Donald Trump has announced the use of his emergency powers to impose import tariffs on goods from Mexico. This is, obviously enough, not wise given that it is American consumers who benefit from imports, they who bear the costs of trade restrictions. But we know he doesn’t understand that. However, it’s the reason which is so extraordinary. It’s to stop illegal immigrants moving through Mexico. Which is something that’s not really under the control of the Mexican government in the first place – it’s illegal, right?
It’s as if Canada imposed tariffs upon the US because Guatemalans walk through the US to get to Toronto.
Trump’s Mexico Tariffs Are Borderline Crazy
President Donald Trump moved to use his broad executive authority in a new and unprecedented way this week, threatening to slap Mexico with punitive tariffs unless it slows the passage of migrants from Central America to the US. The tariffs will begin at 5% and increase to 25% in the coming months unless Trump sees the results he wants, the White House said. But what they are, exactly, White House officials couldn’t explain. If they go into effect, they will impose harsh economic penalties on Americans who buy goods from Mexico. Which is probably every American.
Quite so, why punish Americans for what the Mexican government is doing in the first place?
The statement added: “Thousands of innocent lives are taken every year as a result of this lawless chaos. It must end NOW! … Mexico’s passive cooperation in allowing this mass incursion constitutes an emergency and extraordinary threat to the national security and economy of the United States.” Specifically, White House sources told Fox News that Mexico would need to step up security efforts on the border, target transnational smugglers, crack down on illicit bus lines and align with the U.S. on a workable asylum policy. Mexico could use certain so-called choke points on the southern border to curb illegal migration sharply, according to the sources.
Gotta start wondering how bad the problem is in the first place really:
On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied,..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2019
For it’s factually correct to state that the Mexican government has been – trying at least – to reduce the number of such migrations. But when people are fleeing violence at home, rather than just migrating for a job, it’s pretty difficult to stop them coming. The White House release is here:
Democrats in Congress are fully aware of this horrible situation and yet refuse to help in any way, shape, or form. This is a total dereliction of duty. The migrant crisis is a calamity that must now be solved—and can easily be solved—in Congress. Our broken asylum laws, court system, catch-and-release, visa lottery, chain migration, and many other loopholes can all be promptly corrected. When that happens, the measures being announced today can be more readily reduced or removed.
That’s really what it’s about. It’s a play in US domestic politics about illegal immigration and attitudes toward it. But again, quite why the American consumer should be made to pay for all of this through tariffs is unknown. Except, perhaps, for the ignorance which makes some believe it’s the foreigners who pay and suffer from them. You know, Peter Navarro and the like…