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Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)
Students of history are annoyed at the president.
Yesterday, President Donald Trump announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, causing the Dow to plunge 400 points. Today—unfazed—he declared trade wars are easy to win.
When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2018
Pedantic tweeters who remember buzzwords from pre-World War II America—a surprisingly large subset of the site—came for the president.
Yep. The GOP really whipped them with those Smoot-Hawley tariffs back in the 1930’s.— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) March 2, 2018
Trump claims 'trade wars' are 'easy to win' day after tariff talk roils stock market https://t.co/vzqoXPuhCO via @USATODAY
[taking my bitcoin meme expert hat off and putting my Smoot-Hawley tariff act hat on]— Mark Constantine (@vexmark) March 2, 2018
Folks here's how protectionist trade policies can adversely impact the synergies of global commerce through cross-retaliatory measures – 1/169
Smoot-Hawley should be remembered by all when understanding risks of going down the tariffs path— Liz Ann Sonders (@LizAnnSonders) March 1, 2018
Trump must have skipped the class on the calamitous Smoot-Hawley tariffs/trade war at the Wharton School https://t.co/FszxqNcJtO— Jackie Calmes (@jackiekcalmes) March 2, 2018
"Smoot and Hawley are an example of somebody who’ve done an amazing job and are getting recognized more and more, I notice" https://t.co/CBsTTStRfR— Shashank Joshi (@shashj) March 2, 2018
While you may have forgotten the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, save for its funny name, it was one of the most disastrous policies implemented in United States history. Championed by Sen. Reed Smoot and Rep. Willis C. Hawley, it introduced sweeping tariffs on tens of thousands of goods imported into the United States. At the time, in 1930, the tariffs imposed were the second-highest in the history of the U.S.
Instead of helping a floundering U.S. economy that had just suffered a huge stock market crash, the tariffs are widely considered to have kicked the Great Depression into high gear.
(And yes, the stock market did just undergo a correction last month, so…)
Trump’s tariffs, in fairness, are just on steel and aluminum imports and are in no way as broad as Smoot-Hawley. But Twitter never wastes an opportunity to find a funny phrase and drive it into the ground.
[reads Wikipedia page on Smoot-Hawley]— Simon Maloy (@SimonMaloy) March 1, 2018
David Covucci is the Layer 8 editor at the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the web. His work has appeared in Vice, the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gothamist, and other publications. He is particularly interested in hearing any tips you have. Reach out at [email protected]