American tariffs have caused controversy since 1789, when they were first used to raise revenue. The uproar today is about tariffs and China.

It seems to me the Washington, D.C., establishment has created an intolerable situation in world trade that's unique in American history. Most folks don’t know about three unusual things politicians of both parties did the last 30 years to help create today’s predicament:

• Tax laws encouraged American companies to employ Chinese workers in China rather than American workers in America.

• They didn’t tax profits that American companies made in China as long as American companies banked and invested those profits in foreign countries instead of in America.

• They protected Chinese companies from American competition by allowing China to put high tariffs on American-made products.

As we all know, the few Americans who built plants and did business in China became unbelievably wealthy. But over the years as China got wealthier and more powerful, America’s economy went to pot.

Seemingly everything in America was made in China. And our lowest economic growth in decades affected almost everybody. The final straw for millions of Americans was hearing in 2014 that "low growth is the new normal."

The current administration is trying hard to fix the situation. And that’s not easy, especially when some folks, especially farmers, will be temporarily hurt in the process.

Washington, D.C., establishment politicians who oppose tariffs on China still haven’t gotten the message from the last presidential election. And it’s high time they did.

DON HASKELL

Astoria

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