America first

The Transforming Picture of “America First”

Because the United States is the world’s greatest market, it should—by definition really—run trade surpluses in goods with everyone.  The fact that it does not is therefore automatic evidence of cheating.  Bigger trade deficits are confirmation of deeper duplicity on the part of trade partners. The rest of the trade agenda, therefore, should be turned to figuring out how to stop everyone else from cheating by cracking down on such unfair practices and return the US to nothing but surpluses again.  This may mean using novel interpretations of laws or regulations to eliminate devious behavior from others. Admittedly, this trade agenda is not stated quite so baldly, but if boiled down to the essence, this is what it looks like. There appears to be no use in trying to use logic to unpick any element of this agenda and show how and why it is wrong, unlikely to bring about the desired results, or just plain crazy.  This is not an agenda that can be untangled by data, altered by evidence, or adjusted by argument.