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Trump Trade War Rolls Out Unchecked

Why nothing seems to be stopping Trump’s trade war. WaPo: "President Trump is remaking the global trade order without significant political resistance or penalty, unchecked by a largely compliant Congress and bolstered by the loyalty of his supporters — even those likely to be hurt by his burgeoning global trade war. The Senate on Wednesday passed a nonbinding measure calling for a greater role in overseeing Trump’s trade decisions, an implicit criticism of new tariffs the president has levied on some of the country’s closest allies and largest trading partners. But the vote has no power to prompt a course change from the White House. And it follows failed attempts to advance measures that could have given Congress new power to restrain Trump. Congress’s passivity in the face of Trump’s escalating trade conflict is one of several factors that have made it easier for the president to push on. Others have included markets that haven’t melted down, business leaders who have done little beyond using rhetoric to criticize the trade spat, and Republican voters who have stood by their president. In each of these cases, critics of his trade policy had hoped Trump would find reason to be dissuaded. The trade changes mirror Trump’s rapid and similarly unchecked efforts to reposition the United States in the global political order. During his trip to Europe this week, the president has antagonized the country’s NATO allies. He also plans to meet next week with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin, seeking to tighten ties with a traditional rival. On trade, U.S. partners have retaliated with their own tariffs on U.S. goods, targeting GOP strongholds and paining sensitive industries and areas that depend on access to foreign markets."

Tariffs No Help To U.S. On China Trade

'The US is on track to lose this trade war,' economist Stephen Roach says. CNBC: "President Donald Trump's administration late on Tuesday released its list of $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that it said it aims to subject to 10 percent tariffs following a review process. China threatened retaliatory action and pledged that it would lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organization. Last week, U.S. tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese products went into effect. China responded by slapping 25 percent duties on the same amount in U.S. goods. China imported only about $130 billion in U.S. goods last year, compared with the $505 billion in Chinese goods imported by the United States.But that doesn't mean China will run out of ammunition in the trade fight, Roach argued. 'The idea that China has a math problem misses the fact that America has a few problems of our own,' said Roach, a senior fellow at Yale University.

Trump Faces Mass Protests In U.K.

Protest against what Donald Trump represents, not who he is. The Guardian: "The US president wants his theatrics to distract us. Instead, let’s focus on the hatred he epitomises. Mass protests must be as much about Trumpism as against the US president himself, as he lands in Britain today. One of the dangers since Donald Trump became president is that it becomes all about him – his attention-seeking theatrics, his latest social media grenades thrown into cyberspace. Some of the establishment opposition has focused on Trump’s vulgarity, his manners, that he is somehow unpresidential, rather than his political substance and what he represents. As Naomi Klein explained in her book No Is Not Enough, the Trump performance becomes a distraction from scrutinising the dangerous political forces and economic interests he represents. Ever since the financial crash, movements and elite politicians across the western world have attempted to scapegoat migrants, refugees and Muslims for unemployment and job insecurity, stagnating living standards and decimated public services. Conveniently, their racist deflections have been accompanied by policies that favour the wealthy and big business. They have proved increasingly successful, and feel legitimised and emboldened by having one of their own in the White House. That’s why we must march: not simply against President Trump, but against the global movement of which he is de facto leader."

GOP Lawmaker Bought $5m Yacht Same Day He Voted For Tax Cuts

Vern Buchanan bought yacht after voting for House version of GOP tax bill. Florida Politics: "A recently filed financial disclosure shows U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan celebrated passing the House version of the Republican tax bill in quite the lavish way. According to the disclosure, Buchanan spent between $1 million and $5 million purchasing an Ocean Alexander yacht on Nov. 16, 2017, the same day he joined 226 other Republicans and no Democrats in voting for the first draft of the 'Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.' The final tax bill passed Congress on Dec. 20 and was signed into law by President Donald Trump two days later. While the tax plan was pitched as helping the middle class, it does so only minimally and temporarily if at all. For the nation’s highest earners and for corporations, however, it was a magnanimous change in policy. Count Buchanan among those benefitting bigly. It’s no secret that Buchanan, who represents Florida’s 16th Congressional District, is a wealthy man. According to a Roll Call report, his $73.9 million net worth makes him the eighth wealthiest member of Congress, and by far the wealthiest from the Sunshine State — U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney is $19 million behind in the No. 11 spot. Given his net worth and income, progressive group Tax March estimated that the bill would save him up to $2.1 million on his taxes. That’s most of the way to a yacht, which likely trended toward the higher end of the reported range given that Ocean Alexander’s least expensive model — the 70-foot 70E Motoryacht — has a base price of $3.25 million."

Here's How To Pay For Education Medicare For All

Ocasio-Cortez shreds those questioning how to pay for bold proposals like Medicare for All. Common Dreams: "In a viral tweet on Tuesday, progressive New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez crystallized the absurdity of arguments against Medicare for All and other bold proposals—as conservatives and centrist Democrats frequently claim the United States lacks a robust social safety net because of an inability to pay for one. Ocasio-Cortez mocked the notion that, months after applauding a tax law containing $1.5 trillion in cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans, conservatives are now questioning her assertion that a country that can afford such benefits for the rich must also be able to provide healthcare and living wages to all its citizens. The Medicare for All plan proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose presidential campaign Ocasio-Cortez worked on, is estimated to cost the government $1.38 trillion per year, while the current profit-based system costs about $3 trillion per year. Ocasio-Cortez's plan to cancel the $1.4 trillion in student debt carried by Americans "would increase GDP by between $86 billion and $108 billion per year, over the next decade" according to the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. Her plan to make tuition free at public universities and trade schools is also not revolutionary, she notes on her website. 'In fact, we've had this system before: The University of California system offered free tuition at its schools until the 1980s,' Ocasio-Cortez's higher education platform reads. 'In 1965, average tuition at a four-year public university was just $243 and many of the best colleges—including the City University of New York—did not charge any tuition at all.'"

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