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Donald Trump delivers the specifics we've been demanding in a massive trade policy speech
You wanted plans, you got plans.
I've been arguing that Trump needed to abandon his "light on specifics" approach to the 2016 election for a while now. Whether you love him or hate him, his constant attacks were wearing thin precisely because he wasn't offering concrete positions to serve as a foundation for his rhetoric. Yes, there were details available on his website, but they were fairly limited in scope and he wasn't doing much to promote them on the stump.
Lately, though, that's started to change. More and more Trump has been delivering speeches which, while still conveying his trademark attacks, have delivered a lot of substance as well.
Today, he presented a major address focusing on trade policy. You can argue that his approach won't work, and (as we can with all politicians) we can debate whether he'll be able to follow through, but you can no longer claim that he's failing to offer a vision. The speech was filled with specifics, plans, and goals - most of which sound pretty good.
Since I've knocked him for failing to offer details in the past, I figured it was only fair to present his newly-minted policy positions. The video of his speech appears below.
If I were a betting man, I'd put a few bucks on the notion that this speech (particularly the NAFTA segment) will resonate with an awful lot of average American voters. ...And I'd double down on the idea that an awful lot of those people voted Democrat in the last five or six elections.
Meanwhile, as this CNN panel admitted, Hillary is still offering....nothing.
Here's the official prepared transcript, via The Politico
It is great to be here. I'd like to thank Alumisource and all the amazing workers here for hosting us.
Today, I am going to talk about how to Make America Wealthy Again.
We are thirty miles from Steel City. Pittsburgh played a central role in building our nation.
The legacy of Pennsylvania steelworkers lives in the bridges, railways and skyscrapers that make up our great American landscape.
But our workers' loyalty was repaid with betrayal.
Our politicians have aggressively pursued a policy of globalization - moving our jobs, our wealth and our factories to Mexico and overseas.
Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very wealthy. But it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache.
When subsidized foreign steel is dumped into our markets, threatening our factories, the politicians do nothing.
For years, they watched on the sidelines as our jobs vanished and our communities were plunged into depression-level unemployment.
Many of these areas have still never recovered.
Our politicians took away from the people their means of making a living and supporting their families.
Skilled craftsmen and tradespeople and factory workers have seen the jobs they loved shipped thousands of miles away.
Many Pennsylvania towns once thriving and humming are now in a state despair.
This wave of globalization has wiped out our middle class.
It doesn't have to be this way. We can turn it all around - and we can turn it around fast.
But if we're going to deliver real change, we're going to have to reject the campaign of fear and intimidation being pushed by powerful corporations, media elites, and political dynasties.
The people who rigged the system for their benefit will do anything - and say anything - to keep things exactly as they are.
The people who rigged the system are supporting Hillary Clinton because they know as long as she is in charge nothing will ever change.
The inner cities will remain poor.
The factories will remain closed.
The borders will remain open.
The special interests will remain firmly in control.
Hillary Clinton and her friends in global finance want to scare America into thinking small - and they want to scare the American people out of voting for a better future.
My campaign has the opposite message.
I want you to imagine how much better your life can be if we start believing in America again.
I want you to imagine how much better our future can be if we declare independence from the elites who've led us to one financial and foreign policy disaster after another.
Our friends in Britain recently voted to take back control of their economy, politics and borders.
I was on the right side of that issue - with the people - while Hillary, as always, stood with the elites, and both she and president Obama predicted that one wrong.
Now it's time for the American people to take back their future.
That's the choice we face. We can either give in to Hillary Clinton's campaign of fear, or we can choose to Believe In America.
We lost our way when we stopped believing in our country.
America became the world's dominant economy by becoming the world's dominant producer.
The wealth this created was shared broadly, creating the biggest middle class the world had ever known.
But then America changed its policy from promoting development in America, to promoting development in other nations.
We allowed foreign countries to subsidize their goods, devalue their currencies, violate their agreements, and cheat in every way imaginable.
Trillions of our dollars and millions of our jobs flowed overseas as a result.
I have visited cities and towns across this country where a third or even half of manufacturing jobs have been wiped out in the last 20 years.
Today, we import nearly $800 billion more in goods than we export.
This is not some natural disaster. It is politician-made disaster.
It is the consequence of a leadership class that worships globalism over Americanism.
This is a direct affront to our Founding Fathers, who wanted America to be strong, independent and free.
Our Founding Fathers Understood Trade
George Washington said that "the promotion of domestic manufactur[ing] will be among the first consequences to flow from an energetic government.”
Alexander Hamilton spoke frequently of the "expediency of encouraging manufactur[ing] in the United States." The first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, warned that: "The abandonment of the protective policy by the American government… must produce want and ruin among our people."
Our original Constitution did not even have an income tax. Instead, it had tariffs - emphasizing taxation of foreign, not domestic, production.
Yet today, 240 years after the Revolution, we have turned things completely upside-down.
We tax and regulate and restrict our companies to death, then we allow foreign countries that cheat to export their goods to us tax-free.
As a result, we have become more dependent on foreign countries than ever before.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time to declare our economic independence once again.
That means reversing two of the worst legacies of the Clinton years.
America has lost nearly one-third of its manufacturing jobs since 1997 - even as the country has increased its population by 50 million people.
At the center of this catastrophe are two trade deals pushed by Bill and Hillary Clinton.
First, the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. Second, China's entry into the World Trade Organization.
NAFTA was the worst trade deal in history, and China's entrance into the World Trade Organization has enabled the greatest jobs theft in history.
It was Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA in 1993, and Hillary Clinton who supported it.
It was also Bill Clinton who lobbied for China's disastrous entry into the World Trade Organization, and Hillary Clinton who backed that terrible agreement.
Then, as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton stood by idly while China cheated on its currency, added another trillion dollars to our trade deficits, and stole hundreds of billions of dollars in our intellectual property.
The city of Pittsburgh, and the State of Pennsylvania, have lost one-third of their manufacturing jobs since the Clintons put China into the WTO.
Fifty thousand factories across America have shut their doors in that time.
Almost half of our entire manufacturing trade deficit in goods with the world is the result of trade with China.
It was also Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, who shoved us into a job-killing deal with South Korea in 2012.
As reported by the Economic Policy Institute in May, this deal doubled our trade deficit with South Korea and destroyed nearly 100,000 American jobs.
As Bernie Sanders said, Hillary Clinton "Voted for virtually every trade agreement that has cost the workers of this country millions of jobs.”
Trade reform, and the negotiation of great trade deals, is the quickest way to bring our jobs back.
To understand why trade reform creates jobs, we need to understand how all nations grow and prosper.
Massive trade deficits subtract directly from our Gross Domestic Product.
From 1947 to 2001 - a span of over five decades - our inflation-adjusted gross domestic product grew at a rate of 3.5%.
However, since 2002 - the year after we fully opened our markets to Chinese imports - that GDP growth rate has been cut almost in half.
What does this mean for Americans? For every one percent of GDP growth we fail to generate in any given year, we also fail to create over one million jobs.
America's "job creation deficit" due to slower growth since 2002 is well over 20 million jobs - and that's just about the number of jobs our country needs right now to put America back to work at decent wages.
The Transpacific-Partnership is the greatest danger yet.
The TPP would be the death blow for American manufacturing.
It would give up all of our economic leverage to an international commission that would put the interests of foreign countries above our own.
It would further open our markets to aggressive currency cheaters. It would make it easier for our trading competitors to ship cheap subsidized goods into U.S. markets - while allowing foreign countries to continue putting barriers in front of our exports.
The TPP would lower tariffs on foreign cars, while leaving in place the foreign practices that keep American cars from being sold overseas. The TPP even created a backdoor for China to supply car parts for automobiles made in Mexico.
The agreement would also force American workers to compete directly against workers from Vietnam, one of the lowest wage countries on Earth.
Not only will the TPP undermine our economy, but it will undermine our independence.
The TPP creates a new international commission that makes decisions the American people can't veto.
These commissions are great Hillary Clinton’s Wall Street funders who can spend vast amounts of money to influence the outcomes.
It should be no surprise then that Hillary Clinton, according to Bloomberg, took a “leading part in drafting the Trans-Pacific Partnership”.
She praised or pushed the TPP on 45 separate occasions, and even called it the “gold standard”.
Hillary Clinton was totally for the TPP just a short while ago, but when she saw my stance, which is totally against, she was shamed into saying she would be against it too – but have no doubt, she will immediately approve it if it is put before her, guaranteed.
She will do this just as she has betrayed American workers for Wall Street throughout her career.
Here’s how it would go: she would make a small token change, declare the pact fixed, and ram it through.
That’s why Hillary is now only saying she has problems with the TPP “in its current form,” – ensuring that she can rush to embrace it again at her earliest opportunity.
If the media doesn’t believe me, I have a challenge for you. Ask Hillary Clinton if she is willing to withdraw from the TPP her first day in office and unconditionally rule out its passage in any form.
There is no way to “fix” the TPP. We need bilateral trade deals. We do not need to enter into another massive international agreement that ties us up and binds us down.
A Trump Administration will change our failed trade policy - quickly
Here are 7 steps I would pursue right away to bring back our jobs.
One: I am going to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has not yet been ratified.
Two: I'm going to appoint the toughest and smartest trade negotiators to fight on behalf of American workers.
Three: I'm going to direct the Secretary of Commerce to identify every violation of trade agreements a foreign country is currently using to harm our workers. I will then direct all appropriate agencies to use every tool under American and international law to end these abuses.
Four: I'm going tell our NAFTA partners that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal for our workers. And I don't mean just a little bit better, I mean a lot better. If they do not agree to a renegotiation, then I will submit notice under Article 2205 of the NAFTA agreement that America intends to withdraw from the deal.
Five: I am going to instruct my Treasury Secretary to label China a currency manipulator. Any country that devalues their currency in order to take advantage of the United States will be met with sharply
Six: I am going to instruct the U.S. Trade Representative to bring trade cases against China, both in this country and at the WTO. China's unfair subsidy behavior is prohibited by the terms of its entrance to the WTO, and I intend to enforce those rules.
Seven: If China does not stop its illegal activities, including its theft of American trade secrets, I will use every lawful presidential power to remedy trade disputes, including the application of tariffs consistent with Section 201 and 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 and Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
President Reagan deployed similar trade measures when motorcycle and semiconductor imports threatened U.S. industry. His tariff on Japanese motorcycles was 45% and his tariff to shield America’s semiconductor industry was 100%.
Hillary Clinton, and her campaign of fear, will try to spread the lie that these actions will start a trade war. She has it completely backwards.
Hillary Clinton unleashed a trade war against the American worker when she supported one terrible trade deal after another – from NAFTA to China to South Korea.
A Trump Administration will end that war by getting a fair deal for the American people.
The era of economic surrender will finally be over.
A new era of prosperity will finally begin.
America will be independent once more.
Under a Trump Presidency, the American worker will finally have a President who will protect them and fight for them.
We will stand up to trade cheating anywhere and everywhere it threatens an American job.
We will make America the best place in the world to start a business, hire workers, and open a factory.
This includes massive tax reform to lift the crushing burdens on American workers and businesses.
We will also get rid of wasteful rules and regulations which are destroying our job creation capacity.
Many people think that these regulations are an even greater impediment than the fact that we are one of the highest taxed nations in the world.
We are also going to fully capture America’s tremendous energy capacity. This will create vast profits for our workers and begin reducing our deficit. Hillary Clinton wants to shut down energy production and shut down the mines.
A Trump Administration will also ensure that we start using American steel for American infrastructure.
Just like the American steel from Pennsylvania that built the Empire State building.
It will be American steel that will fortify American's crumbling bridges.
It will be American steel that sends our skyscrapers soaring into the sky.
It will be American steel that rebuilds our inner cities.
It will be American hands that remake this country, and it will be American energy - mined from American resources - that powers this country.
It will be American workers who are hired to do the job.
We are going to put American-produced steel back into the backbone of our country. This alone will create massive numbers of jobs.
On trade, on immigration, on foreign policy, we are going to put America First again.
We are going to make America wealthy again.
We are going to reject Hillary Clinton's politics of fear, futility, and incompetence.
We are going to embrace the possibilities of change.
It is time to believe in the future.
It is time to believe in each other.
It is time to Believe In America.
This Is How We Are Going To Make America Great Again – For All Americans.
We Are Going To Make America Great Again For Everyone – Greater Than Ever Before.