Taxing Trump — Making America Tariff-ic Again

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

June 16th 2024

Donald is bad enough when he isn’t sounding like Grandpa Simpson on meth. It’s deeply alarming when this 78 year old dimwit prattles on about batteries and sharks. He has somehow concluded that an electric powered boat is far more hazardous in an accident because of the batteries, and you would get electrocuted before the sharks get you. Never mind that all boats with engines have batteries anyway, or that the sharks would get electrocuted, too. Windmills murder birds and cause cancer, it seems, although Trump tower has killed its share of birds and listening to Trump might make you wish you had cancer.

It’s when he drifts from the evils of conservation to the virtues of economic policy where he gets truly terrifying. Its bad enough when he rails about the national debt (40% of which came from his tax policies) or the horrible cost of “illegal” immigrants (who actually ADD about $1.3 trillion a year to the US economy) but now he’s decided that he, and he alone, can fix the cost of paying for the United States to be a going concern.

His proposed solution to our fiscal woes? Eliminate all federal income taxes. You know: our national revenue. Libertarians have come up with variations on that over the years going on the lunatic notion that the best way to cut household expenses is by quitting your job. It’s a reasonable idea: in fairly short order, you’ll no longer have any household expenses. Or any household.

But even Donald understands that government has to pay for stuff. So he proposes to fund the government through tariffs.

Tariffs are basically a tax on imported goods. Donald likes to pretend that the tariffs are a tax on importers, and not the American people, and hopes that none of his brain-dead supporters will stop to consider that importers will raise their prices to compensate, and those increased prices WILL be assayed against the consumers in America. Donald has spoken of a 10% across the board tariff on all imported goods. The US imports about $4 trillion a year, so that would be $400 billion in tariff revenues.

For 2025, the White House projects that revenue from income taxes will be about $2.6 trillion. Payroll taxes are about $2.2 trillion, and corporate taxes would be about $467 billion. (Fifty years ago, corporate taxes were about 60% of federal revenues—and corporations did just fine!) Call it $5.267 trillion in revenues.

It’s not real likely that Donald will keep payroll taxes, since destroying Social Security and Medicare has long been a republican dream. And if you have a calculator capable of multiplying by zero, you can get a good estimate of the chances he’ll want to keep corporate taxes going.

Now, the astute observer may have noted that $5.267 trillion is a larger number than $400 billion. In fact, it’s about thirteen times bigger.

Which means cuts would have to be made. One mandatory payment is interest on the national debt, of which over 80% was created by Republican policies and misadventures, and half of THAT by Donald Trump alone. Those interest payments are about $967 billion a year.

Let’s see: $400 billion minus $967 billion leaves…hmmm.

OK, so we cut EVERYTHING, and we are still in the hole by $567 billion a year. Tch. No military, so social programs, sell the capitol building, get rid of all regulatory agencies, no federal economic development, none of these public schools nonsense. Churches can take all that over, right? There’s about 70 million people who get social security, and for a large majority of them, that’s all that separates them from homelessness and starvation. Churches are gonna be busy, busy, busy.

Some people might take a negative view of that, being people and all. Banks will have huge on-paper wealth from all the homes they’ll foreclose on by the millions until they find out the homes can’t be sold because everyone is broke. Then they all crash, including the ones Donald owes money to. He’ll like that.

Well, Donald does have a solution. Bigger tariffs on countries he doesn’t like, which is pretty much all of them except Russia. He has already suggested a 50% tariff on all cars from China. Given how much he loves countries south of here or in Africa, expect him to levy huge tariffs there.

But there’s a fly in the ointment. Other countries might take exception, and impose tariffs of their own. The technical term for this is “trade war” and it’s destroyed many economies.

The US exports about $3.3 trillion a year. Losing a chunk of that to an economy already reeling from an economic slow-down of over $10 trillion a year and tens of millions starving isn’t going to be very helpful. The good news is it can’t do that much more damage.

Ever seen the Mad Max movies? Consider them to be the blueprint for Donald’s Five Year Plan.

If Trump gets elected, buy all the salt, spices, bullets and cat food you can. You’re gonna need it.

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