How Tariffs Play In To Trump’s Xenophobic Agenda | OurFuture.org by People’s Action
Because of these undertones, protectionism can inadvertently promote xenophobia. It is all too short a road from treating Asian industry as a threat to treating Asian peopleas a threat. Trump already started down this road by proposing restrictions on visas for people from China as part of his “trade” fight, while Chris Wray, Trump’s FBI Director, recently all but admitted that he is racially profiling Chinese-Americans and Chinese immigrants in investigations of “economic espionage.”
History shows that this can escalate to violent extremes. In 1982, resentment against the Japanese auto industry contributed to the murder of Chinese-American Vincent Chin in a Detroit suburb. He was killed by an auto plant superintendent and a laid-off autoworker who declared, “It’s because of you little motherfuckers that we’re out of work.”
Ultimately, progressives need to think beyond the debate around tariffs. Since the tariffs are meant to create jobs, this is an opportunity to counter with our own job creation program. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrad (D-N.Y.), considered an early frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic primaries, recently came out in support of a federal jobs guarantee, an idea that is gaining momentum. This program could be underwritten by massive investment in public works. For example, a “Green New Deal” to build clean energy infrastructure would both combat climate change and create jobs in the steel industry.