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The seen and the unseen of Trump’s economic policies

Thursday, March 9, 2017 8:59
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Trump’s domestic economic policies are really quite good. They promote economic growth, minimize regulatory burdens, reduce uncertainty, and show due regard for the roles of the Congress and the States under the Constitution. I think these policies will have a very positive effect on the economy.

It is completely unclear to me why he and his team seem to believe that these solid principles are rendered void when an international border is introduced. They most certainly are not. The exact same principles that apply to domestic trade apply to foreign trade. Their blindness to this – a willful blindness in my opinion – is quite troubling.

Now, having said that, I suspect that his domestic economic policies will have a positive effect on the economy. Let’s call it +10

I fear, however, that his international economic policies will have a negative effect. Since the scope of international economics is smaller than domestic, the effect will be smaller. Let’s call the effect on the economy caused by his ill advised international policies is -5.

The net effect of his policies will be +5. The result of that +5 will be that people will see a positive and assume all of his policies are beneficial and they will point to what is see, the +5, as proof. They will, however, be completely oblivious to what is unseen: Were his international policies as effective as his domestic policies, the net effect on the economy could have been +15.

In this way, the Trump’s failure in international economic policy will be framed as success and the wrong lessons will be learned.


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