Trump’s Solar and Washing Machine Tariffs Aren’t World-Ending

By Matthew McMullan
Jan 25 2018 |
Photo by flickr user demmbatz

Chill out, everybody.

Donald Trump is in Davos, Switzerland right now, at the World Economic Forum, no doubt impressing the masters of the global economy with his charm and grace. Bono will probably dig it.

Anyway, before he left for the forum, the White House was making trade moves that will have ramifications at home and abroad. It announced a pair of tariff decisions – one on solar panel imports, and another on washing machines.

The greatest thinkers of our time are weighing in on Twitter. People aren’t happy about it! It’s getting heavy.

It’s true: This president has, uh, a way of polarizing people, which in turn makes just about anything he does a black-or-white issue in the eyes of the public. And plenty of people are upset about the tariffs.  

But, there are those who aren’t. And they aren’t necessarily diehard Trump supporters, either. Rather, people who support manufacturing. Like this retailer in Ohio:

Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

And as everyone rushes to the defense of solar importers, please remember that the world’s leading producer of photovoltaic power isn’t exactly a beacon of free markets, labor rights, or environmental justice:

Artificially cheap Chinese solar panels are seized upon in the American market as an opportunity to widely deploy and install solar across the U.S. in a push for renewable energy. But these solar panels are clearly produced at the expense of workers, communities, and the environment. The result? In an attempt to decrease our dependency on carbon intensive energy, the U.S. has offshored pollution and the burdens that come with it to communities in China, who do not have the same liberties as U.S. citizens do to organize and demand enforcement, let alone creation, of public environmental protections.

Is this the path to a less carbon-intensive future that America should endorse and build upon?

That's a very good question! Even Al Gore sounds like he's considering it.

Tariffs aren't the end of the world. The solar tariffs are actually lower than those instituted by the Obama administration four years ago. We have not been plunged into a trade war. Chill out, internet!