Here's the key takeaway from a report by Moody's Analytics, commissioned by the
Trade has been one of Donald Trump's great selling points on the campaign trail. China and Mexico are killing us, he has told crowds on his way to the lead position for the Republican presidential nomination, and if Trump wins the White House, he will fight back. The implication is that getting tough with our trading partners -- by taxing their exports as they cross America's borders -- will bring jobs and prosperity to the United States.
An economic model of Trump's proposals, prepared by Moody's Analytics at the request of The Washington Post, suggests Trump is half-right about his plans. They would, in fact, sock it to China and Mexico. Both would fall into recession, the model suggests, if Trump levied his proposed tariffs and those countries retaliated with tariffs of their own.
Unfortunately, the United States would fall into recession, too. Up to 4 million American workers would lose their jobs. Another 3 million jobs would not be created that otherwise would have been, had the country not fallen into a trade-induced downturn. (our emphasis)Quite likely, a good percentage of those lost jobs would be white working class supporters of Rump, who like the furriner- bashing without thinking too much about the consequences. It's somewhat reminiscent of low- income, recently insured voters in the 2015 Kentucky gubernatorial election who, even though Republican mossback Matt Bevin promised to kill that state's Obamacare program, voted for him anyway, even though they risked losing their health insurance (because Kim Davis "religious freedumb"!). (Bevin is still doing his damnedest to muck up Kentucky's previously smooth- running systems.)
Also, triggering a recession in China, the world's second largest economy, might pose a wee problem for the rest of the world.
Making a case against Rump with his supporters on this and many other issues runs up against what really is motivating most of them: bigotry and xenophobia. That prejudice and deep- seated, misdirected rage overwhelms rational arguments in favor voting ones' economic self- interest, because to Rump's supporters, bashing China or Mexico (or Muslims or gays or women, for that matter) makes them feel empowered; it's what they feel is most lacking in their lives, and it's what Rump's bluster and empty promises give them.
In the unlikely event of Rump's election, we could only repeat for Rump supporters what Charles Pierce said on the occasion of Matt Bevin's election last year: "Good luck and enjoy your freedom."