To the hooting and hollering of the Democrats and some Republicans, Trump went ahead and threatened Mexico with tariffs.
More than that. The president didn’t just tweet out “strong words” and taunts.
Since Mexico, Democrats, many Republicans and his own courts have forced his hand, the president proceeded to “retrieve from his arsenal a time bomb of ruinous proportions.”
Or, so the Economist hyperventilated.
Trump issued an executive order, according to which a schedule of tariffs will be implemented unless Mexico polices its borders and ups its dismal rate of deportation, currently at 10 to 20 percent.
Beginning on June 10, “a 5 percent tariff was placed on all imports from Mexico, to be increased by five percentage points each month until it hits 25 percent in October.”
Lo and behold, Mexico quickly promised to arrest Central American migrants headed north. Agreements may soon materialize with Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, to which Trump has already cut off foreign aid, in March.
It remains for Trump to stick with tough love for Mexico and the rest. If the torrent of grifters from Central America does not let up, neither should the tariffs be lifted or aid restored.
Trump’s trade and tariff tactics are about winning negotiations for Americans; they’re not aimed at flouting the putative free-market.
How free and fair is trade anyway? Are unfettered markets at work when Canada, for instance, taxes purchases of American goods starting at $20, while America starts taxing Canadian goods at $1000? Hardly.
Free trade is an unknown ideal, to echo Ayn Rand’s observations. What goes for “free trade,” rather, is trade managed by bureaucratic juggernauts—national and international—central planners concerned with regulating, not freeing, trade; whose goal it is to harmonize labor, health, and environmental laws throughout the developed world. The undeveloped and developing worlds generally exploit labor, despoil land and kill off critters as they please.
The American market economy is massive. Trump knows its might. The difference between the president and his detractors is that Trump is prepared to harness the power of American markets to benefit the American people.
But what of the “billions of dollars in imports from Mexico” that are at stake, as one media shill shrieked.
Give me a break. The truth about what Fake News call a major trading partner, Mexico, is that it’s a trade pygmy—a fact known all too well to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and his foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard.
The reason these leaders were quick to the negotiating table once a schedule of tariffs had been decided upon by the president is this. Via the Economist:
“Only about 15 percent of the United States’ exports go to Mexico, but a whopping 80 percent of Mexico’s exports head the other way. ‘There is nothing we have in our arsenal that is equivalent to what the United States can do to us,’ says Andrés Rozental, a Mexican former diplomat and minister.”
Next, President Trump must compel Mexico to accept “safe third-country status.” Translated, this means that the U.S. can expel any and all “asylum seekers” if they pass through Mexico, as Mexico becomes their lawful, first port-of-call.
Thinking people should realize that Trump’s victory here is a Pyrrhic one. For what the president has had to do is convince the Mexican president to deploy his national guards to do the work American immigration police are not allowed to do.
The U.S. must turn to Mexico, a narco-state, to police its border because the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has, to all intents and purposes, outlawed immigration laws.
Congressional quislings, for their part, have sat back and grumbled about the need for new laws. But as Daniel Horowitz argues convincingly, this is “a separation of powers problem.” Unless the Trump administration understands that the problem lies with the lower-court judges [usurping their constitutional authority] and not the law—there will be no fix.
For President Trump, the executive order serves as a way around the courts’ violation of the constitutionally enshrined federal scheme, within which the role—nay, the obligation of the commander in chief—is to defend the country.
Although they’re temporary fixes, executive orders can serve to nullify unjust laws. As I argued in my 2016 book, “The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Reconstructed,” executive orders are Trump’s political power tool—justice’s Jaws of Life, if you will—to be used by the Executive to pry the people free from judicial oppression.
Understand: The right of a nation to stop The World from flooding its communities amounts to upholding a negative right. In other words, by stopping trespassers at their borders, Americans are not robbing invaders of the trinity of life, liberty and property.
All that Americans are asserting is their right to be left alone. What we are saying to The World is what we tell our disobedient toddlers every day, “No. You can’t go there.”