Republic Mike Pence, who supported every free trade agreement until running for VP: “The free market has been sorting it out and America’s been losing.”
Trump: “Every time, every time.”
That is a literal denial of free markets by the vice president and the president.
They’re free market denialists. They believe that they, politicians and bureaucrats, know better than we do in our seemingly chaotic market choices. They’re wrong, just like every socialist has been and is wrong, for the same reasons.
Trump tells us he is going to bring back jobs to an economy where anyone willing to work can find a job. Why? Because he thinks spending money for goods and not receiving the same dollar value in goods actually means something – that we lost! Never mind that literally everyone on a micro or macro level ultimately has a trade deficit with many others.
But they cheat, they subsidize, the “tax our goods,” they require technology to trade in their nation, he says. And his and your answer is literally anti-market taxation. Unfortunately, that view is backward. The real win American. The Chinese citizens literally subsidize our consumption. They lose. Not us. Is this a problem really? No. Anyone in the United States can have a job right now if he or she wants it. If we “bring back” jobs, then someone else has to quit doing something else in order to do that job.
Technology? Are we to presume that private property is actually public and ours to direct? That’s not capitalism. That’s not free market.
Trade itself? Are we to presume that your or my purchasing choices are really public? That I must have your permission and you mine before being allowed to trade with a Chinese citizen? That’s not capitalism. That’s not free market.
We are not nations that trade. We are people that trade. But national governments interfere with those trades. That’s not capitalism. That’s not free market. A “temporary” solution that transfers American citizens’ dollars to the national treasury to “fight” this is not free market capitalism.
And “fair markets,” really? That’s every bit of the entirety socialist argument against capitalism. Meanwhile capitalism has lifted nearly the entire world out of poverty in the past 250 years.
Donald Trump denies all of this. He denies the power of individual freedom in trade in favor of some undefined collectives goal like a “better deal” or “national security.” Good luck pinning him down on the objective. I’ve never seen so many moving goalposts as Trump on tariffs.
Either free market capitalism is good or it’s not. We have to live it if we think it is regardless of others doing the wrong thing. We know from the study of the real-world effects of free trade that even when one side is engaged in idiotic protectionism, the other side still benefits (despite the distortions). Donald Trump’s old-school Democrat tax-and-spend fiscal policies are harming U.S. citizens.
So naturally, the response will be how can you label Donald Trump an “old-school tax-and-spend Democrat”? He gave us a tax cut. And then he took it away at the register with his tariffs. Then he increased and has continued to increase the nation’s budget deficit (which actually is a problem – as opposed to the trade deficit). And he had a Republican congress for two years.
Ronald Reagan of 1980, despite his own flaws, would be appalled at the behavior of the Republican Party. Same for Milton Friedman and Adam Smith. But I guess times change.