Trump Mulls $10,000 Tax on Most New Cars

Toyota Motor Corporation

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Here’s the latest deep thought from the Trump administration:

Officials may cite national security grounds to justify a 25 percent tariff on imported vehicles, a senior administration official said….An announcement of a formal investigation into the purported need for such industrial protection could come as soon as Wednesday evening, one industry executive said.

Wednesday evening, the White House announced that Trump had directed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to consider launching a formal investigation of the possible need for such industrial protection. Eighteen minutes later, Ross said he had done so. “Core industries such as automobiles and automotive parts are critical to our strength as a Nation,” the president said.

What’s next? A national security exemption for avocados and bell peppers? Pharmaceuticals? Diamonds? With the process now in hand, it shouldn’t take Ross more than ten minutes each to declare them a key military requirement.

Anyway, this is not going to happen. Can you imagine the howls from Trump’s rich voter base when they suddenly have to pay more for their BMWs, Porsches, and Jaguars? I’m reminded of this famous presentation from Ross a couple of months ago defending the new tariffs on steel and aluminum:

The price of a can of Campbell’s soup would only go up six-tenths of a cent! But what’s he going to do now? Haul in a Porsche on a crane and declare that a 25 percent tariff would only raise its price by a paltry $30,000? And what about the other end of the Trump base? They’re going to have to shell out an extra $10,000 for their Toyota Tundras and Nissan Armadas. That’ll do wonders for Republicans in the upcoming midterms.

So it’s not going to happen, and everyone knows it’s not going to happen. What possible negotiating benefit can this provide? It’s like trying to bluff on a low pair while your cards are laying up on the table. As usual with Trump, this is just another mysterious emanation from deep within his lizard brain. Nobody knows what it really means.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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