Originally posted July 27th, 2016.
The American Conservative’s Eamonn Fingleton explains to Americans that Hillary Clinton’s regular flip flops on the abject folly of the free trade thesis find roots in the simple fact that the woman is clueless on the economics of free trade.
Today, three decades after Tokyo declared the Japanese car market “one of the world’s most open,” that market remains a high-profit sanctuary for the Japanese auto industry. Not only are the Detroit companies’ American offerings excluded but so are their European ranges. The Koreans are completely excluded too. Except for a token handful of luxury European brands, the Japanese car market is virtually entirely Japanese.)
For all her alleged smarts and homework, nothing Hillary Clinton has said or done demonstrates that she understands that free-trade theory is based on a model with a highly flawed set of assumptions (full employment, no exchange rate cheating, no cross border investment flows, and so on). She seems unaware that in practice, not only does the theory not work as advertised, but that it inexorably undermines the U.S. industrial base, with all that that means for American jobs and wages.
Which is the real Clinton, the trade supporter or skeptic? Either way, the problem is that her trade record feeds one of the most damaging of the public’s negative perceptions of her: she is not trustworthy. Notwithstanding her claims to the contrary, she seems to have no enduring values and, lacking an eye on the long term, constantly allows short-term expedience to dictate her actions.