If you want to know how money and lobbying affect Washington, look no further than the current tariff spat.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle have teamed up to plead with President Trump to stop the tariffs on China. In a town known for moving slowly, the rapid collaboration of senators – typically at odds with one another – is a sight to behold.
One reason for this quick mobilization is the strong lobbying presence of companies and trade associations that significantly rely on, and profit from, things Made in China. All last week we heard about the retailers-led letter to the president — 600 companies opposing the tariffs. The media have covered this letter extensively. We have seen the image of Pokémon stuffed toys on display at trade hearings and the warning that prices for toys and firecrackers could increase.
But this sky-is-falling hyperbole is just that – exaggeration. The U.S. has already levied over $250 billion in tariffs on China in the past year and our inflation rate hasn’t changed. Not one bit.
Another letter with U.S. business support and in favor of the tariffs on China was made public late last week at the trade hearings. This show of support lacks the multinational funding from those businesses and associations that have made billions off of cheap labor in China at the expense of U.S. jobs. The letter, however, is significant and demonstrates to the mainstream media that President Trump is viewed favorably by American businesses for his stance on this issue.
There was a time when big box retailers publicly touted that their shelves were stocked with Made in America items, but today those same shelves are very different – predominately filled with Made in China items instead.
If Donald Trump was your typical politician-first president, we would not be having this conversation. Therefore, let’s support our president while he negotiates a better deal with China. We should put country over politics. President Trump’s actions have support from the full spectrum of the American public. Just not from the politicians who listen to the Big China lobby.