by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
Are the attacks from left and right undermining the president? You decide. Here’s a snapshot in time from Rasmussen:
The president earned a monthly job approval of 50% in April, up two points from March and his highest monthly rating since February 2017, his first full month in office. In January of this year, Trump’s monthly job approval had fallen to 44%, its lowest level in a year. But it jumped five points to 49% in February following his well-received State of the Union speech, recapturing the high ground he held for most of 2018. Forty-nine percent (49%) disapproved of the president’s job performance last month, but that’s down two points from March.
Meantime, the president is talking about ramping up tariffs on Chinese goods.
Trump on Sunday raised pressure on Beijing to strike a trade deal by announcing he would increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports Friday to 25 percent from 10 percent. He also floated the possibility of extending a new 25 percent duty on another $325 billion of imports not already covered.
“Risks of a full blown trade war are escalating,” Chua Hak Bin, a senior economist at Maybank Kim Eng Research Pte. in Singapore, said before the ministry’s announcement. “Trump’s threat may backfire as China will not want to negotiate with a gun pointing at their heads.”
Here’s the problem with tariffs. As JLF’s Roy Cordato explained back in December, tariffs are nothing more than taxes.
In spite of his anti-tax rhetoric about corporate and income taxes, in referring to himself as “the tariff man” Trump was signaling that, at least in one area, he has no problem with new taxes. From Trump’s perspective, if you are an American consumer or producer who has the audacity to purchase products made abroad, you are fair game. In fact, the increased revenues that are obtained when you insist on making these apparently anti-social choices are something for the president to brag about. As Trump noted in this same tweet, “we are now taking in $billions in tariffs.”
Time for the president to rethink his tariff strategy.