The president’s profound misunderstanding of what victory looks like is particularly visible in his multifront attack on trade and globalization. All in the name of putting America first, he withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, treated our trade partners like enemies, forced a renegotiation of NAFTA with no clear idea of whether the new deal (the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) could ever be ratified, implemented tariffs to fight imaginary national security menaces and started a trade war with China without any clearer strategy than his willingness to jack up tariffs at all costs.
Even if you worry about the current account deficit, there is no good reason to worry about a current account deficit with a particular country. We in America buy goods and services from scores of countries around the world. People in scores of countries buy goods and services from us. There’s no reason that the dollar value of what we buy from a particular country should equal the dollar value of what people in that country bought from us. The reason it doesn’t matter can best be seen if we drill down to trade within a country. My wife and I probably spend over $2,000 a year on groceries from our local Lucky supermarket in Pacific Grove, California. But Lucky spends nothing on goods and services from us. So our current account deficit with Lucky is over $2,000. We’re not worried. The facts don’t get scarier if we plus up to all the people in the United States and all the people in another country.
If by “history” is meant fiction concocted in service to an ideological agenda, then people such as Ed Baptist are, like Nancy MacLean, historians of indisputable excellence. Phil Magness explains.