The trade war has barely just begun, and yet significant ripple effects are already being felt all across the U.S. economy. Once thriving businesses are on the verge of failure, workers are being laid off, and some sectors of the economy are witnessing enormous price hikes. Right now the mainstream media is absolutely fixated on the drama surrounding the recently concluded Trump-Putin summit meeting, but the consequences of this trade war will ultimately be far more important for the lives of most ordinary Americans. As more tariffs continue to be implemented, this will perhaps be the biggest disruption to the global economic system that we have seen in decades. Perhaps you have not been affected personally yet, but for many Americans this trade war has changed everything. For example, just consider the plight of soybean farmer Tim Bardole…
If Americans really understood how much their standard of living was about to change, the streets of our major cities would be packed with protesters by tomorrow morning. For the past several decades, China and other low cost exporters have been flooding our shores with hundreds of billions of dollars worth of cheap goods. This is the only reason why you can go to Wal-Mart and buy a shirt for three bucks. But since we buy far more stuff from the rest of the world than they buy from us, we ultimately have to go back to those other nations and beg them to lend our money back to us so that we can pay our bills. This sick, twisted co-dependent relationship has enabled Americans to live a debt-fueled standard of living that is far beyond what we deserve, and now our rapidly escalating trade war with China is going to bring the party to a crashing halt. On Tuesday, the Trump administration released a list of $200,000,000,000 worth of Chinese exports that will be hit with 10 percent tariffs. Those tariffs are in addition to the 25 percent tariffs that had previously been announced on 50 billion dollars worth of Chinese exports. These new tariffs are scheduled to go into effect on August 30th, and the Chinese have already pledged to retaliate.
Nothing is going to be the same after this. On Friday, the United States hit China with 34 billion dollars in tariffs, and China immediately responded with similar tariffs. If it stopped there, this trade war between the United States and China would not be catastrophic for the global economy. But it isn’t going to stop there. Donald Trump is already talking about hitting China with an additional 500 billion dollars in tariffs, which would essentially cover pretty much everything that China exports to the U.S. in a typical year. The Chinese have accused Trump of starting “the biggest trade war in economic history”, and they are pledging to fight for as long as it takes. As I discussed yesterday, the only way that one side is going to “win” this trade war is if the other side completely backs down, and that simply is not going to happen. So there is going to be economic pain, and that pain is likely to intensify for as long as this trade war persists. U.S. businesses that will be affected by foreign tariffs are already cutting back production and laying off workers, and CNN is reporting that 1,300 products have suddenly become more expensive for U.S. consumers. There will be nowhere that anyone can hide from this trade war, and it will ultimately affect every single man, woman and child in the entire country.
Up until now, the U.S. trade war with China has simply been a bunch of threats and counter-threats, but now things are about to get very real. On Friday, the first round of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods becomes official, and these tariffs are going to fundamentally alter the economic relationship between the two largest economies on the entire planet. Over the past several decades, U.S. consumers have loved gobbling up super-cheap goods from China, and the Chinese have used many of the dollars that they have been accumulating to fund our exploding national debt. This symbiotic relationship has been bad for the United States in a lot of ways, and something had to be done, but in the short-term this trade war is going to be enormously painful. Sadly, most Americans are completely oblivious to what is happening. The following comes from Bloomberg…
It is difficult to find the words to describe just how serious America’s trade war with China is becoming. As you will see below, the two largest economies on the entire planet are on a self-destructive course that almost seems irreversible at this point. The only way that this trade war is going to come to a rapid conclusion is if one side is willing to totally submit and accept an extremely bitter and humiliating defeat on the global stage, and that is not likely to happen. So in the short-term, and probably beyond that, we are going to experience a tremendous amount of economic pain. In fact, if one wanted to create a recipe for economic disaster, it would be hard to beat having the Federal Reserve dramatically raise interest rates at the exact same time that the U.S. government is starting trade wars with all of the other major economic powers simultaneously. Unless something drastically changes in the very near future, there is no way that the U.S. is going to be able to get through this without experiencing severe pain.
Can the global financial system handle a full-blown trade war between the two largest economies on the entire planet? We have never seen anything like this happen in the modern age, and this is creating a tremendous amount of uncertainty for the financial markets. Yes, something had to be done, and I have been writing about this for years. China has been stealing our intellectual property, manipulating currency rates and slapping high tariffs on American goods. We simply could not allow China to continue to take advantage of us, but now we are so dependent on the Chinese that a trade war with them is going to inevitably produce a great deal of pain. We are all going to wish that another way could have been found to resolve this crisis, because in the short-term this is definitely going to hurt the U.S. economy. And if President Trump chooses to press forward with trade wars against Europe, Canada and Mexico at the same time as well, the pain for our economy is going to be off the charts.
We just witnessed the 5th largest single day stock market crash in U.S. history. On Thursday the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 724 points, and many believe that this is just the beginning of another huge wave down for stock prices. After this latest dramatic decline, the Dow is now down 3.1 percent so far in 2018, and overall it is down 9.99 percent from the all-time high in January. A 10 percent decline is officially considered to be “correction” territory, and that means that we are just about there.
Many had been hoping that the financial shaking on Wall Street that we witnessed in February would subside in March, but so far that is definitely not the case. On Thursday, the Dow fell another 420 points as investors fretted about the potential for a trade war. Over the past month, we have seen many days when stock prices have been way down and other days when stock prices have been way up. This is precisely the sort of wild volatility that we would expect to see if a major financial crisis was brewing, and the truth is that our financial system is far more vulnerable today than it was back in 2008.
We haven’t seen this kind of a bloodbath on Wall Street since the great financial crisis of 2008. Prior to this week, the largest single day decline for the Dow Jones industrial average that we had ever seen was 777 points. That record was absolutely shattered on Monday when the Dow fell 1,175 points, and on Thursday the Dow dropped another 1,032 points. This was the third decline greater than 500 points within the last five trading days, and the Dow is poised to post its worst week since the dark days of October 2008. So is this just a “correction”, or has the financial crisis of 2018 officially arrived?
Seriously? We were expecting that Tuesday would be an unusual day on Wall Street, and that was definitely the case. At the low point, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 567 points, but at the closing bell it was up 567 points. That is a swing of more than 1000 points, but what is more surprising is the exact symmetry of those numbers. Is this just some sort of bizarre coincidence?