Jobs Report Discredits Anti-Tariff Fanatics

Christopher Roach makes a good point about those Chicken Little anti-tariff fanatics that say the economic sky is falling because of Trump working to get fair trade:

The conventional wisdom, at least for the last 70 years or so, strongly supports international free trade. It is rarely questioned, and the leaders of both political parties lock ranks when the doctrine is challenged. Those old enough to remember may recall Al Gore mocking Ross Perot in 1992 during their great NAFTA debate by using a photograph of the authors of the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which supposedly ushered in the Great Depression.

Last fall, when Trump called himself a “Tariff Man” and promised to push hard against China, the experts responded with increasingly dire warnings. Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, wrote, “Your tariffs could put us into a recession. The world’s other big economies are slowing, too. In 1930, Congressmen Smoot and Hawley championed isolationist tariffs that Herbert Hoover signed into law. They deepened the Great Depression.” Jibran Khan, writing in National Review in September, described the president as an “executive run amok.” Repeatedly, we were told by the business press that tariffs would cost American jobs.

It’s hard not to notice that we never heard any such Cassandra-like warnings when middle-class wages remained stagnant for decades or the Midwest became the Rust Belt, but when it comes to tariffs and free trade, the elite pipes up and speaks with one voice.

Instead of dire results, and in spite of some wobbling in the equities markets, we learned that December was one of the biggest months of job creation on record: 312,000. This far exceeded expectations and included a particular rebound in productive fields like manufacturing and construction.

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