Trump’s 200-day trade plan says absolutely nothing except that things are “unfair”
The Trump transition team has been hard at work getting ready to actually take over the White House, and we’re starting to get some clues about what that might look like, for better or worse (so far, it’s been fucking terrible). A memo obtained by CNN outlines Donald Trump’s 200-day trade plan, but there aren’t a lot of answers as to what’s actually going to happen. But what the hell did you expect from a guy who likes keeping people in suspense?
The plan has benchmarks for Day 1, Day 100, and Day 200, and it is all about getting rid of everything that is “unfair,” in addition to two specific actions the president-elect plans on taking his first week. On Day 1, Trump wants to renegotiate the terms of the North American Federal Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This negotiating will allegedly go on for a full 200 days, and if they can’t work anything out, the U.S. will withdraw from NAFTA on day 200. OK, that really tells us nothing about the kind of deal he wants.
The other first day plan is to get rid of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This is sort of amusing, since he spoke about it a lot on the campaign trail, but senators from both parties have no plans to ratify TPP this session, so it’s pretty much already dead and done with. So that won’t really be an achievement as much as something that just doesn’t happen.
I get that putting achievable goals on a to-do list is essential to success, but when it comes to TPP, it’s sort of like a person with no dog saying that they save money on dog food when it comes to their budget. That doesn’t really count. But we’re supposed to be giving this man and his white nationalist, xenophobic, racist team a chance right?
Other than not letting Congress ratify TPP (even though no one plans on doing so anyway) and renegotiating NAFTA, the other major points for the first 200 days revolve around getting rid of everything that is “unfair” about American economics. He wants to end “unfair imports,” end “unfair trade practices,” and “retain and return manufacturing jobs.” There’s also a note about pursuing “bilateral trade deals,” which is supposedly what will happen after they get out of NATFA.
This plan is just for “discussion purposes only,” according to CNN, so this is maybe just a blueprint and they’re still working on the finer points. Why are they still figuring out what the hell Trump means by “unfair?” It’s the same shit he said on the campaign trail, he still can’t define the problems, and he still has no solutions as to how to solve them. So nothing new here.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Trump was back to tweeting about how “unfair” coverage of him was in The New York Times instead of figuring out what the hell he means by “unfair imports.” He’s also called the protests in the wake of the election unfair. And the debates unfair. And the entire electoral process. He’s even called Alec Baldwin’s supreme impersonation of him unfair.
By calling things unfair, Trump basically shuts down the conversation and misses nuance. His tendency to call things unfair and kick and scream instead of listen is almost as scary as Steve Bannon. Because he thinks the media is “unfair,” Trump blocked the press pool from covering him on Tuesday night. You know who also thinks certain ideas are unfair and then tries to shut them down? North Korea’s Kim Jon Un.
So sure, call import deals unfair, but then specify which ones and what’s unfair about them and how to best fix them to make them work for the country. You can’t just complain about things.