When economic historians recount U.S. trade policy under Donald Trump, they’ll tell a cautionary tale. Like the current consensus that the Smoot-Hawley tariffs worsened the Great Depression and tanked global trade, future analysts will detail the negative economic effects of Trump’s go-it-alone trade policies. And historians will draw from a treasure trove of quotes from the “Tariff Man,” who famously said that “trade wars are good and easy to win.”
Perhaps no quote better captures the essence — and dysfunction — of Trump’s trade policies than his claim that “trade isn’t tricky.” Trump sees trade as a straightforward, black-and-white issue. As a result, he’s pursued simplistic — often blunt-force — solutions. Trump’s failure to appreciate the complexity of the interconnected global economy is perhaps the greatest source of the long-term damage that his policies are causing to America’s economy and global standing.
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