Trump once tweeted that trade wars were good. Now the New York Times is reporting that not even his own advisers are buying it. While the White House contends that the Trump tariffs will help the economy, it seems that the administration’s team of in-house economists disagree.
The report from the Council of Economic Advisers has not been released to the public, but it has been circulated internally around the administration. The Times noted that in his appearance Tuesday, the Council’s chairman, Kevin Hassett, dodged questions about the economic outlook of the President’s protectionist trade policies.
The World Bank said that trade wars from these policies would be “devastating.” A bipartisan group of former CEA chairmen wrote to Trump saying “tariffs would raise costs for manufacturers, reduce employment in manufacturing, and increase prices for consumers.” The current CEA seems to agree.
Quartz cautioned about the possible nightmare scenarios spawned by Trump’s tariffs when they were initially announced, pointing to an almost certainty of higher consumer prices and the role trade wars played in the formation of the Great Depression.
And while it may not cause a new Great Depression, the Trump trade wars are poised to change the course of global recovery from 2008’s Great Recession.
“We regret the proliferation of tariffs announced in the last couple of days,” said Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Secretary-General Angel Gurria. “We believe they are a threat to the global recovery.”
Mexico has already retaliated with tariffs affecting $3 billion in US exports, hitting bourbon and agriculture hardest. And Mexico isn’t the only neighbor Trump has hit with tariffs.
In May, President Trump had a heated phone call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about American tariffs in which the President accused Canada of burning down the White House in the War of 1812, which he cited as justification for the national security necessity of tariffs against America’s northern ally.
Whether or not the President was kidding, a source on the call told CNN that the tariffs were “not a laughing matter.” And that echoed statements by Trudeau last Sunday.
“The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is, quite frankly, insulting and unacceptable,” Trudeau told Meet the Press.
There is no way to know how much, if any at all, of the CEA report will be made public. That determination is made by the White House, who remain bullish about tariffs despite the growing consensus of experts that disaster is looming.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.