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25% Tariffs Will Inflict Rather Substantial Damage to the U.S. Economy

The Dow Jones managed to finish the day up just over 100 points – I think that was about the high of the day, and we erased a loss that at one point was better than 200 points.  I think a potential catalyst was a talk given by Larry Kudlow earlier in the day in which Kudlow raised some optimism over the possibility of a deal with China that would, of course avert the 25% across the board tariffs that are going to go into effect at the beginning of the new year. Of course, there is always the possibility of a resolution, and I still thin that there is going to be some type of face-saving resolution on both sides to avert these 25% tariffs.  I do think that they will inflict rather substantial damage to the U.S. economy, which is already rapidly decelerating, despite everybody’s refusal to admit that (including the Federal Reserve, and I’ll get to some comments later in the podcast).

Trump Is Pulling the Strings

But I don’t think the President can risk the 25% tariffs as much as he wants to posture that the U.S. economy is in great shape, and we are in a better position than China to weather any kind of short-term damage that might be created by the tariffs.  I don’t think the President is eager to test that hypothesis.  I think he would rather take credit for averting the crisis, even if the crisis was a matter of his own doing. He throws out the potential for the crisis, but of course, the only reason why the crisis is dangling in front of us is because Trump is pulling the strings.

It’s Impossible to Consume What Has Not Been Produced

To the extent that the Chinese can produce all these products, they don’t need America to consume them; they can consume the products themselves. Once the products are produced, consumption is a foregone conclusion. It’s easy to consume what’s been produced; it’s impossible to consume what has not been produced.