using catch-phrases. So, what to do? I don't know. Trump is looking for a simplistic solution - no barriers to trade. The problem with that is it doesn't let countries protect certain industries which could ruin them and leave the country vulnerable. It doesn't sound realistic. Maybe this ever-changing mixed bag is the best that can be done.

  188. Trump creates problems that are unnecessary. Trump has the support of 90% of the Republican Party and a whole bunch of others who voted for Obama. He has never gained the approval of half of those polled and has disapproval rates of a solid majority. Yet, Republicans who criticize him are at risk of losing office in the primaries, so they stay quiet. So, unless the Democrats achieve majorities in the Congress, Trump will continue as he has.

  189. It's not that the USA has high tariffs.

    The problem, as always with the Americans, is the hypocrisy: while it doesn't have official high tarriffs or even tarriffs at all, it readmits them through the back door with the "social dumping" mantra.

    According to the USG, the principle of the "social dumping" is that poorer countries use their poverty as a commercial advantage in the world market (because their labor force is much cheaper and they don't have rule of law, so they don't have regulations etc.). That would mean not only that they are poor on purpose, but that they use trade to get poorer, not richer (a contradiction of terms accoring to mainstream economics theories). This ironic, since it's a veiled admission that capitalism indeed produces misery at the same time it generates mountains of wealth, albeit in a morally inverted key.

    So, although the USA doesn't impose high tarriffs per se, it imposes very punitive quotas, which are de facto very high tarriffs, because those quotas are invariably ridiculously small, to the point of absurdity.

  190. I find it mildly amusing that liberals and Democrats continue to cling to the notion that quoting numbers and facts, and debunking Mr. Trump's lies will somehow make an impact on him and his administration. He doesn't care nor do his supporters. This isn't about policy or trade. He craves sycophancy and adulation; they need reassurance that their problems are not their fault and that an iron-fisted leader will show it to the foreigners and return them to the days of high paying (in some cases, blue collar) jobs. They feed and feed on each other and they disdain politicians, academics and the media and their nerdy facts and figures.

    Yes, Trump is a liar, a con-artist and an economic, social and environmental disaster. Yes, his presidency is more a reality tv show to feed his ago than a government for and of the people. But to connect with his base, address their fears and needs, to try to heal the partisan divide (and frankly to deny him that beachhead), we're going to need something more than trade data.

  191. What on earth would you suggest? That liberals lie more often and more extravagantly than Trump? That we simply call him and his followers names? Or come up with better insults? Personally, I'm afraid Trump will win until his followers realize they can't sell their crops because of his tariffs, and they're paying triple the price on everything they buy from other countries. And, of course, the Trump recession will have a major effect.

  192. Very well spoken!!!!!!!!!!!

  193. And how will we "heal the partisan divide"? Sounds like it's going to take a lot of welfare for white people before the MAGA folks feel fairly treated.

    They hate the idea of college, they hate "intellectuals", they hate the "elite", and they don't want anyone suggesting that they study their way out of their own troubles. Lifelong learning? Forget it. A job a high schooler can do for life with wages to support a family in a house and health insurance, with a cottage, two cars, and a boat is all they want--what's so hard about that? Why should they have to put all that time, effort and money into further education?

    Life is just so unfair to Trump voters: opioid crisis, factories closing, women having access to abortions, gays getting married. Yikes! It's enough to make you want to go take up farming where you can get paid thousands of dollars from the government for not growing anything. But that's not welfare, it's just wise agricultural policy. No, welfare is only what undeserving people get. They shouldn't have had those kids if they couldn't feed them. Addressing those "fears and needs" is more than I'm willing to do so long as they live in a Trump-induced fantasy land of grievance and entitlement.