Yesterday, I wrote an article showing how Trump lied about the so-called success of his trade war and how, in reality, tariffs were killing the US economy. I also documented how his claim that China and other countries were paying the tariffs he levied on thousands of products since his trade war began is also a lie based on a new report showing approximately 100 percent of these costs falling directly on US firms and consumers.
With an election coming up and with Republicans growing nervous about Trump’s increasingly shaky economy, Senate “leaders” of the party are talking about finding ways to rein in Trump’s directionless and arbitrary trade policies, particularly Republicans representing states where industries most damaged by his trade war operate.
One of the casualties of Trump’s trade war has been and continues to be American agriculture, which is why he created a bailout program that has cost more than Obama spent to bail out the auto industry during the Great Recession.
This is allegedly the motivation behind Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s call yesterday for new legislation designed to rein in presidential authority to levy tariffs. Specifically, Grassley wants to reform Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act, which gives the president authority to impose tariffs for national security reasons.
“That’s been a goal of mine and still is a goal,” Grassley said of his often-discussed proposal to mandate congressional oversight on Section 232 authority. “I think as far as my committee is concerned, 232 is the best we could do in legislation.”
Actually, if Grassley — 62% Liberty Score® (D) — possessed even a trace of courage, his committee would reconsider Sen. Mike Lee’s Global Trade Accountability Act (S.177). Or better yet, the entire Republican party could simply follow Article I of the Constitution and reclaim Congress’s power to impose tariffs.
In reality, Grassley’s “goal” to rein in Trump’s abuse of power is little more than election-year grandstanding, the same grandstanding we witnessed during the 2018 mid-terms. That was the last time he expressed concern about how Trump was hurting agriculture, the same time he leveraged the situation to grab a piece of Trump’s farm bailout pie for himself.
I mentioned in yesterday’s piece that it’s hopeless to believe Trump will realize the error of his trade war and reverse course. Likewise, it’s equally hopeless to believe anyone in the Republican Party will force him to do so because Trump owns them, and they are cowards.
Besides, why would Grassley or any ag-state representative in Washington want to do anything to endanger the millions of dollars yet to be made from the bailout? Not to mention the votes it will buy Trump and the GOP in next month’s Iowa caucuses.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative.