Trump Threatens to Blow Up the U.S. Economy

The same dynamics that preceded Trump’s decision to cut off aid to Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala are now playing out with his threats to shut down the Mexican border. It all starts on Twitter.

According to CNN, some members of his administration are warning him that such a move would result in catastrophic consequences, while others are cheering him on. Stephen Miller—more than likely in the latter group—suggests that the president is not bluffing.

In other words, much like the situation with the countries in the Northern Triangle of Central America, confusion reigns on a policy that could have dire consequences.

It would most likely resemble the aftermath of a major natural disaster: food shortages, skyrocketing prices, people out of work and a plummeting stock market.

While President Trump sees shutting the border with Mexico as punishment for its failure to stop the flow of undocumented immigrants, economists warn that the move would effectively paralyze the United States economy given the huge volume of bluejeans, cars, flat-screen TVs, avocados and other goods that cross the border every day.

No one would feel the effects more than auto workers.

The entire US auto industry would shut down within a week if President Donald Trump goes through with his pledge to close the US-Mexican border, according to a leading expert on the industry.

That’s because every automaker operating an auto plant in the United States depends on parts imported from Mexico, said Kristin Dziczek, the vice president of industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research.

About 37% of all auto parts imported to the United States originate in Mexico. Virtually all car models in America have Mexican parts, she said. Because of that reliance, she said the auto industry would stop producing vehicles relatively quickly.

“You can’t sell cars with missing pieces,” she said. “You’ve got to have them all. I see the whole industry shutdown within a week of a border closing.”

In addition, farmers—who have already been hit with floods and Trump’s tariff war with China—would be on the receiving end of yet another blow.

American farmers would lose a major market, causing a drop in prices for their crops and a potential buildup of their goods in factories, slaughterhouses and grain bins.

Even the Chamber of Commerce is worried about this one.

“Closing the U.S.-Mexico border would inflict severe economic harm on American families, workers, farmers and manufacturers across the United States,” said Neil Bradley, the chamber’s executive vice president and chief policy officer.

It is hard to imagine that such a measure would not prompt a drop in the stock market, which has seized up as the president threatened to withdraw from Nafta or put more extensive tariffs on China. That would dent the retirement savings of many Americans, as well as affect the ability of companies to raise money in the capital markets.

It’s not as if Trump is ignorant about all of this. He has been warned. And yet he continues to ignore all of that and, as he did in a recent tweet, said that we lose so much money to Mexico that closing the border would be a good thing.

When he was campaigning, Trump said that as president, he wanted to be unpredictable. That is one promise that he seems to be keeping. Who knows whether he’ll actually follow through on this threat and put the entire American economy at risk? Even more significantly, who knows what might cause him to feel threatened enough that he would lash out by putting the entire American economy at risk?

These are the kinds of questions that demonstrate why it is so dangerous to have a man who is this mentally unstable as president. Holding him accountable could make him feel more threatened and therefore, more likely to do something monumentally stupid like shutting down the Mexican border. On the other hand, it would be unconscionable to give him a pass.

In other words, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. That is the classic catch-22 people face when dealing with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is why Kamala Harris wasn’t joking when she said that over the last 2+ years many of us have found ourselves yelling at the television or going to therapy to deal with our anxiety.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.