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Letter to the Editor: Tariffs
Opinion

I swear it is getting harder and harder to keep up with the latest on the national scene. I think it would be better to try and worry a few problems into some sort of submission before starting another fight. But what do I know.

Tariff discussions are about the most boring subjects in the room. Just for fun the other evening at our church’s Valentine dinner I trotted out the subject of tariffs and most people got up from the table and went to get seconds. My wife gave me a sharp elbow as a warning to knock it off.

Tariffs can be like a bad wheel bearing. You don’t notice until the wheel falls off.

President Trump is right about the need to try and get to balanced trade. He is wrong about trade wars being good and he is very, very wrong about how easy they are to win.

Tariffs on specific products should only be used to protect vital defense industries.You can make a case that the president is doing just that. Our defense systems need steel as well as electronics. If China makes all our chips we will be easy pickings.

The other use of tariffs is to try and balance foreign trade. Today we have around a $500 billion negative trade annual imbalance. We buy a lot more stuff from other countries than they buy from us. We have been doing that for years and years. The total imbalance is so big nobody can count that high. That is why many of the good paying manufacturing jobs have left the country. The good pay and benefits went with those jobs.

If left unchecked, it will ruin our currency. The free traders, the very wealthy and the one government globalizers are happy. The rest of the U.S. people, not so much.

Free trade is a myth. Fair and balanced trade is the goal. It is wrong to sacrifice the average American to try and make the world a better place based upon a New Age idea of globalization.

The solution is to have “creeping tariffs.” On a country by country basis add a 1 percent tariff each year to those countries that have a negative current account balance with the USA. Slowly and over time, trade will begin to equalize and the current account balance will head to zero. World trade will not undergo a shock.

At least President Trump is trying to do something about trade. 

 

Gary Pichon

Marble Hill

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