Not long ago, Donald Trump – testing the waters for a potential bid for the GOP presidential nomination – was even more belligerent than is the apparently economically ignorant Mitt Romney regarding China’s allegedly “unfair” trade practices. See also here. (Many of Beijing’s trade practices are unfair – but not to Americans; these practices are unfair to the Chinese people who are taxed, regulated, and otherwise forced to pay higher prices to support these practices.)
Trump insisted that Americans’ trade with China today is bad for Americans. He was downright bellicose in trumpeting the courage and steel he would exhibit, as U.S. president, in standing up to the Chinese on matters of trade. ”Stop selling us so much stuff so inexpensively!” was, in effect, the demand that Pres. Trump would issue to Beijing. (Mercantilist superstitions run deeply in the veins of the economically untutored – with businesspeople being especially prone to fall for such foolishness.)
So yesterday while in a Macy’s in Fairfax I spied for the first time a line of neckties being sold under the Donald Trump label. (Those who know me well know that I spend way too much money on clothing for myself; it’s one of the many ways in which my shallowness expresses itself. But – politics aside – the idea of buying clothing labeled “Donald Trump” strikes me as the fashion equivalent of taking a Parisian vacation by going to the faux Eiffel tower in Las Vegas.)
Here’s a picture that my son, Thomas, took of the labels of one of the neckties offered under Trump’s label. Lo! and behold! Look where the tie is made. China! (Trust me: the word just above “in China” on the label on the left side of the photo is “Handmade”. Spanish speakers can confirm.)
If Mr. Trump’s economics is correct, he is personally contributing to the economic demise of America by offering neckwear to American men at prices lower (or quality higher, or both) than would be possible if he didn’t use Chinese workers to craft the garments he sells in the USA.