Wall Street Journal's blinkered view of Trump's trade policies

Almost every day, the Wall Street Journal and other news outlets have articles about how disastrous Trump's trade policies will be.  This past weekend was not at all different with the paper's editorial "Trade Casualties Mount," where it talked about problems at Alcoa and other aluminum companies.


  • The economy is growing rapidly
  • Unemployment is near record lows (especially for women, blacks, and Hispanics)
  • Manufacturing jobs are up
  • Full time jobs are up
  • Wages are rising faster
  • Stocks are near all-time highs
  • Corporate profits are up around 20%
  • Corporate sales are up over 8%
  • Consumer confidence is high
  • Business confidence is high
  • Capital spending is up substantially
  • More people think the country is heading in the right direction, higher than in any of Obama's eight years
  • Exports are up over 8% year to date

When the WSJ and other news outlets do their articles on trade, why don't they give actual numbers?  They continually talk as if exporters are having major problems, but the government statistics show that exports are up 8.8% YTD May 2018 versus 2017.  That certainly does not indicate that exporters are having a problem selling their products, and it certainly doesn't indicate that the world is so mad that people have stopped buying from us.

The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis:

Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $17.9 billion, or 7.9 percent, from the same period in 2017.  Exports increased $84.5 billion or 8.8 percent.  Imports increased $102.4 billion or 8.6 percent.

President Trump is trying to get rid of tariffs and taxes on U.S. products around the world – and talking nicely doesn't appear to solve the problem.  The WSJ implies somehow that Trump is essentially the only person causing the trade problem.

Why doesn't the newspaper list out the tariffs and taxes that Canada, Mexico, China, and Europe imposed on the U.S before Trump started putting tariffs on, instead of acting as though Trump started the tariffs and the other countries just followed?  It is a shame that previous presidents let the trade imbalance get so far out of whack.  It seems that the WSJ, like many politicians, was happy letting manufacturing jobs go overseas.

Also, everyone talks about the inflation caused by the tariffs.  Why don't people also talk about how much Trump reduced costs through reducing regulations and the massive 14% cut in the corporate tax rate?  Trump gave most companies a lot of room to absorb some costs without exerting too much inflationary pressure.

Also, the faster growing economy with over 8% sales growth gave them room.

Something putting tremendous pressure on companies and farmers is the rising interest rates.  The Federal Reserve kept rates artificially low during Obama's eight years because the high tax and massive regulatory policies of Obama caused extremely sluggish growth, and the only way to keep the growth alive was by penalizing savers and pension funds and rewarding borrowers to get them to buy stuff.

The artificially low interest rates encouraged farmers and others to push up prices of riskier assets to get any sort of reward.  That caused farm land prices to soar beyond what the yield will pay for.  That causes highly leveraged farmers to be in trouble.

It seems to me that we never learn.  It looks to me as though most of the price decline from soybeans and corn is because the stockpiles are very high, not because of the tariffs.  Once prices get moving one way or the other, speculators and hedge funds will exacerbate the trend.

It seems that the WSJ has an agenda on trade and immigration, and no matter what happens, the agenda stays the same.  Obviously, not everyone will be helped by any policy but since their agenda is against Trump's, they choose to focus on the few negatives when there are so many positives.

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