Election 2016

Donald Trump, TV Businessman, Would Punish Successful U.S. Companies


Reason.com, Todd Krainin

So presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump is a billionaire (he owns a mansion und a yacht—several of each, actually).

He's played a mogul on TV, but when you start thinking about the way he talks about commerce, you get the idea he doesn't know what the hell is going on in today's economy.

Hence, he talks about punishing Amazon by unleashing antitrust regulators on the company that dominates its markets by, well, being unbelievably good to its customers. He doesn't seem to understand that manufacturing came back to America years ago; it's just we now need fewer people to make more and more stuff. "We don't win anymore," he says over and over again. Yeah, no.

As Virginia Postel writes at Bloomberg View, Trump is stuck in the past when it comes to America's economic successes. His comments, she says, "reveal a vision of the good economy as static, uninnovative and controlled from the White House. President Trump's America is, despite the rhetoric, an economy with no place for winners."

In Trump's America, there were no minimills reinventing American steel, and taking market share from the old stalwarts, by recycling scrap into lower-cost, increasingly valuable products. In Trump's America, there were no auto companies lightening their cars by reducing the amount of steel they contain—no Ford betting big on aluminum trucks, certainly nobody thinking about carbon fiber. And, of course, in Trump's America nobody minds that raising the price of steel hurts every U.S. company that uses it, be it a construction firm or a medical-instrument maker, and every consumer who buys from them.

The candidate's promise to slap a 35 percent tariff on Carrier air conditioners and parts made in Mexico reveals the same blind spot. Every U.S. company buying HVAC equipment for its office, factory or server farm (not to mention Americans cooling their homes, hospitals, churches and schools) would be hurt. In the hope of recreating a bygone ideal of what "winning" looks like—1950s industrial production protected from global competition—Trump would punish the actual winners in the U.S.

Read the full article.

Who would have guessed that the guy who promises to "make America great again" is stuck in the past? But Donald Trump certainly is, and in a world that is increasingly globalized, and in which capital and people are increasingly mobile (and thus more free), his ideas are particularly toxic. And sadly, very much in line with those of the leading Democratic candidates too.

NEXT: Slow Economic Growth: It's the Regulations, Stupid!

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  1. While we’re on the subject of confirmation bias, it sure looks to me like Reason tends to run the most offputting pix they can find of Trump, and neutral to the best they can find of Hillary.

    *pops popcorn, sits back*

    1. Cocktail. Partiez.

    2. “…offputting pix?”? or honest images of a true gasbag?

    3. All photos of Hillary are offputting.

      1. ^This^

        That woman is the antithesis of photogenic.

    4. Mr RC Dean, I agree.

      I can’t wait for the “who I’m going to vote for and why” article. I’ll be sure to have my barf bag handy.

  2. Yeah, no

    For fucks sake, aren’t you an English major? Is this shitty phrase really the best anyone can do anymore?

    1. Says the heathen who has no sense of dramatic or when to use apostrophes.

    2. There’s got to be a better way to convey snark. Perhaps colleges need to offer Sarcasm 101 or “Advanced Principles of Snark” is a part of the core curriculum.

      1. Whatever happened to kthxbai? Even that wasn’t as stupid because it wasn’t pretending to be some profound statement.

        1. I’d be pleased if we went back to the salad days of snark when ending a sentence with “not!” Sufficed to getting your point across.

          Wayne Campbell, we need your linguistic skills now more than ever.

          1. Look downthread! Look downthread!

    3. Hey sparky, Nick’s not writing a thesis, he’s trying to convey tone. Jeez…

  3. Collectivism would only work in a truly static economy where you could fine tune the hell out of all the parameters and allocate exactly the right amount of resources. But the very act of fine-tuning the system would change the system, it would take years to get even close to correct, and it makes no allowance for weather, births, deaths, change in tastes.

    And even if people were immortal unchanging units who didn’t mind doing the same job for centuries, it doesn’t allow for innovation. Someone comes up with a way to make steel with one fewer workers — a new label which uses less ink or stickum — a smoother ball bearing which reduces power needs — and central planning falls apart.

    Collectivists are so damned eager to redistribute what is rather than go for growth and progress and the riding tide that lifts all boats. They make me nauseous with their short sight and ossified imaginations.

    1. Collectivism would only work in a truly static economy where you could fine tune the hell out of all the parameters and allocate exactly the right amount of resources work of fiction.


    2. I always hear from Marxists that supercomputers can now take care of the job. I never hear exactly how, though.

      1. Inputs and silicon chips and stuff.

        1. Who knew that the real Top Men would be positronic?

          1. Gary Newman.

      2. Sure, they leave it to the technocrats so they have someone to blame when it doesn’t work.

  4. How the fuck could we replace the business-friendly president and regulatory apparatus we have with somebody like Trump? Especially when we have a free-market option on the other side of the aisle like Hillary Clinton who will let market forces dictate entire industries like energy production and distribution, right?

    1. Yeah, that’s totally what Nick is saying.

  5. The previous article talks about regulations hurting American business. Then we have this article saying that Trump is stuck in the past. Trump has talked about regulations: Here’s what he said in one speech:

    And I will tell you, we’re going to fight hard, we’re going to negotiate tough, and we’re going to do fantastically well. We’re going to put our people back to work. We’re going to get rid of all these ridiculous ? everything is so bad ? we’re going to get rid of the regulations that are just destroying us. You can’t breathe. You cannot breathe. You are going to be ? if I’m elected President ? so proud of your country again.


    But Reason loves to push the idea that globalization is great for the country and since Trump doesn’t agree we that we get this kinds of articles.

    1. Well, if Trump said we’re all going to be so proud of our country again, far be it from me to disagree.

    2. I think international trade is generally great for the country/the world.

    3. Yes, since Donald Trump loves protectionist regulations, we get Reason articles decrying his love of protectionist regulations. How terrible of a magazine whose slogan includes the words “free markets”.

      1. What bugs me is that when Reason talks about free trade they don’t talk about how fiat currency, the welfare state, immigration policy, etc. affects free trade. There’s quite a few arguments showing that “free trade” isn’t that free.

    4. If Trump is honestly planning to be a champion of domestic deregulation, good for him! That’s a ton better than Hillary.

      To a general disbeliever in him, though, it certainly comes off as if he’s just doing Conservative Mad Libs – witness his health care plan which seemed to consist of 1) get rid of THE LINES AROUND THE STATES 2) something great 3) seriously, no more LINES AROUND THE STATES.

      On international trade and globalization, Trump clearly and repeatedly expresses interest in increased regulation.

    5. But Reason loves to push the idea that globalization is great for the country and since Trump doesn’t agree we that we get this kinds of articles.


  6. If Gillespie can predict the future, why does he waste his time on Trump? He could do us a favor and use his prognosticatory talents to tell us what soybean proces or Apple stock will do starting in January, 2017.

    1. well, prices. No money in proces.

  7. There are so many devastating economic arguments against Trump – onerous regulations, protectionism, entitlements (e.g. increasing veterans’ benefits), high spending (e.g. military), wasteful spending (e.g. ‘The Great Wall of Trump’). I’m surprised that people don’t make a bigger deal of it. Well at least Nick and Postel are standing up to it.

    1. You’re right. It’s all you can do to find an article decrying a Trump position or statement. Not!

      1. The point is, they’ve been criticizing Trump via trivia, instead of trying to divine (I know, difficult) & critique his major policy slants. A lot of it can be discerned not by listening to Trump directly, but looking at his supporters. From my talking to people, it does seem a major, possibly the major, source of his support is from populist, protectionist nationalists…at least among those who are considering him policy-wise at all, rather than symbolically?& that is a major source of his support as well. But looking at him policy-wise, I can caricature him as somewhat like my friend Bob, who is nationalist, racist, populist, & protectionist. I make fun of Bob as some commissar when he laments the loss of “heavy industry” from the USA, which is what he thinks makes a country & its people great & powerful: steel; construction; vehicles of land, sea, & air; tool & die.

        But with all that, at least Trump’s general orient’n is pro-business rather than anti-biz. He may not have the right ideas of how to go about it, but at least he considers biz highly in his priorities and doesn’t think of biz as evil. The majority of what he talks about is biz, as opposed to prez candidates who expel so much breath about social or symbolic issues. In fact about the only things Trump wants to talk about are biz & security.

    2. There are so many devastating economic arguments against [any politician]– onerous regulations, protectionism, entitlements, high spending, wasteful spending. I’m surprised that people don’t make a bigger deal of it.

      But yes, somehow TRUMP! is uniquely awful.

      1. It really is a mystery why Reason would want to focus on a leading presidential candidate.

    3. AddictionMyth|5.23.16 @ 12:10PM|#|
      I think it’s funny how people who show nothing but contempt for people who get killed by American bombs in Syria and Libya suddenly think that Freddie Gray is an American hero. (I’m not saying he’s not, just pointing out the irony.)

      dajjal|5.23.16 @ 1:20PM|#|
      Funny how these “Libertarians” get excited about bombing Muslims yet Freddie Gray is an American Hero to them. (Could it be that they are trying to undermine the party by acting like crazy anarchists?)

      Feeding the sockpuppet just makes it hungrier.

      1. nom nom nom

  8. I wasn’t sure who that was in the picture, but thanks to Gillespie’s insightful alt-text, I now know!

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  10. Quit defending the disembeddedness of the neoliberal order, Gillespie. Whatever his faults, Trump is trying to return the social dimension to the economic realmspace and replace the abstraction of commerce with a neorealistic union state.

  11. “he owns a mansion und a yacht”

    Subtle insult or clear masturbation euphenism?

  12. Why, it’s almost as if he were a crony capitalist or something, owing his wealth to political connections

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