Trump’s tariffls are hurting the economy


Tariffs aren’t the answer.

Since becoming president, Trump shifted U.S. policy from negotiating global trade deals with an alliance of countries to working with individual counties using tariff threats to “force” trade and immigration agreements.

In January 2018, the president imposed 30-50 percent tariffs on solar panels and washing machines. In March 2018, Trump enacted a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports from most countries. He then extended this tariff to the European Union, Canada and Mexico.

India imposed retaliatory tariffs on $240 million of U.S. goods. Canada imposed matching retaliations. China imposed retaliatory tariffs equal to the $34 billion tariff imposed on it by the U.S. which included plastics, aircraft and automotive manufacturing along with farm mainstays like hogs, corn and soybeans.

Soybeans is the largest U.S. export to China, with a value of $12.4 billion last year. Soybean prices are down about 22 percent since April, meaning farmers have suffered most from the trade feuds. Now China has threatened to stop all soybean purchases.

As the Los Angeles Times noted: For those who don’t know (including the president), import tariffs aren’t fines. They’re taxes, paid to U.S. Customs and Border Protection by companies that import goods from abroad. Manufacturers and retailers typically pass on these taxes as higher U.S. consumer prices.

Fareed Zakaria noted: “Tariffs don’t help revive industries in decline.” Rather, tariffs become a tax burden on Americans. The steel tariffs may have saved or added some jobs, but the higher steel prices may cost America $5.11 billion or $1 million per job saved. The New York Federal Reserve estimates that tariffs already imposed by the administration are costing the U.S. about $830 annually per household: Like an increase in washing machine prices by 12 percent. The next tariff round in September could add roughly an additional $200 annually per household.

Per an article by Clark Packard in the Washington Examiner: Trump’s plan to impose unilateral tariffs likely violates both domestic and international trade law. Rather than act unilaterally, the U.S. should demonstrate thoughtful global leadership by putting together a coalition of like-minded nations, including Japan and members of the European Union, to challenge China’s theft of intellectual property and unfair trade practices. Isolate China with an alliance of other nations.

Trump tweeted: “Trade wars are good, and easy to win.” We have a president (Tariff Man) who doesn’t win: he’s robbing our pocketbooks.

Ken Peterson


Making VB Courthouse safe for everyone


As a former, longtime resident of Van Buren County, I would like to say kudos to county officials for voting to get rid of the two offensive murals depicting nude female breasts in the courthouse. ISIS does the same thing and it works well in that region. Four female nipples on display for 111 years! No wonder Van Buren County is reportedly in the top four counties in the state for opioid overdose deaths. It’s a miracle none of the children who have seen those murals have gone on shooting sprees yet.

But in the interest of saving some of the taxpayer money being used for this worthy endeavor, I have a cheaper alternative. Why don’t we just paint over the pornographic female nipples with completely inoffensive male nipples? Instant decency! I’ll volunteer mine as models.

I also completely agree with Judge Kathleen Brickley. “If the images are offensive to even a few, they should be removed from the courthouse.” I know a few atheists who are offended by the Ten Commandments, conservatives offended by the socialist “E Pluribus Unum” on the Seal of Michigan, sovereign citizens offended by the United States flag, and incels who are even offended by the presence of female judges. They would all be happy to hear that the county endeavors to remove all possibly offensive things.

Miles West


Ban all assault weapons


Civilian ownership of assault weapons must be prohibited. From 1981 to 2017, there were 44 mass murder incidents in the U.S., resulting in 501 deaths. Eighty-five percent of those deaths were due to assault weapons. In the mass murder at Dayton, Ohio, although the murderer was neutralized by police officers in 30 seconds, in those 30 seconds he murdered nine people and wounded 24. His assault rifle could fire 100 bullets in rapid succession.

Civilian use of assault rifles for hunting wild animals (like deer, antelope, bear, cougars, etc.) is illegal. Practically speaking, the only civilian use of an assault rifle is shooting it at a target in a firing range.

In 1994, Congress passed a law which banned for 10 years the sale of assault weapons. A study published in January 2019 (see C. Dimaggio, J. Avraham, et al. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery 86(1):11-19), shows conclusively that the 10 year federal ban (1994-2004) reduced the number of deaths due to assault weapons. Mass murder incidents were 70 percent fewer in the federal ban period than in the periods of 1981-94 and 2004-17.

In light of this overwhelming evidence that banning assault weapons does preserve and save innocent human life, Congress must restore a ban on the sale of assault weapons and follow the lead of Australia in instituting a mandatory buy-back of all assault weapons owned by civilians. The right to shoot an assault rifle at a target in a firing range must be suspended by the right of every human being to feel and be safe when s/he attends a school, church, synagogue, mosque, shopping mall, music festival, athletic event and any other public place/event in our society.

A congressional refusal to act in the face of such a serious and urgent life and death matter would be morally reprehensible – a betrayal of public trust and basic human decency.

Fred Klawiter