I write this response to a respectful letter by Roger Cooper in the Oct. 4t issue.
Mr. Cooper begins by saying that I seem to be praising Trump as a conservative? I do not. In my four previous letters, I praised Trump for specific policies and positions. Trump gets too much bad press and I wanted to mitigate it.
I myself tend towards being socially conservative and economically libertarian. Very often, Trump’s positions coincide with my own. In other ways, he is actually too leftist for my preferences. Since he is the best we have had in a long time, I have to overlook some things. You don’t get everything you want in one person.
Addressing Mr. Cooper directly, you write, “Trump’s signature policy has been his unconstitutional tax increases. Let’s talk about that and not side issues.”
Sorry, I do not agree with that at all. I listed 97 reasons for my gratitude. I believe many of them are significantly more important than tariffs and trade which is what you chose to emphasize. Which ones?
Stopping the Iran nuclear deal. Building a wall on the southern border. Stopping Kim Jong shooting missiles over Japan (I am biased here since my in-laws live in Tokyo). Putting Judy Shelton on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors to moderate the power of the Fed. Protecting my 2nd Amendment rights.
When abortion became infanticide, Trump drew the line with Planned Parenthood. Trump is also increasing our economic productivity which is the key to a higher standard of living. While you might consider my choices as side issues, I happen to think they have priority over yours.
You do not explicitly say it, but you seem to be referring to trade with China. Let us separate legal issues from economic issues.
First legal. You believe the Trade Promotion Act is unconstitutional. It has never been declared as such. Just because you believe it, does not make your opinion legally binding. There are a lot of things I think are unconstitutional but are still legally valid.
On the other hand, there are some laws declared constitutional that I think were the result of horrible decisions and will hopefully be reversed. As of now, Trump’s actions are not legally unconstitutional.
I am well aware of the benefits of free trade. I have studied the law of comparative advantage and Say’s law. I have read Frederic Bastiat, Henry Hazlitt, and David Ricardo.
I agree with much of what you say. That does not mean I don’t apply exceptions. The Chinese government is an evil institution. I won’t go into detail but I will mention Tibetan genocide, organ harvesting on live individuals who are deemed enemies of the people like the Falun Gong, exporting products with poisonous side effects like baby toys with lead, plasterboard with formaldehyde, poisonous pet food, etc. How about the cybersecurity violations of our citizens and government?
I do not believe we should have any trade with China at all. In the proper context, moral reasons take priority over economic ones. Questions of parochial self-interest vs. collective morality can be very dicey. I do not have all the answers but I don’t think you do either.
I should add that China trade represents about 5 percent of our economy. Any losses from China trade actions can be easily managed and absorbed.
Free trade has to go both ways. Mexico and Western Europe, while not evil, did take advantage of us until Trump came along. What was the end result of previous Presidents? The “rust belt.”
I am not a purist. If I have to pay a little more, of what you prefer to call a tax, to help other Americans live better productive lives, I am happy to do it. When Trump says “America First,” he wants to stop decades of managed decline.
I would also be careful with your statement, “the money we spend on imports is used by foreigners to buy American exports or invest in American assets.”
Again, Trump believes in “America First.” I do not want China, the Russians, or Arabs buying our assets. I am OK with them buying Ben and Jerry’s.
Then again, do you remember the idea of selling our port management services to Dubai Ports? Not every deal is acceptable from a security point of view. Foreigners buying financial institutions, security companies, software companies, etc. could lead to very bad outcomes.
I also do not agree with you calling Trump the most socialist president since Nixon. Let’s define socialism. It means wishing to provide more power and decision making in the hands of the government First of all, why stop at Nixon? That seems arbitrary.
Let’s talk about more presidents. Woodrow Wilson started the income tax and created the Federal Reserve system. Franklin Roosevelt removed the gold standard, over-regulated business, and passed the vote-buying Ponzi scheme called Social Security.
Lyndon Johnson passed the vote-buying scam and intergenerational declaration of war called Medicare. Nixon supported Keynesian economic policy and, as you said, passed wage and price controls.
Bill Clinton is hard to read since Gingrich and a Republican congress were there to thwart him. It is also hard to tell what he believed since he was so corrupt, you could get what you want with a bribe. Excuse me. I meant a political donation.
Yet, he still tended towards big government solutions, i.e. attempted national health care and tax increases. Obama was a real socialist but was so incompetent and in over his head he could not accomplish much. Was raised by outright, full-fledged communists. Hated this country and embraced our enemies.
Much of my Trump praise was in regards to reversing his executive orders and bureaucratic tyranny. Passed that atrocity called Obamacare. Thereafter, as with Clinton, a Republican congress held him in check.
Compared to the above, Trump usually wants more power and control to shift towards the private sector. Trump is not a socialist.
Thank you for this exchange of ideas in a civilized manner.
Dr. Wayne Roth