I’m betting this story is about one of those leaks by White House staffers who’s worried about the republican President Donald J. Trump making major policy decisions based on reports with no supporting evidence, studies, references, etc.
In this case an economist Peter Navarro who has the president’s ear has been sharing with him documentation which claims “Socioeconomic Costs” of the decline of the country’s manufacturing industry include consequences, such as “Higher Divorce Rate,” “Increased Drug/Opioid Use,” “Rising Mortality Rate,” “Higher Abortion Rate,” among many others. And all of this has been delivered to the president without any supporting data. If this is an example of the type of material that he will be utilizing to base his thinking about what tactics to take regarding NAFTA then “we the people” are in big trouble.
This presidential adviser has credentials which at first glance, appear impressive like a Harvard Ph.D. in economics. But out of the conspiracy minded personnel who started out early in the president’s administration like Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, General Mike Flynn, Sebastian Gorka, it is Mr. Navarro who is the looniest.
As per a February 12, 2017 Politico report”The Most Dangerous Man in Trump World “by Jacob Heilbrunn, the author expresses concern about “how Peter Navarro could lead us into a global depression—or worse.”
“He has a long and colorful history of China-bashing (just check out his bizarre scaremongering documentaries), which makes Chinese officials nervous. He seems to think that every one of Chinese economic successes comes at U.S. expense.”
“This truculent approach represents an abrupt departure from the philosophy that has governed U.S. and global trade policy for the past half-century. Since the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, the foundation of the world order has been an open international economic system designed to prevent a recurrence of the trade wars of the 1930s. The U.S. profited enormously from this arrangement—which rested on institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank—establishing what the historian Melvyn Leffler called a “preponderance of power” in Europe and Asia in order to combat the rising Soviet empire. Even after the Cold War, the system has ushered in what amounts to a golden economic age for the U.S. and its partners.”
“Navarro is proposing to upend all this. But don’t expect to see big gains accruing to the U.S. from his stringent trade policies. Quite the contrary. The more likely result is that Germany, Mexico, China and other countries will simply retaliate against, or bypass, the U.S., and an isolated Washington could find itself trapped in the spiral of a worldwide economic depression. By all means, fear the possible hot war with Iran that Bannon and Flynn might be plotting. But also fear the conflict that is far more likely if Navarro wields his influence successfully: a global trade war.”
“Navarro is the obverse of economists who somewhat euphorically believe that trade will bring about peaceful relations with other countries, and he poses the opposite problem: He’s a hard-line mercantilist who insists that military confrontation with some trading partners is almost inevitable. In this, he throws Economics 101 out the window. The classical economist David Ricardo offered a fundamental insight at the heart of the case for free trade—the theory of comparative advantage. He noted that if one country can produce a good at a lower marginal cost than another, they can each focus on what they manufacture best for mutual gain—exactly what is happening today. Navarro will have none of this. He’s a zero-sum economist, who, like Trump, believes that every item not made in the U.S. represents the theft of an American job.”
Here is the rest of the story...
On October 17, 2017, Damian Paletta of the Washington Post penned the following report, “Internal White House documents allege manufacturing decline increases abortions, infertility, and spousal abuse.”
“White House officials working on trade policy were alarmed last month when a top adviser to President Trump circulated a two-page document that alleged a weakened manufacturing sector leads to an increase in abortion, spousal abuse, divorce and infertility, two people familiar with the matter said.”
“The fact-sheets, which were obtained by The Washington Post, were prepared and distributed by Peter Navarro, director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy. They were presented without any data or information to back up the assertions, and reveal some of the materials the Trump administration reviewed as it was crafting its trade policy.”
“Two administration officials confirmed the authenticity of the documents. The fact-sheets have emerged as the administration has threatened to withdraw from a free trade agreement with South Korea and is taking a hard-line stance against Canada and Mexico in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.”
“The fourth round of talks wrapped up on Tuesday amid pointed remarks and with few signs of progress. Negotiators said the talks would have to be extended beyond the original deadline into 2018.”
“The administration has repeatedly linked the decline in U.S. manufacturing to NAFTA and other trade agreements, claiming the deals were bad for U.S. workers.”
“Navarro has urged Trump to favor bilateral trade agreements over regional ones such as NAFTA, and he supported the president’s decision to abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership. His documents alarmed other White House officials, who worried that such unverified information could end up steering White House policy, the two administration officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the internal documents, which were not released publicly.”
“The documents Navarro circulated list what he alleges are the problems that have resulted from a “weakened manufacturing base.” Some of the consequences are economic, including “lost jobs,” “depressed wages,” and “closed factories.”
“But a separate sheet claims “Socioeconomic Costs” of the decline of the country’s manufacturing industry, such as “Higher Divorce Rate,” “Increased Drug/Opioid Use,” “Rising Mortality Rate,” “Higher Abortion Rate,” among many others.
“Navarro, an economist, is part of a wing of small but influential White House advisers that believe decades of free trade policies have decimated the U.S. manufacturing base and allowed other countries, such as China, Mexico, and Canada to take advantage of the U.S. They blame U.S. reliance on exports for hurting U.S. manufacturing, something Trump has promised to reverse.”
“Two administration officials gave differing accounts of Navarro’s memo, which was prepared and shared last month. One described the documents as staff level, but another said the paperwork was shared with cabinet secretaries during internal deliberations.”
“Though Trump has called NAFTA the “worst agreement ever,” he has heard from a cacophony of voices within the White House on how he should proceed on his trade threats.”
“White House National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn has tried to press Trump to be cautious, worried about what abrupt changes might mean for the United States and the global economy. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has focused much of his attention on dealing with what he views as trade imbalances between the United States and China, though some of those decisions have also been delayed as the White House has focused on NAFTA.”
“Navarro had worked in the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, a new division created by Trump after the inauguration. But the office was recently folded into the White House National Economic Council. Despite losing his official senior perch within the administration, Navarro remains influential and has argued for a harder line on trade.”
Related Article: The Most Dangerous Man in Trump World? – POLITICO Magazine 2/12/17