By Scott Tibbs, March 19, 2018
Note: I sent this to Representative Trey Hollingsworth and Senator Todd Young on March 10.
Senator Young and Representative Hollingsworth,
I am writing to express my opposition to the President's proposed tariffs and to urge you to take action to reverse the President's policy.
Even if I agreed with the tariffs, I would urge you to oppose them. The President should not have the authority to unilaterally impose tariffs, because the authority to tax is explicitly given to Congress by our Constitution. It is shameful that Congress granted the President the authority to do this decades ago, shirking their responsibility as legislators. Allowing the President to do this continues the long slide of giving the Executive Branch more power than it should have in a healthy republic, and far more power than the men who wrote and ratified the Constitution ever intended.
On policy, these are a bad idea. We just passed a historic tax cut that is already helping Americans and will stimulate more economic growth. Why then, would we want to raise other taxes? We should not lose sight of the reality that tariffs are taxes and that increasing tariffs (or imposing new ones) is a significant tax increase. This is exactly the kind of big-government, tax-and-spend politics that Republicans are supposed to oppose.
Furthermore, government should not be picking winners and losers, favoring some American industries over others. Yes, these tariffs might help the aluminum and steel industries. However, other industries (specifically the automobile industry) will be harmed by higher steel prices. Ultimately, though, this is a tax increase on working Americans who will be paying more for the products we purchase.
President Trump was elected with the promise that he would "drain the swamp," but protectionist tax increases are a perfect manifestation of the swamp. The tax hikes should be reversed, and (more importantly) the President's authority to unilaterally act on tax increases must be revoked.