Writing at The American Conservative, Pat Buchanan savages Republican Senators speaking out against the tariffs proposed by President Trump. He calls their criticisms of tariffs “ahistorical nonsense,” and says that tariffs are what made America into the powerhouse economy it is today. He writes (abridged):
From Lincoln to William McKinley to Theodore Roosevelt, and from Warren Harding through Calvin Coolidge, the Republican Party erected the most awesome manufacturing machine the world had ever seen.
And, as the party of high tariffs through those seven decades, the GOP was rewarded by becoming America’s Party.
Thirteen Republican presidents served from 1860 to 1930, and only two Democrats. And Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson were elected only because the Republicans had split.
Why, then, this terror of tariffs that grips the GOP?
Consider. On hearing that President Trump might impose tariffs on aluminum and steel, Sen. Lindsey Graham was beside himself: “Please reconsider,” he implored the president, “you’re making a huge mistake.”
Twenty-four hours earlier, Graham had confidently assured us that war with a nuclear-armed North Korea is “worth it.”
“All the damage that would come from a war would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security,” said Graham.
A steel tariff terrifies Graham. A new Korean war does not?
“Trade wars are not won, only lost,” warns Sen. Jeff Flake.
But this is ahistorical nonsense.
The U.S. relied on tariffs to convert from an agricultural economy in 1800 to the mightiest manufacturing power on earth by 1900.
The hysteria that greeted Trump’s idea of a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum suggest that restoring this nation’s economic independence is going to be a rocky road.
In 2017, the U.S. ran a trade deficit in goods of almost $800 billion, $375 billion of that with China, a trade surplus that easily covered Xi Jinping’s entire defense budget.
If we are to turn our $800 billion trade deficit in goods into an $800 billion surplus, and stop the looting of America’s industrial base and the gutting of our cities and towns.
Specifically, we need to shift taxes off goods produced in the USA, and impose taxes on goods imported into the USA.
The idea is not to keep foreign goods out, but to induce foreign companies to move production here.
We have a strategic asset no one else can match. We control access to the largest richest market on earth, the USA.
Read more here.
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