Trump’s Psychotic Protectionist Trade Policies: We Have Been Here Before, Twice

By Joshua Leinsdorf

The terrible trade deals against which Donald Trump rails have been instrumental in preserving the half century of relative global peace since the Vietnam War. In the half century before Vietnam, there were two world wars.

World War I killed 16 million soldiers, 7 million civilians and wounded 22 million (that’s 45 million casualties out of a total world population of less than 2 billion, or between 2% and 3%).

World War I was followed by the Great Influenza, that infected one-third of the world’s people and killed another 50 – 100 million. Life expectancy dropped by 12 years. (The flu was the real explanation for the roaring 20’s, the carpe diem philosophy with no thought of tomorrow.)

Then there was the great Global Depression that was exacerbated by exactly the same protectionist policies being touted by Trump.

World War II, which was partially caused by the trade wars precipitated by the protectionism of the 1930’s, carried off another 60 million, which was 3% of the world’s population.

After World War II, the United States got smart. It got involved in international organizations like the United Nations to try and preserve the peace, and instead of letting the ruined nations fight one another for the scraps remaining after the devastating conflict, it voluntarily extended massive loans to help the non-communist world rebuilt its economies.

This was also a device for preventing the spread of communism in central Europe and Asia.

In the fifty years since the Vietnam War the United States has run massive trade deficits almost as a deliberate policy because, to be honest, during the Cold War and after the United States Congress has refused to pass the foreign aid budgets necessary for national defense, preferring to sacrifice someone else’s child in conflicts created by economic collapse and scarcity.

Yes, the trade deficits and budget deficits were huge, but that’s the price the United Stated paid for peace.  Yes, the jobs moved overseas, but one of the reasons for that is that the pollution moved overseas with the jobs.

China is taking advantage of us, according to Trump. The air in China is poison. Yes, global trade has impacted blue collar jobs, but would those workers rather be dead, or have their children die in wars?

It Has Happened Before

Trump’s plan to bring the jobs back is not going to work. There was a good reason they left in the first place.  In the 1950’s and 1960’s, states like South Carolina with low taxes and anti-union labor laws used tax incentives to lure textile and shoe manufacturers from New England.  The Northeastern states, because of the terrible deal of the United States Free Trade Area was unable to levy countervailing duties on products from South Carolina.  What did they do?

The used their brain power to create whole new industries in things like electronics.

Today, the average annual household income in Massachusetts and New Hampshire is over $70,000 versus $47,238 in South Carolina. Do you need other proof that the stealing jobs scenario is a dead end?

China and the developing world are stealing the American jobs that are dying anyway.  Trump’s plan to restore them is insane. His “Make America Great Again,” is inaccurate.

America is greater today than it has ever been. Trump’s policies are going to Make America Second Rate, in addition to killing more soldiers in Colonial Wars.

What has kept America great is its innovation. Computers, the internet, Google, Uber, Amazon…all American.

What the United States has needed for the past thirty years is not protective tariffs for the industries that are becoming obsolete in any case, but a massive Manhattan Project-like national and international effort to discover what is necessary to create jobs and industry in the coming decades. It is a national security issue as well.

National Security Implications of Job Creation

The world’s population is now 7.5 billion people.  This means, roughly, that the world is going to need to create 100 million jobs a year for the next few decades.

Furthermore, because of sex selection in the patriarchal societies primarily in Asia, there is an excess of men to women.  There are about five young men to every four young women, and one-third of the population is under twenty years old.

Let’s do the math. In Asia alone there are 160 million males under the age of 20 for whom the ability to marry is already virtually impossible. Globally, this figure could be as much as 300 million given that the number of boys born exceed the number of girls and they are favored in many societies outside Asia.

They better all be gay, or at least have jobs, because if they have neither compatible sexual companionship nor productive employment, terrorism and suicide bombing might appear to be a reasonable goal in life, especially with the easy availability of automatic weapons, thanks to the Second Amendment fanatics. [Note: the Asian sexual imbalance is correcting itself, but there is this bulge of the past two decades or so.]

So, creating good jobs that enable people to support themselves should be the number one priority. Trump’s plan is to take back from the developing world with its excess of unemployed young males these jobs that are on the way out anyway, and to levy strict border security to keep the suicide bombers out.  It is s a dead end policy.

Along with the disaster at Chernobyl, this is what destroyed the Soviet Union.

The Soviets kept investing money in steel mills and stealing their computer software from the West. Eventually, they discovered that their weaponry would always be inferior to the West’s unless they had their own computer software industry.

But computer software requires an open society, not subject to political manipulation.

Furthermore, Trump is personally modeling the most politically incorrect behavior for the future.

One man with three wives is exactly what is not needed for peace and prosperity in the future.

As mentioned elsewhere, Trump was elected to rebuild the infrastructure, period. Hold on to your hats.

 


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