Could Trump improve the American economy?

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I abominate Trump. He wants the USA to pull out of the Trans Pacific Partnership. He wants to end NAFTA. The president cannot do this only Congress can. However, the president’s proposals are likely to be followed by Congress since it is mostly Republican.

For over 25 years the USA had been pursuing free trade policies. Protectionism has been largely abandoned. This has co incided with the loss of tens of millions of manufacturing jobs. Blue collar Americans have found it harder to secure jobs. Their jobs have been short term and less well paid than before. Their benefits have been cut back. Companies have outsourced to countries that will produce the same goods for a fraction of the cost.

In other lands workers have fewer protections. There are few environmental laws. The environment can be polluted with impunity such as in China.

Working class Americans found their jobs under threat from illegal immigrants. People working in the USA illegally were able to get informal employment and be paid in cash by unscrupulous employers. This undercut American workers. Many decry Trump’s plan to deport all illegal immigrants. It seemed excessive to me. Someone who had lived in the USA for over 20 years without committing a crime ought to be forgiven. Trump back tracked on his policy of kicking out all undocumented workers no matter how long they had lived in the United States. He later said it only applied to criminals. Those who denounced his plan to boot out illegal immigrants ask yourself how you would feel if your job was under threat from illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants are not bad people. They have broken the law in a minor way. I have worked illegally and do not consider myself to be wicked. It is a victimless crime. However, laws need to be upheld. I could not object if I were deported. I do not judge people for immigrating illegally to the United States. If I were them I would do likewise.

This has all seemed to be calamitous for working class Americans. They can buy  goods more cheaply than before. If they have money to spend that is. Trump’s central message is that the US can pull back up the drawbridge. The United States can charge tariffs on imports. This is supposed to restore jobs to the United States. The trouble is that other countries will retaliate and charge tariffs on American exports. The US does not have a large export sector for goods unless these are very high tech.

Will Trump’s plan to bring back blue collar jobs work? I suspect not. I am no economist. Most economists say it will be catastrophic. They are more likely to know than him. The US survives on trade. If it reduces its trade it will hurt itself. Are Americans willing to pay much more for goods than they do now just to keep their countrymen employed? I think not. This is a very consumerist society.

 

Most Republicans in the Senate and the House are more economically savvy than Trump. Trump made billions. Partly by outsourcing and owning businesses outside the USA. Congress will be under pressure from lobbyists not to go against free trade. Trump will probably not get his way on protectionism. Even if he did then it would surely not work. It would take a long time for any benefit to be felt. In the meantime there would be huge dislocation.

Perhaps I am dead wrong. Maybe Trump’s policies will be passed. It is possible that they shall bear fruit. Time will tell.

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About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

22 responses »

  1. When I was growing up and into the 70s and 80s, my home area of Northeast Ohio was booming…the steel mills in Cleveland and Lorain were blasting night and day, round-the-clock shifts, and there were plenty of good-paying jobs in the mills and in auto manufacturing plants. THEN the plants started to close and move down South….no, not to Mexico then, but to Alabama and Georgia . The cause (they told us) was the labor unions guaranteeing good-pay and benefits and decent working safety conditions.

    “Illegal” workers picked tomatoes, worked on ranches in the broiling southwest sun, and worked laborer construction jobs and washed dishes and mopped floors in restaurants and hospitals etc, etc. Ranchers hired these “pickers” because local-white boys would not do these jobs. They also worked as nannies and housekeepers for our well-to-do,

    NAFTA has provided a free-for-all atmosphere that harmed American workers. The worst I personally know of is that NAFTA decimated the Mexican farmer corn business….flooding the Mexican markets with American corn. An even greater atrocity is that under NAFTA came the genitically-modified corn itself, which was treated to prevent re-growth from seed.

    The so-called “maquiladoras” throughout Mexico hired cheap and mistreated labor…big companies like Tommy Hilfiger and The Gap. I have seen these with my own eyes, workers stand for long shifts, begging for bathroom breaks, standing at sewing machines (etc.) for 12-14 hour shifts on tiled concrete floors. Yes, these people ARE glad to get the work at any price.

    These points are just a few, and may be arbitrary…..but are facts. . TRUE FACTS, not Alternate Facts.

    I am going to post this comment on my own blog, Sometimes. Thanks for reading!

      • it’s all about making a profit…a young lawyer told me once that his Dad insisted on him choosing from among three professions: lawyer, doctor, priest. H lamented to me that all his friends were working at the steel mills making good money and having boats and nice homes, etc….while he had to wear a suit and drive a big Lincoln.

      • Money is not the only thing that matters but it does matter. Beyond a certain level money does not bring greater contentment. The USA is like Robin Hood in reverse. The working class have to subsidise the billionaires. The super rich do not pay much tax but workers do. It gets worse. The workers have to pay a subvention to corporations giving billions to the rich who then hide the money in offshore accounts.

      • and so it is, has been, and will be….I admit that I have been without money or barely making ends meet…and it is a lot nicer having just a bit of a comfortable cushion. I’m not a fancy girl, and have simple tastes…not impressed with fancy cars (I want one that gets me where I need to go) snazzy clothing, or a big presumptuous house. I almost married a guy whose family had a house with four bathrooms…I was SO impressed! 🙂

    • He is such a braggart – forever boasting that he is the best, the richest, the smartest. It is childish and risible. His belief in his own rectitude is extremely unsettling. The wisest people doubt themselves.

      • literally quite mad….no joke whatsoever…I make a point of watching his antics on the telly, and his in-person appearances are more telling and frightening than reading transcripts.

      • Sadly this reflects on your country. You will be judged by him. He has banned people from 7 Muslim countries from coming to the USA for 90 days. What does that do to Americans in Muslim countries? It heightens hostility.

      • I read that there was a Mosque destroyed by fire overnight … in Texas. I know this reflects on all of us… that’s why my husband and I used to joke about wearing our little maple leaf pins that someone in Canada gave us. Yeah, it was a joke….but not really. We traveled with some loud-mouth rude people back then, although they weren’t all American…in Mexico etc. a lot of travelers from the UK and Germany. Canada, too, but the Canadians tend to be less obnoxious and superior. 🙂

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