In a very unfortunate turn of events, Trump is Set to Promote Trade Hawk Peter Navarro.
The White House plans to promote an adviser known for his hawkish views on trade policy, giving economic nationalists a stronger voice in internal debates as the Trump administration nears decisions on high-profile trade issues.
Peter Navarro, an economist who helped shaped Donald Trump’s 2016 protectionist campaign platform, will be named an assistant to the president, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Mr. Navarro began Mr. Trump’s presidency with broad influence and regular access to the Oval Office but his role was quickly limited after he clashed with the aides who oppose his views on trade deficits and multilateral trade agreements.
The move to elevate Mr. Navarro comes as the White House is nearing decisions on several high-profile trade matters.
It is unclear exactly how Mr. Navarro’s role will change, but the promotion is likely to give Mr. Navarro a more regular role in trade debates and meetings at the White House, according to the person familiar with the matter, a trade expert who has discussed the move with White House officials.
“This gives Peter a more formal seat at the table when trade and manufacturing policies are discussed,” this person said. “That’s something that has been in question the last six months.”
Another Smoot-Hawley Performance Coming Up?
The Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act and the following retaliatory tariffs by America's trading partners were major factors of the reduction of American exports and imports by more than half during the Depression. Economists disagree by how much, but the consensus view among economists and economic historians is that "The passage of the Smoot–Hawley Tariff exacerbated the Great Depression."
It's not often I agree with the consensus economic opinion, but the consensus economic opinion of Smoot-Hawley is undoubtedly correct.
Greenspan on Free Trade
Free trade is one issue on which Alan Greenspan was unwaveringly correct.
March 12 2004: Greenspan Warns Congress Not to Create Trade Barriers
''We can erect walls to foreign trade and even discourage job-displacing innovation,'' Mr. Greenspan said. ''Tensions might appear to ease, but only for a short while. Our standard of living would soon begin to stagnate and perhaps even decline as a consequence.''
Mr. Greenspan disagreed with Mr. Kerry's proposal to link free-trade agreements with commitments by other countries to enforce tougher protections for workers and the environment.
April 17, 1999: Greenspan Warns That U.S. Shouldn't Erect Barriers to Free Trade
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan expressed concern Friday that Americans are losing faith in the benefits of free trade. He warned that efforts to erect protectionist barriers were "unwise and surely self-defeating."
"The evidence is overwhelmingly persuasive that the massive increase in world competition--a consequence of broadening trade flows--has fostered markedly higher standards of living for almost all countries who have participated," Greenspan said in a speech to foreign ambassadors at a conference in Dallas.
April 4, 2001: Greenspan: Keep Trade Free
"The United States has been in the forefront of the postwar opening up of international markets, much to our and the rest of the world's benefits," Greenspan said in prepared remarks [to Congress]. "It would be a great tragedy were that process stopped or reversed."
Greenspan the Maestro
Bob Woodward dubbed Greenspan the "Maestro" in a book by that title.
He has since been vilified for his role in the housing bubble. The one thing Greenspan was never given credit for was his unwavering support for free trade.
Reaching Out to AFL-CIO
On February 22, I blasted Trump for Reaching Out to the AFL-CIO.
A couple of readers asked what's the matter with talking. Today we have the answer: everything.
This is not a case of talking with rogue foreign powers in an attempt to stop a war. This is a case of talking with and listening to trade-policy morons seeking to start a trade war.
States like Michigan and Ohio pushed Trump over the top in his victory over Hillary, but bad policy is bad policy.
Clueless About Trade
Trump does not understand trade deficits. The "art of the deal" cannot work when you don't understand essential points.
To understand the math, please see Trump's Tariffs Show He's "Clueless About Trade".
Trump's trade policies are set to exacerbate the next global recession.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock