President-elect Trump’s call for tariffs on outsourced U.S. manufacturing goods is a bridge too far for editorial boards, business journalists, pundits, and even new friends like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The House Speaker says that, rather than revamping faulty U.S trade policy, the solution for America’s manufacturing woes is simply to enact “comprehensive tax reform.”
President Obama is overseas, making a big pitch for his “legacy trade deal,” the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Economists, reporters, and pundits have argued vigorously in favor of the free-trade status quo, opposing Donald Trump’s plans to renegotiate trade deals and perhaps impose tariffs. Although their approaches vary somewhat, all argue that deficits don’t matter and trade is working as advertised to benefit Americans. Thus Trump is largely wrong in highlighting trade deficits and unfair foreign practices, and we shouldn’t tamper with current trade arrangements.