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Comment of the Day: ” Think of the Republicans as a criminal gang, where anybody can be whacked at any time…”

Global Charm
On the Western Coast
Times Pick

At this point, does it even make sense to speak of “international trade”?

The really large businesses operate globally. Bribing local officials is pretty much routine.

The current difficulties over NAFTA are intended to put pressure on companies that have integrated their operations. Exceptions will have to be bought from Trump and his Republican enablers. The Republican base actually admires this, much as a gang member admires the toughness of his or her boss. The falsity of the “national defense” rationale is part of the appeal, just as the falsity of Evangelical theology appeals to the people who want to force it onto others.

If Trump’s trade policy appears to defy logic, it’s a sign that you’re using the wrong logic. Think of the Republicans as a criminal gang, where anybody can be whacked at any time, but more like the IRA than the Mafia. It’s American, not Manchurian, and will be much, much harder to be rid of.



I’ve been saying for years that the notion of a trade deficit between the U.S. and its allies, and indeed, many of its enemies, is absurd — it’s like a trade imbalance between say California and Oklahoma. And trade with our so-called enemies, facilitating their integration into the global economy, is probably the single most effective way to facilitate change in those societies as global trade leads to improved economic conditions, which leads to less uncertainty about things like how am I going to feed my family, which leads to a growing interest in improving social conditions, personal freedom, and participation in society. Unfortunately, many of the policies pursued in this country since the Reagan revolution have undermined those conditions, leading to the kind of uncertainty that results in people preferring strong man — who they believe will at least keep them safe — to the messy uncertainly of democracy and, indeed, the market. I find it ironic that the very people who are doing the most to undermine our society do it in the name of personal freedom, the market, and, of course, religion (their religion that is, they don’t care about freedom of or from religion any more than they care individual freedom).


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