Fake Hysteria? Wilbur Ross Insists Tariff Won’t Cost American Jobs

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Wilbur Ross, an  American investor and the current United States Secretary of Commerce, told George Stephanopoulos on Sunday that it’s not true the tariffs on steel and aluminum will cost American jobs and American consumers.

The Actual Numbers

“Let me give you some actual numbers,” Ross said. “Those sloganeerings don’t really mean much until you put them into numbers. On an average car, it’s $175 worth of steel increase is the maximum that would come from a 25 percent tariff increase. That’s not much.”

Stephanopoulos interrupted, saying that’s without European retaliation.

Ross interrupted him: “No, let me continue. Similarly, all the other products, the total amount of tariffs we’re putting on is about $9 billion in a year. That’s a fraction of one percent of the economy. So the notion that it would destroy a lot of jobs, raise prices, disrupt things is wrong. As to the idea of retaliation, sure there may well be some sort of retaliation. But the amounts that they’re talking about are also pretty trivial. It’s some $3 billion-odd of goods that the Europeans have threatened to put something on.”

“Well in our size economy, that’s a tiny, tiny fraction of one percent. So while it might affect an individual producer for a little while, overall it’s not going to be much more than a rounding error.”

When Stephanopoulos said it sounds like we are already in a trade war, Ross explained that the concessions we gave at the end of WWII made sense at the time but no longer.

The Trade Concessions Date Back to World War II

“Well, think about it, we have unilaterally given away all kinds of concessions ever since the end of World War II. And in the beginning that was probably good policy to rebuild Europe and rebuild Asia after the ravages of the war. The mistake that our trade negotiators made way back then, and continued to make, was not time limiting it. Concessions that were perfectly reasonable to make to Germany in 1945 or China in 1945 don’t make sense anymore. Those are now very mature, big, strong economies.”

“So, there’s a lot of history that needs to be undone.”

Ross also explained what the President meant when he said: “trade wars are easy to win.”

“Well, I think what the president had in mind was that unlike the Smoot-Hawley days in the 1930s, back then the U.S. had a big trade surplus and the world was in a depression. Now, we have a big trade deficit. Well, if we have a big trade deficit with our other partners, they have a lot more to lose than we do, because those hundreds of billions of dollars are in their pockets now, not ours.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. Many, especially so-called conservatives, are looking at this in a very limited context, one being a “trade war”. I do believe many of those are in the camp of not being bothered by, essentially, social Darwinism.

    This mainly centers around the “free flow of money”. As has been noted; there is approximately an 800 BILLION dollar trade deficit. So, what is it and what does it mean. To put simply, that is the same as taking 8 billion one-hundred dollar bills and sending them overseas. Granted some of that may be invested in this country but that generally is buying an American company so ITS profits also can be sent overseas. How long must this continue before, as a Country, we are “working for” an overseas company or country.

    Regarding Tariffs, we have Conservatives that hammer home how important the Constitution is and being subverted. Everything they speak about centers Around that principle, Until it is about “global economics”, specifically trade. We cannot have tariffs, they are bad…The Constitution is second to economics and set on the back burner. As global warming is a religion to the left, this issue is a religion to some on the right.

    A country that is the size of the US economy has more weight in the global sphere of influence than anti-Tariff apologists would admit. It would be a different matter if there weren’t tariffs already. There are huge tariffs levied on US products already, Mexico a large one, and THIS money goes to the pockets of those foreign Governments. We are, therefore, subsidizing not only the producers of those countries but also their Governments. If they were to put additional tariffs on more products it would be a net negative for them.

    This is nothing new in the modern era. Because of the imbalance we have lost entire industries to foreign countries. In the 60’s we allowed Japan to sell widely in the US and the products were mostly junk. No one at that time was concerned because it was referred to as such. It didn’t take long when they began with the transistor radio market and eventually went into every other electronics industry. It was of no concern when the last Television manufacturer closed down. Conservatives would just call that “competition”. That competition led to the conclusion that the US would be a country of the “service sector” and manufacturing was best done overseas.

    That was ONE industry. How many industries must be obliterated before those on the right wake up. This IS a matter of NATIONAL SECURITY. As it stands now many of our strategic infrastructure is overseas, mostly China. As it stands now our military has to rely on Chinese manufacturers for parts and electronics. As it stands now the vast majority of computer technology is done in China. As it stands now the vast majority of our communications, done via iPhones, are manufactured in China. So, how long will it be before we realize we are at the mercy of China.

    One of the main threats to this country is North Korea, which has the backing of China. If we have to take some type of action against North Korea, such as knocking out a missile, we have to be concerned China could retaliate and start an economic war. This is the brink we have come to. So, for these Republicans and “staunch” Conservatives who value “economics” over the Constitution and even this country I would call them Un-American. Some have referred to the last Steel tariffs with Bush and that didn’t turn out well. Without going into details I’ll just say Bush was an idiot and Inept.

  2. Look what Obama did to the car market with his cash for clunkers program. He paid people to have millions of good cars destroyed. That drove up car prices. That took our tax money.

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