Tariff Critics Put Mexico First



The ink had barely dried on President Donald Trump’s tariff order before the pundit class started attacking the 5 percent surcharge on all goods imported from Mexico.

The howls weren’t confined to Mexico, but ranged across America’s political spectrum. The conservative National Review called Trump’s action “a $17 billion-a-year-and-rising sales tax on Americans.” The left-leaning New York Times speciously concluded that the U.S. is “no longer a reliable negotiating partner.”

Amid their rush to judgment and plucked-from-air calculations, NR’s naysayers averred, “In reality, it is difficult to say how much money would be raised, because buyers respond to tariffs in unpredictable ways.” Read: Buy American.

Likewise, the Times acknowledged that Mexico and other major trading partners “need the huge American market [and]Mr. Trump’s constant threat of tariffs may succeed at getting victories.” Indeed.

Beyond dollars-and-cents speculation, the core concern remains border security, and Mexico is in a unique position to stanch the surge of northbound migrants. It should be clear by now that mere jawboning by the White House won’t yield results — especially when Congress does nothing and lower-court judges undermine the administration’s enforcement efforts at every turn. Mexico needs an incentive to do the right thing, starting with enforcement of its own southern border.

A standard “safe third country” agreement that allows the U.S. to exclude asylum-seekers who transit through Mexico would be a good start at deterring Central American migrants. While Mexico has resisted signing a third-country accord like the one Canada has with the U.S., Trump’s escalating tariff schedule will impose progressively steeper costs on Mexico City’s passive-aggressiveness.

Lest Americans forget, tariffs have been an integral tool of U.S. policy from the beginning. Every president on Mt. Rushmore and on our currency used tariffs to promote this country’s interests and safeguard its sovereignty. The tariff is a presidential prerogative the founders wisely built into the Constitution; it’s there to be used. With Trump declaring a national emergency four months ago, if not now, when?

As the president observed in his tariff announcement: “Mexico makes a FORTUNE from the U.S., have for decades, they can easily fix this problem. Time for them to finally do what must be done!”

If the media pundits have better ways to constructively resolve the humanitarian and security crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, by all means let’s hear them. PS: We’re not holding our breath.

About Author

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Bob Dane, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR)'s Executive Director, has been with FAIR since 2006. His deep belief is that immigration is the most transformational determinant of where we are heading as a nation and that our policies must be reformed in the public interest. Over many years on thousands of radio, TV and print interviews, Bob has made the case that unless immigration is regulated and sensibly reduced, it will be difficult for America to reduce unemployment, increase wages, improve health care and education and heighten national security. Prior to joining FAIR, Bob spent twenty years in network radio, marketing and communications after an earlier career in policy and budgeting within the Reagan Administration. Bob has a degree from George Mason University in Public Administration and Management.

7 Comments

  1. avatar

    Don’t really care about the critics. I admire the doers, specifically Pres. Trump, who in spite of his “warts and all” he actually does stuff. The loudmouth lefty cretins out there only find fault. Screw ’em. I’ll go with Trump.

  2. avatar

    I still say that anyone against the decisions our president has to make to protect us has not been directly effected yet. They must live somewhere safe and quiet and not have to deal with neighbors that raise Chickens in the city, turn their music up as loud as it will go at any hour of the day they want to. Neighbors that have 22 people living in a single family home right across the street. That have 12- 13 vehicles parked on the front lawn. When the women walk all their children to school, it looks like a whole class on a field trip. Neighbors that keep stolen Dogs for the Illegal Dog Fight cartel and transport those crying frightened animals back and forth everyday to be used as Bait to train champion fighting Dogs . The training and fighting matches take place right under our noses. And there is nothing we can do to stop it. Not only do I have to put up with all the other activity, the racing up and down the streets , the out of control crime, higher insurance rates because now its considered a high crime area, the rise of food costs, no housing available, so homeless people are camping behind my house, and 2-3 month waiting time to get a Doctor or Dentist appointment, I have to listen to those sweet little Dogs crying for help. And read all the posts from desperate pet owners that are looking for their lost family pet. All those people that question our presidents tactics should experience what is really going on first hand. Because if they did, they would be on their knees begging the President for help. Oh, and they probably don’t know anything about the Satanic Animal Sacrificing that is practiced by the Salvadorian immigrants over here. They claim it is their right to practice their religious believes . It’s very ugly.

    • avatar

      I Saw a Recent CBS News Article on Mysterious Caused Cat Mutilations in MASS Lately

      I’d post it, but its horrible to look at the pictures, so I didn’t.

      I know the poor Asian [other ethnic groups too?] community eats dogs as a custom, but are pet cats “possibly” eaten by the homeless poor hoards? The question crossed my mind when I remembered going into a Section 8 Welfare Housing area several years ago and smelling something horrible barbecuing outside…the person I was seeing told me they were cooking cats…

  3. avatar

    Hey Call Me Selfish and Greedy

    But when farm labor H-2C green cards are handed out in droves for workers that I pay their families’ school and social costs….and countries with huge trade budget surpluses get cheaper food simultaneously while my food goes up in price with supply and demand….bring on the Tariffs!

    I wouldn’t touch those $50-100K Mexican Luxury cars with a ten foot pole either [Infiniti, BMW, Audi, Lincoln, etc, etc…]. I buy ’em for value for my money….IOWs, American Manufactured using American Engineers. Period.

  4. avatar

    Time to acknowledge that we have a hostile nation on our southern border. Get tough w/ them.

  5. avatar

    Yeah right, National Review. Another neo-con-job magazine that did everything it could to see Trump did not get elected. Can’t have the public making these decisions after all. We have had decades of open borders, bad trade deals, China stealing our intellectual property, and the leadership of this country has done nothing but assist those efforts. Mexico says “threats don’t work”. Nothing else has, or will. They are not our friend. If the political and economic establishment doesn’t want these actions, then they need to do THEIR JOB. The job where they are supposed to look out for THIS country’s interests. Stop the invasion from the south.