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Alan Viard of the American Enterprise Institute argues that in the long run a border adjusted tax, that would raise taxes on imports, will be a wash because America can't run a trade deficit forever. Eventually we'll have to run commensurate surpluses to make up for what we've spent. So when we do start running those surpluses, our tax receipts will go down, eliminating the benefit of the tax in the long run.

Counterpoint: Former Reagan economic adviser Martin Feldstein, however, emails Axios to take exception with this theory. "The U.S. has had a trade deficit for each of the past 30 years. So apparently the world is prepared to allow us to keep doing this without paying them back."

Why this matters: The Trump administration has floated a border tax to raise $10 billion to pay for a wall on the Mexican border. And even if Viard might technically be right in the (very) long run, that won't stop policy makers from trying to grab this extra revenue while they can.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.