Right Opinion

Taxes, Tariffs & Trump

Burt Prelutsky · Jun. 16, 2018

I don’t claim to be an economist. But having seen and heard from far too many of them ever since Trump rattled their cage by announcing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, I really don’t think I’d care to be one.

I have no idea if the proposed tariffs will be good or bad for American workers and consumers, but I do know a few things: One, I believe Trump is convinced the tariffs will prove to be beneficial for the U.S. or he wouldn’t consider calling for them to be imposed. Two: I take comfort in knowing he’s being advised not just by his usual trustworthy gut but by people like Larry Kudlow who prefer capitalism to all the other isms out there. Three: I know that the talking heads on TV whose hair goes up in flames the second the president says or does anything aren’t to be trusted. They hate him and they’re not too crazy about those of us who elected him. Every time they wring their hands over one of his agenda items, I have this overwhelming urge to wring their necks.

Perhaps most telling of all is that Trump’s critics are all agonizing over retaliation by Mexico, Canada and the EU, while ignoring the fact that his tariffs are in retaliation to those that have been leveled on our products for decades. If you didn’t know about that, it’s because until now we haven’t had a president who cared to mention that embarrassing fact, let alone do something about it.

For instance, the EU places a 10% tariff on American cars; we have had a 2% tariff on the EU’s.

The one thing that troubles me is that during his campaign, Trump gave us an earful about China’s currency manipulation and other sleazy trade practices, but now he seems to be carrying on a torrid bromance with President Xi that might even begin to trouble Melania if it goes on much longer.

I suppose Trump might be motivated by his hope that Xi will assist him in getting Kim Jong-un to denuclearize North Korea, but I wouldn’t pin my hopes on either of those schmucks bargaining in good faith. Shake hands with those two at your own risk. One will steal your cufflinks; the other will swipe your watch, while simultaneously stabbing you in the back.

As for our alleged allies in the EU, which could serve as shorthand for eunuch, if they decide, as has been rumored, to hitch their wagon to Russia, good luck with that.

Russia is, as it’s always been, a troublemaker on the world stage. But for all its evil intentions, Russia is a third-world nation with a third-world economy. So if Germany, France and the others decide to embrace the Russian bear rather than deal honestly with Trump, I can’t help thinking it will be like the passengers on the Titanic breathing a sigh of relief as they spot a rescue ship on the horizon, unaware that it’s the Lusitania.


We now know that the FBI was all over the Trump campaign like a soggy blanket, all because of alleged suspicions that members of his team were colluding with Russia. That’s the fairy tale that got Robert Mueller engaged as special counselor, turning him into a latter-day Cotton Mather on the alert for conservative witches.

The problem is that at the same time we are being told that Putin’s real mission was to destroy America’s faith in the democratic process. However, the FBI hasn’t shown the slightest bit of curiosity about the Clinton campaign when everybody knows her people spent upwards of $10 million to finance a fraudulent dossier cooked up by the Russians and a former English spy.


California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra has just banned state-funded travel to Oklahoma, adding it to a list that includes Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas, states that, so far as California’s duly elected morons are concerned, discriminates against homosexuals and transgenders.

The exceptions to the rule are those state agents investigating crimes or tax disputes, although I can’t think of any other reason any of these meatheads would have for leaving the only insane asylum in America with a state charter.

The question looming in my brain is why any of the governors of those nine states should allow these idiots to get off the plane for any reason whatsoever. If they need an excuse that will stand up in court, I suggest they argue that every California official is a potential plague-carrier. I’d be happy to testify for the prosecution.


There aren’t too many things that can still shock me, but I was rocked back on my heels by a poll conducted by LifeWay, an evangelical research firm, that showed that just 58% of Millennial evangelicals, ages 18-34, had a more positive opinion of Israel than they had of the Palestinians (a.k.a. Hamas). That compared to the 76% of evangelicals who are 65 or older who favored Israel.

Frankly, even that number threw me for a curve.

In this increasingly Godless age, I might have expected that the younger generation had simply stopped identifying with the religion of their parents and grandparents, but I was blindsided by those results. It was the equivalent of hearing that 42% of young evangelicals and 24% of their elders thought more highly of the Nazis than they did of their Jewish victims.


Ben Rhodes, writing in his book The World as It Is, reports that his former boss, Barack Obama, was constantly being disappointed by the American people. After Donald Trump’s victory, Obama said: “What if we were wrong in being so right? What if we were too good for these people? Maybe we pushed too far. Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe.”

How obnoxious! What the man lacks in hubris he more than makes up for in narcissism.

Coming from anyone, that statement would be intolerable. But coming from the megalomaniac who played identify politics every day for eight years, it’s mind-boggling.

This was a shmuck who fell back on his own tribe whether he was riding the black Chicago vote to the Illinois legislature or the black national vote all the way to the White House.

Who else but a tribesman would side with blacks every time and in every possible situation and even go so far as to claim that a punk like Trayvon Martin reminded him of the son he never had?

Coincidentally, Trayvon Martin also reminded me of the son Barack Obama never had.


After I mentioned a riff by Jackie Mason in a recent article, one of my readers let me know that she remembered when you could see comics like Mason, Shecky Greene and Don Rickles for the price of a drink in a Vegas lounge.

She closed with “I live a lot in memories.”

To which I replied: “Memoryland is a nice place to visit, though probably not the best place to live.”

That, in turn, reminded me that one of my favorite magazines is Reminisce. It is entirely devoted to anecdotes and photos shared by its subscribers. There are sections devoted to the recollections of military veterans; of people raised during the Depression and World War II; memories of visits to the farms of their grandparents; their favorite Thanksgivings and Christmases; how they met their spouses; their most embarrassing moments; their encounters, good and bad, with celebrities; a whole hodge-podge of lives that brings to mind the opening narration of the old TV series, “Naked City”: “There are eight million stories in the Naked City. This is one of them.”

The anecdotes bring back an America that is long gone, but, fortunately, not entirely forgotten.


John Kindseth, the pride of Lodi, California, sent along a joke that I think I ran a couple of years ago, but, even if I did, it bears repeating.

On a nice summer day, Grandma Goldberg took her grandson Aaron to the beach to play in the sand. She was settled in with her knitting, Aaron with his pail and little shovel, when a tidal wave suddenly appeared and sucked the little boy out to sea.

Unable to swim, his grandmother began to scream hysterically: “God! Help! Save my baby! I will do anything! I will stop kvetching over every little thing! I’ll go to temple every Friday night! I’ll keep kosher! I’ll never ask another thing of you! Just please save Aaron!”

Suddenly, there is a rumble that sounds like thunder, a hand reaches down from the heavens, plucks the drowning child from the sea and places Aaron in his baba’s loving arms.

As she dries the tears from her wrinkled cheeks, she looks down at her tiny grandson, then gazes upward to say: “His hat …. he had a hat.”

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