On Thursday, President Donald Trump announced via Twitter that he would be imposing a new 5 percent tariff on Mexican goods in order to force them to stop migrants crossing the U.S. border:
….at which time the Tariffs will be removed. Details from the White House to follow.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 30, 2019
But Philip Klein, editor of the conservative Washington Examiner, blasted Trump’s plan as “reckless and mindbogglingly stupid” for several reasons.
“First, in the most direct way, raising tariffs on Mexico will mean a tax increase of up to 25% on American families and businesses purchasing any products from Mexico, one of the U.S.’ leading trade partners,” wrote Klein. “In 2018, Americans imported $346.5 billion in goods from Mexico, so on that basis it would amount to a nearly $87 billion tax increase. It also will punish industries that will be affected by inevitable retaliatory tariffs.”
“Secondly, this threat comes as the Trump administration was jump-starting the approval process for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that Trump previously touted as a major trade victory, but that has yet to be officially ratified,” Klein continued. “This will surely disrupt that process.’
“Thirdly, the whole justification for the previous administration’s tariffs has been that they were all part of a broader strategy to negotiate better trade deals,” said Klein. “Yet in this case, Trump is trying to lump trade in with cracking down on illegal immigration, which is a separate issue even if it could be argued there is a relationship between the two.”
“Fourthly, it’s difficult to see how this would facilitate containing illegal Mexican immigration,” Klein said. “The surest way that Mexico has to reducing the desire of Mexicans to leave for America is to improve the Mexican economy, which would be immensely more difficult in the midst of a trade war with the U.S.”
“Fifthly, it’s unclear what the metric will be for determining whether ‘the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied,'” added Klein. “Does that mean no illegal immigration from Mexico? A reduction by a certain percentage? I suppose we’ll have to leave that to the White House staffers tasked with translating Trump’s insane tweets into official policy language.”
“Congress should immediately intercede to block this reckless policy by reclaiming its traditional power over tariffs,” Klein concluded. “House Democrats should pass something and force Senate Republicans to either rebuke Trump’s policy, or answer for their cowardice.”