Pat Buchanan Asks "Why Is The GOP So Terrified Of Tariffs?"

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via,

From Lincoln to William McKinley to Theodore Roosevelt, and from Warren Harding through Calvin Coolidge, the Republican Party erected the most awesome manufacturing machine the world had ever seen.

And, as the party of high tariffs through those seven decades, the GOP was rewarded by becoming America’s Party.

Thirteen Republican presidents served from 1860 to 1930, and only two Democrats. And Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson were elected only because the Republicans had split.

Why, then, this terror of tariffs that grips the GOP?

Consider. On hearing that President Trump might impose tariffs on aluminum and steel, Sen. Lindsey Graham was beside himself:

“Please reconsider,” he implored the president, “you’re making a huge mistake.”

Twenty-four hours earlier, Graham had confidently assured us that war with a nuclear-armed North Korea is “worth it.”

“All the damage that would come from a war would be worth it in terms of long-term stability and national security,” said Graham.

A steel tariff terrifies Graham. A new Korean war does not?

“Trade wars are not won, only lost,” warns Sen. Jeff Flake.

But this is ahistorical nonsense.

The U.S. relied on tariffs to convert from an agricultural economy in 1800 to the mightiest manufacturing power on earth by 1900.

Bismarck’s Germany, born in 1871, followed the U.S. example, and swept past free trade Britain before World War I.

Does Senator Flake think Japan rose to post-war preeminence through free trade, as Tokyo kept U.S. products out, while dumping cars, radios, TVs and motorcycles here to kill the industries of the nation that was defending them. Both Nixon and Reagan had to devalue the dollar to counter the predatory trade policies of Japan.

Since Bush I, we have run $12 trillion in trade deficits, and, in the first decade in this century, we lost 55,000 factories and 6,000,000 manufacturing jobs.

Does Flake see no correlation between America’s decline, China’s rise, and the $4 trillion in trade surpluses Beijing has run up at the expense of his own country?

The hysteria that greeted Trump’s idea of a 25 percent tariff on steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum suggest that restoring this nation’s economic independence is going to be a rocky road.

In 2017, the U.S. ran a trade deficit in goods of almost $800 billion, $375 billion of that with China, a trade surplus that easily covered Xi Jinping’s entire defense budget.

If we are to turn our $800 billion trade deficit in goods into an $800 billion surplus, and stop the looting of America’s industrial base and the gutting of our cities and towns, sacrifices will have to be made.

But if we are not up to it, we will lose our independence, as the countries of the EU have lost theirs.

Specifically, we need to shift taxes off goods produced in the USA, and impose taxes on goods imported into the USA.

As we import nearly $2.5 trillion in goods, a tariff on imported goods, rising gradually to 20 percent, would initially produce $500 billion in revenue.

All that tariff revenue could be used to eliminate and replace all taxes on production inside the USA.

As the price of foreign goods rose, U.S. products would replace foreign-made products. There’s nothing in the world that we cannot produce here. And if it can be made in America, it should be made in America.

Consider. Assume a Lexus cost $50,000 in the U.S., and a 20 percent tariff were imposed, raising the price to $60,000.

What would the Japanese producers of Lexus do?

They could accept the loss in sales in the world’s greatest market, the USA. They could cut their prices to hold their U.S. market share. Or they could shift production to the United States, building their cars here and keeping their market.

How have EU nations run up endless trade surpluses with America? By imposing a value-added tax, or VAT, on imports from the U.S., while rebating the VAT on exports to the USA. Works just like a tariff.

The principles behind a policy of economic nationalism, to turn our trade deficits, which subtract from GDP, into trade surpluses, which add to GDP, are these:

Production comes before consumption.

Who consumes the apples is less important than who owns the orchard. We should depend more upon each other and less upon foreign lands.

We should tax foreign-made goods and use the revenue, dollar for dollar, to cut taxes on domestic production.

The idea is not to keep foreign goods out, but to induce foreign companies to move production here.

We have a strategic asset no one else can match. We control access to the largest richest market on earth, the USA.

And just as states charge higher tuition on out-of state students at their top universities, we should charge a price of admission for foreign producers to get into America’s markets.

And - someone get a hold of Sen. Graham - it’s called a tariff.



GUS100CORRINA RafterManFMJ Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:14 Permalink

Pat Buchanan Asks "Why Is The GOP So Terrified Of Tariffs?"

My response: Many in the GOP are PART OF THE GLOBALIST CABAL. Think CLINTON GLOBAL INITIATIVE and how many of our LEGISLATORS have been implicated and corrupted like McCain and Flake.

Going forward, WE THE PEOPLE need to vote OUT OF OFFICE every single DEMOCRAT and RINO in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

Choose wisely America for the days are EVIL!!!


In reply to by RafterManFMJ

dgc0101 flacon Tue, 03/06/2018 - 13:03 Permalink

Then tarriffs shouldn't matter to all of the other nations seeking to export their products to our market, right? It should be a net boon for the EU and China, as they have such massive domestic markets for their own products, right?

It makes one wonder if trolls can think before they write at all

In reply to by flacon

Potato Farmer dgc0101 Tue, 03/06/2018 - 15:06 Permalink

Exactly.  This is the point the globalists (perhaps another name for mercantilists) don't want you to know.  A country such as ours, with our vast natural resources can be self sufficient by balancing the income of all sectors--raw material producers, manufacturers, creditors, and wage earners.  We can regulate the PRICE of goods from other countries, countries that are not necessarily providing cheap goods because of energy efficiency or some other noble reason, but who are making the goods cheap because they are undervaluing their own people (aka wage earners), and/or their environmental base.

Tariffs are a tool to protect the internal balance of OUR economy (once achieved through parity pricing) and OUR standard of living.

A country is a place with borders and laws.  We use our borders and laws to protect our prosperity.  To protect the ones we love.

If you come to our border, play fair, or leave.

In reply to by dgc0101

DeathMerchant JustPastPeacefield Tue, 03/06/2018 - 13:06 Permalink

Well exactly!! The balance of trade that exists now is all part of the NWO bullshit that attempts to render all countries and peoples as equal as possible. A complete crock of bullshit which if for no other reason is exactly that as it goes against the natural order. The fucking UN is behind all of this shit and the US needs to drop out completely and have the UN relocate to the EU where it belongs.

In reply to by JustPastPeacefield

stacking12321 JustPastPeacefield Tue, 03/06/2018 - 16:00 Permalink


so, what you're saying is that the chinese government shoots its own citizens in the foot, so the USA government should do it, too.

you can apologize for criminal government behavior all you like, but it doesn't make it right.

as far as "our own self-interest as a nation" - there's 300+ million people in the usa, all with their own individual viewpoints.

who exactly is to say what the nation's self-interest is? you? don't you think it's arrogant of anyone to claim to speak for others?

funny how people on zh seem to believe in liberty until someone trots out a lame excuse of what about muh jerbs!

In reply to by JustPastPeacefield

sarz stacking12321 Wed, 03/07/2018 - 03:26 Permalink

funny how people on zh seem to believe in liberty until someone trots out a lame excuse of what about muh jerbs!

If there is a would-be rapist running around in my house would I feel free to shoot him if I'm all for liberty? 

I think a lot of nonsense about liberty is spread around this website by muh jooz. 

In reply to by stacking12321

dgc0101 stacking12321 Tue, 03/06/2018 - 13:37 Permalink

Putting aside the fact that the article was correct about the history of tariffs, your reasoning is equally fallacious because you are assuming that 1) global trade follows uniform rules irrespective of whom the United States is trading with; and 2) that other nations do not already impose tariffs in one form or another themselves. To wit, one historical example:

Abraham Lincoln as related by Rep. Charles H. Landis in a speech in the House of Representatives, May 23 1905…

But if history doesn't matter to you, it seems that the EU agrees with Trump about steel:…

Let's face it! The libertarian economic philosophy is turning out to be as much of a fantasy as practiced in the real world as collectivism. I, for one, no longer will excuse or tolerate arrogant fools who's policies have been so detrimental to ordinary people for so long. The harm that they have done in the name of their self-interest has now come back to bite them. So, it's time for them to suck it up, or get out the way.

Finally, let's not act surprised about all of this. This topic was well on the radar at Davos this year:

In reply to by stacking12321

stacking12321 dgc0101 Tue, 03/06/2018 - 16:06 Permalink

your statement is completely false:

"your reasoning is equally fallacious because you are assuming that 1) global trade follows uniform rules irrespective of whom the United States is trading with"

i make no such assumptions. don't put words in my mouth that i didn't say, that's dishonest.


and thanks but i'm not interested in viewing your random youtube links

In reply to by dgc0101

FreeMoney stacking12321 Tue, 03/06/2018 - 14:47 Permalink

you mean government meddling in environment regulations?  Health and safety regulations?  Land use regulations? employment regulations?

A really big part of why its cheaper to produce else where is due to the government regulations imposed here that force our costs of production up.



In reply to by stacking12321

smithmorra stacking12321 Tue, 03/06/2018 - 17:00 Permalink

Oh, really? Buchanan is one of the clearest thinkers on fair trade.  Wall Street and its corrupt lackeys are like vampires that steal the wealth while turning the planet into a plantation.  Check out the NYC area for culture compared to 50 years ago.  The housing crisis, the prescription and illegal drug crisis, unfunded liabilities, foreign invasions of illegal workers, a decaying infrastructure--all byproducts of this "free trade" everyone for themselves greed.  


The Constitution was based on the common good, not creating a nation of self-seeking predators leaving their neighbors poor and desperate!  "Stacking" represents an alien, warped and ultimately destructive ideology.  

In reply to by stacking12321

Endgame Napoleon GUS100CORRINA Tue, 03/06/2018 - 15:46 Permalink

Though you could count on Pat if he were the one in office, voters may be skeptical about most of the critters holding office and running for office. Can they be counted on for [action] on anything other than more tax cuts for the wealthy and more child-tax-credit welfare for citizen and non-citizen parents, including illegal aliens. Maybe, Cruz could be counted on. 

Now, if the wealthy actually used their tax cut to rebuild American industry, rather than trying to park their extra money in globalist assets, like off-shored factories or stock in multinationals, it might be different.

If Americans did what Pat said—making some sacrifices to help rebuild American industry, like earlier generations did in WWII—it would be different.

Pat is right. It would take cooperation from American consumers, but also from rich Americans.

There is also the tricky issue of increased automation, but Merkel’s Germany is pursuing a successful exporting strategy in the era of increased automation. Regardless of what these America Last globalists say, it can be done. 

This was a great article, making an argument I have not heard before.

I think the number 1930 and, specifically, the year before it IS the reason why neoliberals in the Uniparty get away with scaring Americans away from opposing free-trader globalism. Neoliberals claim that the lack of global trade was behind the Great Depression.

That is why Pat is right to stress the willingness to sacrifice. The US built up its manufacturing base to mobilize for WWII via collective sacrifice and emerged as the strongest economy in the world.

If we are being honest, FDR—not the type of Tammany Hall II Democrat we have today—must be credited for insisting on high wages for those WWII factory workers, likewise ensuring the factory owners that they would make money. The US also built up a huge war debt that it was able to pay down due to the mighty industrial base that emerged.

But without a [citizen] workforce, with wages undiluted by the endless influx of low-wage immigrant and child laborers who poured into the sweatshops of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, we would not have experienced the great, widespread middle-class prosperity of the post-WWII era.

WAGES had to rise.

We can thank Republicans for restricting legal immigration to reasonable levels in 1924. Otherwise, the post-WWII labor pool would have been flooded with immigrants, reducing the value of labor and diluting wages.

Today, Democrats—once the party of labor and not the party of skin pigmentation / gender—could care less about labor issues or national strength. They will not ask anyone to sacrifice anything unless they aren’t in a so-called working family, and their answer to EVERYTHING is more welfare for so-called “working families.”

Democrats / Republicans in the Globalist Uniparty are so unconcerned about labor issues that they won’t even denounce illegal immigration, even with all of the underemployment of US citizens and the welfare-aided workforce that is weakening this nation, making our economy dependent on welfare-based consumption.

Many, many of the immigrants — just like many single parent citizens in this non-manufacturing-based, part-time, temporary gig economy — are just working part time to stay below the earned-income limit for monthly welfare and the cut off for refundable child tax credits up to $6,444.

Not only is this brutally unfair to the non-welfare-elgible citizens who compete with them for jobs, and not only is it sewing social division, but it is weakening the USA. I guess it is possible that as automation progresses, it will reverse everything, making this type of economy feasible, but how can an economy and a nation based on welfare-based consumption be strong? 

In reply to by GUS100CORRINA

MK ULTRA Alpha Deep Snorkeler Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:30 Permalink

The tariff scheme is worth $1 trillion annual government revenues. That will pay for the Trump infrastructure build, the Wall, the military build up and social services. We get the best of both worlds, while Trump keeps cheerleading for more investment in the US.

It's going to be huge, we no longer need Cohen, he served his purpose for the tax cut. Let him go cry, he even sounds like a member of the victim class but he's already rich. We need the revenue Gary because we are broke running deficits out of this world.

We lost jobs, that means loss of tax revenue and social security revenues. Now what must the government do? Hit them hard, harder and ask Paul Ryan who helped his district lose many manufacturing jobs, he needs to resign or be replaced. He has been a terrible leader for the American people, and that's what everybody says.

Someone needs to tell Paul Ryan we're running a trade deficit with China that is nearly $400 billion annual, that's $2 trillion in five years, if that happens, with the combined trade deficit from our NATO allies and Japan and South Korea, Ryan won't have a district to go back to, that's how ignorant Paul Ryan is and that's how serious this is.

I'm most definitely supporting Trump on this and the majority of Americans want this too.

In reply to by Deep Snorkeler

MK ULTRA Alpha MK ULTRA Alpha Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:50 Permalink

Before the income tax, the government used a Tariff system to pay for government. Does anyone remember that, or did the communist who want to erase history, make you forget US history. 



So we're just going back to a proven system which was good for a lot longer than the income tax economy.

Want to lower your income tax or the rate of increase in taxes, then protect the workers with a tariff,  forcing companies home, and then the government deficits will be much lower.

In three years, this is going to be NEW WORLD.

(personal note, I'm old, not the same as Trumps age but getting closer everyday, there are people trying to hire me everywhere, it was age discrimination before, now I'm a highly prized catch. It kind of made me proud happy, see I like to work, but I didn't see any point, because the pay was real low and no one would even look at me for the six figure jobs, which I used to do, so why not just retire, now I'm being called back to rebuild America. They're paying big bucks now. I have people who want me to start a company, they have lots of money. Another company with one of the hottest selling products wants me, and I thought, you want ME, just the other day this nation wanted to beat me to death because I was an old white man. I got news for you, I can out produce any young kid every day including Sunday, I am a working machine. I couldn't believe it, they wanted me. So Trump's magic is working.)


In reply to by MK ULTRA Alpha

E Ghost MK ULTRA Alpha Tue, 03/06/2018 - 15:13 Permalink

We aren't going back to anything. They didn't decide to eliminate the income tax, but if they did, I'd be all for it, even if it was replaced with tariffs.

The difference between then and now, is that back then the tariffs were across the board. An across the board tariff doesn't target any specific industry and give it an advantage over other industries in the domestic market. A steel tariff is stupid because it increases the price of steel relative to all other goods. As consumers we end up having less money for other things because we have to spend more on steel. Why should copper suffer because steel can't compete against the rest of the world? If the tariff is across the board the effect is relatively balanced across industries with foreign competition.

Even still, across the board tariffs will increase the prices in the US even on domestic goods, not much different then adding national sales tax except that the paid tariffs will go to the government and the price increase on domestic goods with go to the producers. Then we as consumers get the choice, pay more to the government or more to the producers. Buy American and shrink the US government.

Of course all of that is false if we apply tariffs as a protectionist measure only to specific industries and not get rid of the income tax. As it stands, all we will be doing is an increasing prices and giving more money to the government.

In reply to by MK ULTRA Alpha

Endgame Napoleon Deep Snorkeler Tue, 03/06/2018 - 16:04 Permalink

We’ll see if this emphasis continues after the mid terms...........

This is the popular wave that Trump rode in on. He was not pushed over the top by the promise of more gigantic tax cuts for the rich / more gigantic child-tax-credit welfare for citizen and non-citizen parents.

Without the framework of rebuilding American manufacturing that Pat outlined, the tax cut / tax welfare was just more neoliberal Uniparty economic policy, like past actions by Clinton and Bush II.

It was Trump’s economic nationalism, including his pledge to do something about mass-scale, wage-cutting, welfare-supported, illegal immigration, that brought him to office. 

His anti-offshoring stance was also very popular, especially with all us betrayed Trump Democrats who crossed over to the other side, just like the Reagan Democrats did. 

In reply to by Deep Snorkeler

Laowei Gweilo RafterManFMJ Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:19 Permalink

tarifs are just another form of consumer tax.

all this will do is create some steel jobs paid for by middle-class American taxpayers.

if you think anyone else is going to eat up the additional costs you're living in a dream world that hasn't looked at tarif correlation with basically any other historic measure of related-goods inflation.

you want help steel industry? but either way, you subsidize it and middle class pays through debt, or you tarif it and the middle class pays through consumption -- there's NO free lunch for an industry that can't compete globally, and one way or the way average people are paying for it.

and the only people going to benefit are steel CEOs cuz the jobs still ain't coming back -- US steel is already at nearly 30 year records ! they just do it with less than half the jobs because of automation. and even if you US stops importing ANY steel, total steel production is barely going to increase by 1/3rd, creating at best 5000-10,000 jobs (seriously. take a look at current production/employment, and total domestic/production). middle class is going to be paying for higher steel in everything to create the low number of jobs that were almost a rounding error in annual job gains/losses.

there are good reasons to do tariffs in some cases with value-added products, or where US exports far more than it imports or consumes. steel is one of the most headed cases tho. 

personally, I think Trump knows this ... Trump knows it's dumb and crazy. he does this EVERY time. he does the same crazy offers to the Senate and House with every bill he ends up negotiating. he even wrote a chapter on it in his book. it's just a negotiating tactic for NAFTA and with China.

In reply to by RafterManFMJ

silver140 Laowei Gweilo Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:30 Permalink

Countries that became prosperous and global powers did so with tariffs, their industries, natural resources and workers were protected and thrived. This is a historical fact. When the US was captured by the corporate fascists, who may be US citizens, but are traitors and parasites, they transferred industries to slave labor countries, it was the most rapid, and largest transfer of technology and wealth in history, first to Japan, and then to China, both of which have tariffs.

In reply to by Laowei Gweilo

Laowei Gweilo silver140 Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:35 Permalink

sure, on products they sell, to drive up the money they make. i said there can be a good argument for tariffs.

steel tho we use more than they produce or export. why in the world would you want to tariff something that is a net expense rather than net revenue. go tariff something we actually have a chance to sell to the world.

In reply to by silver140

FrankDrakman Laowei Gweilo Tue, 03/06/2018 - 14:43 Permalink

Do you not realize that the US was once the largest steel making country on the planet? That huge mills are sitting idle in Pittsburg and Gary and Cleveland? What changed? The US opened their markets to their world, but no one opened their markets to the US. First China, then South Korea, then others, making steel to sell to the US, but not opening their markets so the US could sell there. 

It doesn't matter if this doesn't make economic sense in the short run, which is what you are looking at. One of two things will happen:

1 - countries won't open their markets, and the US will rebuild its domestic steel capacity. Yes, there will be costs, but the new jobs in both the steel mills and the coal mines will take many people off unemployment. However, I don't think this will happen, but instead

2 - Other countries, realizing Trump isn't going to back down, start opening up their protected markets. Here in Canada, we protect our milk and poultry industries via quotas - you have to buy quota to sell the product into Canada, and the quota available for foreign exporters is ridiculously small. Trump is saying if you want Cdn producers to sell steel in the US, you have to let US producers sell milk, eggs, and cheese into Canada. Wanna bet it's one of the things that goes in Trump's new and improved NAFTA 2.0?

In reply to by Laowei Gweilo

HillaryOdor silver140 Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:39 Permalink

They did so with tariffs, and more importantly no income tax because the income tax is worse than tariffs.  Now we will have both.  Hooray.  You people couldn't spot a causal relationship a mile away.  Just because we had economic growth with tariffs does not imply that tariffs cause economic growth.  This will be a net negative, as everything government does always is.  The only relevant question is how much will they sabotage the economy, i.e. how much are they doing?  Minimize that and you increase growth.  The more they do the worse it gets, and this is doing more, not less.  Anything else is just rhetoric.  But Americans deserve their serfdom, and they're gonna get it.

In reply to by silver140

FreeMoney SJ158 Tue, 03/06/2018 - 15:02 Permalink

Long term trade deficit means:

1. Export of jobs and/or

2. Export of capital and/or

3. Accumulation of Debt

All three of those things, over the long run, means export of lifestyle.

So do you see closed factory operations in the US?

Do you see foreign ownership of real asset in the US?

Do you see accumulation of consumer, corporate, and government debt?

If we dont change this trend, you better prepare to serve your Chinese master.

In reply to by SJ158

I Claudius Laowei Gweilo Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:45 Permalink

Do you know another form of consumer tax that I have to pay instead?  Housing, Food, Healthcare and Education for that family that no longer has a solid paying job because the job was sent overseas.  Now increase that payment because I have to make up their share of taxes they paid when they earned a decent living.  Not to mention the velocity of money in their local economy that ceases due to their unemployment.  I would rather pay a little more for a product than pay for people that are not working - especially when, in fact, they could be if we were smart about it.  I haven't even touched upon the cost to society (i.e. drug abuse, alcohol abuse, physical abuse of family members) when there appears to be no way out of the unemployment death spiral.

Tell Senator Graham that if he wants to bend over in his bedroom I really don't care . . . but stop bending over when it comes to selling out our country and our citizens.  What a buffoon.


In reply to by Laowei Gweilo

smithmorra Laowei Gweilo Tue, 03/06/2018 - 17:04 Permalink

Oh, really? Buchanan is one of the clearest thinkers on fair trade.  Wall Street and its corrupt lackeys are like vampires that steal the wealth while turning the planet into a plantation.  Check out the NYC area for culture compared to 50 years ago.  The housing crisis, the prescription and illegal drug crisis, unfunded liabilities, foreign invasions of illegal workers, a decaying infrastructure--all byproducts of this "free trade" everyone for themselves greed.  


The Constitution was based on the common good, not creating a nation of self-seeking predators leaving their neighbors poor and desperate!  This guy represents an alien, warped and ultimately destructive ideology.  

In reply to by Laowei Gweilo

Full Court Lug… slightlyskeptical Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:18 Permalink

Nope. Tariffs should be part of an overall industrial policy. It makes perfect sense for governments to protect strategically important industries, or industries that provide lots of living-wage employment, or industries that show lots of promise for groundbreaking R&D. Global trade really is a form of slow-burning war by other means, with winners and losers (who also coincidentally tend to wind up militarily stronger as well). Time for America to finally start practicing some basic self-defense.

I love Buchanan's point about how Graham is balls-out for a shooting war with the Norks, but wets his pants at the merest hint of a tariff war. Speaks volumes.

In reply to by slightlyskeptical

daveO Uchtdorf Tue, 03/06/2018 - 14:52 Permalink

Yes, if that over payment stays within our borders. It's the same as paying an American to do a job that "Americans won't do" instead of allowing an illegal in, over the wall-less border, to work at a big discount only to see him send most of his income back to his native shit hole.

In reply to by Uchtdorf