How has Trump justified economic protectionism to US elites?
November 18, 2016 2:31 PM   Subscribe

It's not apparent to me how withdrawal from free trade agreements would benefit the top 2-5%, since the current arrangement's been pretty good to them. Why would anyone in that class support him (of those who did?) How did Trump justify this position to them during the US election campaign, and what is he saying now?

It doesn't seem to me that tax cuts would offset the profits and savings made currently (if that's the pitch). Am I wrong?

Bonus: what is the economic plan he's said he'll take - or is likely to take - to try to keep both elites and workers from displaced industries happy?

(Links to supports/resources welcome, as are opinions.)
posted by cotton dress sock to Law & Government (6 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Big corporations and (at least for public consumption) their top executives hated Donald Trump -- and, indeed, some of them will suffer from changes in trade policy.

But for individuals in the top 2%-5% ... many of them won't be touched by the trade policy changes, some will benefit dramatically (owners of businesses that compete with imports more than they export), while they will ALL benefit hugely from the tax cuts.

Also note that the stock market is saying executives of big corporations were quite wrong, and their economic benefit from tax cuts and de-regulation outweighs (for the most part) their exposure to trade wars.
posted by MattD at 2:52 PM on November 18, 2016 [2 favorites]

One possibility, which I'm seeing in the business press here in New Zealand, is some of them holding the view that he won't go through with his anti-free trade policies, but he will go through with the tax cuts. So he'll actually be great for business! The article I just read (paywalled) also argued that he'll get great advice from the public service, and the business community will be telling him the same things. So he'll listen to them, and it will be great. Also, he says he negotiates great deals, so he'll do that.
posted by Pink Frost at 3:38 PM on November 18, 2016 [3 favorites]

The beauty of being a pathological liar is that no one believes anything you say. The beauty of being a pathological liar who's also a good salesman is that not only do people not believe anything you say, they believe what they want to hear instead.

Trump doesn't really have any policies. He has things he says at rallies to generate applause. I suspect people believe he will cut taxes, because that's right in line with his own naked self interest. I suspect people believe that for the rest he will do whatever his advisors say, because he doens't actually give a shit about any of it, and if they are powerful enough they probably have strong hopes that they can make sure The Right Kind Of People are among his advisors.
posted by Diablevert at 3:53 PM on November 18, 2016 [33 favorites]

I think a lot of Republicans are convinced that Trump doesn't have any actual ideology or policy commitments and can be manipulated into doing what they want him to do. We'll see if they're right.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 4:28 PM on November 18, 2016 [10 favorites]

Trump didn't have the support of the elites: the Bushes, the Kochs, Goldman-Sachs, a seemingly continuous parade of otherwise loyal Republicans (it feels like NPR gave them all some airtime in the mornings), entire editorial staffs of conservative magazines, all were against him.
posted by 445supermag at 5:46 PM on November 18, 2016 [7 favorites]

Sorry, I believe Trump will do exactly what he says. In general, people underestimate how truthful candidates are, preferring to believe in their own version of the candidate.

Anyway, plenty of businesses will make a lot of money from cancelling the free trade deals just from cutting out the competition.
posted by xammerboy at 8:03 AM on November 20, 2016

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