I’ve never a fan of the self-funded political neophyte – their runs for office tend to be driven by equal parts of ego and mercenary consultants. That said it appears that there are no candidates preparing to run for President who understand the myriad threat from the People’s Republic of China and have proffered ideas on how to check it – except for Donald Trump.
Trump’s thoughts on China boil down to this: their mercantilist trade policies have resulted in their holding a trillion dollars in U.S. debt while withering the American manufacturing base; and, the U.S. should place a tariff on Chinese goods to pay back our debt, thus turning the tables on Beijing.
Trump’s critics would say his plan would cause a trade war. Remind again me what we sell to China? A trade war has to be a two-way proposition.
Age-old promises of the “Chinese market” with over a billion consumers enriching U.S. companies haven’t panned-out. Furthermore, the Chinese have made intellectual property theft an official state policy; whether it’s advanced Russian jet fighters built under license until the license became inconvenient or pirated American software, everything worth stealing is stolen. In the 21st Century we were told that American innovation would ensure our prosperity in the face of cheap Chinese wages and currency manipulation. That, of course, is an impossible proposition if our inventions are routinely taken and copied for profit.
Donald Trump has no political experience and a barrel full of liabilities. That said, on the two biggest, joined-at-the-hip issues facing America – China and our debt – Trump gets it. The question is, will anyone else?