Tariff Man: Trump’s Fragile Male Ego Crashes the Market

You would think this moron would savor what passed for a trade victory before immediately raining on his own parade.

In Buenos Aires, Trump managed to paper over deep differences with the Chinese, faking progress on trade talks and achieving a deferral of immediate sanctions. He also appointed his chief trade negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, to lead the talks.

Lighthizer is one of Trump’s few competent appointees, with extensive experience as a negotiator. He’s respected as both tough and pragmatic, as well as knowledgeable. If anyone can negotiate some kind of balanced modus vivendi with Beijing, it’s Lighthizer. So far, so good.

But then our twit president could not resist reaching for Twitter:

…I am a Tariff Man. When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for the privilege of doing so. It will always be the best way to max out our economic power. We are right now taking in $billions in Tariffs. MAKE AMERICA RICH AGAIN

Or, more precisely, make the market crash again. On Trump’s words, the Dow dropped 799.36 points, and the percentage loss was even higher for the S&P 500.

Financial markets were already skittish because of the upside-down yield curve, where long-term bonds don’t pay much more than short-term ones, an anomaly that usually signals impending recession. They were also nervous about deepening trade strife.

Trump gave them barely a day’s worth of hope that the worst might be averted, and then couldn’t resist screwing it up. “$Billions in tariffs,” he bragged.

But that’s chump change. The market loss Tuesday wiped out over $1 trillion worth of equity.

I get that this guy wants to screw Democrats, Mexicans, journalists, Muslims, and women, in both senses of the verb. What’s intriguing is his obsessive penchant for screwing himself. That may yet save the republic.

By |2018-12-05T20:57:41+00:00December 5th, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

About the Author:

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect as well as a Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow. He was a longtime columnist for Business Week, and continues to write columns in the Boston Globe. He co-founded the Economic Policy Institute in Washington and serves on its executive committee.

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