President Trump has stated on numerous occasions that he wants to increase trade. Under his wise rule, he assures us, American trade will thrive. It will be Yuge! Why would anyone doubt that desire? He’s a businessman and businessmen want to do more business not less. In pursuit of this, Trump has also said that that he favors a low or no tariff world, but that it must be based on reciprocity – an easily understandable form of fairness but one which has earned Trump scorn from right, left, and center.
The subject came up at a dinner I attended recently. It was mostly populated by right of center journalists and intellectuals, but there were a few people from the business world there too. When the topic turned to Trump’s trade policy, several of the card-carrying representatives of the local chapter of Conservatism, Inc. expressed a warm disdain for what they understood to be Trump’s free-trade heresy. But were they right? The business tycoons, to a man, disagreed. Rather they saw in Trump’s rhetoric and actions a clearly defined policy of expanding trade on terms favorable to the American people. And this, the businessmen agreed, was a worthy goal. The theorists didn’t seem to get it.
But Trump does. He understands what the intellectuals and journalists whose livelihoods do not depend upon it don’t: trade is good to the extent that it promotes and expands national prosperity . . .
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