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Alternative Visions – Trump, Free Trade, and the Global Slowdown – 07.15.16

A centerpiece of Trump’s campaign, that is gaining support for him among white working class voters in key swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, is his attack on free trade treaties from NAFTA to TPP. Today’s show examines the conditions behind the current stagnation of global trade the past 18 months, growing wage stagnation and income inequality in the US, and increasing US voters’ associating of their loss of quality jobs and declining wages with free trade. Dr. Rasmus briefly reviews policies in China, Japan, Europe, and the slowing of world trade. How US economic elites—from the Business Roundtable and others— are becoming terrified of Trump’s successful manipulation of voter discontent with free trade. The elements of Trump’s position on trade are discussed, including ‘tearing up’ treaties, imposing tariffs on Mexico and China, charges of China as currency manipulator, tax policy incentives encouraging job offshoring, and US visa policies. Jack critiques Trump’s positions and concludes that Trump—like Obama before and Hillary now—is simply pandering to the discontent and will reverse his promises on trade if elected. Pandering to the trade issue, however, may just provide Trump enough votes to win key states’ electoral majorities.