Thursday, March 16, 2017

-RFNJ Debate Team: What Protectionism?


I want to keep this open to edit and allow Tom or anyone else to reply directly on the article.

Topic: Protectionism and Populism
Question: Is the United States becoming Protectionist via a return to Populism, or is this a return to lawfulness without curtailing the US's place in global economics?

Lately I have been inundated with macro/global financial commentators that Trump has ushered in a new era in Protectionism. Absurdly noted by the most hysterical commentators, Trump's Protectionism (America First) does not hearken to the days of Smoot-Hawley , but to more notorious dictatorial regimes. One commentator opined that Trump's Protectionism is derived from Populism therefore it was akin to Chavism or Peronista (a la Argentina). We have heard TeeVee  pundits call it Fascism, Hitlerian, Neo-Nazi, ad-nauseaum... I recently read a macro analyst make the outrageous comparison to Mussolini's Italy with the assertion that like Italy in the 30's America too will experience an immediate uptick in GDP. I had to call this "genius" and ask him when he expects the Fascisti to come round up the dissenters and how come Trump hasn't Nationalized industry as did Il Duce?!?!? I also asked him if it was fitting to compare Trump to Mussolini, why not Hitler or Hirohito?

My immediate observation: the macro financial analysts, even the sharp ones, are wrong and only repeating this drivel because the neo-globalists that buy their publications want to be right.
Give the people what they want.
The majority of investment houses lean left or more correctly lean Globalist. They can't afford to be wrong or their investors will scram, but they can't afford to be logical or the SJW's will storm their gates. A business openly endorsing Trump or America First type policies will only open itself up to being painted as RAAAACIST!!!

My Argument: the United States looks back on 15 to 20 years of accelerated globalism which has been fostered by, and continues to foster lawlessness. That lawlessness was exemplified by the Obama Administration refusing to enforce laws that maintained a modicum of "protection" via immigration and border security and even worse, failing to prosecute (and even pardoning) migrant criminals.
As a consumer nation, under Clinton we projected a second-place disposition. We will pay through the nose for Chinese garbage or Saudi oil  because it will show that we are lock-step with the new world agenda. GW Bush continued this with compassionate conservatism and acting as world police. We continued to allow illegal immigrants and phony refugees into our country but also maintained the sanctity of pro-globalist treaties and tariffs.
Trump refers to "the bad deals" like TPP and NAFTA. He waved the sword of protectionism in the form of a Border Tax. Only Congress could initiate a Border Tax, and even with a Republican majority, the chances of that happening are slim to none.
The issue of Trump's Populism is one of amnesia. Obama was a populist president. Obama legislated and appointed judges that would continue his populist objectives.
Trump is harnessing populism but also reminding America that its time to lead again.
I don't see Rex Tillerson (a man that made his fortune from a global energy business) telling other nations we are closing the doors. On the contrary, as observed by some of the commentators in the first 30-days, Trump has handed out more carrots than resorting to the stick with international manufacturers.
Trump's return to Law and Order at home, securing the borders, enforcing immigration and punishing bad hombres is a return to normalcy. International business will probably flourish. Strangely enough
Mexico has performed well since Trump became Pres.

America as the producer will not necessarily detract from  America as the consumer.
In closing I would have to say that we dodged a bullet with Hillary. 28-years since Reagan is enough for me to realize how far down the rabbit hole America has gone. Hillary would have been a sledge-hammer to that final nail in our coffin.

The floor is open to debate

1 comment:

Tom said...

My take is similar to yours. Adjusting trade deals is not the same thing as protectionism. And I think we need to wait and see what's actually proposed. Of course, whatever it is the hyperbolic media will distort it. But when dealing with overtly mercantilist trade partners, it doesn't seem out of line to me to be a bit more mercantilist ourselves. Will it hurt overall? Sure. But so will raising the mean global wage by reducing the US labor force to the global average through expropriation of manufacturing.

All choices are the lesser of two evils. And we could use a different flavor of evil for a while I think.