The Spanish Flu Didn’t Wreck the Global Economy
What Is Different About the Coronavirus Pandemic?
During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump had a consistent message for American workers: You have been betrayed by elites mesmerized by globalization and multilateralism. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are the problems, he said, not the solutions to stagnant wages and unemployment. Trump promised to bring back jobs by adopting an “America First” economic nationalism. That fiery message helped get him elected. But now Trump faces a problem: His solutions won’t work, and his supporters will soon realize that they’ve been had.
Few would reject Trump’s goals. He wants to ensure that American firms remain competitive and that the country’s trade partners do not discriminate against U.S. producers. But no matter how fervently he and his supporters believe it, Trump’s trade policies won’t help reestablish America’s once-commanding positions in such