After all, trade (like racism) is an issue on which Trump has been utterly consistent over the years.
.. his views are based on zero understanding of the issues or even of basic facts, well, Trumpism is all about belligerent ignorance, across the board.
.. The real goal, instead, is to protect us from ourselves: to limit the special-interest politics and outright corruption that used to reign in trade policy.
Trumpocrats, however, don’t see corruption and rule by special interests as problems. You could say that the world trading system is, in large part, specifically designed to prevent people like Trump from having too much influence. Of course he wants to wreck it.
.. a trade war against the European Union would make America as a whole poorer, even if the E.U. didn’t retaliate (which it would). It would, however, benefit some industries that happen to face stiff European competition.
.. The small groups that benefit from protectionism often have more political influence than the much larger groups that are hurt.
.. the infamous Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930: Enough members of Congress were bought off, one way or another, to enact legislation that almost everyone knew was bad for the nation as a whole.
.. Tariff policy, which used to be one of the dirtiest, most corrupt aspects of politics both in the U.S. and elsewhere, has become remarkably (though not perfectly) clean.
.. the steel and aluminum tariffs, justified with an obviously bogus appeal to national security, clearly don’t pass the test.
.. But that won’t bother Trump. After all, we now basically have an
- Environmental Protection Agency run on behalf of polluters, an
- Interior Department run by people who want to loot federal land, an
- Education Department run by the for-profit schools industry, and so on.
Why should trade policy be different?
Remember, when the Republicans blamed Obama for leading from behind. Is Trump’s leadership what they call leading from in front? Isolationism is leading from in front? Is that what Republicans call leadership?
.. I remember a time when republicans disliked Russia and loved free trade. That was so last election cycle. Now it is the opposite. What changed?
.. Until my late 20s
(in the 1970s) the United States had what is called a “regulated capitalism“. This resulted in a more or less balanced arrangement of economic outcomes for the majority of people. All quintiles rose when the GDP rose. They were two sides of the same coin: when the economy prospered, the American people prospered. This is no longer true.