22 October 2015

Donald Trump wants to overthrow American capitalism


Donald Trump’s campaign still hasn’t blown up or caved in, or whatever it was supposed to do when he announced his candidacy in June. In fact, he remains the Republican frontrunner: 42 percent of Republican-leaning voters consider him most likely to win the GOP nomination, while 43 percent think he has the best chance of winning the general election.

With that in mind, Republicans should be taking a look at just how pro-business the frontrunner of the pro-business party actually is.

Charles Lane at the Washington Post has been doing just that, writing a fantastic and brutal take-down of Trump’s declaration to wage regulatory war on Ford Motor Co. if the company even thinks of building a plant in Mexico. Trump has threatened a 35 percent tax on every car manufactured south of the border, regardless of NAFTA, property rights, or common sense. Of course, such a policy would be a disaster. It might keep some jobs in the US, but at the loss of 1) Ford’s productivity, 2) the autonomy and ownership of private American businesses, and 3) investors’ faith in the US business climate.

Even if Trump considers this a legitimate trade-off, his whole premise that the US would lose out by Ford moving its plant is just plain wrong. As Lane explains:

“Trump was therefore also wrong to tell Wallace that ‘When Ford moves their massive plant to Mexico, we get nothing. We lose all of these jobs.’ Actually, what we get are the benefits of a dynamic, efficient economy, with robust property rights, in which resources flow to their most productive use.”

That’s a simple economic lesson most commonly thrown at Democrats like Bernie Sanders than representatives of America’s party of enterprise. Lane calls it: “a remarkable take on capitalism for a Republican, this vision of the president thuggishly telling private business managers what they can and cannot do with their property.” He’s right.

Yesterday, when CapX Editor Iain Martin reported on Joe Biden’s announcement he would not be running, he had this to say:

“Is someone going to stop Trump? Who? Anyone? Please? There is time but time is getting on. It can’t be Trump v Hillary. What a choice. Lots of sensible Republicans would have to vote for Hillary.”

Indeed, faced with that choice it would be hard for pro-market Republicans not to give Hillary their support. Not only has she come out against business monopolies and promised to promote more competition, but she also seems to understand that business owners get to decide where to run their operations. Oh, and she’s not considering breaking off friendly relations with South Korea in a dispute over television sets either.

With Trump’s protectionist, antagonistic and belligerent misconceptions about US trade and ownership, even Bernie Sanders looks like a viable alternative. After all, he only wants to limit deodorant brands. Trump wants to overthrow American capitalism.

Rachel Cunliffe is Deputy Editor of CapX.