President Donald J. Trump on Twitter:
So: what was actually achieved here? Haley Byrd talked to free trade advocate Scott Lincicome, who says the answer is “not much”:
After a joint meeting on Wednesday, President Donald Trump and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker announced that they had reached a deal. in order to pursue a deal.
In a broad statement, the two leaders said they hoped to advance a new phase of collaboration, friendship, and strong trade ties in the relationship between the United States and the European Union. The rest of the statement offered glimpses at a purported desire for free trade, but was vague and left many questions unanswered.
“On the bright side, there is a clear de-escalation of rhetoric and that’s good, but the devil will be in the details,” Scott Lincicome, a trade lawyer and adjunct scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute, says. “And this provides almost no details. Meanwhile, all the tariffs implemented so far remain in force.”
During a phone interview, Lincicome walked through the joint statement and laid out what—if anything—of substance had been achieved by the meeting.
Lincicome’s comments on the details (as summarized by Byrd) include phrases like “while appearing ambitious, is actually quite narrow” and “largely aspirational and lacking in detail.” Also included are phrases like “We already knew that” and “They’re just talking” and “That’s, again, things they’ve always wanted to do.”
It’s a good thing everything’s fixed! Just don’t tell GM, because they’re not convinced:
General Motors Co. has become the highest-profile American company to fall victim to Donald Trump’s trade wars by cutting its profit forecast for this year on surging prices for steel and aluminum.
Adjusted earnings will drop to about $6 a share, down from a previous projection for as much as $6.50 a share, the Detroit-based company said Wednesday. Raw material costs probably will be a $1 billion headwind — roughly double GM’s previous expectation. The carmaker’s shares are on course for their steepest one-day plunge in more than seven years.
The hit to GM’s profit underscores the risk that Donald Trump’s policies pose to automakers. While the U.S. president is moving to weaken fuel economy mandates, his tariffs on steel and aluminum — and potentially on imported cars — is undercutting what was shaping up to be a near-record year for an iconic American company that weeks ago was riding high on a $2.25 billion investment in its autonomous-driving unit.
How bad is it? The tariffs have more than outweighed the tax cut for GM and other American automakers:
As a friend says by email: “I can see the campaign ads in Michigan and the midwest now: ‘Barack Obama saved GM; Donald Trump is sabotaging it.'”
Your job, as a card-carrying member of the tribe, is to defend this idiocy with whatever pathetic argument you can scrape up. For God’s sake — whatever you do — don’t think for yourself.
P.S. Thank God all those national security concerns that ostensibly justified these tariffs have been resolved. What were they, again?
[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]