If through their behavior, Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley are attempting to make Dr. Faustus, by comparison, appear to be a paragon of farsightedness, they should be commended. Except in their cases, they debase themselves by acting as sycophants to President Donald Trump, a demagogue who demands loyalty for promises, like improving the United States’ terms of international trade, that he pretends to be sincere about honoring.
After all, the president managed to renegotiate NAFTA, which he described as the “worst trade deal ever,” into a remarkably similar deal that borrowed very heavily from the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Indeed, assuming that the parties comply with its provisions, the United States International Trade Commission projects that over the next six years, the agreement will only add an annual average of 0.058 percent to GDP and increase employment by 0.028 percent. Which should hardly allay the pains of the average household, because Mary Amiti et al. have found that since the beginning of this pathetic attempt at brinkmanship, they have been subject to an average cost of $414, and with tariffs rising by 15 percent on $200 billion of Chinese imports, this burden will swell to $831. Tragically, the most inundated by this quagmire have been the farmers, whose net incomes have fallen by 16 percent since 2018.
Our senators have faith, but had the president invested his inheritance in an index fund that tracks the S & P 500 and spent his days playing Tick-tack-toe, he would be worth $1.96 billion.