Donald Trump, who has his own line of clothing and other products made in China, has upped his rhetoric into the stratosphere of idiocy, claiming that we would be better off if we didn’t trade anything with China. Yeah, we can just walk away from a more than $700 billion economic relationship with the world’s most populous country.
Even though farmers in Trump-backing Midwestern states have been getting hammered by the president’s trade war thanks to the retaliatory tariffs that China placed on their crops, the president signaled that he now believes America should break off trade with China entirely.
“We don’t need China and, frankly, would be far better off without them,” the president wrote. “The vast amounts of money made and stolen by China from the United States, year after year, for decades, will and must STOP.”
It’s going to be fun for him to tell farmers in Iowa, Michigan and other states that grow a large amount of soybeans, for whom China is the single largest market in the world, that they’d be better off not having them buying their product. In 2017, before Trump’s idiotic trade war, we sold 759 million bushels of soybeans to China alone; in 2018, after he launched his trade war, we sold them only 21 million bushels. That’s a drop that is simply mind-blowing and one that is devastating our soybean farmers.We trade more than $700 billion with China. Yes, they sell us more than we sell them, but that’s because their products are cheaper. Our economies are so intertwined that untangling them is nearly impossible. Trump thinks American companies will bring their factories back home if they don’t have them in China, but they’ll be moving to places like Vietnam instead, places with equally cheap labor. And that would take years and years to do. If it’s so easy and important, why hasn’t Trump moved his own clothing factories out of China and make his clothing line in the United States instead? Because he’s a hypocrite who doesn’t understand economics at all.
One more important thing: China is an important strategic rival around the world as well and countries with large trade relationships are far less likely to go to war with each other than those without them. Why? Because war disrupts those relationships and business leaders, who hold the real power in this country, prevent such wars from happening and destroying their cash cow. So having a lot of trade with China isn’t just a good idea economically, it’s a good idea strategically as well.