Methinks one of the rare national conservative talk radio hosts who still merits the descriptor "conservative", Mark Levin, is edging closer and closer to the #NeverTrump threshold by absolutely taking him down on one of his claimed signature issues:
Some cheer at these [global trade war] proposals, believing that Trump will, as he puts it, “Make America Great Again” (a campaign slogan lifted directly from the Reagan campaign over thirty years ago). Of course, these populist/nationalist/protectionist proclamations and policies are nothing new. The Progressive Republicans a century ago, including Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and Herbert Hoover, all embraced them. Even earlier, they were central to the short-lived People's Party, which was eventually swallowed by the Democrat Party’s progressive movement. However, the times of greatest economic growth and progress in America, resulting in the creation of the vast American middle class, grew not from government control and management of the economy by politicians and bureaucrats, but market capitalism. [emphases added]
Conclusion: Donald Trump is not an ideological capitalist, but an authoritarian statist.
While Trump and his surrogates denounce free trade, proclaiming that they stand with and for America’s working men and women, they find it hard to explain away the [m]illionaire's own practices for most of his business career. As it turns out, Trump has never shown any qualms about using foreign labor, foreign capital and even foreign-owned companies to service his personal interests and acquire wealth.
Even a cursory examination of Trump’s business dealings reveals that playing in international markets is a matter of routine for him. The Donald J. Trump Collection brand shirts, eyeglasses, perfume, cufflinks and suits are made in low-wage countries like Bangladesh, [Red] China, Honduras, and Mexico to keep costs down. And Ivanka Trump’s own product line imports 628 of its 838 items on offer.
Other Trump brand products such as shoes, ballpoint pens, soap and ties have been outsourced to [Red] China, Japan, Honduras, Brazil, Norway, Italy and Germany since 2006. And about 1,200 shipments of Trump brand goods have been imported into the United States by foreign companies since 2011. And for all Trump’s criticisms of foreigners stealing American jobs, nine of Trump’s companies have tried to import at least 1,100 foreign workers to America via short-term visas.
Trump’s foreign dealings are not limited to consumer products. The Trump Hotel Collection has locations in Panama, Rio de Janeiro, Ireland, Toronto, Vancouver and Azerbaijan. The Trump Real Estate Collection has Trump Towers in India, Istanbul, Uruguay and the Philippines, as well as Trump World in South Korea. Apparently, what’s good for Donald Trump Inc. is not good for Ford, Apple or any other American business. Trump knows best. [emphases added]
Conclusion: Like any orthodox liberal Democrat, Donald Trump is a flaming hypocrite who is "conservative" and "capitalist" when it comes to lining his own pockets but can't be bothered to extend that same freedom and courtesy to the rest of us because either (1) that might get in the way of his election gimmick or (2) he doesn't want the rest of us to enjoy the same economic freedoms that he has exploited to such uneven effect.
Again, just like an orthodox liberal Democrat.
This, then, is Levin's #SkepticalOfTrump challenge to The Donald and Trumplicans on the issue of trade:
[M]illions of hard-working, industrious, tax-paying Americans work in jobs that rely on commerce and trade with other countries. But it appears they don’t matter when “Making America Great Again.” You never heard about them.
Trump wants to use the power of the presidency to deny other Americans the ability to take advantage of global markets the way he has. The questions voters should be asking Trump are obvious: If international trade is so bad for America, why has he spent most of his business career engaging in it? And if commerce and trade kill American jobs, how has he managed to create tens of thousands of them using, in part, the wealth he acquired from overseas investments?
Does Trump believe his own rhetoric? He knows from his own behavior and experience that trade is generally good for the economy but condemns it anyway. Is this a purely cynical move to get votes, or is he intentionally engaging in business deals that he believes harm the United States, caring more about his personal wealth than the country? None of these scenarios inspire confidence in Trump. [emphases added]
NOTHING inspires confidence in Donald Trump. Whereas much inspires disgust and loathing for him to anybody who is (1) willing to pay attention and (2) isn't torturedly and rationalizingly playing the "Hillary makes Satan look like Jesus Christ" card. His "let's tax ChiComm and Japanese and Mexican, etc. imports into oblivion" battle cry - all of which would land not on overseas trading partners, but on poor, working, and middle class American consumers who would be "raped" every time they went shopping and with every one of the thousands or millions of lost jobs in export sectors gives the absolute lie to the charge that Trump has been "misrepresented" on taxes. Because tariffs ARE taxes:
Remember, a tariff is really just a tax, the cost of which is imposed on the American people. The higher the tariff, the higher the tax. Imagine what a 45% increase in the price of goods made, say, in Japan would do to a middle class family shopping for a Toyota or Honda. While Trump and his surrogates may have the money to pay the higher prices his policies would cause, many Americans – who are already having difficulty making ends meet – do not. [emphases added]
If Trump had any interest in truth in advertising, his campaign slogan would be "Making America Poor Again". Or, if he wants to continue ripping off Ronald Reagan, how about "It's the 1930s in America Again".
Pity so few will be able to afford the imported ball caps.