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Monday, July 04, 2016

Paul Krugman: Trump, Trade and Workers

Don't "mistake tough talk on trade for a pro-worker agenda":

Trump, Trade and Workers, by Paul Krugman, NY Times: Donald Trump gave a speech on economic policy last week. Just about every factual assertion he made was wrong, but I’m not going to do a line-by-line critique. What I want to do, instead, is talk about ... the candidate’s claim to be on the side of American workers. ...
About globalization: There’s no question that rising imports, especially from China, have reduced the number of manufacturing jobs..., completely eliminating the U.S. trade deficit in manufactured goods would add about two million manufacturing jobs.
But ... total employment exceeds 140 million. Shifting two million workers back into manufacturing would raise ... employment back from around 10 percent to around 11.5 percent. To get some perspective: in ... the 1960s it was more than 25 percent. ... Trumponomics wouldn’t come close to bringing the old days back.
In any case, falling manufacturing employment is only one factor in the decline of the middle class...
Mr. Trump..., even as he tried to pose as a populist ... repeated the same falsehoods usually used to justify anti-worker policies. We are, he declared, “one of the highest taxed nations in the world.” Actually, among 34 advanced countries, we’re No. 31. And, regulations are “an even greater impediment” to our competitiveness than taxes: Actually, we’re far less regulated than, say, Germany, which runs a gigantic trade surplus. ...
What’s important is that voters not mistake tough talk on trade for a pro-worker agenda.
No matter what we do on trade..., we need policies that give ... workers the essentials of a middle-class life. This means guaranteed health insurance — Obamacare brought insurance to 20 million Americans, but Republicans want to repeal it and also take Medicare away from millions. It means the right of workers to organize and bargain for better wages — which all Republicans oppose. It means adequate support in retirement from Social Security — which Democrats want to expand, but Republicans want to cut and privatize.
Is Mr. Trump for any of these things? Not as far as anyone can tell. And it should go without saying that a populist agenda won’t be possible if we’re also pushing through a Trump-style tax plan, which would offer the top 1 percent huge tax cuts and add trillions to the national debt.
Sorry, but adding a bit of China-bashing to a fundamentally anti-labor agenda does no more to make you a friend of workers than eating a taco bowl does to make you a friend of Latinos.

    Posted by on Monday, July 4, 2016 at 11:01 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (52)


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