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Trade Wars Are Not Easy—Unlike What Trump Thinks

May 10, 2019

In March 2018 Donald Trump tweeted (another) very stupid remark.

When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. When we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore – we win big. It’s easy!

I can not underscore how much I miss the intellect and rationality of President Obama.  The diarrhea of Trump’s mouth and fingers is a constant source of embarrassment for our nation.  The above example is a perfect reason why he must be removed from office.

Now at the start of May 2019, Trump’s reckless and stupefying comment about trade wars, proves to be an even more colossal indictment of his lack of education and ability to reason.

Trade talks between China and the United States ended today with no deal of any sort.  Trump had yet another tantrum this week and raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports.  China, obviously, will not stand idly by, so repercussions will be forthcoming.

While both sides indicated there would be future discussions, that is not enough to soothe markets or allow producers to feel any sense of calm concerning the future fate of their businesses.  There is now a hot trade war underway.

There are many ways to view this mess, and ponder how we got here, and how to back away from the cliff.

One matter I have long argued on this blog, being a free trader and internationalist, is that what is happening now could have been handled far differently had we not precipitously and stupidly withdrawn from the TPP.  That was one of the first major bone-headed decisions from the Trump White House.  Had we not jettisoned ourselves from TPP we would be allied with many Pacific Rim countries that represent a larger fraction of Chinese trade.

Now we are waging this battle alone.  Needlessly so.  Let me repeat, TPP was a good plan.

The TPP treaty addressed the issues of intellectual property rights–one of the pressing and nettlesome issues with China–along with foreign companies’ access to markets without resorting to tariffs.   That Trump trashed TPP in favor of 19th Century tariffs is nothing short of the most unenlightened and backwards thinking imaginable.

This is what happen when one elects a severely under-educated president.

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