Monday, August 7, 2017

Points to consider

Trump's tariff will most adversely impact shoppers at Walmart, Kmart, and other big box sellers of low price, imported manufactured goods.

It will immediately benefit the rich payors of the income tax, whose rates will be reduced by the GOP Congress that wanted the import tax for that purpose, all along.

So, though it will massively hurt all the others, will any resulting moves of the affected industries back to the states resulting from Trump's tariffs help even many of those Walmart shoppers who might be employed or become employed by newly protected industries?

Not much, if at all, if it is true - and it seems so - that (a) many US manufacturers find robots or wholly unprotected illegal aliens cheaper than American workers, even at current wage rates; (b) Trump and the GOP are hard at work undermining unions, already much weaker than during their best days in the 20th Century; and (c) Trump and the GOP are withdrawing government protections for US workers as far as possible, and will lower or abolish rather than raise the federal minimum wage.

In consequence, if things actually are as they now seem to me (always a big if), the effect in net and overall of Trump's tariff will actually be to significantly harm "the forgotten (white, uneducated, rust belt, Appalachian) men" who got conned into voting for Bozo, last year.

What everybody forgets is that US auto, coal, and steel workers were our "labor aristocracy," and their wages and benefits were much above the norm for everybody else, back when the going was good for them.

That was possible because the relevant unions controlled those entire industries so that, in the end, only foreign goods could undersell the goods of unionized American producers.

Foreign cars and foreign steel were able to strike such heavy blows to American producers and take over large sections of our domestic market because those same industrial unions had made it impossible for any American producer to make and sell products on our markets at prices as low as theirs.

Seemingly, protectionism could have saved the positions of American steel and American auto producers, at least as regards their dominance of the American market, and at least for a while.

But only by forcing every worker in America who wasn't employed in those industries to pay a very handsome tribute to those much fewer who were, or by breaking the unions' control of those industries.

No American workers are going to be compensated like those labor aristocrats were, ever again.

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