It's time to run bigger, better and harder on trade policies.
"By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he [the entrepreneur] intends only his own security, and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention." -- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1776 (emphasis added to rebut "free trade" misuse of this quote, as free-traders always drop the first 11 words)- Advertisement -
There's an old saying that even a broken clock is right twice a day. In that spirit, Donald Trump and his advisors are at least partly right about trade and tariffs.
Ironically, he's totally defying the entire Republican Party, as well as the Bill Clinton-corporate wing of the Democratic Party, and running with policies that progressive Democrats have been pushing for a century.
While most progressive politicians will admit Trump is right on trade (and several have on my radio/TV show), there aren't a lot of Democrats these days willing to enthusiastically acknowledge Trump might be right about anything so they're not much popping up on network or cable TV.
Which is unfortunate: the Democratic Party should return to its progressive/protectionist/union roots and steal this issue right from Trump's teeth, saying that he's not doing it well enough or fast enough. They should run hard in 2020 on Bernie's suggestion that we use protectionist policies to end our trade deficits and bring back home our jobs.
The disastrous trade deficits we've been running since the Reagan era are damaging to the future of America for a variety of reasons, from national security to where the profits from American companies end up, to the flattening of American working wages and benefits.
Thinking of going to a good-old-fashioned American movie at an American movie theater? The AMC chain is now Chinese-owned, and one of the largest producers of blockbuster Hollywood movies is Japanese-owned Sony. Have a Budweiser beer before the show? Budweiser is owned by the Belgians. Maybe some Ben & Jerry's ice cream afterwards? They're owned by the Dutch. Drive home in your Japanese or German car with Firestone (Japanese-owned) tires and stop at Burger King (Brazilian-owned), hit the 7-Eleven (Japanese-owned) to pick up some lottery tickets, get home to watch your Samsung or Sony (South Korea-, Japan-owned) TV, thankful that even if your cholesterol goes up too high your John Hancock (Canadian-owned) life insurance will protect your family.
Your family, by the way, would like to go out, so you stop at the Citgo (Venezuelan-owned) or Shell (Dutch-owned) or BP (British-owned) gas station, pick up some really great snacks at Trader Joes (German-owned), and stay overnight on the way to grandma's at an all-American Holiday Inn (British-owned) where you can pick up some great Nestle (German-owned) snacks and feed your baby some Gerber (German-owned) baby food.
You take a quick shower and dry your hair with a GE Appliances (Chinese-owned) hairdryer, then, after feeding the dog some Purina (Swiss-owned) dog food you watch Jurassic Park (Chinese-owned) on the LG TV (Chinese-owned).
The list could go on and on. Try to find an American-manufactured product at Walmart or Best Buys or even Macys? Good luck. Even the majority of hog operations in the US are Chinese-owned.
Sourcewatch notes that, as of eight years ago, top foreign ownership of US industrial sectors was: