When reality does not suit one’s purposes, normal people adapt their plans and even modify their thinking. It’s a common practice known simply as being realistic. Donald Trump is not normal. So, when he does not like reality, he invents what he would like to be reality and then tries to gaslight the American public into believing it. One area where Trump has been doing this recently is with tariffs, insisting that his reckless trade war with China hurts the Chinese economy — without costing the American taxpayer a penny.
Trump has so far largely succeeded in feeding his tariff fable to supporters who are used to swallowing Trump’s words whole without thinking about them. But a new development should make it more difficult for Trump and his economic advisors to continue convincing blue-collar workers, farmers, and other hard-working Americans that they are not being harmed by this lunatic’s ill-conceived con.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued a report yesterday that lends hard data to contradict the fantasy that Trump has been trying to peddle when it comes to tariffs and their effect on Americans’ bottom line. The CBO projects that Trump’s tariffs will shrink the GDP by 2020 and warned that the additional tariffs that Trump is planning (for September 1 and in mid-December) would slow economic growth even further. According to the report, Trump’s existing tariffs are expected to reduce household income by $580 by 2020.
The CBO report follows a similar ominous message from the private sector earlier this week. According to CNBC, JPMorgan sent a note to its investors on Monday cautioning that Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods so far have been costing American families around $600 a year. Even more alarming, JPMorgan warns that this total should rise to $1,000 per family once the September and December tariffs take effect.
It has been easy for diehard supporters to accept Trump’s garbage when it does not appear to harm them. But these new communications lend data to the inconvenient fact that American taxpayers are indeed footing the bill for Trump’s tough-guy act with China. Some supporters will no doubt remain enmeshed in Trump’s con. But for any Trump supporter who can think independently, these numbers should come as proof that Trump has been lying to them while helping himself to their hard-earned money. If not for the sake of the country, then at least for the sake of their own pocketbook, every Trump supporter must decide if the guy they thought was their charming advocate is actually a two-faced thief.