By Quin Hillyer at The Washington Examiner;

With President Trump’s incredibly foolhardy decision Thursday to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, the probability grows of an economic crash this fall.

When the likely crash hits (I predict late-October), this nation will be psychologically ill-equipped to handle it. Get ready for rough times.

The crash is likely because both public and private-sector debt levels are too high; assets are overvalued; wage pressure soon will massively increase; young workers are too coddled; petroleum prices are rising; healthcare premium increases will hit with explosive force; Trump’s protectionism is massively harmful; Trump’s diplomacy is too mercurial (and thus more likely to spark a minicrisis that scares investors); and even mildly rising interest rates will spook markets that for 10 years have become accustomed to rates that are unnaturally low.

Combine all those problems with the likelihood of hard-left agitation this fall (the lefties always gin up something), with the predictable overreaction from an adolescent president and the concerns that will grow, among investors, about a possible Nancy Pelosi House speakership — and, voila, it’s a recipe for the sort of sheer panic that makes economies tank.

First, on the tariffs: Few policies could be more counterproductive. Not only will these tariffs hike prices for American consumers and manufacturers, causing far more economic dislocation than they ward off in the “protected” industries, but they also will likely catalyze retaliation by the targeted nations that could badly hurt American farmers, ranchers, textile plants, and consumers.

The Dow Jones’ immediate 200-point drop on Thursday in response to Trump’s announcement was indicative of the damage tariffs will do.

Then there’s the growing debt problem — or, more accurately, the looming debt crisis. Global private and public debt has reached an eye-popping 245 percent of Gross Domestic Product, even before the massive government spending binge recently approved by Congress and Trump has really kicked in. With both government debt and household debt in the U.S. at record levels, and with some wise analysts saying official debt numbers worldwide actually understate the problem, the stage is set for a domino effect of collapsing financial positions if just two or three lenders start calling in their loans….

[The rest is at this link.]

 

 

 

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