During his four years in the White House, Donald Trump pushed a protectionist agenda that was greatly influenced by Patrick Buchanan and was a big departure from the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
In an August 23 editorial, the Rupert Murdoch-own WSJ attacked Trump’s proposal for a 10 percent tax on goods imported into the United States. And the September 6 editorial argues that Trump is making inaccurate claims in defense of his trade policies.
“The goods trade deficit with China did dip somewhat after Mr. Trump launched his global tariff campaign in 2018,” the WSJ editorial board writes. “At the same time, however, the deficits with Mexico and the rest of the world went up…. Since 2017, when Mr. Trump entered the Oval Office, goods imports to the U.S. in nominal dollars have increased 174 percent from Vietnam, 116 percent from Taiwan, 96 percent from Bangladesh, 89 percent from Thailand, 76 percent from India, and 62 percent from South Korea.”
The board jokingly adds, “Maybe Mr. Trump should start giving out campaign hats that say ‘Make Vietnam Great Again.'”
The WSJ writers cite figures from the Tax Foundation, which has said that a 10 percent tariff would “raise taxes on American consumers by more than $300 billion a year.”
“Slapping 10 percent tariffs on everything made by Vietnam, South Korea and other U.S. partners would have the effect of abandoning them to China’s economic sphere, which is the opposite of America’s geostrategic interests,” the WSJ board argues. “Mr. Trump’s great mistake is his belief that trade is a zero-sum exercise. But countries and companies trade because they see a mutual advantage. When American consumers buy clothing and Scotch on a global market, while American producers sell soybeans and Boeing jets, the magic is that both sides benefit.”
Read the Wall Street Journal’s full editorial at this link (subscription required).
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