Yesterday, on his way to what comedian Bill Mahar calls one of his "Nuremberg Hillbillies Rallies," Donald Trump threatened the "ruination" of Canada. Daniel Dale writes in The Toronto Star:
He told reporters on Air Force One: “Canada has been ripping us off for a long time. Now, they’ve got to treat us fairly.”
“I don’t want to do anything bad to Canada. I can — all I have to do is tax their cars, it would be devastating. If I tax cars coming in from Canada, it would be devastating,” he continued, according to a pool reporter travelling with him.
“Actually, on some countries, including Canada, a tax on cars would be the ruination of the country,” he said. “That’s how big it is. It’d be the ruination of the country. Now, they’ve taken advantage of us for many decades. We can’t let this happen anymore. We have a country to run.”
Trump made clear, as he has before, that he sees the auto tariff threat as an effective tool in trade talks. He claimed that whenever he broaches such tariffs, negotiators from other countries surrender to his desires: “We’ll do it! We’ll do it! We’ll agree! We’ll agree!”
Given the portrait of the man which emerged this week from Bob Woodward's new book and the anonymous editorial in The New York Times, no one should be surprised by Trump's rhetoric. And what Trump's chief economic advisor, Larry Kudlow -- who incidentally has no economics credentials -- said yesterday makes it clear that we have a problem:
“The United States would rather have a trade deal with Canada, but it has to be a good deal, right. And the word that continues to block the deal is M-I-L-K,” Kudlow said on Fox Business. “I’m just saying: let go — milk, dairy, drop the barriers, give our farmers a break, and we can fix some other things.”
Auto tariffs on Canada would primarily hit American manufacturers -- GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler. The fate of Harley Davidson offers a cautionary tale on the subject of Trump's tariffs.
Life is difficult for everyone when the American president is a bonehead who is advised by boneheads.
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