Darren Fitzpatrick D-MA
OP Ed by Congressman and DNC Chair Darren Fitzpatrick PHD in Economics
Those who dislike tariffs will point to more and more soybean growers and farmers in general are hurt by the tariffs and trade war. That is definitely significant, but appeals more to emotions by showing the disastrous economic consequences with real American families. Even so, it cannot be denied that even in states strongly won by republicans-such as the Plains-are equally as effected and equally as angry at the president and the republican leadership. These tariffs are not only hurting our farmers as evidenced by the recent march in the Plains states, but there is also proof that they do not work in the fact that the trade deficit has grown instead of decreasing. That is a stronger causal argument academically against the use of tariffs and protectionism. The other would be the history of it not working any other time either.....such as 1929 for example. It is quite clear that tariffs do not work. That is now a fact that cannot be disputed and is no longer up for debate. According to the wall street journal, the trade deficit-in spite of 4 years of tariffs that are supposed to make us win so much-is at its highest point in ten years.
The problem is that the republicans plan of protectionism-while appealing to the masses who are struggling through recessions-is just plain bad economics. It has actually been shown that recessions work well for cutting down trade deficits. All tariffs do, is artificially prop up prices while stopping the natural flow of money and goods through the marketplace....which only increases trade deficits. I find it extremely ironic that we stand here......democrats.....lecturing republicans on the necessity of free trade and free enterprise without government intervention. Sure, the role of intervention into the economy by government is usually pegged as being the temptation of a democrat, but the republicans fell into that same pit because it was politically expedient and opportunistic. Also, there are differences between intervention into banks for the sake of stopping greed-induced bubbles and kamikaze crashing the entire economy with tariffs because it pandered to blue collar workers in an election year.
Now there can be no more debate, no more waiting to see if it works. We can clearly see that tariffs are not working. We could have told you this 4 years ago.....oh wait....we did. I hate to be the one that says, "I told you so" and by no means do I mean to gloat on the backs of all the American families who were hurt by this reckless economic strategy to nowhere. I guess what I am trying to say is that the republicans would more easily be forgiven if they admit that they are wrong about tariffs and apologize. But I do not expect that to really happen. Instead what happened was republican Sarah Fitzgerald releasing statement calling the economy "strong" and "continues". The backlash from the president and his party's irresponsible economic policy was bound to happen, but the republicans are no longer bound to reality and thus refuse to admit that protectionism failed.
That brings us to the present......where so many are hurting because of it and the people behind it will not take responsibility for the mess they have created. One day I hope that the GOP will wake up and realize that the popularity of protectionism in one election was not worth the price on America as a whole not to mention all the families who's careers and livelihoods have been ruined irrevocably. All they have to do is admit that it was a mistake, say they are sorry and work with both parties to reverse the tariffs. It is no longer about politics, it is not about us being right and them being wrong. This is about undoing the damage while we still can........for the sake of our citizens. Just admit you were wrong, apologize and help us fix this. Wake up.
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