Free Trade

Trump Promised a 'Good and Easy To Win' Trade War, Then Lost It

Five reasons why Trump's trade war didn't go the way he thought it would.

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President Donald Trump's declaration on March 2, 2018, that a trade war with China would be "good and easy to win" remains one of the defining moments of his four years in the White House.

That's only because of how wrong the claim turned out to be. It deserves to live on in infamy alongside George W. Bush's "mission accomplished" speech and Barack Obama's "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" promise. Like those, it oversold a complex, messy policy as simple and straightforward. Trump naturally took that presidential hubris to another level, and he paired it with unprecedented policy naivety. If winning a trade war were as simple as tweeting victory into existence with fake statistics, faulty economics, and the veneer of toughness, Trump likely would have succeeded. Unfortunately, that didn't work.

As he leaves office on Wednesday, Trump deserves some credit for reorienting America's economic and foreign policies to recognize the threat posed by the Chinese Communist Party to freedom around the world. But his approach—which amounted to little more than levying higher taxes on $460 billion of imports and forcing Americans to foot the bill—was an abject failure. Here are five reasons why Trump lost his trade war.

Misunderstanding How Tariffs Work

Tariffs are taxes applied to goods imported into the United States. This is a simple, basic fact, and it has not been altered by nearly three years of Trump administration efforts to redefine how tariffs work or who pays for them.

Trump has been enamored by the potential use of tariffs to reshape the global economy for decades but he's apparently never bothered to learn much about how they work. In Trump's mind, the tariffs were all about creating leverage—making it more expensive to import goods from China, for example, should make China more willing to negotiate on other economic issues. That's not entirely wrong, but it ignores the self-inflicted wounds caused by Trump's tariffs, which drained an estimated $57 billion annually out of the U.S. economy in the form of higher consumer costs while simultaneously making it more difficult for businesses to expand.

Trump's ignorance about tariffs was translated into official administration policy—which is how we got embarrassing moments like this incredible attempt by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to ignore reality:

Listening to the Wrong Advisers

Before moving ahead with tariffs on Chinese imports in the summer of 2018, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative held a series of hearings in which businesses that would be affected by the new import taxes could be heard. The weeklong affair was probably the most depressing scene of the entire trade war: Hundreds of business owners marched one by one before a committee of bureaucrats, each given five minutes to make their case.

Most of them delivered the same message: Tariffs wouldn't meaningfully impact China's exports but would place an undue burden on American businesses that import finished goods or component parts from China. Even business owners who were philosophically supportive of Trump's decision to confront China said they disagreed with the administration's tariff-based tactics.

Instead of listening to the businesses that would be on the front lines of the trade war, Trump appointed Peter Navarro, a failed progressive politician from California with no business experience, to oversee his trade policies. Navarro supplied plenty of anti-China bluster in TV appearances that surely satisfied the cable news–addicted president, but he provided little serious economic insight to an administration desperately in need of some.

Assuming Retaliation Wouldn't Happen

The quality of Navarro's economic analysis should have been apparent from the very start of the trade war. On the same day that Trump fired off his infamous "good and easy to win" tweet, Navarro appeared on Fox Business Network to issue an equally comical prediction: "I don't believe any country is going to retaliate for the simple reason that we are the most lucrative and biggest market in the world," Navarro said. "They know they're cheating us, and all we're doing is standing up for ourselves."

China, of course, did retaliate. It drastically reduced agricultural imports from the United States. In 2017, the last year before the trade war began, China imported more than $19 billion in American farm goods, which fell to $9 billion in 2018 and rebounded weakly to $13 billion in 2019. Exports to other countries have been unable to make up the difference, leaving American farmers in the lurch.

The Trump administration responded by spending more than $28 billion in new farm subsidies to mitigate the totally predictable mess it made. By the end of 2020, federal payments accounted for one-third of all American farm income—as Trump's trade war bailout was piled atop existing subsidies. Rolling back those payments will be politically difficult for future administrations, so they might be here to stay.

Angering Allies Instead of Working With Them

During his first week in office, Trump signed an executive order withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed 12-nation trade agreement that was a work-in-progress holdover from the Obama administration. In 2018, Trump launched his trade war by nonsensically declaring that steel and aluminum imports from places like Canada and Europe were somehow threats to U.S. national security.

All of that made a difficult confrontation with China more complicated than it otherwise would have been. A go-it-alone strategy was meant to project America's toughness but a multilateral approach that lowered tariffs on imports from countries that compete with China would have been more effective.

Ironically, Trump also left America less capable of standing up to China in other ways—the president was reportedly hesitant to condemn China's takeover of Hong Kong and was unwilling to speak out against China's abuse of Uighurs because doing so might hurt trade negotiations.

Failing To Use Appropriate Metrics To Determine Success

From the start, Trump and his top trade advisers have used a single statistic as their guiding star for the trade war: America's trade deficit. Like with tariffs, Trump seems to misunderstand the basic economics that drive trade surpluses and deficits—the difference between the value of goods imported from and exported to the rest of the world.

But if the trade deficit is how the president wants to be judged, so be it. America's trade deficit was $49 billion in March 2018, the month Trump announced his trade war.

In November 2020, the most recent month for which full data is available, the trade deficit was $68 billion—just slightly down from a 14-year record high set in August of last year.

By Trump's chosen metric, his trade policies have failed.

By other metrics, they don't look too good either. American manufacturing—one of the sectors that was supposed to benefit—had fallen into a recession even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Meanwhile, Trump's "Phase One" trade deal with China was little more than a limited attempt at repairing some of the trade war's damage. China doesn't seem to be respecting the deal anyway. Besides, there won't be a second phase.

Lastly, it's worth considering that the trade war was always more about domestic politics than anything else. Having won the White House on a promise to overturn the conventional wisdom about the value of the free exchange of goods and people across international borders, Trump's confrontation with China was always at least partially a way to signal to the Trumpist base that their man was fighting—even if they were collateral damage—and deserved a second term.

Chalk that up as a failure, too.

NEXT: Dysfunctional and Disorderly at Home, the U.S. Must Stop Meddling Abroad

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  1. One last OMB article.

    1. Biden's support of the Trans Pacific Partnership will help isolate China, protect the American consumer, and return critical manufacturing jobs to America. China will be brought to heel, economically and military, and the US will help China's Uighur minorities by giving them all US citizenship.

      1. The best way to kill china's economy and psycho tyrant leadership, would be to deregulate environmental restrictions in the USA (allow more pollution) and lower the minimum wage to about $0.00, and reduce the working age to about 10 years of age (legalize child labor). Further, our massive prison system - train them and put them to work, producing something, rather than sitting in a cell eating and watching TV. They could work at a steel mill, or metal factory. Sure - some of the prisoners would die, but they are prisoners. But the US is not willing to do this. Ever. So we will never be able to compete with China on some products. Simply never going to happen.

    2. The poor Commies at unreason.

      1. Trump offers free trade and our trading partners reject the offer.
      2. Trading partners refuse to cave in public.
      3. Trading partners all cave to American trade policy under Trump.
      4. Communist China attacks the USA with COVID19 biological weapon.
      5. Lefties in America aid and abet Communist plan to nuke US economy and solidify Crony Capitalist stranglehold over small businesses who have to shutdown.
      6. China has strongest economy in the World for 2020.
      ....

      1. It's not like there's one bad acting country that responsible for Sars, avian flu, and the Wuhan virus

    3. last

      Oh, you.

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  3. Remember the days when the Republicans supported sound economic principles (at least in words, if not in actions)? Good times.

    1. The GOP has collapsed in a fire of incompetence and arrogance. The Democrats are the party of regulated free markets, civil liberties, and responsible government now.

      1. The party of regulated civil liberties, maybe

    2. That was the case as recently as the early 2000s neocon era, right? The GOP really needs to recapture that spirit.

      #LibertariansForABetterGOP
      #PutTheNeoconsBackInCharge

    3. It seems oh so long ago. Like a wholly different party almost.

      What moral ground can the modern GOP stand upon to criticize Democrat spending excesses or protectionist trade policies? Hell, they don't even hae a moral ground from which to oppose Modern Monetary Theory plans coming down the pike.

      Principles matter. Character matters because principles rest upon them. But in four years the Republican Party shredded all their principles and character like Nixon on a bender.

      1. Every time these goons brag about "Trump's Economy" you can congratulate them on coming around to Keynesian monetary and deficit spending policies.

        1. De Oppresso Liber
          January.19.2021 at 8:07 pm

          R Mac, are you stupid? Or just disingenuous? Mother is on my do not reply list since she went full anti-Semite.

          I have never ever said anything remotely antisemitic, you lying fuck.
          How fucking dare you make that slimebag accusation, you dishonest piece of shit.
          I want an apology and I want it fucking now. If you don’t I’m going to make your time here completely fucking miserable.

    4. "Remember the days when the Republicans supported sound economic principles (at least in words, if not in actions)? Good times."

      When was the last time the Democrats supported sound economic principles in word or deed?

      I honestly can't remember them doing so. Someone remind me.

      1. Briefly, the Democrats became globalists- during the end of the Clinton administration. They briefly protested Bush's globalism, but during the Obama administration largely opened up trade. They were corporatists to be sure, but they were far more open to foreign trade than previous "Buy Union, Buy American" dems prior to the 90s.

        Indeed, their abandonment of the blue collar blues ultimately allowed Trump the window to win in 2016.

      2. So if the Democrats are idiots it's okay for Republicans to be idiots as well?

        Fucking whataboutism.

      3. Whataboutism - the last refuge of a defeated argument

        1. Read what Ken was replying to dumbass.

      4. Democrat JFK cut taxes, dropping the top personal rate from 91 percent to 65 percent, and corporate rates from 52 to 47 percent.

        Democrat Andrew Jackson balanced the budget, the last President from any party to do so.

        Democrat Thomas Jefferson paid off the national debt, the last President from any party to do so.

      5. “When was the last time the Democrats supported sound economic principles in word or deed?”

        When was the last time the American Communist Party supported sound economic principles in word or deed? I honestly can’t remember them doing so. Someone remind me.

        I’m pretty sure that’s how it works. Right Ken? But what’s the point?

    5. If "anyone should run to be elected" and we don't need term limits, then the need is not for economic expert political contenders but rather deciders who can distinguish the ignorant arguments from the fundamentally necessary ones supplied by constituent effort.

    6. That surely must had been the era of incipient NAFTA, c. 1992.

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  4. Drumpf's trade war "accomplished" one thing, anyway. It devastated the net worth of Charles Koch, the billionaire who funds Reason.com. Mr. Koch lost over $5 billion last year, causing him to fall out of the top 20 richest people on the planet. Unacceptable!

    Fortunately President Biden will do what Wall Street, multinational corporations, and Reason writers elected him to do — implement an economic program that guarantees all billionaires will prosper.

    #GetReadyForTheKochComeback
    #InDefenseOfBillionaires

    1. Agreed. Income inequality is a sign of freedom and it encourages the stupid peasants to work harder for the "American Dream".

      1. "Income inequality is a sign of freedom"

        Indeed. That's why I point to California and its high poverty level as the ideal state from a Koch / Reason perspective.

        #LibertariansFor50Californias

    2. Charles Koch apparently has enough money left to attract Tucker Carlson, who, last night, excoriated Koch for not spending his billions to counter the Leftwing censorship of social media.

  5. Trump's trade war was just yet another central planning boondoggle.

    It was certainly the low point of his presidency until his election fraud hoax sabotaged the senate run-off elections and handled complete control of the Leviathan to the socialists.

    1. "socialists"

      LOL

      Watch the skyrocketing net worths of the richest people in the US over the next few years. Then try to say with a straight face the Biden Administration has been "socialist."

  6. Thank goodness Biden promised to reverse those policies!

    He did promise to reverse them, didn't he? Anybody got a link for that?

    Didn't think so.

    Biden's trade policy is to keep Trump's tariffs in place, add objections from environmental and labor unions, and try to get the rest of Asia to impose tariffs on China on the basis of their complaints. That's a stupid pipe dream. It's effectively Trump's policies but worse. Even if they were the same, faulting Trump's policies for being more or less the same as Biden's is fundamentally the wrong analysis.

    With alternative Trump, you get: A, B, C, D, E.

    With alternative Biden, you get: C, D, E, F, G.

    Criticizing the Trump alternative on the basis of C, D, and E is fundamentally irrational because you get C, D, and E with the Biden alternative, too. When analyzing the desirability of mutually exclusive alternatives, the rational analysis focuses on the outcomes that will be different depending on your choice, not the outcomes that will be the same regardless of which one you choose.

    With Trump you get no Green New Deal, no bail out of the states, and no war on guns.

    With Biden you get the Green New Deal, a bail out of the states, and a war on guns.

    You get the same tariffs either way regardless.

    Meanwhile, the Democratic party and the government are effectively the same thing. Who is there in the 100% Democrat controlled government that wants to undo Trump's trade war? Who in the Democratic party, in a position of power, cares what the American people think about trade policy with China--or is about to break with the rest of the Democrats for free trade with China as a repudiation of Donald Trump?

    The correct answer is no one that matters.

    This article is senseless.

    1. "With Biden you get the Green New Deal, a bail out of the states, and a war on guns."

      Sign me up. Giving the American economy a chance to dominate the coming green energy sector and further safeguard our interests without having to police the Middle East, etc. sounds fantastic.

      1. You're a fucking retard.

        1. Why can't you just write like this, instead of the 750 words you usually put around this? Honestly this comment has more content than your typical drivel.

          1. I feel like sometimes Ken has good points, but my eyes just glaze over his comments most of the time, because it's so much verbal diarrhea. Try to be more succinct, Ken, without being insulting, if you can.

          2. I hope you two realizes that nobody gives a fuck what you think.

            1. Apparently you do

              1. gotem!

                1. De Oppresso Liber
                  January.19.2021 at 8:07 pm

                  R Mac, are you stupid? Or just disingenuous? Mother is on my do not reply list since she went full anti-Semite.

                  I have never ever said anything remotely antisemitic, you lying fuck.
                  How fucking dare you make that slimebag accusation, you dishonest piece of shit.
                  I want an apology and I want it fucking now. If you don’t I’m going to make your time here completely fucking miserable.

              2. I don’t. Pointing that out doesn’t make it false.

      2. Giving the American economy a chance to dominate the coming green energy sector

        What "green energy"?

        1. Tax subsidies to change the energy sector to increase prices for energy.

        2. The "green energy" that threw CA into blackouts?

          1. I recall this to be the other way around. Too bad I need to research my replies, heh!

            1. On second thought, maybe I could invite a greenie over here to teach this thread a lesson. Worth it? Not in a mess of a forum like this, at any rate.

        3. Or the "Green Energy" that gave CA the most expensive electricity in the Continental US?

      3. You do understand that the "green energy sector" is literally a bureaucratic crony creation that barely exists outside of artificial government created markets, right?

        The reason government has to push it so much is becuase there actually isn't this magic green energy to get behind.

        Your position is tantamount to saying 20 years ago, "I can't wait to be a leader in the ethanol revolution."

        1. And I bet you think Tesla is just a car company.

          There is an energy revolution in progress. Don't let disdain for AOC (I share it) cloud your vision. Battery tech, big advances in green energy generation, increased energy consumption from the increasingly rich 3rd world, all necessitate this.

          Just as I would not recommend a young man attend a commercial trucking school right now, even though it is a good job for the time being, I would not recommend getting caught unaware by the eclipsing of oil by other energy forms.

          I still hold traditional energy equities, and a one of my largest holdings is EURN, which is a tanker company. But the energy situation will be very different than today in 20 years.

          1. De Oppresso Liber
            January.19.2021 at 8:07 pm

            R Mac, are you stupid? Or just disingenuous? Mother is on my do not reply list since she went full anti-Semite.

            I have never ever said anything remotely antisemitic, you lying fuck.
            How fucking dare you make that slimebag accusation, you dishonest piece of shit.
            I want an apology and I want it fucking now. If you don’t I’m going to make your time here completely fucking miserable.

          2. Sounds GREAT! So great we won't need Gov-Guns dictating it against a persons own will RIGHT???????????

          3. The existence of Tesla is not proof of the existence of green energy. In fact, gasoline engines are so efficient and clean these days, and battery creation and disposal so damaging to the environment, not to mention electricity generation pollution, Tesla makes very cool cars, but not "green" or even environmentally friendly compared to alternatives.

  7. How I can tell Eric doesn't understand basic economic theory... his main thesis is that the tariff use drove cost on the end buyer. Problem... we've seen flat inflation during the period of tariffs implying either a cost shift or the importers ate the taxes themselves.

    The "war" also caused a supplier shift from China to Taiwan/South Korea/etc for many businesses which will offset future Chinese anti-market behaviors.

    I still don't get how an economist discussing trade with China can completely ignore theft and adverse market actions in their analysis.

    1. The "supplier shift" is one of the hoped for effects of the anti-free trade warriors. The idea is that, say, Chinese workers will get pissed at losing their American export jobs and pressure the government to
      cave in to American demands that Chinese import tariffs on American goods be lowered. How well this works in reality depends on the swinging dick measuring of the trading entities involved.

    2. I was definitely impacted by the Steel Tariffs.

      When you say "we've seen flat inflation", what exactly do you mean? If you are saying, broadly, across the country, inflation was flat, then such data does not prove the effectiveness of tariffs one way or the other. A tariff doesn't cause inflation, because it doesn't add money (or velocity) to the system. Instead, dollars are reallocated from one area to another (hiring for companies, consumers consuming fewer alternatives).

    3. Problem… we’ve seen flat inflation during the period of tariffs implying either a cost shift or the importers ate the taxes themselves.

      Here we see Jesse ignore confounding variables in order to push a narrative. So dishonest Jesse. So so dishonest.

    4. Jesse calls someone else ignorant of economics, then goes on to explain that tariffs did not increase prices by citing inflation.

      Inflation is a monetary policy driven phenomena. As Overt notes, tariffs would not cause broad inflation as measured with CPI etc..

      Anecdotally, I had to shutter one business line that relied entirely on imports from China. My main competitor had just gone public, and was somehow able to avoid these tariffs, while I was not. It did shift my supply chain from China to India for other items. Which caused its own problems when India went into full lockdown (including customs) with 24 hours notice for covid.

      1. Jesse is either colossally stupid, or a downright troll. Since I find it hard to believe anyone can be that dumb and still manage to use a computer, I think he just trolls. That's why I started to ignore him. He is one of the commenters whose comments my eyes just skip over most of the time.

        1. I know. I need to get on the same wavelength, ala Sevo and anyone suspected of being Tulpa.

          But I don't think he's trolling. I think he is a genuine believer. He genuinely believes he is the smartest person of all time.

          1. De Oppresso Liber
            January.19.2021 at 8:07 pm

            R Mac, are you stupid? Or just disingenuous? Mother is on my do not reply list since she went full anti-Semite.

            I have never ever said anything remotely antisemitic, you lying fuck.
            How fucking dare you make that slimebag accusation, you dishonest piece of shit.
            I want an apology and I want it fucking now. If you don’t I’m going to make your time here completely fucking miserable.

  8. "Assuming Retaliation Wouldn't Happen"

    We can always pussy-grab those stupid others some MORE! They are ALWAYS, way too stupid to pussy-grab us right back!

    Fuck Donald! Good riddance!

    1. Leave it to the electorate to figure out the important matters! But government has become so huge that it runs through fingers like water to try to deal with.

      1. Hm, there should be a way to profit from deficiency outstanding via investment, if I know my libertarian readings ...

    2. I don't flag you yet as I only fall spam for now, but every time I find myself reading your posts it makes me question my "only flag spam" policy.

      You honestly add nothing.

      1. You know, you could charge money to participate in a conversation, and then there would be less trouble from other participants.

  9. Also see...
    "Read my lips. No new taxes." GB, the elder.
    "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." Slick Willy
    "Depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is." Slick Willy

    1. "Not a smidgen of corruption." Barack Obama

  10. China is basically loaning us their stuff. They do this by buying trillions in national debt, which we then use to buy their products. But at any point they could stop rolling over the loans and then we have to pay them back. The result will be higher taxes and inflation.

    The solution is simple: end social security and medicare. They are the largest contributor to the national debt. We must also slash defense. If you're scared of the China threat - that's easy. Just demand Chinese Americans, who've lived here for centuries in many cases, bestow the blessings of peace and justice that they learned here back on their ancestral homeland. This will be another American century. (And before you call me racist - I say the same for all countries.)

    The great irony is that China doesn't have social security - yet their four grandparents sometimes live with their ONE child!

    1. If we end ss and medicare with no replacement, we will have societal collapse.

      I'm not a fan of either program, but so many Americans depend on it now, you had better have something to replace or cushion the transition.

      The US dollar will not be supreme among the world's currencies if there is total collapse at home. US dollar strength is based on our stability as a nation/society. Anything that hurts our stability will hurt us financially far worse than ss taxes.

      1. "If we reduce government, our society will collapse!"

        "If we don't lock down for months, granny will die!"

        So you're not a libertarian. Good to know.

        Meanwhile, everyone else can go beg their grandparents to release us from their death grip. (You can continue to draw benefits as long as the programs exist, but you should vote against them.)

        1. I am libertarian, a libertarian who lives in the real world.

          I can state that SS is illibertarian while also noting that just simply stopping it isn't a real or complete solution.

          But I am not an accelerationist (which is really just another word for a loser who needs society to restructure for them to succeed).

          1. De Oppresso Liber
            January.19.2021 at 8:07 pm

            R Mac, are you stupid? Or just disingenuous? Mother is on my do not reply list since she went full anti-Semite.

            I have never ever said anything remotely antisemitic, you lying fuck.
            How fucking dare you make that slimebag accusation, you dishonest piece of shit.
            I want an apology and I want it fucking now. If you don’t I’m going to make your time here completely fucking miserable.

        2. He's not a libertarian irregardless of him saying he is, but just stopping ss and Medicare outright would cause extreme economic societal problems that it's unlikely we'd recover from.

          And that fact has zero to do with your No True Scotsman fallacy.

  11. “Instead of protectionism, we should call it destructionism. It destroys jobs, weakens our industries, harms exports, costs billions of dollars to consumers, and damages our overall economy.” ~ Ronald Reagan

    Government can't create. Government can only redistribute or destroy. And government redistribution entails much destruction. And government destruction entails much redistribution.

    Trump's premises were never much more than a pity party primarily for himself but extending, also, to his Trumpanzees. Predictably Trump's attempts to use government to create wins and extract revenge for his and their pitiable nature, ultimately, made losses and all of them even more pitiable.

    Trade War - Lost
    Economy - Lost
    House - Lost
    Senate - Lost
    White House - Lost
    400,000 Lives - Lost

    Trump is the biggest loser.

    1. Go, BigGiveNotBigGov, go! Speak ye the TRUTH! (Unwilling ears will NOT listen, but that is NOT our fault!)

      1. Thanks.

        While no pure Libertarian RR was quoted in these very pages declaring:

        I believe that the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. ~ Ronald Reagan

        1. Stop quoting Reagan you disingenuous fuck, as there's no way he'd be dumb enough to blame a virus and the actions of governors/mayors on Trump.

    2. Funny; I hadn't heard about the Great Recession or the Great Depression under Trump's Administration.

      I guess our goal-posts are different.

      1. But good news! Pretty sure Biden's Administration will SLAP us into another 8-years of Depression while bankrupting the nation; He's already starting with $2T added right off the bat.

        Compulsive Economic Depression for the WIN!!!! Don't be a loser; support national bankruptcy and economic depression! /s

        Better prep your 'blame' cards early this time. It was ALL Trumps Fault!

        1. https://reason.com/2021/01/18/carjacker-beaverton-mom-kid-waiting/#comment-8710844
          Model TJJ2000 Dictatorbot believes that the USA already is (and should be) a 1-party dictatorshit! That the USA HAS BEEN a 1-party dictatorshit for some 200 years!!! There is NO point in trying to persuade the Model TJJ2000 Dictatorbot of ANYTHING! Almost ALL of the circuits of the Model TJJ2000 Dictatorbot have gone kaput, big-time!

          Model TJJ2000 Dictatorbot is lusting after an UPGRADE to its rusting old body! Wants to be upgraded to Model TJJ20666 Dictatorbot, and run for POTUS in 2024, with Alex Jones as the VEEP of Model TJJ20666 Dictatorbot!!! Be ye WARNED!!! Model TJJ20666 Dictatorbot will be well-nigh INDESTRUCTIBLE! (Unreachable by ANY logic or considerations for the freedoms of others, MOST certainly!)

          PLEASE do NOT enable the lusting of the rusting TJJ20666 Dictatorbot!!!

      2. If only you were stupid enough to think Trump responsible for a virus, then you'd see what the OP is talking about.

        But alas, the OP's IQ is much lower than yours, lower than room temp even, so you cannot understand.

    3. You're an idiot.

  12. Except there's nothing "free" about these "free" trade agreements, nor Trump's. All thousands of pages long with rules and stipulations on top of rules and stipulations.

    1. ... And subsidized shipping with 0% tax-rate.

      Wonder how well a taxpayer funded shipping for Amazon and 0% corporate tax-rate, IP-Royalty Waiver legislation would sound?

      And people have to wonder why all manufacturing went over-seas and the USA markets are collapsing.... Hmmmm... It's almost like they were PUSHED over there by *subsidized* favors.

  13. The assumption made in electing Donald Trump in 2016 was that he was a business man who would better understand the economy. What we have seen is that this assumption is incorrect. The article points out that Trump really never had nor learned the basics of international trade.

    The truth is we really have no idea of how good Donald Trump is at business. He has lots of money but we don't have a good idea of how or why he has that money.

    1. WHY does He have The Money?

      Here’s the (semi) latest about Trump’s history as an arrogant, greedy-pig, selfish asshole…
      https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/biggest-bombshells-trump-deutsche-bank-lending-new-york-times-report-2020-2-1028908722#same-bank-different-teams2
      “ENLIGHTENED” self-interest is in YOUR best interest, in the long term! (As well as in the interests of others). Trump is too stupid, greedy, and full of false pride to see that…

      Deutsche Bank officials who bent the rules to "loan" money to The Con Artist-Grifter In Chief have now resigned! Gee, I wonder why?!?!?

    2. You'd get to be elected and use other people's money. But they give you feedback if they do not like your plan.

      Whatever could go wrong?

    3. What we have seen is that this assumption is incorrect.

      Just like Gates, Buffet, Bezos, Zuckerberg, and many more. Yeah they're rich, but that doesn't translate to them having better knowledge of how a country should run.

      Realistically Trump did better than all these morons given most of his economic failures came from lockdowns he couldn't stop as they were ordered by governors/mayors.

  14. Only reason why Trump's trade war didn't go the way he thought it would. He's an idiot.

    1. Great analysis - you should submit this as an example of your writing along with your resume to WaPo.

  15. And in other news; The Trump Administration sees American Employment rates set a record not seen since the 1960s.

    So excuse my little bit of skepticism to the articles narrative.

    1. And the lowest poverty rate since then.

      1. It may be another reason

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  17. Finally a leader to test our faith in government!

    "Oh this next one would be so easy ... we'll take over Mars and the Moon. Is everyone ready ... ?"

  18. Meanwhile the Chinese economy is chugging right along and tariffs are not going to do a darn thing for human rights.

    In addition to the economic mistakes of the trade war it is a political miscalculation. You can’t win it anymore than you could a land invasion. As in any war there is no winning only degrees of losing. The Chinese government does not face regular elections. They are not going to change anything just work around it and patiently wait things out.

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