Is Donald Trump’s trade war with China a shrewd tactic or a reckless gamble with the livelihoods of farmers, auto workers, and other Americans? Only time will tell.
But as we watch events unfold, we should remember why the Framers of the Constitution rested authority to “regulate commerce with foreign nations” in Congress rather than with the President. The constitutional drafters understood that policy is best made by elected representatives who bring different perspectives to the table than by a single executive who has only one viewpoint. They also understood that executives are too willing to provoke conflict with other countries. The Framers wanted to make it difficult for their new government to act impulsively.
So how does Trump have the authority to levy harsh tariffs on goods imported from China?