Examining Trump's Policies

There are four stylistic differences between Liberals and Conservatives. Liberals all hold the same opinions. They view disagreements as affronts rather than as opportunities for debate. Liberals are casually wiling to depart from traditions and accepted practices with little or no concern. Finally, the changes they propose more often than not hurt the very people they were supposed to help. Conservatives exhibit independent thought and enthusiastically defend their views in debate. We are willing to change but only if the change is thoroughly grounded and well thought out. Conservatives are well aware of adverse unintended consequences.

Conservatives often wonder what if anything liberals are thinking. This election cycle, I'm surprised at conservatives asking that same question of one-time conservatives who now support Trump. They all repeat the same points and quote his book as if it were scripture. Any criticism of Trump is met with invective. They are willing to support Trump in policies previously thought to be unworkable, and continue that support even when these policies are detrimental to their interests.

What’s the explanation for this? Liberals justify their behavior by saying they have greater intellect -- "That's why we're called intellectuals." Trump says disagreements don't apply, "When you're really really smart like I am..."

But how smart is Trump?  A horse can be assessed in many ways, but one only knows its speed when it runs. Trump’s appeal is that he's not thoughtful. So there's no way to know if he's smart. 

We can look at his words. Dr. Krauthammer characterizes Trump's talk as, "word salad." That's psychiatric jargon meaning Trump babbles. But since Trump occasionally does makes clear statements about policy, we can decide if these policies are thoughtful. These fall into two categories: 

1. Trade policies. Our stupid leaders are constantly outsmarted by other nations.

2. Immigration. The solution to the anchor baby problem is to reinterpret the 14th Amendment, and we should immediately deport all 11 million illegal residents. Finally we should limit the international movement of noncitizen Muslims.

Trump’s Trade Policies

Trump's case that our leaders are stupid is based on exactly two factory relocations and China's currency manipulations.

Trump is incensed that Nabisco will make Oreos in Mexico. Nabisco's relocation was caused by stupid policy, but not one on Trump's radar. Import quotas mean we pay twice the world price for sugar. This high price drives candy and confectionery producers out of the country. The policy is 75 years old. It wasn't created by “stupid” negotiations with Mexico. Similar companies have moved to Canada and Asia. That Trump doesn't understand the reason Nabisco relocated indicates his lack of thoughtfulness.

The second “stupid move” is Ford’s construction of a factory in Mexico. Locating a car factory is complex for many reasons. Among them: the UAW’s preference for factories overseas rather than in right-to-work states.   

A thoughtful man would realize that the loss of American jobs is more complex than “stupid trade agreements.”

BMW, Mercedes, and VW all build cars in America -- so German leaders must be stupid. With all the Japanese and Korean car plants in the U.S., those countries too must be led by morons. Stupid policies didn't bring these foreign companies here to create American jobs. 

Donald rails about China's currency devaluations. His concern is unwarranted. Currency devaluations are either short lived and/or have severe consequences. If China could sustain an artificially low rate, her exports would be cheaper -- but her imports would be more expensive. China imports iron, oil, and circuit boards, which are then assembled into products. Higher-priced imports would drive up the price of China’s exports. 

China is having difficulty feedings her people and imports increasing quantities of food. She has four times our population on an equal land mass. We have agricultural infrastructure and expertise they lack. Our farming advantages are most apparent in producing meat. The Chinese market for our chicken, lamb, and beef is huge. A devalued yuan makes our imported food expensive. If China's leaders are that smart they won't make it too expensive for their people to eat.  

China does engage in predatory trade, which makes our pending trade agreement important. The Trans Pacific Pact (TPP) enables the U.S. to trade with China’s competitors, giving us a powerful alternative. Recently Trump made it painfully obvious he didn't know China wasn't in the TPP. That the pact is detrimental to China makes Trump's denial of ignorance unbelievable.

We aren't getting killed in trade. While it’s true that Chinese manufacturing has grown to is 23% of the world total. American manufacturing has represented 21% of worldwide manufacturing for the last 40 years. That means China's growth has not come at our expense. China has taken market share from Europe and the smaller counties in Asia. This should demonstrate again the eagerness of her competitors to do business with America. But there is a larger point: America is poised to outstrip China and reach unseen levels of dominance in manufacturing. 

The United States has abundant cheap energy. Technology such as 3D printing and nanoengineering, favors skilled workers over cheap labor. Cheap energy and skilled labor will make this the new American century. With the correct trade policies we can sell our products to the 96% of the world's people who do not live in America.

Trump’s opposition to trade agreements limits our exports markets. His protectionist approach further limits our markets. We will thrive if we follow the free market policies proposed by all the other Republican candidates. We will all be richer.

Trump’s Position on Immigration

We should prevent people coming here to give birth to anchor babies. We can limit this problem. But we cannot reinterpret the 14th amendment which confers citizenship to children of nondiplomats born on U.S. soil. Trump says we can. Sorting through the arguments is a waste of time. No one thinks five Supreme Court Justices would uphold a reinterpretation of the 14th amendment. The three women and Justice Breyer would reject this change. All five "conservative" justices would have to support the reinterpretation. There is zero chance of that.

It’s easy for Trump to change my mind. Just name the five justices who would uphold this change. (Trump and his supporters will quite likely view that as a gotcha question because it’s easy to imagine Trump not being able to name any 5 of the 9 justices.)

We have to do something about the 11 million illegal residents in America. I share Paul Ryan's position; before we do anything we must stop adding illegal immigrants; There will be no path to citizenship for people here illegally. There will be a path to legal residency for most, but absolutely not all, current illegals. All the Republican candidates hold this position.

This is Cruz's position, even though he dances around it like the politician he pretends not to be. When the music stops he holds the same view as the other candidates. They just got there without the shuffle. When Trump is pinned down this is his stance as well.

Of course, Trump advocates deporting 11 million people. But he would then, "let the good ones back in." He deports 100% of the illegals, then lets 99% return. After this massive and expensive disruption, we'd be exactly where the other candidates put us. The deportation is a smokescreen. It's mind-blowing that his supporters are blinded by it.

There are problems deporting 11 million people. It requires tearing apart families. For those only moved by self-interest, there's the financial impact deportation would have on our economy. The vacated jobs would devastate farming, hospitality, and construction. 

Some people believe there's an army of Americans ready to fill these jobs. There are numerous high-paying jobs in the construction industry going unfilled. In areas like Florida, the shortages are acute. If we cannot fill desirable jobs, how do we fill jobs characterized by low wages and backbreaking labor?

Some insist that for the right wage, people would do these jobs. Such a high wage would price our food and hospitality out of the market, leaving no chance to sell food to China. it would also raise the price you and I pay for food and vacations. How does that help Trump's supporters? How does it help any of us?

Trump just doubled down on his treatment of immigrants. He's proposed that any Muslim noncitizen resident who leaves the U.S. should not be permitted reentry. Just about every public figure in both parties has condemned this proposal as an un-American religious test. Several others added that many Muslims provide vital assistance in the war on radical Islam. They would be harmed and quite rightly alienated by this meataxe approach.

It's clear that Trump hasn't thought this position through. But that's no surprise. None of his views are thought out.

I'm sincerely asking Trump supporters to stop acting like the liberals they so quite rightly mock. 

There is no need to attack fellow conservatives who remain faithful to views we once shared. There is a need to explain why the Trump supporters’ departure from these previously shared views helps anyone. The biggest need is to explain how empty bombast makes this country great.