by Robert Reich
CA.) – Trump has gotten America into a trade war with all our
major trading partners. He’s put tariffs, which are essentially
taxes, on what they sell to us. And they’ve retaliated by
putting tariffs on what we sell to them.
trade war is dumb and dangerous for 3 reasons:
American companies make and sell things all around the world, employ
people all over the world, and are owned by investors all over the
At the same time, foreign companies are here, employing Americans,
and exporting from the United States. BMW,
a German company, is the biggest automobile exporter from the United
Tariffs hurt American workers.
drive up prices of inputs used by American workers to make all sorts
of things – thereby making our workers less competitive
on steel hurt American workers who use steel in making cars,
appliances, and motorcycles. Tariffs on chips, wires, and circuits
hurt American workers who use them for making high-tech products.
up the prices of goods bought by American consumers from all over the
world, reducing the purchasing power of American wages.
the equivalent of a wage cut.
tariffs push foreign governments to raise tariffs on American
making American workers even less competitive. Europe puts a
retaliatory tariff on Harley-Davidson’s motorcycle exports, and
what happens? Harley
moved production to Europe.
trade war that began in 1930 with the Smoot-Hawley
tariff ended up worsening the Great Depression.
The best way to increase the competitiveness of American workers has
nothing to do with tariffs. It’s to invest in America.
in the skills
and know-how of our workers, starting with early-childhood
education, through better schools, access to world-class technical
education, and access to college;
invest in future knowledge, through government support for basic
research and development.
in the infrastructure that links American workers to their
to other American workers, and to the global economy. This means
world-class roads, bridges, rapid transit, container ports, access to
high-speed Internet, and more.
in the health of American workers through universal health care
Trump and Republicans have been cutting all these investments.
wars may make Trump feel tough, because he loves tests of his
dominance. But they hurt average working people.
B. REICH is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the
University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum
Center for Developing Economies.
served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration and Time
magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries
of the 20th century.
Reich has written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock,
The Work of Nations, Beyond Outrage and most recently Saving
is also a founding editor of The American Prospect
chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts
and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning documentary
INEQUALITY FOR ALL.