Donald Trump's border tax Waterloo

Bacon and eggs, give and take, Lucy and Desi, rock and roll, Tarzan and Jane – a handful of inseparable combinations.  What about benefits and costs?  Until a free lunch is finally invented, benefits and their attendant costs never occur as a divorced couple.

Then why do we find issue upon issue lauding a benefit while ignoring its cost?  For example, progressives touting open borders forget to answer the question of how many American citizens they're willing to sacrifice to acts of terrorism in order to achieve the real or imagined benefit of immigration.    

Unfortunately, the political left holds no exclusive patent on ignoring or underestimating the dire costs of chasing benefits.  In seeking to rejuvenate manufacturing in the United States, President Trump may be manufacturing his own political Waterloo via the invention of a border tax.

A border tax is a euphemism for a tariff, the economic consequences of which are generally well understood.  But it is not the economics, but the political fallout that could imperil the president and signal an early end to the Trump Era.

Every tariff initiates a trade-off in benefits and costs.  Exports are favored, fostering job creation; imports are punished, pushing their costs higher.  The benefit side fulfills President Trump's goal of rebuilding quality jobs for some of  America's "forgotten men"; the cost side is the price increase of a wide range of products including food, energy, clothing, and technology, to name a few.  It's a penalty borne by all – yes, all – American consumers.

As any pollster would advise, count the numbers.  Some win, but all pay.  In a democracy, that's a problem.  In a hostile partisan democracy, that's potentially fatal.

When imposing a border tax in an uncomplicated democracy, a percentage of the population wins the brass ring of jobs, but the entirety of the population pays for it.  At election time, there are more burdened voters than privileged voters – not good for re-election.

In the hostile partisan democracy we live in, the president's detractors would not merely put their thumb on the scale of public sentiment; they would throw the entire GOP elephant on it.  Refrains like "Republicans tax the struggling middle class to channel money to their rich business cronies" would ring throughout the land and saturate every media outlet imaginable.

In a world where Chicken Little progressives blow up any Republican blemish, real or imagined, into a case of elephantiasis, imagine a mounting crusade based on a kernel of truth.  After all, a border tax does create a redistribution of benefits and costs.

In a border tax world, progressive maestros would portray the entire nation of voters as living in a tax hike hell orchestrated by President Trump, with only a handful of citizens reveling in new jobs.  Given the historical trend for incumbents to lose congressional seats in midterm elections, goodbye, Senate, followed closely by goodbye, Supreme Court appointments.

Goodbye, Trump Era.

Bacon and eggs, give and take, Lucy and Desi, rock and roll, Tarzan and Jane – a handful of inseparable combinations.  What about benefits and costs?  Until a free lunch is finally invented, benefits and their attendant costs never occur as a divorced couple.

Then why do we find issue upon issue lauding a benefit while ignoring its cost?  For example, progressives touting open borders forget to answer the question of how many American citizens they're willing to sacrifice to acts of terrorism in order to achieve the real or imagined benefit of immigration.    

Unfortunately, the political left holds no exclusive patent on ignoring or underestimating the dire costs of chasing benefits.  In seeking to rejuvenate manufacturing in the United States, President Trump may be manufacturing his own political Waterloo via the invention of a border tax.

A border tax is a euphemism for a tariff, the economic consequences of which are generally well understood.  But it is not the economics, but the political fallout that could imperil the president and signal an early end to the Trump Era.

Every tariff initiates a trade-off in benefits and costs.  Exports are favored, fostering job creation; imports are punished, pushing their costs higher.  The benefit side fulfills President Trump's goal of rebuilding quality jobs for some of  America's "forgotten men"; the cost side is the price increase of a wide range of products including food, energy, clothing, and technology, to name a few.  It's a penalty borne by all – yes, all – American consumers.

As any pollster would advise, count the numbers.  Some win, but all pay.  In a democracy, that's a problem.  In a hostile partisan democracy, that's potentially fatal.

When imposing a border tax in an uncomplicated democracy, a percentage of the population wins the brass ring of jobs, but the entirety of the population pays for it.  At election time, there are more burdened voters than privileged voters – not good for re-election.

In the hostile partisan democracy we live in, the president's detractors would not merely put their thumb on the scale of public sentiment; they would throw the entire GOP elephant on it.  Refrains like "Republicans tax the struggling middle class to channel money to their rich business cronies" would ring throughout the land and saturate every media outlet imaginable.

In a world where Chicken Little progressives blow up any Republican blemish, real or imagined, into a case of elephantiasis, imagine a mounting crusade based on a kernel of truth.  After all, a border tax does create a redistribution of benefits and costs.

In a border tax world, progressive maestros would portray the entire nation of voters as living in a tax hike hell orchestrated by President Trump, with only a handful of citizens reveling in new jobs.  Given the historical trend for incumbents to lose congressional seats in midterm elections, goodbye, Senate, followed closely by goodbye, Supreme Court appointments.

Goodbye, Trump Era.

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