Both sides of the political establishment are in an uproar after “White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer suggested that one possible source of funding for the proposed Mexican-American border wall could be a new 20% border tax on goods imported from Mexico,” according to Business Insider.
Immediately, the mainstream media started crunching the numbers, and studying the implications of President Donald Trump’s proposal. Since the implementation of NAFTA — a trade agreement that Donald Trump lashed out against in his campaign — U.S. imports from Mexico increased more than five-fold. Referencing the Trump administration’s argument that we have a severe trade deficit with our southern neighbor, a Mexico tariff would help even the playing field.
Of course, the standard counterargument is that this would hurt the American economy, particularly in border states like Texas, which does significant trading with Mexico. A Mexico tariff, or any kind of border tax, would hurt commerce, and ultimately, American jobs.
Yet as CNBC’s Jake Novak points out, this could be much ado about nothing. Donald Trump didn’t say that the 20% border tax is sacrosanct — it’s just a proposal. According to Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” the President is notorious for opening negotiations with ludicrous offers. It’s a psychological ploy designed to shock, then relieve as a more reasonable deal is finalized.
When you think about it, this is nothing more than Donald Trump once again trolling the trolls of the leftist liberal media, this time on the issue of the Mexico tariff. Trump has made a number of controversial statements — the Muslim ban, the border wall, possibly leaving NATO — and he’ll make, or tweet, many more.
One of the brilliant tactics of the President is that his delivery is so blunt and controversial that accusing him of being merely controversial no longer sticks. From there, Donald Trump can forward contentious proposals such as a Mexico tariff or a border wall — and no one can stop him. Certainly, no one finds these matters to be such pernicious talking points, having been talked to death during the campaign cycle.
A clear example of this just occurred hours ago, when President Trump signed an executive order implemented new vetting measures to keep out radical Islamic terrorists. We all know that this is the Muslim ban, but that is too controversial. Dial it down a notch and call it “extreme vetting,” and that sounds much more palatable to a broader base. Either way, Donald Trump gets what he wants.
So you can call it a Mexico tariff or a border tax — it simply doesn’t matter. The President is determined to build the border wall, and this is one of the ways that he’ll get Mexico to pay for it. Again, he’ll get what he wants.