By Robert Wenzel
Donald Trump revealed a bit more of his nationalistic anti-trade perspective this morning and linked it to the views of the Democratic socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
The U.S. getting “ripped off left and right on trade” is “one of my big things, we’re getting killed by China,” Trump said in telephone interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Trump says he was watching Sanders talk about trade and “I said, ‘you know, I think I can take that paragraph and just use it in my speech’”
“Now here’s the difference between Bernie Sanders and myself. I negotiate. I will make great deals with China. He can’t do that,” Trump says, “but he knows the problem, at least."
Trump has called for high tariffs against Mexico. China and Japan and seems to hold the view that trade is not about deals between two businessmen, whatever ground they stand on, but about macho nationalistic deal making between rulers.
Trump is actually worse on trade than Mussolini.
In a speech to the Italian senate in 1930 (as reported in Economic Fascism: Primary Sources on Mussolini's Crony Capitalism), in the shadow of the US stock market crash, Mussolini said
[T]here is not much that can be done, perhaps the already extremely high customs barriers could be raised, but as has been seen at a certain point this proves counterproductive. Custom duties, like some medicines, become poisonous beyond a certain dose...