TRUMP VS SANDERS ON THE ECONOMY: THE ONLY TWO IN THE GAME
“Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are climbing the same mountain but taking different paths with the economy. If you took the best of Sanders and the best of Trump, you’d have an excellent candidate for the Presidency. That is if you think it’s possible to have your cake and eat it too.”
TRUMP, SANDERS AND ECONOMIC NATIONALISM
By Irwin FordOn the economy I have to give Donald Trump the benefit of the “deal”. Experts write about statistics and economy all the time; same Economics 101 BS. Have any of these guys looked out their windows lately? I have to agree with Trump on this one issue – yes – I said it. I agree with some of Donald Trump’s ideas and comments about Trade. That is, when he gets a chance to articulate. Donald Trump believes in a genuine free market and he insists that no such thing exists under the terms of NAFTA, CAFTA or the oncoming TPP. He has said many times, the trade agreements we’ve pursued with Mexico and China were poorly negotiated and have left the U.S. with a raw deal.
During an interview on CNN Donald Trump was being asked very liberally biased questions about the economy. Each network manufactures its own consent for its own demographic. The same for anyone on FOX; only it would be with a loaded conservative bias instead. Trump honestly wasn’t given the opportunity to answer any question in length.
I believe I’m reading through some cynicism when Trump admits he does business in China, Mexico and elsewhere. He condemns NAFTA as a failed deal while continuing to trade with China and Mexico. He’s a businessman. He knows he can’t compete in his own country due to an immensely unlevel playing field. Why? Because politicians and corporatists wrote the deal, not free market capitalists. And if that wasn’t bad enough the whole deal is managed by a centralized world organization (WTO) that presides over all international trade disputes. Trade disputes which have cost Americans millions in penalties and settlements. The double edged sword comes when mature industries in the U.S. are handed millions in subsidies. Mexico and China are not the only ones guilty of market manipulation and chicanery. This is not free or fair trade between sovereign nations.
Trump says he will either change the accords of NAFTA or break them. Imposing tariffs, for example on American corporations who open plants elsewhere. This is a great idea. If they want to sell their products in America they will have to pay an import duty or tariff. Or, they can reopen their plants here. NAFTA has eliminated the tariff process as a means of opening up commerce between nations. This offers no protection for domestic production. Even though ultimately the consumer will pay the tariff in the end, it’s merely reimbursing what the producer has already paid upon his goods entering the country. Either way it will cost more for imports than domestic goods; this is nothing new. It’s what’s preserved the American manufacturing economy for decades. When manufacturing thrived, America thrived. Period.
Pundits on the economy will attempt to make comparisons between Donald Trump and Ross Perot as spoilers and they’d be right. Ross Perot’s run was about the only time America needed a businessman at the helm in so much as he was opposed to NAFTA. But he became the “wasted” vote. Instead of people voting for him, they let Clinton win and still wonder why that great big sucking sound keeps getting louder.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FREE TRADE AND NAFTA
Free markets do tend to balance themselves out with genuine competition. Unfortunately the Libertarian utopia cannot exist in the current environment of faux-capitalism that pervades the economy today.
BETWIXT THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA
Bernie has it a different way. He is also opposed to NAFTA. Americans have been getting trampled by outsourcing for twenty or more years. But in contrast to Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders believes in the public sector. There’s some relevance to that as well for several reasons. If the public sector was indeed public and it didn’t outsource between 320 -500 billion of our tax dollars to private contractors annually, it might be reasonable to assume there would be much less government waste. Add to that approximately 100 billion dollars a year in subsidies and other incentives for huge corporations. The private sector tends to blame big government for its own corporate welfare.
Bernie’s issues are socialist or collectivist and this doesn’t sit well with many conservatives. This is mainly from those who believe that socialism was an invention of the Soviet Union or Communist China. Their forms of tyranny were not socialistic by any standard of the definition and this is what he’s up against. He believes in universal healthcare and education. The question that’s often asked is, “where will we get the money from”? The short answer is, from everything that we’re wasting money on right now.
We seem to have two classes in America. The business class and the business class 2.0. Labor is up against the wall with the minimum wage battles going on right now. Although without labor we wouldn’t be in business, but just the same, we ridicule raising the minimum wage as we bail out the “job creators” and fortify their off-shore, tax free accounts, while millions of Americans struggle. The working class is fed up with waiting for NAFTA and the business class to deliver. What’s the alternative?
To a Democratic Socialist an alternative might be to decentralize private controls on government. Insist that government serves to protect the economic sustainability of the people as individuals rather than beholding to a select minority of private corporate sponsors. The Democratic Socialist is generally pro-union and depends on the collective as their strength in solidarity for representation.
Sanders thinks it’s not unreasonable to expect a multinational corporation like Walmart or McDonald’s to be able to pay a reasonable wage. By the measure of inflation, $15/Hr. is fair by any reasonable standard. What’s not reasonable is to expect the tax payer to subsidize Walmart’s substandard wages through Public Assistance. It would seem prudent to acknowledge that fact in any discussion about minimum wage increases, especially since the Republican focus is always on big government spending and welfare programs.
Walmart is the number one employer in America. American citizens are subsidizing their nation’s number one employer through social services. Companies like General Electric for example used to be the top employers, not to mention the automobile industry. There were literally tens of thousands of smaller and more specialized manufacturers and supporting industries all over the country who benefited from being included in the supply chain.
That said, the minimum wage increase, although great for Walmart employees and their economy would put many other small businesses – out of business. This is why we need more job growth other than fast-food chains, the restaurant industry and big box retail stores in America. It was manufacturing that supported most of the industries today that have since moved to the top of the food chain for employment opportunities. Those used to be the minimum wage jobs that a person would leave for something better. For an individual without a college education there was still opportunity to grow and improve their quality of life.
Maybe the economy writers could answer this question: I’m no economic genius, but how could my parents afford a house, three kids, pets, violin lessons, summer camp, vacations, two cars, a boat, hospital bills, nice holidays, ample groceries and new clothes every school year? My father was a barber and my mother was a switchboard operator for Strawbridge & Clothier’s one of America’s oldest department stores now out of business. Neither had a college education. Go figure.
So that makes two candidates scoring high points on Trade: Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Isn’t that ironic? Two outsiders might have more insight into our economy and how we should do Trade than all the Republicans and Democrats put together.
Disclaimer: I’m pro-labor with a strong belief in a right to work without institutionalized authority or representation. I feel that the law of the land and my representatives in Congress should preserve my rights and guarantee me a legitimate wage that realistically matches the demands placed on me through inflation and ever rising costs of living expenses. The economy never sees any increases in wages before cost of living expenses like rent, interest rates, utility bills, health insurance and the rest go up. The working poor and middle class are always playing catch up and falling deeper into debt or existing in a constant state of treading water. This is not good economic policy for anyone but the few on top.
Playing the devil’s advocate, here’s a loaded question: If we don’t have pure capitalism, as has been established, then we have fascism. America is proud of its anti-socialist history, even though many of our public and private programs are already socialistic in nature. Socialism is the antithesis of fascism. Which do you prefer, one or the other, or a comparable balance between the two?
A large portion of our trading deficit comes from oil. Most people think it’s due to our importation of cheaply manufactured name brand knock-offs like Walmart sells. That’s a big piece of it, but not the entire story. We make virtually everything out of oil, coal, trees and steel. Much of what we make from oil could easily be supplemented with industrial hemp for textiles, cellulose plastics and many other products.
“A robust dollar and a strengthening economy are giving Americans more buying power, especially for products made overseas, boosting the tab for imports. At the same time, growth in Europe and Japan is lackluster and output in several major emerging markets is cooling, undercutting demand for U.S. products abroad. Combined, those dynamics are broadening the non-oil U.S. trade deficit.” – Wall Street Journal
Apologists for NAFTA will rely heavily on oil as an excuse for our trade deficit. But with more oil from shale being exported and fracking, fossil fuels are actually helping to close the gap; but at what expense to the environment? And as Wall Street Journal reports, those cheaply made Chinese and Mexican imports are once again swelling our deficit on the manufacturing front.
Oil gets a bad rap and rightly so, but for all the wrong reasons. Oil is still the most economical energy resource to date barrel for barrel in development, extraction and net cost. The problem lies in how and where we get and what we use it for. Nuclear energy is also another source that’s been demonized and rightly so. We have safer and more efficient reactor technology that’s not being implemented or even promoted. Politics and special interests have taken all the logic out of the math. Where we get our energy plays heavily into our economics. Market forces have a negative impact on putting newer reactors online because of the expense. It’s hard to imagine that working toward cleaner and more efficient energy and a safer future wouldn’t be worth the expense.
Henry Ford built a car body out of agricultural cellulose. Contrary to frequent assertion it was not made entirely from hemp. Hemp made up only about 10% of the formula, but the formula was way ahead of its time and it proved its relevance as a substitute for steel. Newer cars have only recently been using plastic (petroleum based) for door panels and bumpers. Ford demonstrated his process in 1941.
NAZI ECONOMICS AND HOW AMERICA’S BANKSTERS INDIRECTLY CAUSED WWII
“Mass unemployment in Germany caused by terms of the Versailles Treaty plus poverty in Japan (silk workers) caused great anger. The people put in power and accepted right-wing, dictatorial governments who told them their country was superior and it was OK for them to take what they wanted by force. It was the kind of thing they wanted to hear in the circumstances. 25 countries became dictatorships from 1929-39. America called in her loans to Germany. This caused the collapse of German industry and led directly to Hitler’s rise to power.” – (source)
As a matter of perspective Adolph Hitler got it when it came to his own country’s economy. This is not to praise Adolph Hitler, but to use as a provocative example, how a nation forced into extreme destitution was able to industrialize its way out of poverty and become an economic and military force to be reckoned with. He made Germany an economic superpower and the rest of Europe and America couldn’t deal with it. The world saw the results of that with the beginning of WWII.
What I am saying is the (elected) Nazi party gained power at a time when our economic collapse in 1929 was causing a chain reaction all over Europe. Pro-business banksters and industrialists preferred the wall of Hitler’s fascism between them and the “socialists” of the Soviet Union. That’s why the banksters lent him so much money in the beginning. The Soviet Union’s misrepresentation of socialism gave way to America’s propagandizing so much against it. It’s the major reason why anyone who is pro-labor in America is considered a communist and labor continues to get kicked in the ass by America’s ignorance of political terminology. It is true that the communist movement in America was heavily active in labor. Those days are over, but unionized labor still carries with it the same stigmata of communism in the conservative rhetoric.
Hitler traded with poorer European countries for raw materials in exchange for German goods; localized production and became a major industrial and military threat. With the financial assistance of the American banksters, Hitler industrialized; but of course with any society, industrialization means preparing for war. A Military Industrial Complex does mean jobs. America as an example. But along with that, Hitler forced millions of Jews into exile or into the labor/death camps. An important detail often neglected in that discussion, which also added to his economic growth.
“Nationalism” in America used to mean pride in one’s nation and team spirit. When did it come to mean racism and ethnic cleansing in the geopolitical lexicon?”
No country ever seems to be able to nationalize without persecuting someone, or as in Iran’s case, having their government overthrown. I don’t get that part of it at all. There was a time when labor was hailed in America along with the companies employing the labor force. There was a sense of nationalism and pride in U.S. manufacturing. Those days went out the window with NAFTA, so the question becomes, can we rebuild a sense of nationalism here? Can we nationalize without any prejudicial elements of resentment or hatred toward others? Can we have our cake and eat it too?
THE CAKE: With prudent fiscal responsibility, a non-interventionist foreign policy, a more innovative energy policy and domestication of our supply chains, we could save billions and provide public options for healthcare and education and probably come out of it with a surplus. It is inconceivable to assume that any of this would work as long as we continue waging war every ten years. The cost of lives as well as the debt from war is monumental. Over time the VA would have lower numbers of wounded and retired vets to accommodate and some of those VA Hospitals could gradually be reclassified as Universal Healthcare centers.
AND EAT IT TOO: Preserve choice by preserving the free market. Private options of course would be available to those who preferred or could afford their own insurance, healthcare or an education from a privately funded institution. For those of you who think this is an imaginary voyage and it would require too much cooperation and work on too a grand scale; remember – that’s why it’s called “work”.
In a country that professes to have free markets and a belief in competition and free enterprise, it would not seem unreasonable to enable a spirit of competition between the private and public sectors. If a tax paying society was benefiting from a fiscally responsible government and the private sector was more competitive we would be prone to see more choice and opportunity and less strain on government services. And if regular people were seeing legitimate increases in their incomes to match their cost of living requirements, the private sector would benefit that much more from an economically solvent America.
For the most part people are generally pragmatic, thoughtful and honest. Collectively the herd mentality becomes fuel for backlash and contempt. This is the power and danger of ideology. Instead of using this power for good, it often evolves into a disruptive force for greed, racism, mayhem and chaos.
It is not merely a choice between one or the other, left or right; socialism or capitalism; Sanders or Trump. It’s a matter of having our cake and eating it too. It depends on whether or not we can intelligently incorporate the favorable components of each philosophy into the economic and political dynamics of the new metamodern culture for everyone’s benefit. I think it’s definitely worth a shot.