Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Market Decline Will Lead To Pension Collapse, USD Devaluation, And NWO - Raymond_Matison
2.Uber’s Nightmare Has Just Started - Stephen_McBride
3.Stock Market Crash Black Swan Event Set Up Sept 12th? - Brad_Gudgeon
4.GDow Stock Market Trend Forecast Update - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Gold Significant Correction Has Started - Clive_Maund
6.British Pound GBP vs Brexit Chaos Timeline - Nadeem_Walayat
7.Cameco Crash, Uranium Sector Won’t Catch a break - Richard_Mills
8.Recession 2020 Forecast : The New Risks & New Profits Of A Grand Experiment - Dan_Amerman
9.Gold When Global Insanity Prevails - Michael Ballanger
10.UK General Election Forecast 2019 - Betting Market Odds - Nadeem_Walayat
Last 7 days
Will Labour Government Spending Bankrupt Britain? UK Debt and Deficits - 7th Dec 19
Lib Dem Fake Tory Election Leaflets - Sheffield Hallam General Election 2019 - 7th Dec 19
You Should Be Buying Gold Stocks Now - 6th Dec 19
The End of Apple Has Begun - 6th Dec 19
How Much Crude Oil Do You Unknowingly Eat? - 6th Dec 19
Labour vs Tory Manifesto Voter Bribes Impact on UK General Election Forecast - 6th Dec 19
Gold Price Forecast – Has the Recovery Finished? - 6th Dec 19
Precious Metals Ratio Charts - 6th Dec 19
Climate Emergency vs Labour Tree Felling Councils Reality - Sheffield General Election 2019 - 6th Dec 19
What Fake UK Unemployment Statistics Predict for General Election Result 2019 - 6th Dec 19
What UK CPI, RPI and REAL INFLATION Predict for General Election Result 2019 - 5th Dec 19
Supply Crunch Coming as Silver Miners Scale Back - 5th Dec 19
Gold Will Not Surpass Its 1980 Peak - 5th Dec 19
UK House Prices Most Accurate Predictor of UK General Elections - 2019 - 5th Dec 19
7 Year Cycles Can Be Powerful And Gold Just Started One - 5th Dec 19
Lib Dems Winning Election Leaflets War Against Labour - Sheffield Hallam 2019 - 5th Dec 19
Do you like to venture out? Test yourself and see what we propose for you - 5th Dec 19
Great Ways To Make Money Over Time - 5th Dec 19
Calculating Your Personal Cost If Stock, Bond and House Prices Return To Average - 4th Dec 19
Will Labour Government Plant More Tree's than Council's Like Sheffield Fell? - 4th Dec 19
What the UK Economy GDP Growth Rate Predicts for General Election 2019 - 4th Dec 19
Gold, Silver and Stock Market Big Picture: Seat Belts Tightened - 4th Dec 19
Online Presence: What You Need to Know About What Others Know About You - 4th Dec 19
New Company Tip: How To Turn Prospects into Customers with CRM Tech - 4th Dec 19
About To Relive The 2007 US Housing Market Real Estate Crash Again? - 3rd Dec 19
How Far Will Gold Reach Before the Upcoming Reversal? - 3rd Dec 19
Is The Current Stock Market Rally A True Valuation Rally or Euphoria? - 3rd Dec 19
Why Shale Oil Not Viable at $45WTI Anymore, OPEC Can Dictate Price Again - 3rd Dec 19
Lib Dem Election Dodgy Leaflets - Sheffield Hallam Battle General Election 2019 - 3rd Dec 19
Land Rover Discovery Sport Brake Pads Uneven Wear Dash Warning Message at 2mm Mark - 3rd Dec 19
The Rise and Evolution of Bitcoin - 3rd Dec 19
Virtual games and sport, which has one related to the other - 3rd Dec 19
The Narrative About Gold is Changing Again - 2nd Dec 19
Stock Market Liquidity & Volume Diminish – What Next? - 2nd Dec 19
A Complete Guide To Finding The Best CFD Broker - 2nd Dec 19
See You On The Dark Side Of The Moon - 2nd Dec 19
Will Lib Dems Win Sheffield Hallam From Labour? General Election 2019 - 2nd Dec 19
Stock Market Where Are We?  - 1st Dec 19
Will Labour's Insane Manifesto Spending Plans Bankrupt Britain? - 1st Dec 19
Labour vs Tory Manifesto Debt Fuelled Voter Bribes Impact on UK General Election - 30th Nov 19
Growing Inequality Unrest Threatens Mining Industry - 30th Nov 19
Conspiracy Theories Are Killing This Nation - 30th Nov 19
How to Clip a Budgies / Parakeets Wings, Cut / Trim Bird's Flight Feathers - 30th Nov 19
Hidden Failure of SIFI Banks - 29th Nov 19
Use the “Ferrari Pattern” to Predictably Make 431% with IPOs - 29th Nov 19
Tax-Loss Selling Drives Down Gold and Silver Junior Stock Prices - 29th Nov 19
We Are on the Brink of the Second Great Depression - 29th Nov 19
How to Spot REAL Amazon Black Friday Bargains and Avoid FAKE Sales - 29th Nov 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

UK House prices predicting general election result

Trump Clueless On Trade Tariffs

Politics / Protectionism Jun 23, 2019 - 06:30 PM GMT

By: Steve_H_Hanke

Politics

President Trump doesn’t like U.S. trade deficits. He also doesn’t like migrants flowing into the U.S. from south of the border. His tariffs and tariff threats are slowing trade and world economic growth. And this will, in turn, increase the migrant flows into the United States. After all, as foreign economic activity slows, and more foreigners are either thrown out of work or find their incomes drying up, they will be motivated to migrate. Trump remains clueless as to why tariffs fuel migration.

But, that’s not Trump’s only international trade blind spot. He and his cabinet think that U.S. trade deficits are a problem, and that they are caused by foreign countries that manipulate their currencies and engage in unfair trade practices. These ideas are wrongheaded.

These misguided ideas have plagued other administrations—even those lead by free-market presidents, like Ronald Reagan. Indeed, I spent many days, while at Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers, trying to defend the President’s free-trade ideas. But, at the end of the day, the free-trader faction, which was led by the likes of Reagan himself, lost the war. The protectionists who harbored exactly the same wrongheaded ideas as Trump rolled us.


As my longtime colleague and close friend Bill Niskanen, who was a member of Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers, put it in his definitive book: Reaganomics: An Insider's Account of the Policies and the People (Oxford University Press, 1988):

"Trade policy in the Reagan administration is best described as a strategic retreat. The consistent goal of the president was free trade, both in the United States and abroad. In response to domestic political pressure, however, the administration imposed more new restraints on trade than any administration since Hoover. A strategic retreat is regarded as the most difficult military maneuver and may be better than the most likely alternative, but it is not a satisfactory outcome."

For those who want even more detail and a confirmation of that provided by Nisknanen, there is nothing better than the magisterial treatise by Douglas Irwin, Clashing Over Commerce: A History of U.S. Trade Policy (University of Chicago Press, 2017).

Let’s turn to the simple economics and evidence about the trade deficit that proves why President Trump’s trade message and protectionist policies are, to put it simply, wrong. In economics, identities play an important role. These identities are obtained by equating two different breakdowns of a single aggregate. Identities are interesting, and usually important, by definition. In national income accounting, the following identity can be derived. It is the key to understanding the trade deficit.

(Imports - Exports ) ≡ (Investment - Savings) + (Government Spending - Taxes)

Given this identity, which must hold, the trade deficit is equal to the excess of private sector investment over savings, plus the excess of government spending over tax revenue. So, the counterpart of the trade deficit is the sum of the private sector deficit and the government deficit (federal + state and local). The U.S. trade deficit, therefore, is just the mirror image of what is happening in the U.S. domestic economy. If expenditures in the U.S. exceed the incomes produced in the U.S., which they do, the excess expenditures will be met by an excess of imports over exports (read: a trade deficit).

The table below shows that newly released U.S. data support the important trade identity. The cumulative trade deficit the U.S. has racked up since 1975 is about $12.377 trillion, and the total investment minus savings deficit is about $11.255 trillion. The data talk, and they talk pretty loudly.

Prof. Steve H. Hanke

So, President Trump can bully countries he identifies as unfair traders, he can impose all the restrictions on trading partners that his heart desires, but it won’t change the trade balance. Never mind the fact that most economists think President Trump’s ideas on trade are wrong. When it comes to trade, Trump is the master of the message and the optics. In consequence, his base is with him on trade, and so are a surprising number of others.

The problem is that Trump’s trade message is tailor-made for delivery on Twitter and television. Indeed, those media outlets are suitable for “sound bites,” but not for complex arguments and data points.

That’s why economics is at a disadvantage when it comes to Trump’s favorite media. Nevertheless, this is what economics has to say about the trade deficit bugaboo. First, it is not a “problem.” Indeed, the U.S. has run a trade deficit every year since 1975, and the U.S. has done relatively well since then. The sky didn’t fall because of our trade deficit. Secondly, the trade deficit is not made by foreigners who engage in unfair trade practices. It is homegrown—made in the U.S.A. To the extent that domestic savings in the U.S. falls short of domestic investments, the economy must import more than its exports, resulting in a negative trade balance.

To finance the excess of imports over exports, the U.S. must import capital from abroad. This can be done without strain because the U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency. Our borrowing from abroad shows up in the huge chunk of U.S. public debt that is held by foreigners.

As it turns out, the Trump administration’s fiscal policies, which promise an ever-widening fiscal deficit, will throw a spanner in Trump’s trade policy works. If his fiscal deficits are not offset by an increase in private savings relative to private investment, increases in the Federal deficit will translate into larger trade deficits. So, the U.S. trade deficit will not only be made in the good, old U.S.A, it will be made by President Trump himself, an arch-enemy of trade deficits.

By Steve H. Hanke

www.cato.org/people/hanke.html

Twitter: @Steve_Hanke

Steve H. Hanke is a Professor of Applied Economics and Co-Director of the Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Prof. Hanke is also a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C.; a Distinguished Professor at the Universitas Pelita Harapan in Jakarta, Indonesia; a Senior Advisor at the Renmin University of China’s International Monetary Research Institute in Beijing; a Special Counselor to the Center for Financial Stability in New York; a member of the National Bank of Kuwait’s International Advisory Board (chaired by Sir John Major); a member of the Financial Advisory Council of the United Arab Emirates; and a contributing editor at Globe Asia Magazine.

Copyright © 2019 Steve H. Hanke - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

Steve H. Hanke Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules