Trade policies in the age of Trump

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Balbus, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. Balbus

    Balbus Super Moderator Super Moderator

    There has been a lot from the Trumpets about NAFTA and trade in general

    But many of these people have voted for the right over many years many have consistently voted for politicians with neo-liberal ideas - they were even warned by many on the left - repeatedly - what was likely to happen if they voted against their own financial self-interests and for neo-liberals but they carried on voting for people that were in favour of outsourcing, tax cuts and trade agreements that favoured big businesses over the interests of domestic workers.

    The factories moved away due to no-liberalist policies and they voted in neoliberal politicians, public schools and services were run down due to no-liberalist policies and they still voted in neoliberal politicians. Inequality grew and they again voted for neoliberal tax cuts for the rich.

    So for years the right politicians and right wing voters have been pushing the ‘free market’ globalisation agenda, but it seems that all of a sudden the right wing voters have realised that the warnings (from the left) were all true about how that would badly affect them and they are all suddenly pissed off with the ‘free market’ policies they helped bring about.

    So what did they do – they voted for more right wing neo-liberal ‘free market’ politicians its just that now they want them to ‘fix’ the ‘free market’ trade deals so it helps them.
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
  2. Balbus

    Balbus Super Moderator Super Moderator

    On NAFTA specifically it should be remember that more Republicans than Democrats voted for the deal, as the trade pact was vehemently opposed by labour unions and the key Clinton ally in getting it passed was the then house Minority Whip (and later House speaker) Newt Gingrich.

    So the strongest support in the House came from Republicans, who cast 132 votes for the trade plan and 43 against it. Among Democrats, 102 voted for the agreement and 156 opposed it.

    In the Senate 34 Republicans voted Yes to only 10 voting no, while 27 Democrats did vote yes there were 28 who voted no.
    Okiefreak, McFuddy and MeAgain like this.
  3. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    Yes, Clinton took a lot of flack from members of his own party for siding with the Republicans on that one. How times change, and how quickly we forget.
  4. Balbus

    Balbus Super Moderator Super Moderator

    The questions are -

    Why did so many vote for neo-liberal policies (including the free trade agreements)?

    Why didn’t they listen to the warnings that they would be detrimental to them?

    Why are they still voting for politicians of the right rather than those from the left that proved to be correct?

    I have my own views (and will express them shortly) but would be interested in others.
  5. My answer is not meant to trivialize the issue, but I think that people are just ingrained in their political parties because of the way we register to vote. Granted, you can vote any way you want on the ballot. But I think that once you've registered to a party, you typically represent that party's interests when you vote. So then what are the Republican party's interests you might ask. That's a good question. I feel like they are interested in some positive ideals, but we don't see that in many many many of the people that are elected to represent them. Those positive ideals are: tradition. Although I am for change and progressive politics, there is something warm and comforting about a tradition. What might that tradition be? Well, I don't know, but if I had to say something about it I would suggest maybe religion, or... well I really don't know. So those are some nice things that I could say.

    Unfortunately, the agenda seems to fall flat. It seems often enough the intention of our traditions isn't thought about enough to effect an adequate manifestation in policy. I think that they are racist, and make the suggestion that people/Americans are racist by default or that it's somehow the natural course of things. I really don't know why I feel that way, and am not making allegations; just observations.

    I think that electing President Trump was a mistake and that some Republicans recognize that. Others do not. So, when we ask, "why are they still voting for politicians on the right?" I think the midterms will answer that question.

    And I'm sorry for not doing a better job of answering. My politics rely heavily on Sociology. I hope to see more social programming in policy, such as a higher minimum wage and stuff like that.
    scratcho likes this.
  6. Noserider

    Noserider Goofy-Footed Member

    I don't think that's trivializing anything; I think it's very accurate. It's my team vs. your team, and that's it. I think that's how the majority of voters operate. Doesn't matter that my team is putting out destructive policies that are going to hurt me, I'm not voting for...them.

    I also think it's a pride issue. This administration has proven that. I know plenty of people who still blindly support Trump, and justify every one of his misdeeds. The same people who attacked Bill Clinton over infidelity, have absolutely no problem supporting a man who cheated multiple times on multiple wives with multiple porn stars. That's a huge double standard. All I can figure is that they are too proud to admit that voted for the wrong guy.

    And lastly, I think division plays a role. We have a very strong "us vs. them" mentality, and it seems very few people want to cross to the other side, or be a moderate. When Hilary Clinton called Trump supporters "deplorable" she solidified an already granite-hard unity within the political right. They banded together and the gap between right and left widened. Same thing happens every time Trump launches a toilet-twitter-tirade against his enemy of the week.

    The more this pettiness continues, the more likely--in my opinion--the gulf widens, politicians can get away with pushing destructive agendas and not losing support because, hey, at least they're not the other guy.

    This post started off as a reply to Soul, but it's also a general reply to the OP and thread topic.
  7. McFuddy

    McFuddy HaHaHa Joke’s on you Batman

    I hate what U.S. Politics have become. Just a bunch of stupid fucking talking points and insults.
    SpacemanSpiff and Okiefreak like this.
  8. Noserider

    Noserider Goofy-Footed Member

    Fake post
    McFuddy likes this.
  9. Asmodean

    Asmodean Slo motion rider

    Just git out then!
    McFuddy likes this.
  10. McFuddy

    McFuddy HaHaHa Joke’s on you Batman

    Because they have a superficial understanding of the issues. You know this, Balbus. How many times have you observed and told someone how it seemed they hadn't thought through the issues?

    I think the republican party over the last three decades has intentionally phrased different ideologies in an overly simplistic so as to make them appear to be "common sense", when really they are appealing to tribalism and knee jerk reactions.
    Because the people who are doing the warning have to explain everything to them because the issues are not as simplistic as they thought. They then perceive this as "mental gymnastics" when really they just never did their due diligence.
    They choose to believe, erroneously, that it must be the left's policies all along that caused the problem.

    Just look at how on these forums people ignore Obama era economic recovery and give all the credit to Trump. It's sheer ignorance fueled by tribalism. They didn't acknowledge it then and they certainly won't now.

    When the economy takes a downturn, guess whose fault it will be? Not Trump, they'll say.
    scratcho likes this.
  11. neonspectraltoast

    neonspectraltoast Best Member

    But don't throw away your vote on a third party candidate...then the other guy wins and you are personally responsible for them enacting the exact same policies your guy would have enacted.
  12. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    I don't think you need to apologize for your answer, but I do take issue with the notion that the way we register to vote is responsible for the polarization. According to Gallup, 43% of eligible voters identify as Independents, which is up from 39% in 2016. But less than 10% of those are truly independent; the others have a firm leaning toward one or the other party, usually based on liberal or conservative leanings. And the "pure" independents tend to be less informed than the partisans. That suggests to me that it's not the act of registration that's responsible, but other factors, such as partisan news preferences, etc. Over half the states have "closed" primaries, meaning that independents can't vote at the nomination stage. In my state, Independents are allowed to vote in Democrat but not Republican primaries. I'm a registered Democrat, but am thinking of changing my registration to Republican to increase my political influence, because the state is so "red" that my vote is essentially meaningless.
    soulcompromise likes this.
  13. NotMyRealName

    NotMyRealName Member

    It all depends on what you wish to either see or create as facts that you want to see to make your point. And what you choose to leave out in that fact finding because it won't fit your views. Where we are now is not where we were in the late 80s and early 90s. The needs change as conditions change.

    Ross Perot was the man that reminded us that "If you pass NAFTA, that giant sucking sound you hear will be the sound of jobs leaving the country". Perot was an independent party billionaire business man. Who made pretty good sense then and still does today.

    Lets go back to 1988 when it started to come about. Foreign competition, namely from Japan, was biting into our production of a lot of consumer goods. Japan was the manufacturing KING back then.

    China was a 3rd world country by comparison Our prime interest rate was at 10.5%. Down from 21% from the Carter years. I will be a gentleman and assume you leave off these facts because you didn't grasp they mattered to your factual recognition of the problems we faced. We needed to keep our economy growing and not reverting back to a recession. It was the economy stupid.

    Unions said Fuck You to anything that resulted in a more competitive U.S. work force. So moving manufacturing jobs to Mexico made a lot of sense for the immediate needs of the problems faced.

    It also gave the U.S better access to untapped markets for raw materials etc. NAFTA served the purpose of Big Business. It was the less costly price we had to pay to keep our economy growing. And it worked pretty well. For about 20ish years.

    Nobody knew that China of yesterday would be the China of today. Shame on us for helping them get there. NAFTA would have worked longer had we not given away intellectual property to China all in the name of even cheaper manufacturing cost and increased foreign relation causes. Instead send all of those efforts to Mexico like it was originally supposed to do. Since no one likes the idea that we blame a political party they support, I won't get into who ran what during these times.

    Mexico does a pretty fair job of building cars, electronics and many other aspects of products. They could do a pretty good job at building planes etc as well. Easier to control quality. Easier to have American interest managed by American companies with those interest. If they break the rules we have a lot more means to penalize them since they rely heavily on us for trade, commerce and money. China we have pretty much set ourselves up to get screwed by.

    Now we have to overcome different problems in these times. Replace the word Japan with the word China. We have more jobs than people to fill them. The last time we had that problem was what'ya know the same time we passed NAFTA the first time. 20 years ago. We have illegals pouring over the border because they make better money here, than in Mexico. Politics is politics and until we can figure out how to stem the flow of our open border policy, its a better option to ratify NAFTA for a more current problem solving solution. Raising the base wage of Mexican goods manufactured for the U.S. market, gives Mexicans and other immigrants, more incentives to work in Mexico. It still solves the Union problems faced by manufacturing companies here, and it creates an overall higher wage while still keeping us competitive. That helps both us and Mexico. Yet we still have to pay a price in it. You can't have higher wages without a higher cost of goods. So suck that up buttercups. It could be a lot worse if we shut down Mexico manufacturing. It's still the economy stupid.

    For the past nearly a decade, our job growth have been in the menial jobs. Lower wage service positions. Stagnant wages have been a problem. We can't grow by adding nothing more than menial jobs. If 100 people make $8 an hour and 1 person makes $100 an hour, the economy will reflect $8 and hour. Its the economy stupid. Guess what has risen in the U.S. in the past 2 years? Base salary rates. Highest its been since 2008. So while you can crow about job growth under Obama and Clinton all you like. Its only when you look at whats growing that starts to shape the difference in facts. Base salary rates are not irrelevant facts. I will again just assume you don't understand its significance rather than trying to ignore the material fact of what it means. Thereby choosing to recognize the difference in factual meaning as we report jobs, economy and credits due for them.

    Is it enough? No. But its better than where we've been as a country in awhile. Yes inflation is making those gains less meaningful, but the story would be different if that increase hadn't happened.

    With the ratified NAFTA being proposed, we get to have a more level playing field for skilled workers in both the U.S and Mexico. Making us closer to a single economy in North America. And attempting to grow our economic lead in the world as China is rapidly teaching us they are serious about wanting to become number 1.

    So call it the Age of Trump if you desire as it suits your agenda. Too bad we couldn't call it the age Of Obama and did it then. It needed to be done. I'm sure you would have supported it whole hardheartedly if Obama had proposed this.
  14. Okiefreak

    Okiefreak Senior Member

    Have I missed something? Under President Obama, we still had NAFTA, for better or for worse. Last time I looked, we now have a verbal bilateral agreement with Mexico yet to be signed and a non-agreement with Canada, which Trump went out of his way to antagonize. Because of the closed-door process of the negotiations, nobody yet has the information needed to make a full judgment on the deal. Wages of $16/hr. for Mexican workers and a higher percentage of steel usage sound good on the surface, but much would depend on regulatory implementation. Is this a step forward or backward into the Brave New World of Trump? The details of an agreement, if any, must be made public by October 1, and the agreement must be signed on October 30, which is when the Mexican President's term expires and he is succeeded by a president from the Left. Here are articles that think the new NAFTA deal could still mean no improvement for U.S. workers.
    New NAFTA Deal With Mexico Could Still Mean No Improvement For U.S. Workers
    Confused About the Status of NAFTA Renegotiations? Join the Club
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
  15. Balbus

    Balbus Super Moderator Super Moderator

    OK I actually wrote something before putting forward the questions but then wanted to see what others thought before I posted and change things because of that.

    Anyway I just knocked this out but then realised it rather long so I’ve split it up for posting, as with a lot of my writing it was a way to sort out my own thinking so any rational comments and criticisms as always are gratefully received


    Politics to me is about why you choose the economic model you follow, and so a lot of politics fundamentally comes down to a discussion over economic models, put really simply - who you tax, at what rate and what you spend that money on for what goals, the economics model also dictates the type and nature of the trade deals you are likely to make.

    But economics models are hard to explain and seldom clear cut – but in a gross act of simplification and saying that the two models that have been most common in recent American history are -

    Liberal American style Keynesianism capitalism

    Social Darwinist style free market neo-liberalism

    (Both have traditionally been opposed to socialism and communism).

    Now for many Americans that had lived through the Great Depression (and passed that knowledge on to their children) there was the belief that the New Deal (Keynesian type economics) had saved the US and that model was dominant up to the end of the 1970’s.

    After that the neo-liberal model started taking over.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
  16. Balbus

    Balbus Super Moderator Super Moderator

    For the right wing that increasingly favoured the neo-liberal economic model it was the harder sell because it seemed like a return to economics that was in place before the Great Depression and had been a cause of it.

    However in this they were helped by a number of wealth sponsored ‘think tanks’ that promoted neo-liberal ideas.

    Right wing strategists understood that it was easier and more effective to use peoples fear, ignorance and prejudices to influence their vote than to appeal to hope, enlightenment and tolerance.

    Such tactics was nothing new in US politics but the right in the US became master of the art and from the 1980’s helped in large part by the rise of conservative talk radio after the abandonment of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 they spread their message.

    This was the beginning of what became called the culture war.
  17. Balbus

    Balbus Super Moderator Super Moderator

    I believe it was Karl Rove that described the culture wars as ‘Gays Guns and God’ to which I would add whispered racism (that is beginning to be talked about out loud although it still seems to be frowned upon to shout it in the streets, as in Charlottesville)

    Often promoted as the American ‘traditional values’ the hot button issues were -

    Abortion rights

    Gun rights


    This was an effort to try and displace rational economic concerns with more emotional ones that appealed to ‘traditional’ (religious) voters

    However the right did promote their economic ideas but also in a way that appealed to some people fears and prejudices.

    Actually economic policies were in the main talked about as little as possible hidden behind rhetoric about ‘free trade’ and ‘American capitalism’ (especially triumphalist after the Iron Curtain came down 1989). What was talked a lot about was such things as ‘welfare queens’ and the ‘entitlement culture’ building on old prejudices that many people (often hinted at as black people) were living easy off the backs of the hard working.

    To add to the list above –

    Entitlement Programmes (going to others)

    So people voted for neo-liberal policies like globalisation, outsourcing and tax cuts for the already wealthy, because of often ill-informed and irrationally based fears and prejudices.
  18. Balbus

    Balbus Super Moderator Super Moderator

    The other thing that the political right in the US promoted was the idea that issues were a matter of black and white / right or wrong, that the problems of the world were simple and could be simply dealt with.

    For example in relation to abortion – the issue becomes either pro-choice or pro-life and with guns it came down to either a ban or no ban.

    This has meant that debate has become increasingly difficult, if one side believes it is right the other side must be wrong,

    Time and again here I’ve had debate where I’ve had to keep reminding a right wing debater that the real world is not so black and white as they seem to want it or for example in gun debates come up against those that see any regulation as inevitably leading to a complete ban and even the rescinding of the whole second amendment that it’s impossible to talk to them rationally about the issue.

    So we get to the situation where it’s just ‘them and us’
  19. Balbus

    Balbus Super Moderator Super Moderator

    So many people did vote for the right because of the promotion of traditional conservative values in the social arena and by doing so they did help in a rather radical economic revolution that has shifted the US closer to a plutocratic and corporate state.

    The information was all out there and there were those giving warnings so were the people that voted for this change bamboozled or willing and knowing participates.

    Well the answer I don’t think is that clear cut.

    Many didn’t look at the economic policies because of those ‘culture war’ issues but if asked would be supportive of the ‘free market’ and opposed to ‘socialist’ ideas they might not know the details but they tacitly went along with the neo-liberal agenda.

    But many on the right understood neo-liberalism and supported it many right wing libertarians and fellow travellers didn’t care about abortion had no problems with homosexuality as they also claimed about race. They were much more influenced by Social Darwinist ideas and free market neo-liberalism fitted right in with that.

    Then there was wealth it had been investing heavily in the promotion of neo-liberal ideas for years (Cato 1974, Heritage 1973) and pushing out neo-liberal propaganda that has influenced many that these ideas were feasible even desirable in the more advantaged groups in American society.

    The thing is that a lot of right wing voted knew about the neo-liberalism and that was one of the main reasons they supported neo-liberal politicians.
  20. Balbus

    Balbus Super Moderator Super Moderator

    So at this point I’m sure some people are say ‘Balbus what the fuck has this to do with trade’

    It is clear that many people were ‘tricked’ into or actually wanted to vote for neo-liberal politicians pushing neo-liberal policies.

    Well one of the biggest planks of neo-liberalism is the promotion of economic globalisation, free trade also means free trade across borders and for wealth especially the free movement of capital across borders.

    I’ve written at length about this on the forum but here is a short version I’ve posted before –

    It seems to me that the political history of the 20th century (in the industrialised nations) has been to one degree or another about the curtailment of the adverse effects of 19th century exploitative capitalism (some call classical liberalism).

    People in many nations fought for voting rights, social benefits, safer working conditions, progressive taxation, and decent living wages. The result of that movement was that the economic benefits of production were much more distributed. Many people saw their wages grow and in the period between the end of WWII and 1970 many in Europe and the US gain middle class status.

    But from the 70’s onward a new idea was promoted in some of these nations (often referred to as neo-liberalism) it was in many ways opposed to the ‘distributive’ system that had developed. One thing it promoted was economic globalisation, which basically allowed back some aspects of exploitative capitalism by promoting the moving of production to nations that had not developed the more distributive systems away from those nations that had.

    In this way the long fought for distributive system has been undermined in those places where it had developed. Neo-liberals argue that to ‘compete’ in the global market the elements of the distributive system need to be dismantled what is needed they say is deregulation, the cutting of welfare, tax cuts that benefit the rich, lower wages, weak government oversight etc etc.

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