|Willis Hawley (left) and Reed Smoot|
And so it seems in these latter days with Donald Trump threatening to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports -- ain't no one, even in the United States, willing to lie down for the kind of activity that arguably led to the "Great Depression" -- the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Bill of 1930:
Anyone who felt angry and depressed and decided to vote for Donald Trump in 2016 will be forgiven for feeling angry and depressed anew that their wet dream is getting fucked with again.Willis Hawley and Reed Smoot have haunted Congress since the 1930s when they were the architects of the Smoot-Hawley tariff bill, among the most decried pieces of legislation in US history and a bill blamed by some for not only for triggering the Great Depression but also contributing to the start of the second world war.Pilloried even in their own time, their bloodied names have been brought out like Jacob Marley’s ghost every time America has taken a protectionist turn on trade policy. And America has certainly taken a protectionist turn....As commander-in-chief [Trump] has shown no signs of softening and this week took major action announcing steel imports would face a 25% tariff and aluminium 10%.Canada and the EU said they would bring forward their own countermeasures. Mexico, China and Brazil have also said they are considering retaliatory steps....The consequences of a trade war today are far worse than in the 1930s. Exports of goods and services account for about 13% of US gross domestic product (GDP) – the broadest measure of an economy. It was roughly 5% back in 1920.