Free trade purists and globalists find themselves at odds with President Trump’s economics ideas. The cult of economic growth seems taken aback at the mere mention of policies that may inhibit the maximum increase of gross domestic product.
It seems that President Trump favors ‘fair trade’ policies, but not the leftist idea of non-exploitative pro-third world fair trade. Trumpian fair trade looks much more like protectionism; if a trading partner is using measures to gain a large competitive advantage over The United States, President Trump indicates that he wants to put in place economic punishment on that partner – even at cost to American economic growth. Of course, until any specific policy plans are implemented the exact impacts on economic growth will remain uncertain.
Rather than a deep substantial difference this appears to be more of a top down cultural shift of both time preference and strategic goals. President Trump is expressing a desire for America to be as self-sufficient as possible by limiting offshoring and outsourcing. This should not be a surprise to anyone listening to the campaign rhetoric that President Trump had been using –it was deeply in favor of working class Americans. Congress, currently under Republican control, has the real power over these issues and will have its own impact on policy solutions. So it is probably best to relax a bit and wait for actual policy to be put forward.
As an aside, if the Democrat party’s strange desire for a war with Russia came into fruition this idea of a self-sufficient United States probably would have been a mandatory policy. A supply chain that relies on global free trade would be an extreme risk during active war between superpowers.