Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Trade is for losers!

In this post in May of last year, I attempted to be funny when I wrote, "When I read or hear TPP, my mind thinks about TP and pee."  Now, I can update the "pee" with "golden showers."  If not for the demagogue getting elected, I might never have known anything about "golden showers" and I would have been much better off!

My concerns about the TPP were not because I was against trade.  Not at all.  I was primarily unhappy about the lack of transparency in the negotiations.
My suspicious mind is always inclined to worry about any agreement or bill when the material is classified.  What are they trying to hide from you and me?  How much of a secret is the text?
It is one thing for a private enterprise to be secretive.  It is entirely understandable when national security matters are not fully disclosed.  But, a trade negotiation between governments?

Well, I don't have to ask for transparency anymore:
President Trump upended America’s traditional, bipartisan trade policy on Monday as he formally abandoned the ambitious, 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership brokered by his predecessor and declared an end to the era of multinational trade agreements that defined global economics for decades.
It is more than merely about the TPP itself about which this demagogue is making a statement:
With the stroke of a pen on his first full weekday in office, Mr. Trump signaled that he plans to follow through on promises to take a more aggressive stance against foreign competitors as part of his “America First” approach. In doing so, he demonstrated that he would not follow old rules, effectively discarding longstanding Republican orthodoxy that expanding global trade was good for the world and America — and that the United States should help write the rules of international commerce.
I suppose not only the demagogue's minions but even the Berniacs will be dancing on the streets over the abandonment of expanding global trade.  I don't easily forget that when it came to trade, both the demagogue and Sanders were engaging in similar rhetoric.  In addition to those, add the loyal GOP voters who made fun of Sanders but are now delighted with the trickle that runs down from the demagogue's golden showers!

If I--a typically left of the center guy--find it shocking and depressing that the demagogue and the GOP-controlled Congress has engaged in such an economic blitzkrieg, I don't even have to imagine how ticked off the long-time reader/commenter (well, the only commenter in this post-election era) is.

Even more, ahem, "pissed" are the hardcore right-wing libertarians:
Trump declared that this was a "great thing for the American worker." He didn't mention that American consumers – aka "importers" – on the other hand would be "raped" (to use his own description for the ill-fated treaty).
Particularly hard hit will be low income households – you know those poor white working-class schlubs that this election was all about – who purchase foreign shoes and apparel at WalMart given that the agreement would have phased out U.S. tariffs most steeply on such items. But it will also affect manufacturers looking for cheap raw material, subverting Trump's core goal of rebuilding American manufacturing, while also limiting their ability to sell abroad given that the deal would have immediately eliminated all tariffs on US non-agricultural goods, and almost all agricultural goods.
Oh yeah, the Midwest farmers are unhappy with Trump's position on trade.  I tweeted with nothing but sarcasm about that one!

Back to the libertarians:
In short, he wants to build not just a physical wall around America but also a tariff wall, basically ending America's decades-long championship of global free trade -- not to mention mark a stunning turn for the Grand Old Party to the Grand Old Protectionist party.
That is a total shame
"Shame" is a gross understatement.  Let us see if the GOP voters laugh anymore at this video that makes fun of Bernie Sanders's economic nationalism!


Ramesh said...

Ah well. It appears that in the present times logic is not something appreciated wither by the politician or the electorate. Trump, Clinton, and Sanders were all against the TPP. Pure cynical nonsense and claptrap.

Let Trump articulate what the alternative will be. It appears he will pursue bilateral trade deals. How will that be even one inch better than a multilateral deal escapes me.

China will simply step in. And will become the economic leader of the world. All that will happen is that the rate of decline of the US as the economic powerhouse will increase.

Tragedy, because what is started cannot be undone easily later.

I would be very interested in how the GOP explains this - for this goes against the very grain of their economic philosophy. Anything for power ???

Sriram Khé said...

Winning is the only thing that matters. And, the approach is to win at any cost.
So, yes, the GOP--from the leaders to the loyal church attending small town folks--couldn't care for principles. Principles as in political principles, and principles as in a person's moral authority. Shame on them!

Yes, this is all nothing but ceding the ground to China. Yesterday (or two days ago?) one of the faculty/public-intellectuals whom I check with, tweeted that the sounds we hear is from champagne bottles being opened in celebration in China.
Four decades ago, one commie-bashing Republican president went to China in order to welcome it to the world, and now another (commie-loving?) Republican (in name only) president leads the US retreat from that world. What a messed up pile of GOP voters--including the educated ones--who couldn't care a shit apparently!!!

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