May 14, 2019

America is suffering for its trade war

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Reports show China's intellectual property theft costs U.S. companies hundreds of billions of dollars a year, and Chinese businesses have clearly benefited from a government-manipulated currency, goods dumping and non-tariff barriers at the expense of American firms.

Why it matters: A lack of money is not America's problem, given its $21 trillion economy. But President Trump has yet to explain how a trade war victory benefits working people in places like Louisiana, Michigan and South Carolina who will suffer higher prices on account of his conflict.

  • Instead, the White House looks to be taking a different track: praising the virtue of sacrifice.

The big picture: Wars are unpleasant things, and trade wars are no exception to the rule. When a country goes to war, its citizens have to make sacrifices, as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) acknowledged on "CBS This Morning" Monday.

"There will be some sacrifices on the part of Americans, I grant you that, but I also would say that sacrifice is pretty minimal compared to the sacrifices that our soldiers make overseas, that our fallen heroes that are laid to rest in Arlington make."

The catch: Cotton's remarks come in the wake of White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow telling Fox News' Chris Wallace on Sunday that "both sides will pay... Both sides will suffer on this."

The bottom line: With a trillion dollars of global stock-market losses on Monday alone, and the continued implosion of agricultural prices, Republicans aren't even trying any more to make the case that trade wars are easy to win. Now that they're asking Americans to make sacrifices, they're going to have to start being more explicit about what cause the sacrifices are being made for.

Go deeper: Trade war intensifies as China retaliates with $60 billion in tariffs

Go deeper

Facebook spending $100 million to help news outlets in coronavirus crisis

Photo Illustration by Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook says it is spending $100 million to support news outlets around the world that have been impacted by the coronavirus, the company said Monday.

Why it matters: Whatever Facebook's motivation, this is a much-needed cash infusion at a critical time for the local news industry.

The next American struggle: Waiting out the coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There are now a lot of known knowns about the coronavirus: It's here, it's spreading, it's stressing hospitals, it's crippling the economy, it's slowed only by distance and isolation — and it's sure to get much worse before it gets much better. 

Why it matters: Similarly, there is a sameness to the patterns and known unknowns. So now we hit the maddening stage of waiting.

Go deeperArrow31 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus pushes traditional businesses into the digital age

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A slew of old-line industries that once hesitated to embrace digital technologies are now being forced to do so for the sake of survival.

Why it matters: Once consumers get used to accessing services digitally — from older restaurants finally embracing online ordering, or newspapers finally going all-digital — these industries may find it hard to go back to traditional operations.