From the New York Times:
The Case for Trump’s Tariffs and ‘America First’ Economics
By DANIEL McCARTHY
In his campaign, Donald Trump stressed “America First” economic nationalism. But in his first year in office, the theme languished. So when he recently announced that he intended to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum, Republicans were as surprised as anyone.
The conservative press and right-leaning think tanks were outraged. The director of the National Economic Council, Gary Cohn, resigned in protest. Conservatives and free-market theorists could forgive Mr. Trump many sins, but to actually flirt with economic nationalism was inexcusable.
For 25 years, free-trade orthodoxy has been a bipartisan consensus among America’s policy elite. Conservatives might editorialize about it more, but liberal presidents arguably advanced free trade the most, from Bill Clinton’s signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement to Barack Obama’s negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. (George W. Bush, by contrast, put tariffs on steel, though he did so without the trade-war rhetoric that Mr. Trump has relished.) With his signing on Thursday of a tariff order, Mr. Trump appears once again to be setting himself against the mandarins of both parties.
That has been a politically successful strategy for him in the past. But while his approval ratings may benefit from a brawl over trade, the more important question is whether economic nationalism is any good for the country. In principle, it is.
Read the completer article here.
Democrats Should Embrace an Open Economy
By TERRY McAULIFFE
President Trump’s decision to announce tariffs on steel and aluminum is his latest effort to close America off from the world in a counterproductive movement to turn back the global economy 40 years. The decision serves as a moment for Democrats to stand up for an open America that confidently competes globally.
The immediate impact of Mr. Trump’s policy will be price increases for the middle class and loss of automotive-related jobs, which Democrats should campaign against in 2018. But for the longer term, these tariffs also represent a pessimistic and backward-looking view of the world that Democrats must reject. The future of the American economy is jobs in high-skill fields like cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing and energy technology, not in trying to reopen mills that closed down in the 1980s. Our policy must evolve to position America for technological changes and globalization, instead of pretending those trends will not continue.
The political opportunity for Democrats is even stronger because congressional Republicans under Mr. Trump have given up on defending an American economy that competes globally. The relatively sheepish response from supposed free-trade advocates in the congressional Republican leadership shows they are more fearful of offending Mr. Trump than they are concerned with preventing price increases that working families in Kentucky and Wisconsin will face on everything from beer to baby strollers.
For Democrats, the message is simple: After congressional Republicans passed a tax cut to benefit Wall Street and their wealthiest donors, they are now allowing significant price increases that will affect middle-class families, seniors and small businesses.
Read the complete article here.