Friday, November 5, 2010

"We are rebuilding China"

Continuing my recent focus on domestic policy, Donald Trump, of all people, asks sensible questions:

We don't have free trade right now. We have a country, China in particular, that is ripping us like no one has ripped us before. And we are rebuilding China. Our country is so big in terms of what we buy, that we are rebuilding China. And in ten years to twelve years, China will have a bigger economy than us, which was unthinkable five years ago. [...]

How can you create more jobs when you have phony currencies in other countries that are making it impossible for us to compete. [...]

They [fellow Chinese businessmen] cannot believe what we're able to get away with it. They can't believe how stupid our representatives are.
If you look at OPEC, they have the best lobbyists you can imagine. How is OPEC allowed to getting away [sic] with fixing the price of oil? If you and I do that, you go to jail. If you have a store, I have a store, we fix up the prices, it's called jail time. Here you have 11 guys sitting around the table - and in this case it's guys, by the way - you have 11 guys sitting around the table, and they set the price of oil. [...]

They set the price. Oil should not be a $85 a barrel right now. There's so much oil all over the place. Every ship is loaded up with oil, they don't know what to do with it. They fix the price of oil. Why does this country allow them to get away with it? And we protect half of these countries that are fixing the price. Without us, those countries would be overthrown in 2 seconds. [...]

Iraq takes over Kuwait. The sheikhs, they go to London and New York and they take buildings and they stay. We then lose lives and spend billions of dollars on taking back Kuwait, and we hand it back to them. And now they're overcharging us for oil. You explain it to me. [...]

I'm not frustrated at all, I just can't believe our people can be so stupid. [...]

This country, it's no longer respected like it was. We love our country, we're proud of our country, but our country is not the force it used to be, it's no longer respected like it used to be. And in fact, just the opposite, people laugh at us, they laugh at the stupidity of the people running this country.

Sounds like my mother. Trump is part genius, part fool and part damn lucky bastard. His protectionist streak is transparently populist. The trade tariffs he argues for are a dangerous road and should not be necessary in a world filled with American led free trade associations, whose core objective has been to level the playing field. That the Chinese and Arabs are flaunting the values of free trade through currency manipulation and price fixing of vital resources should be addressed, aggressively, through the very free trade institutions whose membership rules they are blatantly violating.

As this country begins the process of once again growing our economy, violators of global trading norms who have manipulated American largess should be put on notice that their free ride is over.

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