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Trump wants new presidential powers that would let him intensify his catastrophic trade war.
Trump’s trade war has been going terribly, but he’s still trying to find new ways to wage it. And his latest idea would not only keep the battle going — it would also expand his presidential powers.
At next week’s State of the Union, Trump is expected to ask Congress to give him new powers to increase tariffs if he feels that other countries’ non-tariff measures are problematic. A “non-tariff measure” includes things like customs duties or other regulatory laws.
In other words, Trump wants the option to increase U.S. tariffs in order to punish other countries for policies other than tariffs that he doesn’t like.
Trump has already been pushing the limits of his power on trade for months, and now he’s asking for even more power. He already employed a little-used law to get around Congress once before so he could place steep tariffs on Chinese goods, and on aluminum and steel from other trading partners.
Even without his disastrous new ideas, Trump’s trade war is already a massive failure.
Midwestern farmers are going bankrupt in record numbers partly because the trade war means China is no longer purchasing soybeans from America. Trump was kind enough to tell those farmers that they’d suffer, but he would “make it up to them” later.
Things aren’t any better for the auto industry. GM is cutting nearly 15,000 jobs, and considering closing five plants, because it has lost $1 billion thanks to Trump’s steel tariffs.
Major employers like Caterpillar and Honeywell, which collectively employ close to 100,000 people in America, are suffering 10-figure losses because of the trade war.
Giving Trump more executive power is a bad bet in any situation. But it’s an especially foolish idea in the context of trade, where his every move has resulted in disaster and chaos. There’s just no reason to make it easier for him to hurt hard-working Americans.