Following the Friday morning news that China would impose additional tariffs on American imports, President Trump took to Twitter frustrated. In a tweet, Trump “ordered” private companies to change how they do business. The tweet, in addition to the tariff news out of China, sent the stock markets tumbling as they closed out the week. The troubling tweet was met with silence from self-proclaimed advocates of small government and pro-business policies. Instead, North Dakota’s delegation gave a shoulder shrug when asked about economic worries this week.
….better off without them. The vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must STOP. Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China, including bringing..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2019
In America in 2019, we have the head of state attempting to order private businesses how and where to conduct business. This is the very approach that many people claim they fear the most. Big government! Socialism! Yet, in this moment, those self-proclaimed pro-business politicians like Doug Burgum, Kevin Cramer, John Hoeven, and Kelly Armstrong, politically active organizations like Americans for Prosperity and Club for Growth, and non-profits like the Chamber of Commerce sit on their hands and say nothing. Hell, didn’t the Tea Party start out of fear of big government and mounting national debt? Their collective silence speaks volumes.
Friday afternoon, I spoke about this situation on my KFGO radio show, “Afternoons Live.” You can hear that take on this situation, as well as some questions from our text club and callers. Additional comments on the agriculture economy, how the tariffs are impacting area businesses and land prices are also found in this show clip.
I’ve asked the same thing of our commodity groups. Behind the scenes, there is a frustration that some farm groups and organizations tasked with mobilizing and vocalizing farmers haven’t been forceful enough in what public policy is doing to their industry. When it comes to tariffs and ethanol exemptions, what people are thinking and what they’re saying publicly don’t always match up. Is it intimidation or fear of backlash? Perhaps they don’t want to be called a “whiner” from administration officials? After all, North Dakota is a Republican state and it is a risk to speak out publicly against Republican leaders who may be enabling bad policies, right?
The claim that trade wars are “good” and “easy to win” is proving not true. Nobody has felt that more since the beginning than our farmers. As we continue forward in this policy, businesses and consumers are beginning to feel the pinch. Why are those tasked with speaking out so quiet?
Tyler Axness is a talk show host on the Mighty 790 KFGO in Fargo-Moorhead. His program, “Afternoons Live,” can be heard weekdays from 2 – 4 p.m. Axness is also the creator and writer of @ NDxPlains , a blog dedicated to transparency and accountability in North Dakota politics. Follow Tyler on Twitter @TylerAxnessKFGO.