It’s Tariff Man!
Okay, it’s not a real superhero. But it is Trump’s latest nickname — for himself.
The United States president introduced us to his alter ego in the middle of a series of tweets about a recent trade compromise reached with China at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires and future negotiations between the two countries.
“….I am a Tariff Man,” Trump wrote. “When people or countries come in to raid the great wealth of our Nation, I want them to pay for doing so.” He added that it would “always be the best way to max out our economic power” and that the US is “now taking in $billions in Tariffs.”
But Tariff Man seems to be a bit unclear on what his superpowers actually do.
As Vox’s Emily Stewart has written, “That’s not really how tariffs work. The US may be generating some revenue from tariffs, but billions of dollars aren’t pouring in. Moreover, a lot of the money that is made off of tariffs comes from US consumers — not Chinese companies.”
The stock market took a nosedive Tuesday afternoon as investors started to reconsider the trade-war ceasefire that the White House claimed to have reached with China. Trump — er, “Tariff Man” — made it clear that he’s willing to keep using tariffs as a negotiating tactic if he doesn’t reach a concrete deal with Beijing.
“We don’t yet have a specific agreement on that, but I will just tell you, as an involved participant, we expect those tariffs to go to zero,” Larry Kudlow, the National Economic Council director, said on a call with reporters Monday.
This lack of clarity has raised questions about whether this handshake agreement will do much to ease tensions with China. And Trump’s aggressive 90-day timeline doesn’t give Chinese and US officials much time to reach a consensus on complicated issues that have previously left the two sides at an impasse.
So Tariff Man, rather than saving America from a trade war, may have left more confusion in his wake.
Oh, and the stock market plunged 799 points today.
Click on the Vox link above, and see some of the tweets that followed Tariff Man’s idiotic declaration. One that wasn’t included is the one I think is the best. I don’t know how to embed tweets here, so I will just copy and paste. It’s from @MichaelMcGough3:
I shot the tariff, but I did not shoot the subsidy.