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Thursday, January 04, 2018

Trump may slap 30% tax on newsprint

I have great news for newspaper editorial boards who railed against the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

President Trump may give you a nice new tax to pay.


The New York Times decried the Republican Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, even before it was written:
A Historic Tax Heist
With barely a vote to spare early Saturday morning, the Senate passed a tax bill confirming that the Republican leaders’ primary goal is to enrich the country’s elite at the expense of everybody else, including future generations who will end up bearing the cost. The approval of this looting of the public purse by corporations and the wealthy makes it a near certainty that President Trump will sign this or a similar bill into law in the coming days.
The bill is expected to add more than $1.4 trillion to the federal deficit over the next decade, a debt that will be paid by the poor and middle class in future tax increases and spending cuts to Medicare, Social Security and other government programs. Its modest tax cuts for the middle class disappear after eight years. And up to 13 million people stand to lose their health insurance because the bill makes a big change to the Affordable Care Act.
Those 13 million will not lose their health insurance. They merely will not have to buy insurance or pay a fine.

Meanwhile, I have yet to see a newspaper join the banks and other companies in giving a $1,000 bonus to workers because of the tax cuts.

Nor have I seen them volunteer to raise their minimum wage to $15, as many of those companies handing out bonuses are doing.

But the New York Sun has good news for newspapers:
If you think President Trump has an antagonistic relationship with the press now, just wait until his administration slaps a new 30% tax on newsprint.
Seriously. That’s the threat America’s newspaper publishers are warning about, with the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration set to issue a preliminary determination by March 7, 2018 on whether Canada’s export into the United States of “certain uncoated groundwood paper” meets the legal tests to qualify for countervailing duties under the Tariff Act of 1930.
The publisher of Maine’s largest newspaper, the Portland Press Herald, raised an alarm about the issue in her year-end letter to readers. “We are facing a new challenge that threatens our newspapers,” the publisher, Lisa DeSisto, wrote. “The Trump administration is looking to impose a tariff on newsprint from Canada, which would have a disastrous effect on the entire newspaper industry. We purchase all our newsprint from Canada, as Maine mills no longer produce it. It would be near impossible for us to absorb a 30 percent increase in newsprint costs.”
Ms. DeSisto wrote, “We hope the president backs away from that idea, because it could hamper our ability to bring you the journalism you have come to expect from us.”
Nor is Ms. DeSisto alone. The News Media Alliance, the newspaper trade association last seen pleading with Congress for a special antitrust exemption to allow Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos and Buffalo News owner Warren Buffett stronger negotiation positions against Google and Facebook, is now mobilizing against the newsprint tariff.

The people who oppose tax cuts oppose this opportunity to pay more so that the poor may eat?

Tell me it is not true.

UPDATE: The idea that newspapers will pass along this tax to customers has one problem. If you do not draw enough customers at $1 a copy, how will you attract enough at$1.30?

OK, newsprint is only part of the cost of producing a newspaper, but my point is raising prices is not an option.


Please enjoy my two books about the press and how it missed the rise of Donald Trump.

The first was "Trump the Press," which covered his nomination.

The second was "Trump the Establishment," which covered his election.

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As always, Make America Great Again.


  1. Every day Mr. Trump brings America some new blessing. With the proposed tariff, he helps the American paper industry (which almost never makes any money) and hurts America's enemies in the newspaper business.

    A win-win.

    Steve in Greensboro

  2. Our local paper has gotten smaller and smaller. Fewer pages, dropped from three times a week to twice a week. With no drop in prices that was quite a price hike.

    Don't get into an argument with someone who buys ink by the barrel, and don't lie about someone who can raise a tariff by 30 percent.

  3. I'm all for high taxes aimed at the people who favor high taxes. But apparently, they are not.

    1. They won't put their money where their mouths are? For SHAME.

  4. Wow. I bet the News Media Alliance must be wondering what it would be like to have someone in the White House who cares what they think. You can't walk across a bridge that you already torched into ashes.

  5. Bernie will be their savior.

    He will promise free computers to Americans - here legally or illegally. Then they can read the newspapers on-line. Better yet, most browsers can translate from one language to another, so the people that want to read the news in languages other then English will be just fine.

    - Ken

  6. Donald Trump is *not* a gentleman. He is an American classic, and like - say Phillip Marlowe - he has no problem dealing with his foes as foes. They decided long ago they were choosing sides, and now Donald Trump is letting them know that doing so has a cost.

    -Mikey NTH

  7. neither have radio or television networks. they are too busy rooting out sexual harassers.

  8. You know, if Congress passes a law legalizing marijuana (hemp), they could use the non smokeable portions to make paper. That's what they used to do before the Hearst newspaper family bought up vast tracts of pulpwood forest and then persuaded Congress to outlaw hemp to force all newspapers to buy pulpwood paper.

  9. The NYT...I think it's cute when leftists act like they care about the debt or deficit. Absolutely precious. Too bad 13 million people will have to pay for their own insurance, thereby giving them some skin in the game when it comes to their health and health costs.

  10. This is a tax based on the theory that we Canadians are unfairly subsidizing our newsprint industry. If so, fair enough.

    However, the USA has frequently argued the same thing about Canadian softwood lumber and lost at arbitration panels every time, even panels with a majority of American arbitrators.

    I generally like Trump and the idea of a once again great USA. But if you insist that most imports from the world be shut down, how will you export? What are we supposed to use for money to buy your stuff?

    Canada is a huge country populated mostly by trees and we have a gigantic comparative advantage at producing woody stuff. The US has many comparative advantages in producing other stuff.

    I repeat: If we can't export the stuff we are good at to you, how the hell can we buy the stuff you are good at?

  11. You're saying my local paper may raise its price?
    I am so bummed! I cancelled my subscription about 7 years ago, so I can't cancel it now. Or later.

  12. Newspapers... yeah, I remember them! Haven't bought one for over a decade now. They still send me offers for a new subscription, though, in the mail.

    The last straw for me was when they fired the only decent cartoonist they had & ran "Doonsbury" in his place. That did it; haven't missed them.

    Now if I could only get them to stop delivering phone books; those go instantly into the recycle bin but it's a waste of time & money for everybody!

    What worries me is that the bureaucrats will figure out a way to tax pixels. If they do, we're all in trouble!

  13. Newspapers should be printed entirely on recycled paper or else published in electronic form only. Why are they still importing paper milled from harvesting trees, whether farmed or wild? Save the Earth! Trump should slap a 100% tariff on all virgin newsprint regardless of the country of origin.

  14. Don't you have to have profits to pay taxes?

  15. Newspaper ink contains carbon black. Now THERE’S a tax on carbon Trump could get behind!

  16. Maybe it will become economically viable for Maine to start producing it again.

    Especially if Trump gets the EPA out of the way.

    Most of Maine ought to be used as Tree Farms. It should be Big Business there.

    Instead, enviroweenies and Democrats have used the Federal Bureaucracy to destroy virtually the entire industry.

    As a result, we import products from Canada that we are entirely capable of producing here.

  17. EVERY time Mr. T plays with Proggie heads, the old Genesis song starts playing in my head: "The old days are gone and they're better left alone."

  18. The power to tax is the power to destroy-- Daniel Webster.

    The left uses taxes to destroy their enemies. It's high time we did the same.

  19. That would be vry similar to taxing toilet paper.

  20. Oh, how sad... I love newsprint - - blank, to doodle on, not the kind messed up by the NYT & WaPo.

  21. I haven't bought a newspaper since Watterson quit drawing Calvin & Hobbes, so it don't make no never mind to me.