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Old 06-11-2018, 11:07 AM
steronz steronz is offline
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Why is Trump's anti-ally protectionism so popular?

This post is prompted by my own FB feed, where my libertarian and moderate "reluctant Trumper" acquaintances now seem to be fully on board the Trump "Eff the G7" train. This being GD, I wish I had better cites, but Trump's approval rating is on the rise and the comments under this Brietbart article are pretty jubilant about Trump being the first Republican to finally stand up to the EU, whatever that means.

I understand that Republicans and Democrats have apparently flip-flopped on free trade (ironically, back when I was a teenager, free trade was one of the few things I could really get behind on the Republican platform), but I'm still left to wonder - What the hell is going on here? 15 years ago Republicans lost their shit when France didn't support the US in what was clearly a boneheaded invasion of Iraq. Now they're perfectly content to stand behind Trump as he pulls the US out of agreements with our historical allies left and right (Iran, Paris), attacks NATO for not paying their fair share, and now starts trade wars with Canada and threatens the entire G7 if they don't kowtow to his demands.

The cynic in me says that this is just a case of Republicans not actually having an opinion on anything as long as it pisses off liberals, but there's got to be an actual reason, right?
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:16 AM
Ashtura Ashtura is offline
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Originally Posted by steronz View Post
The cynic in me says that this is just a case of Republicans not actually having an opinion on anything as long as it pisses off liberals, but there's got to be an actual reason, right?
I'm pretty sure the platform of the Republican party is to be anti-left and anti-globalists, "america first" right now. The G7 goes against those things. I don't think that's cynicism, I think it's realism.
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:19 AM
Jasmine Jasmine is offline
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Because we have a nucleus of people in this country who ardently want to go back to the fifties. If Trump brought back American cars that got 8 MPG, they'd probably cheer.
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  #4  
Old 06-11-2018, 11:30 AM
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Because we have a nucleus of people in this country who ardently want to go back to the fifties. If Trump brought back American cars that got 8 MPG, they'd probably cheer.
Fifties? You mean 20s and early thirties. During the fifties we stood with our allies, and Ike was anything but an isolationist.
America First was the slogan of Nazi sympathizers who, if they had been in charge, would have left us less prepared for WW II than we were.
  #5  
Old 06-11-2018, 11:31 AM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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I think a lot of people do see the world as a zero-sum game. Which means with any action, there is a winner and a loser. By that logic, if France and Germany are upset at something Trump did, that must mean it's good for the US. And if liberals are upset at something, it must be good for conservatives.

Last edited by scr4; 06-11-2018 at 11:31 AM.
  #6  
Old 06-11-2018, 11:43 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Originally Posted by steronz View Post
15 years ago Republicans lost their shit when France didn't support the US in what was clearly a boneheaded invasion of Iraq. Now they're perfectly content to stand behind Trump as he pulls the US out of agreements with our historical allies left and right (Iran, Paris), attacks NATO for not paying their fair share, and now starts trade wars with Canada and threatens the entire G7 if they don't kowtow to his demands.

The cynic in me says that this is just a case of Republicans not actually having an opinion on anything as long as it pisses off liberals, but there's got to be an actual reason, right?
I think there's twothings at play here:

1. It's xenophobia. Trump is a classic fascist who excels at the blame game, and Trumpists like to blame other people. Right now it's Canada and the G7. Trumpists don't put a lot of thought into this stuff; Trump says to hate the G7, so they do.

It's fascinating how quickly Trumpists have picked up the "270 percent dairy tariff" meme from Trump. Go to their places on the Internet; they repeat it over and over. It's disconnected from any sort of sensible examination of trade policy, or the fact the US has similar tariffs to protect favoured industries, but Trump said it, it's a big number, and it gives them someone to hate.

2. People don't understand trade.

The lack of understanding of trade is not a Trumpist thing; it's common. Leftists don't like international trade, either, and many of the same Canadians who today are huffing over Trump's position were just weeks ago anti-free-traders who'd assure you up and down that the TPP was a terrible idea. More than half of Canadians opposed the original FTA with the USA.

The benefits of free trade are hard to grasp and rarely personal, while the myths against it tend to fit neatly into very common logical fallacies.
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  #7  
Old 06-11-2018, 11:47 AM
naita naita is offline
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Republican politicians, tea-party populists excluded have not changed their minds, but are criticising the president.

Big republican funders have not changed their minds. The Kochs' are for instance pumping money into campaigns for free-trade.

On the voter end Trump fans come in two flavours. There's the low information, falls for all of Trump's propaganda crowd, who never really liked how free-trade moves blue collar jobs out of rich countries anyway.

And there's the slightly more rational ones who think it's problematic but think things will either blow over or the rest of the world will give in to Trump's hard ball negotiation tactics.

It's going to take a serious or prolonged economic downturn for the Trump loving masses to accept that he's genuinely sawing off the branch they are sitting on.
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Old 06-11-2018, 12:45 PM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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It profits one little to ask on this board why Republicans/conservatives/Trump supporters think or do anything.The responses will be tailored to fit the superficial/cartoonish/evil image of such people that the poster in question carries in his head, and will have little to do with reality. Kudos to the OP for recognizing that the "because it pisses off liberals" motive is likely not the actual motive behind conservative support for Trump's America-first stance.

The truth is that many on the right have long felt that the U.S. has spent tons of money keeping EU countries safe from outside aggression, and that without the protective umbrella the U.S. provides, the citizens of these countries would all be living miserable lives under communist dominion. Many on the right also feel that EU countries benefit enormously from trade with the U.S. and perhaps unfairly so, and that in return for keeping them safe and adding to their prosperity, we get mostly snobbery, condescension, criticism, insults and dislike in return.

There is also the feeling the the U.S. cannot count to any degree on the support of most EU countries in conflicts with other countries. And of course many Trump supporters disapprove of the liberal nature of most EU countries' societies and politics.

And then there is the fact that much of the impetus for the creation of the EU in the first place was to create an economic and political entity equal to the U.S. and therefore better able to oppose it economically.

So in short, Trump voters feel that the U.S. has sacrificed much and gained little from its relationships with the countries of the EU, that they are basically allies in name only, and that rather than sucking up to them the way Democratic administrations, as birds of a liberal feather are prone to do, it's high time the U.S. began to look after its own interests first in our dealings with the countries of the EU and Canada (which, apart from its physical location is largely indiscernible from European countries in its politics and in its scorn for the U.S.).

And a quibble: One would have to go back quite a ways to consider Iran an ally of the U.S.
  #9  
Old 06-11-2018, 12:49 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Originally Posted by Starving Artist View Post
And a quibble: One would have to go back quite a ways to consider Iran an ally of the U.S.
I'm sure the OP meant alienating our European allies by pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Last edited by scr4; 06-11-2018 at 12:49 PM.
  #10  
Old 06-11-2018, 12:53 PM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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On second glance I think so too and rescind the comment. Thanks.

Last edited by Starving Artist; 06-11-2018 at 12:53 PM.
  #11  
Old 06-11-2018, 01:08 PM
steronz steronz is offline
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Originally Posted by Starving Artist View Post
So in short, Trump voters feel that the U.S. has sacrificed much and gained little from its relationships with the countries of the EU, that they are basically allies in name only, and that rather than sucking up to them the way Democratic administrations, as birds of a liberal feather are prone to do, it's high time the U.S. began to look after its own interests first in our dealings with the countries of the EU and Canada (which, apart from its physical location is largely indiscernible from
European countries in its politics and in its scorn for the U.S.).
OK, but why? This was not the position of Republican politicians even a mere 20 years ago. One doesn't need an advanced understanding of global politics to understand that the US has benefited immensely from investments in the EU and other countries. We have military bases all over the world that we use to advance US interests in pretty much every place the sun shines. How many military bases do our allies have on US soil? For decades after WWII, the US used it's pocketbook to buy influence on an unprecedented scale. What I think we're seeing now is that our historical allies are basically going to move on without us, and we're going to lose the influence that we've taken for granted.

Is the thinking that being the dominate player in global politics just isn't worth the (relatively small) financial investment that we make annually to other countries? If so, would Republicans be OK with shutting down overseas military installations and losing the global reach that goes along with them? And finally, why didn't Republicans feel that way in the 90s? Is it because the cold war was still fresh in everyone's minds and having a global impact to counter the threat of communism was worth the squeeze then, but not now?

Last edited by steronz; 06-11-2018 at 01:09 PM.
  #12  
Old 06-11-2018, 01:18 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is online now
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Originally Posted by steronz View Post
OK, but why? This was not the position of Republican politicians even a mere 20 years ago. One doesn't need an advanced understanding of global politics to understand that the US has benefited immensely from investments in the EU and other countries. We have military bases all over the world that we use to advance US interests in pretty much every place the sun shines. How many military bases do our allies have on US soil? For decades after WWII, the US used it's pocketbook to buy influence on an unprecedented scale. What I think we're seeing now is that our historical allies are basically going to move on without us, and we're going to lose the influence that we've taken for granted.

Is the thinking that being the dominate player in global politics just isn't worth the (relatively small) financial investment that we make annually to other countries? If so, would Republicans be OK with shutting down overseas military installations and losing the global reach that goes along with them? And finally, why didn't Republicans feel that way in the 90s? Is it because the cold war was still fresh in everyone's minds and having a global impact to counter the threat of communism was worth the squeeze then, but not now?
This is the attitude that conservatives have:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald Trump
We’re like the piggy bank that everybody’s robbing — and that ends.
His advisor made more or less the same statement:
Quote:
“Just another #G7 where other countries expect America will always be their bank,” Mr. Bolton wrote as the president’s plane stopped for refueling at Souda Bay on the Greek island of Crete. “The President made it clear today. No more.”
They ignore the fact that those deals were negotiated from a position of strength by the US and that we're getting our goods cheap thanks to what is essentially slave labor in some cases.

This is the same bullshit that I have to hear every day as a union member about how unions are robbing businesses and crippling them, all shouted loudly and indignantly from a comfortable seat at the top of the heap.

Last edited by Snowboarder Bo; 06-11-2018 at 01:19 PM.
  #13  
Old 06-11-2018, 01:47 PM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
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Originally Posted by steronz View Post
OK, but why? This was not the position of Republican politicians even a mere 20 years ago. One doesn't need an advanced understanding of global politics to understand that the US has benefited immensely from investments in the EU and other countries. We have military bases all over the world that we use to advance US interests in pretty much every place the sun shines. How many military bases do our allies have on US soil? For decades after WWII, the US used it's pocketbook to buy influence on an unprecedented scale. What I think we're seeing now is that our historical allies are basically going to move on without us, and we're going to lose the influence that we've taken for granted.
In that case wouldn't we be likely to be maneuvering to keep that influence, or as much of it as possible, rather than pulling back from it?

Quote:
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Is the thinking that being the dominate player in global politics just isn't worth the (relatively small) financial investment that we make annually to other countries? If so, would Republicans be OK with shutting down overseas military installations and losing the global reach that goes along with them? And finally, why didn't Republicans feel that way in the 90s? Is it because the cold war was still fresh in everyone's minds and having a global impact to counter the threat of communism was worth the squeeze then, but not now?
I think the negative conservative view of Europe goes back a good deal further than the 90s. One thing to remember is that the Republican base has long been dissatisfied by its politicians, who largely have done nothing once they've been elected. The reason Trump was elected is that he was perceived as being someone finally who would act upon the desires of the country's Republican base. It's not so much that the thinking has changed that much since the 90s as it is that now there's someone in office who is simpatico with that thinking and is willing to act on it.

Secondly, I believe the internet has served to increase conservative resentment toward Europe because now people are more acutely aware of the attitudes of Europeans toward the U.S. and Americans in general than they were isn the 90s, when their objections were mostly philosophical and in the abstract. So to whatever degree Republican thinking may have changed since the 90s I would look to the internet as being the primary reason.
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Old 06-11-2018, 01:52 PM
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Honestly it strikes me that the cohort around Trump are of the opinion that moving from a brief apex of hyperpower might to a first among equals is unacceptable and it'll be a beggar thy neighbourgh clawing to maintain global preeminence.
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  #15  
Old 06-11-2018, 01:57 PM
kenobi 65 kenobi 65 is offline
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On the voter end Trump fans come in two flavours. There's the low information, falls for all of Trump's propaganda crowd, who never really liked how free-trade moves blue collar jobs out of rich countries anyway.
And, I think that Trump has convinced many of them that, if the U.S. "finally starts playing hardball" with other countries on trade, all of those good-paying blue-collar jobs will return to the U.S.
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:04 PM
Snowboarder Bo Snowboarder Bo is online now
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And, I think that Trump has convinced many of them that, if the U.S. "finally starts playing hardball" with other countries on trade, all of those good-paying blue-collar jobs will return to the U.S.
Aye; the same way that getting rid of the unions has been such a big boost to the middle class.

I know it's a different topic, but the underlying reasons and consequences are the same:
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Honestly it strikes me that the cohort around Trump are of the opinion that moving from a brief apex of hyperpower might to a first among equals is unacceptable and it'll be a beggar thy neighbourgh clawing to maintain global preeminence.
They don't want to "share"; only losers share. Winners take it all; that's what "winning" means, in their opinions.
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Old 06-11-2018, 02:28 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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The truth is that many on the right have long felt that the U.S. has spent tons of money keeping EU countries safe from outside aggression, and that without the protective umbrella the U.S. provides, the citizens of these countries would all be living miserable lives under communist dominion. Many on the right also feel that EU countries benefit enormously from trade with the U.S. and perhaps unfairly so...
That may be the feeling. It is factually nonsensical, but it's certainly possible that it's the feeling.

I think you might actually seriously believe this silliness, but, of course, that would provide an excellent answer to the OP's question.
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  #18  
Old 06-11-2018, 02:28 PM
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I think there's twothings at play here:

1. It's xenophobia. Trump is a classic fascist who excels at the blame game, and Trumpists like to blame other people. Right now it's Canada and the G7. Trumpists don't put a lot of thought into this stuff; Trump says to hate the G7, so they do.

It's fascinating how quickly Trumpists have picked up the "270 percent dairy tariff" meme from Trump. Go to their places on the Internet; they repeat it over and over. It's disconnected from any sort of sensible examination of trade policy, or the fact the US has similar tariffs to protect favoured industries, but Trump said it, it's a big number, and it gives them someone to hate.

2. People don't understand trade.

The lack of understanding of trade is not a Trumpist thing; it's common. Leftists don't like international trade, either, and many of the same Canadians who today are huffing over Trump's position were just weeks ago anti-free-traders who'd assure you up and down that the TPP was a terrible idea. More than half of Canadians opposed the original FTA with the USA.

The benefits of free trade are hard to grasp and rarely personal, while the myths against it tend to fit neatly into very common logical fallacies.
Pretty much this, especially the second point. It's ironic, to me, to hear lefties railing against Trump on trade or taking us out of the TTP agreement (or NAFTA) when this has been a pretty standard left wing position for much of my life. Sanders in his bid to become the Dem candidate pretty much agreed with this aspect, and even forced Clinton to do a public about face. So, it's hard to see how the public WOULDN'T be susceptible to this argument since they have been hearing it for decades from many Democrats, and now hear it from Trump, who himself is both an idiot and stupid to boot. And it's pretty difficult to explain to people why it isn't a zero sum game that has to have a winner and loser, or that in many cases the US gets other, less tangible benefits out of such free trade deals than purely profit.

I think that the left is reaping what they have sowed as the seeds of protectionism and anti-globalization have been repeatedly put into the public field, and now the Republicans and the right are also reaping the ignorance they have sowed for decades as well. It's a perfect storm of populist stupidity which, I hope, we can weather before we relearn the lessons of the past as to why we mainly junked protectionism and tariffs and started agreements for more open trading.
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  #19  
Old 06-11-2018, 02:43 PM
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This post is prompted by my own FB feed, where my libertarian and moderate "reluctant Trumper" acquaintances now seem to be fully on board the Trump "Eff the G7" train. This being GD, I wish I had better cites, but Trump's approval rating is on the rise and the comments under this Brietbart article are pretty jubilant about Trump being the first Republican to finally stand up to the EU, whatever that means.

I understand that Republicans and Democrats have apparently flip-flopped on free trade (ironically, back when I was a teenager, free trade was one of the few things I could really get behind on the Republican platform), but I'm still left to wonder - What the hell is going on here? 15 years ago Republicans lost their shit when France didn't support the US in what was clearly a boneheaded invasion of Iraq. Now they're perfectly content to stand behind Trump as he pulls the US out of agreements with our historical allies left and right (Iran, Paris), attacks NATO for not paying their fair share, and now starts trade wars with Canada and threatens the entire G7 if they don't kowtow to his demands.

The cynic in me says that this is just a case of Republicans not actually having an opinion on anything as long as it pisses off liberals, but there's got to be an actual reason, right?
History goes in cycles. Is that really so hard to understand?

We have seen this sort of thing before in this country. Just be patient, and fight against it as best you can, and it will eventually pass.

Last edited by Flyer; 06-11-2018 at 02:43 PM.
  #20  
Old 06-11-2018, 02:52 PM
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In that case wouldn't we be likely to be maneuvering to keep that influence, or as much of it as possible, rather than pulling back from it?
Assuming a competent and rational president: yes, yes we would. That's not a reasonable assumption, though. Any argument based on the rationality or sensibility of the current administration is a really shitty argument, because this administration has utterly failed to display either quality.
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Old 06-11-2018, 03:02 PM
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I think you might actually seriously believe this silliness, but, of course, that would provide an excellent answer to the OP's question.
The OP asked why Trump's protectionism is so popular and I posted reasons, attitudes and beliefs as I've heard them expressed for many years, going back even as far as the 50s and DeGaulle. Resentment toward Europe is not a new thing but it has ratcheted up the last couple of decades, and in my opinion this resentment lies at the heart of support for Trump's anti-G7 stance.

You, of course, are free to suspect anything you like.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
1. It's xenophobia. Trump is a classic fascist who excels at the blame game, and Trumpists like to blame other people. Right now it's Canada and the G7. Trumpists don't put a lot of thought into this stuff; Trump says to hate the G7, so they do.
And you accuse me of silliness. This is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about when I warned the OP about asking for conservative motives on the Dope:

Quote:
It profits one little to ask on this board why Republicans/conservatives/Trump supporters think or do anything.The responses will be tailored to fit the superficial/cartoonish/evil image of such people that the poster in question carries in his head, and will have little to do with reality.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Budget Player Cadet
Assuming a competent and rational president: yes, yes we would. That's not a reasonable assumption, though. Any argument based on the rationality or sensibility of the current administration is a really shitty argument, because this administration has utterly failed to display either quality.
That's all well and good, but outside the scope of the OP, which sought the reasons for Trump's protectionism being popular and not a debate over the reasons themselves.
  #22  
Old 06-11-2018, 03:16 PM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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The OP asked why Trump's protectionism is so popular and I posted reasons
Yes, those are reasons, but not much support for that article's say so about his popularity:

https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com...ex_cid=rrpromo

That is not really the mid forties as the writer said, but the low 40's. His disapproval remains almost at 53%.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 06-11-2018 at 03:17 PM.
  #23  
Old 06-11-2018, 03:22 PM
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http://www.pollingreport.com/trade.htm

I would question whether the protectionism is broadly popular. The steel/aluminum tariffs poll at 31-50 and free trade agreements poll at 56-30. Only tariffs on China are popular which isn't too surprising.

There is no question that protectionism has increased in popularity among Republicans and no doubt partisanship/tribalism plays some role. Beyond that, Trump did alter the composition of the Republican electorate a bit attracting some working class voters who were specifically drawn to his protectionism. But there has been no broad public shift towards protectionism.

Last edited by Lantern; 06-11-2018 at 03:23 PM.
  #24  
Old 06-11-2018, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by steronz View Post
This post is prompted by my own FB feed, where my libertarian and moderate "reluctant Trumper" acquaintances now seem to be fully on board the Trump "Eff the G7" train. This being GD, I wish I had better cites, but Trump's approval rating is on the rise and the comments under this Brietbart article are pretty jubilant about Trump being the first Republican to finally stand up to the EU, whatever that means.
Because too many American presidents have not appeared to put America first and Trump is vocal about doing so. It's more apparent with incompetent leaders like May who are afraid to say no to a mouse, much less China. However, it's all show. The key words are 'appeared' and 'vocal': Trump is all sound and fury, all bluster and blunder, rather than being quietly effective like Obama.

In the short term, jobs will come back to America; in the long term it will all come crashing down, as it did in 29/30. Does no one remember Smoot-Hawley?
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Old 06-11-2018, 05:03 PM
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Because too many American presidents have not appeared to put America first and Trump is vocal about doing so.
But with enough distortion, any action can be attacked as "not putting America first."

That said, is there anything Obama (for example) did that was particularly vulnerable to this line of attack?
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Old 06-11-2018, 05:04 PM
naita naita is offline
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In the short term, jobs will come back to America; in the long term it will all come crashing down, as it did in 29/30. Does no one remember Smoot-Hawley?
Even in the short term the net gain is doubtful. Increasing tariffs on steel increases the prices for all consumers of steel, making them less competitive against foreign competitors whose finished products aren't subject to tariffs, and potentially causing projects to be cancelled to due to reduced profitability.

This survey on the effects of the solar panel tariffs estimate the increase in panel production only replaces half of the reduced activity further along the value chain: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-t...-idUSKCN1J30CT
  #27  
Old 06-11-2018, 05:13 PM
Corry El Corry El is offline
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Free trade is not popular with ordinary people, taken in a vacuum. That experiment is now being upset by Trump's emergence as a or the key critic of free trade. A lot of ordinary people are now going to make friendlier noises about trade in polls etc...because they hate Trump. It wouldn't too shocking either if some posts here are also more free trade oriented than the same posters might have made some years ago in the time after Democrats in Congress for the most part had turned against free trade, though Clinton and Obama weren't protectionists (NAFTA passed on GOP votes over majority Democratic opposition in Congress and signed by Clinton).

Which isn't entirely an accusation of hypocrisy. Trump's arguments tend to put protectionism in a bad light if one knows anything about it. But the political coat tail effect is there also. In the other direction too. Some Republican voters formerly were at least tolerant of the party's free trade position (if not enthusiastic) but are inspired by Trump being willing to 'stand up to it'.

More importantly, it's not as if everyone who believes their economic lot, and that of their communities, has been hurt by trade is imagining it or looking for an excuse for their 'racism' etc. The decline of job opportunities in some places is very much about trade. It's also arguably a factor in growing economic equality, though in both employment and inequality it's extremely difficult to separate trade per se from technology and social change. And it's not good for the US or rest of the world necessarily that the US has such a large and persistent trade deficit overall. How to address those side effects and problems though is where populist nostrums on trade tend to run out of any rational value.

But there's a real problem and particularly to some people. And populism is all about putting out solutions that seem simple. And again, it's not like neo-protectionism is a Republican idea or even Trump's alone. Many elected Democrats support the thrust of Trump's trade policies, perhaps a higher % than among elected Republicans. They just don't make it (and better not be caught by their primary base making it) look like they support *Trump* in general.

Last edited by Corry El; 06-11-2018 at 05:15 PM.
  #28  
Old 06-11-2018, 05:19 PM
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Economic *inequality* I meant to say in both places, obviously.
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Old 06-11-2018, 06:35 PM
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Because while free trade and trade in general leads to more efficient allocation of productive effort and thus increases wealth. The benefits are disproportionate. Those who aren't benefiting as much even if personal absolute wealth is increasing tend to be disgruntled. Furthermore not all are even benefiting with an increase in absolute wealth. Some folks standards of living are decreasing.

The world hasn't caught up to the fact that we may be leading to a situation of systemic surplus labor.
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Old 06-11-2018, 06:53 PM
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While I wouldn't discount the positions that others have written about already, I think it's worth saying that there is also the pro-business side of the Republican party, who voted for Trump on the basis that he was a hard-dealing, wheeling and dealing businessman.

For this sort of Republican, it's less about protectionism as being the 800 pound gorilla and yet letting everyone walk all over you. Why would a smart gorilla do that? It makes no sense.

Whether true or not, Trump has made the argument that this is the state of America right now and he's going out there and reviewing all of our arrangements with the rest of the world and reminding people that we are, in fact, the 800 pound gorilla and they'd better do what we say and give us everything we want.

There probably is some merit to this argument. Unfortunately, Trump is stupid and the things he's doing are rather beside the point and about the worst way of going about the same task. In general, the media on the left is more concerned with Trump's morality than his stupidity and the media on the right is more concerned with not challenging their viewers than pointing out to them that they voted for an idiot.
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Old 06-11-2018, 07:12 PM
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Why is Trump's anti-ally protectionism so popular?

I would qualify that question by asking, popular with who? Sure, it's popular with his disproportionately vocal base, as is almost everything else he does to cater to their adoration, for the reasons already stated: xenophobia, stupidity (specifically, in this case, a lack of understanding about the facts and economics of trade), and a general sense of "standing up to" a perceived adversary in what is falsely viewed as a zero-sum game. But it certainly isn't popular with everyone, including a Republican Congress:

Congressional Republicans lining up against Trump on trade
McCain to allies: "Americans stand with you, even if our president doesn't"
Americans show their support for Canada with #ThanksCanada after Trump-Trudeau conflict over tariffs
  #32  
Old 06-12-2018, 01:53 AM
Kobal2 Kobal2 is online now
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The truth is that many on the right have long felt that the U.S. has spent tons of money keeping EU countries safe from outside aggression, and that without the protective umbrella the U.S. provides, the citizens of these countries would all be living miserable lives under communist dominion.
What outside aggression ? Zee Germans ? And what communists ? You do realize the world has changed a smidge since the 60s, right ?

Quote:
Many on the right also feel that EU countries benefit enormously from trade with the U.S. and perhaps unfairly so, and that in return for keeping them safe and adding to their prosperity, we get mostly snobbery, condescension, criticism, insults and dislike in return.
Do you ? I didn't know the EU had a Monthly Sneerletter adressed to every citizen of the US, but I'm not particularly close to Brussels.
Also, don't you reckon the US also benefits enormously from trade with the EU ?

Quote:
There is also the feeling the the U.S. cannot count to any degree on the support of most EU countries in conflicts with other countries.
Oh, piss on that. Everybody came to your help after 9/11. Everybody was pissed off and everybody pulled their weight. Even Denmark had a sector covered in Afghanistan. Fucking Denmark ! I didn't even know they knew what a gun was. Yet here they went getting their nuts blown off in Helmand for your sake.

We didn't support you in Iraq 2, mostly because y'all were being retarded and lied to. Which we tried to tell you (except Tony Blair, who had his tongue so far up Bush's ass crack he could lick the latter's teeth). Maybe we should have and there wouldn't have been an ISIS born of y'alls general incompetence, half-assedness and carelessness ; but that's another (hi)story.

Which other conflicts can you think of the EU or Canada hasn't "properly" supported ?

Quote:
And of course many Trump supporters disapprove of the liberal nature of most EU countries' societies and politics.
What the fuck do you care what the guy who makes your salami thinks about politics ? Furthermore, you know the only consequence of caring about it ? No salami for you no more. Is that a good thing ?

Quote:
And then there is the fact that much of the impetus for the creation of the EU in the first place was to create an economic and political entity equal to the U.S. and therefore better able to oppose it economically.
Or maybe, just maybe we did it, at long last, to stop having a world war every 30 years because we kept competing over the same things and kicking sand in each other's faces. Fuck's sake, the idea of uniting Europe and having some sort of transnational parliament was already being floated before there even *was* a U.S.
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  #33  
Old 06-12-2018, 01:59 AM
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For this sort of Republican, it's less about protectionism as being the 800 pound gorilla and yet letting everyone walk all over you. Why would a smart gorilla do that? It makes no sense.
Because throwing down with everyone'd be a good way for the 800 pound gorilla to get his ass shot ? #DicksOutForAmericanTradePolicy
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  #34  
Old 06-12-2018, 07:47 AM
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The OP asked why Trump's protectionism is so popular and I posted reasons, attitudes and beliefs as I've heard them expressed for many years...
Well, yes, you gave a really good description of xenophobia, which is also what I said; I just didn't go into the details. We're in agreement as to the #1 reason.
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Last edited by RickJay; 06-12-2018 at 07:47 AM.
  #35  
Old 06-12-2018, 08:28 AM
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Free trade is popular with political "elites" but protectionism has always resonated with everyone else, mainly because of the notion that our agreements have only had negative consequences on the middle class, which is far from true. The global economy is highly complex -- far too complex for the average person to understand without having the interest and time to devote to learning about it. And most people would rather watch TV or blog on Facebook.

Protectionism is not just a winner with Trump's GOP, but also independents and even a lot of Democrats. Bernie Sanders made a serious run at Hillary Clinton by milking populist themes and trashing TPP. So if you think that Democrats and progressive voters are going to push back at Trump for injuring relationships with our allies...I would not be so confident of that.

That doesn't change the fact that we're beginning an irreversible slide toward a modern form of isolationism, and that this will lead to everything from deep recessions to major wars. But you're not going to convince the average voter of that.
  #36  
Old 06-12-2018, 08:32 AM
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So in short, Trump voters feel that the U.S. has sacrificed much and gained little from its relationships with the countries of the EU, that they are basically allies in name only
So, they're ignorami. Which is pretty much the thread consensus.
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  #37  
Old 06-12-2018, 08:35 AM
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So if you think that Democrats and progressive voters are going to push back at Trump for injuring relationships with our allies...I would not be so confident of that.
+1
Were Trump to succeed in MAGA through a beggar thy neighbour strategy, throwing the rest of the Western Hemisphere under a bus, there'd be a bipartisan move to repeal the 22nd Amendment.
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  #38  
Old 06-12-2018, 09:14 AM
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As I said in the parallel thread, I think a lot of it is about misconceptions and, frankly, ignorance.
And one thing I can say about trump is that he's ignorant in popular ways.

For example, many people will be aware that free trade helps big corporations. But it makes average Joe's shopping cheaper too. Plus of course it's not zero sum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Corry El View Post
And it's not good for the US or rest of the world necessarily that the US has such a large and persistent trade deficit overall.
Sure but things are not quite as simple as all that because for one thing many wealthy western countries have a large trade deficit overall.
For another, the US is a net recipient of investment capital, again like many wealthy western countries.

Trying to boost exports is fine, but with the understanding that it's just one facet of an economy, and not something you need to "win" at for your country to remain solvent.
  #39  
Old 06-12-2018, 09:52 AM
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The global economy is highly complex -- far too complex for the average person to understand without having the interest and time to devote to learning about it. And most people would rather watch TV or blog on Facebook.
This is slightly off topic, but the old "it's too complex to understand" argument doesn't really make a lot of sense to me.

Physics is really complex but people can grasp general physics concepts and apply them in real life to build things. I don't think the guy who built my house is Albert Einstein by my house seems pretty solid. Chemistry is very complex, but people can become excellent cooks. Biology is wildly complex but people can understand how their bodies work to a highly useful degree. I am no biologist but I have a fundamental understanding as to how vaccines work, and anyone can attain such an understanding. The reason some people refuse to believe vaccines are safe cannot be because they are hard to understand. It must be something else.

Economics is no more hard to understand, with a tiny bit of effort, than physics, chemistry, or biology. I have a degree in it from a good school and I am notoriously stupid. I have had the experience of explaining economic concepts to people and seeing them come to an understanding they did not have before. None of those conversations lasted longer than twenty minutes. It's not that hard, really.

The thing about economics that makes it more commonly misunderstood is that it just isn't taught. Everyone takes basic science in high school. My high school didn't have a course in economics and I think that's still a rare thing. I never encountered it at all until I took it first year in university largely because my buddy did and I was astonished; I must have learned ten things I never knew before, not because they were hard, but because I simply had never been told those things before.
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Last edited by RickJay; 06-12-2018 at 09:52 AM.
  #40  
Old 06-12-2018, 10:33 AM
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This is slightly off topic, but the old "it's too complex to understand" argument doesn't really make a lot of sense to me.

Physics is really complex but people can grasp general physics concepts and apply them in real life to build things. I don't think the guy who built my house is Albert Einstein by my house seems pretty solid. Chemistry is very complex, but people can become excellent cooks. Biology is wildly complex but people can understand how their bodies work to a highly useful degree. I am no biologist but I have a fundamental understanding as to how vaccines work, and anyone can attain such an understanding. The reason some people refuse to believe vaccines are safe cannot be because they are hard to understand. It must be something else.
All of this is true, but level of ignorance by Trumpists on the matter of trade (or just about anything else, really) is equivalent to believing, in the realm of physics, that we can never build spacecraft because in space there is nothing for a rocket engine to push against. The misunderstandings are so fundamental that they lead to exactly the wrong decisions being taken. The zero-sum mentality tells these yokels that if a bunch of foreigners are unhappy with their hero's trade policies, then it must be good for the US. (In case the yokels have any lingering doubts about this, Trump tells them that the reason foreign leaders are smiling all the time is that they just can't believe they're getting away with so blatantly taking advantage of the US.) Just like it tells them that if immigrants are anxious to come to the US, then they must be plotting to become parasitic leaches on the American economy. Meanwhile the US has a labor shortage and declining productivity growth, and on the trade front, retaliatory trade wars are going to hobble American farmers and businesses and potentially send the whole global economy into a tailspin. But by the time the effects are fully felt, the idiot-in-chief will either be impeached or sent into oblivion when his term expires.
  #41  
Old 06-12-2018, 10:46 AM
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All of this is true, but level of ignorance by Trumpists on the matter of trade..
In my honest experience, ignorance of matters related to economics is true of all people, on all parts of the political spectrum.

When Canada was originally looking to sign the first Free Trade Agreement with the USA, it was the Progressive Conservative Party that got it done. The opposition was on the left side of the spectrum, and most opposition to free trade is still a leftist position, for all the same reasons of ignorance. Hell, it was that way in the USA until pretty recently, and the left was wildly against TPP because - something.

Yes, Trumpists do accept things Trump says on faith, on any subject, but that's different from ignorance.

I agreed it's all very frustrating, I was just saying that it's ignorance, not stupidity. People don't understand this stuff, but they CAN.
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  #42  
Old 06-12-2018, 11:03 AM
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... and the left was wildly against TPP because - something.
Not to digress on the digression, but not all trade agreements are created equal. One of the issues with the TPP was the lack of transparency about the specific terms, such as the concern at one point that draconian industry-friendly and consumer-hostile US intellectual property laws would be imposed on all signatories. Whether this was a valid concern or not, there's a point to be made about all trade agreements that the devil is in the details, and the thing about Trump's blather that his base eats up with such delight is that it not only ignores the facts, like most of his pronouncements, but really has virtually no relationship to reality at all.
  #43  
Old 06-12-2018, 11:46 AM
WillFarnaby WillFarnaby is offline
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The “allies” are allies of the US government. The people don’t care about the allies too much, especially when the policies, like tariffs, have domestic implications. The attention paid to allies after 9/11 was an aberration.
  #44  
Old 06-12-2018, 11:53 AM
WillFarnaby WillFarnaby is offline
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Republicans have never been free-traders. This is a common myth on both sides because Reagan said free-market stuff. He was an avid protectionist as was GWB.

Last edited by WillFarnaby; 06-12-2018 at 11:54 AM.
  #45  
Old 06-12-2018, 12:03 PM
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When Canada was originally looking to sign the first Free Trade Agreement with the USA, it was the Progressive Conservative Party that got it done.
I'll just clarify for non-Canadians that the Progressive Conservative party was the mainstream right-wing party in Canada at the time. I know that many people can be confused by the "Progressive" bit in the name, given that in contemporary political discourse that refers to the left-wing.
  #46  
Old 06-12-2018, 12:23 PM
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This is slightly off topic, but the old "it's too complex to understand" argument doesn't really make a lot of sense to me.

Physics is really complex but people can grasp general physics concepts and apply them in real life to build things. I don't think the guy who built my house is Albert Einstein by my house seems pretty solid. Chemistry is very complex, but people can become excellent cooks. Biology is wildly complex but people can understand how their bodies work to a highly useful degree. I am no biologist but I have a fundamental understanding as to how vaccines work, and anyone can attain such an understanding. The reason some people refuse to believe vaccines are safe cannot be because they are hard to understand. It must be something else.
The kind of ignorance you're talking about is imprecision - you don't know the details but the broad strokes you do know yield close enough results to work. The kind of ignorance that people have regarding economics is inaccuracy - they put together the handful of puzzle pieces they have and get the entirely wrong picture.

It doesn't help that people are actively lying to them - and they lack the knowledge to detect the lies. It's sort of as if somebody told you that sugar could be replaced with salt, and then when your resulting cookies were garbage they told you the liberals did it. The vaccination business suffers from this sort of problem too.
  #47  
Old 06-12-2018, 02:03 PM
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Republicans have never been free-traders. This is a common myth on both sides because Reagan said free-market stuff. He was an avid protectionist as was GWB.
Your knowledge of history seems to be about as defective as Trump's.
Reagan radio speech on free trade, November, 1988:
Over the past 200 years, not only has the argument against tariffs and trade barriers won nearly universal agreement among economists but it has also proven itself in the real world, where we have seen free-trading nations prosper while protectionist countries fall behind.

America’s most recent experiment with protectionism was a disaster for the working men and women of this country. When Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley tariff in 1930, we were told that it would protect America from foreign competition and save jobs in this country—the same line we hear today. The actual result was the Great Depression, the worst economic catastrophe in our history; one out of four Americans were thrown out of work. Two years later, when I cast my first ballot for President, I voted for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who opposed protectionism and called for the repeal of that disastrous tariff.

Ever since that time, the American people have stayed true to our heritage by rejecting the siren song of protectionism.

Part of the difficulty in accepting the good news about trade is in our words. We too often talk about trade while using the vocabulary of war. In war, for one side to win, the other must lose. But commerce is not warfare. Trade is an economic alliance that benefits both countries. There are no losers, only winners. And trade helps strengthen the free world.

Yet today protectionism is being used by some American politicians as a cheap form of nationalism, a fig leaf for those unwilling to maintain America’s military strength and who lack the resolve to stand up to real enemies—countries that would use violence against us or our allies. Our peaceful trading partners are not our enemies; they are our allies. We should beware of the demagogues who are ready to declare a trade war against our friends—weakening our economy, our national security, and the entire free world—all while cynically waving the American flag. The expansion of the international economy is not a foreign invasion; it is an American triumph, one we worked hard to achieve, and something central to our vision of a peaceful and prosperous world of freedom.
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=35207

On signing the Canada-US free trade agreement, October, 1987:
The people of the United States and Canada have had a long and harmonious friendship that is the envy of the world. Now, in addition to sharing the world's longest undefended border, we will share membership in the world's largest free trade area. This agreement will provide enormous benefits for the United States. It will remove all Canadian tariffs, secure improved access to Canada's market for our manufacturing, agriculture, high technology and financial sectors, and improve our security through additional access to Canadian energy supplies. We have also gained important investment opportunities in Canada and resolved many vexing trade issues.
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=33502
  #48  
Old 06-12-2018, 02:13 PM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Republicans have never been free-traders. This is a common myth on both sides because Reagan said free-market stuff. He was an avid protectionist as was GWB.
How profoundly puzzling it is, then, that Ronald Reagan was the President who championed and signed the Free Trade Agreement with Canada.

I am further baffled by your claim GWB was an "avid protecctionist," given his complete lack of effort to get rid of NAFTA and signed free trade agreements with a dozen additional countries. International trade vastly increased under his presidency.
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  #49  
Old 06-12-2018, 03:05 PM
WillFarnaby WillFarnaby is offline
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Originally Posted by wolfpup View Post
Your knowledge of history seems to be about as defective as Trump's.
Reagan radio speech on free trade, November, 1988:
Over the past 200 years, not only has the argument against tariffs and trade barriers won nearly universal agreement among economists but it has also proven itself in the real world, where we have seen free-trading nations prosper while protectionist countries fall behind.

America’s most recent experiment with protectionism was a disaster for the working men and women of this country. When Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley tariff in 1930, we were told that it would protect America from foreign competition and save jobs in this country—the same line we hear today. The actual result was the Great Depression, the worst economic catastrophe in our history; one out of four Americans were thrown out of work. Two years later, when I cast my first ballot for President, I voted for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who opposed protectionism and called for the repeal of that disastrous tariff.

Ever since that time, the American people have stayed true to our heritage by rejecting the siren song of protectionism.

Part of the difficulty in accepting the good news about trade is in our words. We too often talk about trade while using the vocabulary of war. In war, for one side to win, the other must lose. But commerce is not warfare. Trade is an economic alliance that benefits both countries. There are no losers, only winners. And trade helps strengthen the free world.

Yet today protectionism is being used by some American politicians as a cheap form of nationalism, a fig leaf for those unwilling to maintain America’s military strength and who lack the resolve to stand up to real enemies—countries that would use violence against us or our allies. Our peaceful trading partners are not our enemies; they are our allies. We should beware of the demagogues who are ready to declare a trade war against our friends—weakening our economy, our national security, and the entire free world—all while cynically waving the American flag. The expansion of the international economy is not a foreign invasion; it is an American triumph, one we worked hard to achieve, and something central to our vision of a peaceful and prosperous world of freedom.
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=35207

On signing the Canada-US free trade agreement, October, 1987:
The people of the United States and Canada have had a long and harmonious friendship that is the envy of the world. Now, in addition to sharing the world's longest undefended border, we will share membership in the world's largest free trade area. This agreement will provide enormous benefits for the United States. It will remove all Canadian tariffs, secure improved access to Canada's market for our manufacturing, agriculture, high technology and financial sectors, and improve our security through additional access to Canadian energy supplies. We have also gained important investment opportunities in Canada and resolved many vexing trade issues.
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=33502
Yes thank you for substantiating my claim that Reagan said free market stuff.

I see that people have googled “Reagan free trade” and come back with the same solitary example. Even Reagan’s advisors understood that Reagan was a true Republican protectionist:

Quote:
friend Bill Niskanen, who was a member of Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers, summarized it all in his definitive book: Reaganomics: An Insider’s Account of the Policies and the People (Oxford University Press, 1988):

Trade policy in the Reagan administration is best described as a strategic retreat. The consistent goal of the president was free trade, both in the United States and abroad. In response to domestic political pressure, however, the administration imposed more new restraints on trade than any administration since Hoover. A strategic retreat is regarded as the most difficult military maneuver and may be better than the most likely alternative, but it is not a satisfactory outcome.
A Republican courting industrial interests through protectionism? Yeah pretty much the foundation of the party.
  #50  
Old 06-12-2018, 03:12 PM
WillFarnaby WillFarnaby is offline
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How profoundly puzzling it is, then, that Ronald Reagan was the President who championed and signed the Free Trade Agreement with Canada.

I am further baffled by your claim GWB was an "avid protecctionist," given his complete lack of effort to get rid of NAFTA and signed free trade agreements with a dozen additional countries. International trade vastly increased under his presidency.
NAFTA is not free trade, it is managed trade.

You forgot Bush’s disastrous steel tariffs and textile protectionism. Of course international trade increased under his presidency that’s not an extraordinary claim. China had recently joined the WTO. Big whoop. The point is he was a protectionist, along with Reagan, Nixon, Robert Taft, Hoover, and Lincoln.

Last edited by WillFarnaby; 06-12-2018 at 03:15 PM.
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