Saturday, March 10, 2018

Free Trade

President Trump’s proposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum is a bad idea. Tariffs have never been a great idea and usually bad things happen in the global economy when a super power starts playing games with tariffs. In today’s global economy, it’s an even worse idea.

If we want to fix our balance of trade, we need to take the long-term view. Investments in infrastructure and education will make us better and more competitive in the global economy. We talk about bringing jobs back to America. We don’t have enough qualified people to fill those jobs. We don’t have an unemployment problem. We have an “unemployable” people problem. So we need to educate, train AND motivate our workforce in order to get over that hump. (And that “motivate” part is a whole other subject.)

I predict that cooler heads will prevail and Trump will change his mind as he so often does. He’ll say that the threat has gotten concessions from our global competitors and his bluff worked. The art of the deal strikes again. Of course, it will be total nonsense and we’ll just move on to the next issue.

Trump has done some good things. The tax bill, his Supreme Court pick and reducing regulations on businesses are all winners. And he may even get something worked out with North Korea. There may be a method to Trump’s madness. But the problem is that when you’re the leader of the free world, you can’t afford to be wrong on the big stuff. That’s how wars get started.

“I love free trade, but we need great leadership to have real free trade. And we don't have good leadership. We have leadership that doesn't know what it's doing.” – Donald J. Trump.

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