Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton's Protectionist Promises Would Do Serious Economic Damage

Renegotiating TPP would reduce its effectiveness.


Hillary Clinton
Riccardo Savi/Sipa USA/Newscom

While Trump's belligerent mercantilism gathers support among voters and elected Republicans, it's easy for committed free traders to find themselves in support of Hillary Clinton. To be sure, Clinton has offered her own condemnations of trade and globalization, but beside Trump's near-total ignorance of the economics and institutions of trade, her stances seem more like typical campaign rhetoric. For fans of free trade and globalization, Clinton is a much more appealing candidate simply by not being horrible.

Good trade policy always takes a back seat to populist finger-pointing during election season, and there's every indication that Clinton's tone will soften once she becomes president. However, during her primary fight against Bernie Sanders, Clinton took a number of concrete positions that may force her to pursue protectionist policies to the detriment of the U.S. economy.

Clinton's most well-known trade policy promise has been her opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The conventional wisdom is that Clinton, who once supported the TPP as Secretary of State, will find a way to support it again after the election. Indeed, Clinton's main line about the TPP is that she won't support trade agreements unless they meet a list of incredibly vague criteria: they must "create American jobs, raise wages, and improve our national security." Since the TPP already accomplishes these goals in its current form, she may be able to support it after saving face with a few minimal changes.

But, Clinton has also condemned some specific aspects of the TPP that will be very difficult to renegotiate. She has lamented the agreement's lack of enforceable rules on currency manipulation and its relatively liberal rules of origin—complaints meant to appeal to the Detroit auto industry.

The TPP's rules of origin were the result of complex trade-offs between the United States and other members. The rules for autos were an especially important part of U.S. negotiations with Japan and will not be easily reformed. Perhaps Clinton can find a way to renegotiate those rules, but doing so will reduce the agreement's effectiveness at integrating regional supply chains—the biggest motivation to negotiate the TPP in the first place.

Clinton's hawkishness on currency manipulation is even more troubling. Crafting rules on currency that don't also condemn the monetary policies of the U.S. Federal Reserve is difficult, and all other members of the TPP are dead set against having any enforceable currency rules. Insisting on strong currency provisions in the TPP is a great way to prevent the agreement from coming into force.

Clinton has also signaled support for unilateral tariffs as a response to foreign currency practices, especially on imports from China. Putting aside the significant difficulty of determining the proper value of China's currency, the impact of manipulation on trade, and how to impose duties without violating global trade rules, Clinton's policy would amount to a sizeable tax on basic goods purchased by American consumers. Nevertheless, the idea of imposing such duties is popular in Congress, and the Obama administration's opposition has been instrumental in preventing their adoption so far. Protectionist wanting to use currency manipulation as an excuse to impose tariffs may find a more cooperative response from a Hillary Clinton administration.

Another way Clinton has promised to impose high tariffs is by vowing to continue the use of nonmarket economy treatment in antidumping cases against China. After December 2016, this practice—which artificially inflates duties on imports from China for purely protectionist reasons—will be illegal under WTO rules. By flatly promising to break the rules, Clinton is compromising America's integrity and authority within the global trading system to help a handful of industries that routinely use the antidumping law to avoid legitimate Chinese competition.

With free trade on the ropes in U.S. political discourse, America and the rest of the world desperately need a president who can lead us all toward a more open economy. Clinton may be less risky than Trump in that regard, but she has so far shown a strong inclination to favor protectionist constituencies.

Trump's staunchly protectionist position gives Clinton a lot of room to pivot toward a more positive vision of free trade and globalization in the general election. Let's hope she drops the negative tone of her past protectionist promises and chooses instead to extol the broad benefits of openness and shared prosperity.

NEXT: Kaine Says Clinton Wasn't Lying About Her Emails—Just 'Talking Past' Her Interviewer

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  1. So is it just me, or does Hillary look like like one of those aliens from They Live?

    1. She won't if you take off the glasses.

      1. Dave Obey was our congressman when I was kid. Campaign signs instructing "Obey" dotted the neighborhood.

        1. Did you Obey, peasant?

    2. As it turns out, some people are somewhat resistant to wearing the alien revealing sunglasses.

      1. +1 long ass fight scene

  2. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/l.....utsourcing

    Hmm, she doesn't seem to support globalization with this ad.

  3. Let's hope she drops the negative tone of her past protectionist promises and chooses instead to extol the broad benefits of openness and shared prosperity.

    "Hope" has nothing to do with it, Bill. She'll say anything to get elected.

    1. Her rhetorics are only a reflection of what her constituents want.

      At the same time, to some extent, most voters think this way in general: It's OK if s/he is a crony, as long as s/he is MY crony.

      Until the People start thinking differently, the type of government/politicians we get will not change.

  4. OT

    Reposting this because few people probly saw my original post, and I screwed up the links.

    Yahoo had a headline on their page, which from all indications was an actual true news story. The headline was "Trump: You people really believed me?" I have screen shots of the Yahoo page and the first part of the story, which was on Yahoo.com at:


    1. I clicked on the Read More link and it led to a 404 page (that is, a page saying that the requested page was not found). Here is that link: http://www.charlotteobserver.c.....64247.html

      Note that the story was from the Charlotte Observer, not the Onion.

      Subsequently, I have found the story, reposted with a new title "What might Trump say if he dropped out?" at:


      If you read the comments there, you can see that people have commented on the fact that it was originally presented as legitimate news, rather than some moron's wet dream

      1. I have seen more than one story like that: complete fabrications designed to confuse the reader as to whether or not it is actual news or 'some moron's wet dream'.

        In other words, lies. This one seems like it is over the line to slander. That is why they took it down then changed the title.

        All the outrage over Trumps desire to crack down on journalists that tell lies may be unjustified. He wouldn't be able to pull that off anyway, and current law covers it. These jackasses just showed me where his sentiment comes from.

        1. They're making it more and more tempting to vote Trump just as a "fuck you" to the media. Still not gonna do it. For one thing one puny vote doesn't make any difference and no one would know about my vote but me, so there's really no point in casting a "fuck you" vote, but still.

          1. Trump's whole campaign strategy is to garner the middle finger vote.
            The media is playing right into his tiny little hands

    2. It's funny because this basically IS what Gruber said about Democratic voters a few years ago.

  5. Speaking of Hillary and economics, those 200,000 jobs she promised to create in upstate NY as a senator somehow never materialized. Plenty of Clinton Foundation donors got sweet government contracts though.

    1. The typical voter probably cannot remember what was for dinner last night. I know many people who insist that the Crown Princess has supported marriage equality since time immemorial.

      1. I know many people who insist that the Crown Princess has supported marriage equality since time immemorial.

        "Her husband didn't want to sign DOMA into law, he was forced into it by those EVUL RIGHT-WING RETHUGLIKKKANZ!!!!11!!1!!!!!" /progtard

    2. Cuomo's crony project "StartUP NY" created something like 400 jobs at most - at a cost of $50M.

  6. How do you know when a politician is lying? Their lips are moving.

    1. Mmm, In Hill's case, it could just be a queef.

      1. *barf*


  7. Sorry, beg to differ.
    Hillary is *not* 'better than Trump'. She is not better than a sharp stick in the eye. She is not better than a bad dose of the clap. She is not better than Nickleback. She is not better than anything. Demonstrably so. Trump might be dangerous. Hillary *is* dangerous. Trump might be divisive. Hillary will unite the clans of evil under her smiling visage. We need a president people will oppose, not one that some will support.
    She is a known and proven quantity. Literally anyone (eligible) would be better than Hillary.

    1. I'm prepared to listen to 4 years of non-stop Nickleback if the DoJ will just indict her.

    2. She is not better than Nickleback.

      Sick burn.

  8. Is this bill Watson the ice hockey player from Minnesota?

    1. It has to be. I mean, how many people can there be with that name?

      1. I am Bill Watson

        1. I mean Spartacus

      2. (I thought that name sounded foliar but I think I might a been thinking about bill watterson)

  9. Are the readers of Hit and Run really trying to decide to cast their votes between Trump and Hillary? I'd like to see a few articles on the Constitution Party. A little critical analysis comparing their platform to the LP, and to libertarianism in general. Such articles might be helpful for those of us who think that we haven't left the LP but that the LP has left us, and educational for everyone.

    1. Second. I think the majority of us have cemented our position on H and T. I know nothing about the constitution party.

      1. They want the Federal government to stamp out pornography.

        1. They want the Federal government to stamp out pornography.

          Wow. You're right.


        2. All I know is Eddie has a fully engorged boner over their nominee (I can't even remember the guy's name). Come to think of it, that's all anyone needs to know.

        3. Yeah, they sound pretty good until all of a sudden everything is abortion and pornography.

          There's a reasonable debate to be had about abortion, I guess. But their stance on obscenity is ridiculous.

          We call on our local, state and federal governments to uphold our First Amendment right to free speech by vigorously enforcing all laws against obscenity.

          The so called "Constitution party" thinks the First amendment says the opposite of what it says, apparently. So much for the constitution. No wonder Eddie likes them.

    2. Thirded.

      It is going to be Cankles or Trump, nothing to be done about that. Attempting to educate people about constitutionalism and libertarianism and explaining why they should support it would be time better spent than publishing 100+ articles bashing Trump and a few mostly candy-coated criticisms of Cankles.

    3. I'll vote Johnson if I vote at all. Depends on how thirsty I am after work come election day and if I want to delay getting to the bar to take time to vote. So yeah, not that exited about it.

    4. A Better America is reportedly about to toss another name into the mix to dilute the anti-Trump vote and remove any doubt about Hillary not getting to 270.

  10. Clinton's hawkishness on currency manipulation is even more troubling. Crafting rules on currency that don't also condemn the monetary policies of the U.S. Federal Reserve is difficult, and all other members of the TPP are dead set against having any enforceable currency rules.

    "Hawkishness" to describe the position of being against currency manipulations that undermine the entire purpose and spirit of free trade agreements. That they're dead set against having currency rules means that those countries want to have all the central banking tricks available to them. That's not free trade.

    1. I care less about what China does to the Yuan than the fact that the dollars are coming back to finance massive government spending. The problem as usual is our government, not China. Slash government spending and debt and the rest will work itself out.

    2. Also if you want jobs to stay here, slash corporate taxes and unnecessary regulations that drive companies overseas

  11. "While Trump's belligerent mercantilism gathers support among voters and elected Republicans, "

    What is the evidence for "gathering support?" Looking around my slice of suburbia, I believe Trump's support has peaked and the nominally free trade Republicans (i.e. those who are free trade except when they want the govt to tilt the playing field toward their particular industry or business) have switched attention to making sure the undercard wins while Trump goes down to flaming defeat.

    1. If Breitbart commenters are any indication...

    2. I repeat: all indications are that those who support Trump's anti-free trade positions are dominated by a demographic that is traditionally core Democrat voters--white, blue collar, middle class. These people have been chased out of the Democratic Party by progressives who've demonized them foe being racist, homophobic, stupid, etc.

      It might be different if the Republican establishment were all on board with Trump. They're not. A majority of Republican primary voters voted for someone else--Trump largely won with the support of Democrats in open primary states and demographics that are traditionally Democrats.

      The Republican Speaker of the House is in the middle of a public controversy with Trump over whether and if they should endorse each other.

      I'm not sure we can safely talk about Trump's gathering support among Republicans (voters or leaders) for his stance the issue of mercantilism--or anything else.

      1. Ken, can you post anything that demonstrates this? I'd just like to know.

        1. I'll have to dig it up again.

          At one point, Trump was batting about .500 in closed primary states. In open primary states, he won 13 of 16 and of the three he lost, two were losses in the home states of his competitors (Kasich in Ohio and Cruz in Texas).

          Now let me find what I did with that link . . .

        2. Look at this link at CNBC:

          "Trump's big advantage: open primaries."


          Look at the graph of "open contests" vs "closed contests".

          Some Republican anti-Trump new establishment types (like Redstate.com) have suggested this means there was a concerted effort by Demorats to vote in the primaries for the Republican that was least likely to win. That's far-fetched.

          The best explanation is that Trump is benefiting from the same situation that made "Reagan Democrats" vote for Reagan in 1980 and 1984.

          ""Reagan Democrats" no longer saw the Democratic party as champions of their working class aspirations, but instead saw them as working primarily for the benefit of others: the very poor, feminists, the unemployed, African Americans, Latinos, and other groups."


          To the Redstate, the Democrat establishment, and the MSM), it's unfathomable that the Democrats could lose the support of a big chunk of their core constituency (white, blue collar, middle class), but it's happened before--for the same reasons.

          When the same thing happens in the same circumstances, rather than assume an elaborate multi-state conspiracy among traditional Democrats and registered Democrats to skew the primaries, I'm more likely to chalk it up to the same reasons that caused the same thing to happen in the same situation last time.

  12. The TPP's rules of origin were the result of complex trade-offs between the United States and other members.

    No they weren't. They were the implementation of demands by well-connected crony multinationals who have no interest in informing their customers about the origin of their product.

    1. It's amazing to me how the politics of free trade v protection have changed over the last 30 or so years. Used to be that the challenge was that protectionist politics was small powerful identifiable groups manipulating the trade system in their favor at the expense of broad unorganized groups. Now its the same political process but the crony groups are 'anti-national' globalists who are able to manipulate the unorganized 'national'/'local' - all using 'free trade' as the mantra for their cronyism

  13. It should also be noted that as a staunch free trader myself, I can oppose trade deals if I think we're likely to get something better in the future.

    "The rules for autos were an especially important part of U.S. negotiations with Japan and will not be easily reformed."

    Obama's important "free trade" deals, namely, the trade deal with South Korea and the deal with Colombia, were both renegotiated for the benefit of the UAW, as well.

    "The deal was supported by Ford Motor Company, as well as the United Auto Workers, both of which had previously opposed the agreement. Remarking on the UAW's support, an Obama administration official was quoted as saying, "It has been a long time since a union supported a trade agreement" and thus the administration hopes for a "big, broad bipartisan vote" in the U.S. Congress in 2011.[15]"

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ United_States?Korea_Free_Trade_Agreement

    I'm usually for any deal that will make things better than they are now, but at some point, subjecting American trade policy to the rent-seeking support of the UAW will lose you my vote. Treaties are forever and the TPP is an especially big one--if we need to wait through eight years of Trump for a better forever (without making rent-seeking by the UAW, et. al. a permanent feature of trade), then that may be worth the wait.

    1. Any bilateral trade agreement is going to have that sort of pressure. But so do multilateral trade agreements. The big difference is that the pressure in multilateral trade agreements comes from supranational cronies who are able to put pressure on multiple governments in ways that transcend any mere 'national' groups who can only influence one govt.

      1. Yeah, I appreciate that various interests pursue every trade deal for their own benefit. That's the way sausage is made.

        I think union rent-seeking is notably worse than other kinds. If cattle farmers don't do better because of a trade deal, people would still eat beef. On the other hand, The UAW might not survive at all without rent-seeking.

        Certainly, when Obama nationalized GM at taxpayer expense through TARP and handed a controlling share to the UAW--as a reward for the UAW breaking the company with their pension benefits, there were two other options. One was for the UAW to renegotiate those pension benefits with management under pressure from stock holders, bond holders, and the price that the market would pay for the kinds of high-margin, low demand automobiles GM had to build to cover those pension benefits.

        The other option was for a judge to declare the UAW contract and its pension benefit null in bankruptcy court.

        If it weren't for rent seeking by the UAW, by way of trade agreements, the NLRB, the intervention of politicians like Obama, etc., the UAW scourge might already be on its way into the sunset today.

        1. UAW didn't do squat that wasn't negotiated by management - and known by both bondholders and shareholders for generations. I totally agree that the auto industry should have gone through bankruptcy/reorganization in 2008 - but there is also no question that the 'normal' bankruptcy process is not well designed to adjudicate conflicts when ALL the parties to the conflict are thieves and know that they are thieves. Something 'different' needed to happen. The choice made (screw the innocent taxpayers and have them subsidize thieves quarrel) was bad. So was any 'normal' bankruptcy (a long-drawn out conflict among thieves divvying up loot that harms everyone innocent within 100 miles of any auto plant).

          What I do find stunning is how many advocates of 'free market' have now succumbed to the BS that the auto industry BS was an even remotely significant part of TARP. Banker and Wall St bailouts - which are still continuing and are now well into the double-digit TRILLIONS of dollars - are now almost completely ignored by 'free market' elites. Which is why Sanders/Warren rather than someone 'free market' is able to get 100% of the political benefit from opposing it - and why 'free market' advocacy can now be so easily positioned as nothing but plutocracy worship.

          1. Well, who and what to blame in bankruptcy court is secondary to whether that's where they belonged--so we're largely in agreement there.

            Certainly, bankruptcy court wouldn't have outright stripped the stockholders and the bondholders of their rights wholesale and given control of the company to the UAW. They probably would have suspended dividend payments for a while.

            I'll never forget the day Gettelfinger stopped negotiating with GM management and started negotiating with the Obama Administration.

            "'Hey, Obama has just nationalized nothing more and nothing less than General Motors. Comrade Obama! Fidel, careful or we are going to end up to his right,' Chavez joked on a live television broadcast."


            The same thing happened to Chrysler bondholders. It was government sponsored theft meant solely to protect the UAW from having to renegotiate.

            Meanwhile, everybody was arguing about gay marriage.

  14. "Perhaps Clinton can find a way to renegotiate those rules,"

    Clinton re-negotiation good. Trump re-negotiation bad.

    Got it.

    What has Trump said that makes everyone think his negotiations would reduce free trade? He uses plenty of foreign labor in his own businesses. It seems like projection based on some tough vague opening negotiating positions.

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  16. RE: Hillary Clinton's Protectionist Promises Would Do Serious Economic Damage

    Protectionism, as defended by the judicious Heil Hitlery, is wise beyond it's years. First, it will help eliminate choice for the masses. The little people are too easily confused on what to buy and limiting their choices will only help them choose products more quickly and wisely. Secondly, protectionism has always proved beneficial. One only has to look at the Smoot-Hartley tariff (and others) to see its wonderful impact on employment and the economy. Thirdly, it protects the politically connected from the evils of a competitive or free market. The cronies of Heil Hitlery (and Trump the Grump if he gets elected) will no longer have sleepless nights on how to gain the edge on their competitors. Nor will the politically connected have to worry about making their products better because they will be the only products out there for the untermenschen to choose from. Lastly, protectionism sets a wonderful precedents in that the little people will get used to picking just one item to buy from just like those lucky people in Cuba and North Korea do. This way, the lowly plebian class will be slowly weaned away from ugly consumerism and the nefarious capitalist system we all so loathe.

  17. The TPP has quite a lot of draconian rules regarding patents and copyrights. It's amazing how you can insert garbage like that into a treaty that was originally negotiated in secret, call it "free trade", and have people who are otherwise libertarian support it. I simply can't support something that will move us backwards. If it was just a free trade treaty, then fine, but that's not all it is.


    Hillary Clinton Would Do Serious Damage to America

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    +_+_+_+_+_+_+_+_+ http://www.factoryofincome.com

  20. Ella . you think Victoria `s storry is astonishing... on saturday I bought themselves a Car after bringing in $7899 this - 5 weeks past and-more than, 10-k last munth . it's by-far the best-job I have ever had . I began this 8-months ago and almost straight away started to earn minimum $77
    ?????????? http://www.factoryofincome.com

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