MSNBC’s Ali Velshi and CNBC’s John Harwood tear apart Trump’s trade war and explain why it is an idiotic fantasy that is going to harm consumers, workers, and the US economy.
Velshi: To a lot of people this makes logical sense. You stick tariff on something that people by from other countries and by definition people will buy that product from your country and create jobs. What’s wrong with that argument?
Harwood: Because it’s policy designed for a world that doesn’t exist anymore. We have seen that foreign automakers locate here, make cars here. Our automakers go make cars elsewhere. The supply chains are all mixed up. It’s not some simple way to reward U.S. Workers and consumers at the same me. You’re going to raise prices on cars. You’re going to hurt the economy. This is really geared toward a kind of fantasy idea that the United States can be walled off and make itself more prosperous by limiting profits for others. We have seen a world of global trade expansion that’s lifted living standards around the world. The United States has some particular problems because we used to be dominant in the world economy, now we’re not. This is a way that people who are displaced by that can sort of lash out and Donald Trump is number one among those people and say we’re going to try to make it like it used to be.
Velshi: Their concern is legitimate. If you’ve been displaced by manufacturing and trade policies, that’s not illegitimate. Whether it’s cars or anything else, there’s a tension between the consumer who has been enjoying prices that have not gone up along with inflation and the producers who want to do things. In this particular case, General Motors has said we think this is a bad idea. If we cut off fair access to other people selling cars in America, other countries will cut off access to general motors and Ford selling cars overseas. General Motors is one of the biggest car sellers in China, for instance.
Harwood: It’s an idiotic idea that would harm the economy. We have some issues for trade in particular with China. Involving protection that the Chinese are doing to try to key industries build up their capacity at the expense of others. That is not the case with Europe and autos and the flaw of the president’s policy is that while targeting the genuine bad actor in terms of China, it’s targeting everyone else to diminish the fights we ought to be fighting in is no economic the question is is the president going to do the rational thing and not impose these national security linked auto tariffs. I don’t know if he’s rational or not.
Trump’s motivations are not complicated. He is trying to reverse progress and drag the United States back to the 1950s. When he talks about making American great again, the 1950s are the period that he is referring to. Trump was born in 1946. He is a kid of the 1950s and early 1960s. This is his idealized version of America.
The trade war is idiotic fantasy because it is not driven by any rational policy or goals.
The world has changed, and Donald Trump is about to wreck the US economy because he is trying to take the country back to the good old days that weren’t really so good. Trump’s claim that trade wars are easy to win is going to go down in history as with Herbert Hoover’s saying that he is certain that worst has passed six months after the stock market crashed in 1929 as one of the most politically fatal statements that a president has ever uttered.
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Jason is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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