Third Party & Independents Archives

Michael Lind Offers Trump a Policy Framework

Corporate-Industrial Capitalism. Large trans-national corporations with supply chains extending around the world. Jurisdictions - whether local, national, or regional - competing for value-added suppliers in these trans-national chains of production and distribution to set up operations in their districts. Big Companies and how they affect America’s national security. High-wage value-added workers in manufacturing and related industries. Get it?

Or do we get it? Today's world is supposedly all about knowledge industries and small and medium sized business with a growing emphasis on green and high-tech, along with a vast underpaid army of service sector workers. Who can only prosper thanks to government directives on minimum wages. And lots of disruption. Who needs truck drivers? We'll soon have automated cars and trucks and ships (and maybe but say it quietly: automated planes). And truck drivers on average are old. And probably white, right? So who cares about them? They're the past. Replace their jobs with automation, give them a disability check, and hope they don't die from opioids.

Which world is it? Or rather, which worldview serves America best?

Michael Lind of New America, writing in the National Review, suggests today's world is more a case of the first option. One in which national security does, or should, play an important role. He calls it corporate-industrial capitalism, and he sketches out (for the benefit of the incoming administration) the policy implications of this world view. One he has spent some time developing. And the policy implications may not always delight conservatives. For example.

Lower corporate taxes and leave individual taxes relatively high. Whether he means lowering corporate taxes on certain industries is unclear. He adds industrial agriculture, energy, and mineral extraction to manufacturing, creating what is called the tradable sector of the economy. This is where the action should be, according to Lind. Because that's where the greater multiplier effects are. Sound Keynesian?

Wages should be high, because more workers would be working in value-added manufacturing industries (or tradable sector industries). This creates a large domestic market to act as a spring board for a trade policy that values national security highly. Ok, this is starting to sound a little like Peron in the late 40's, but Lind insists that Japan and Germany along with America, are the three nations that through their large domestic markets are the home of most of the planet's large manufacturing corporations. And quite frankly, Japan and Germany are far from the globalist-tech-libertarian-green utopias when it comes to their trade policy. They embody much of what Lind is suggesting. So try not to think of Peron and his 5 year plans.

Rather than individual responsibility and savings accounts for retirement and health insurance, Lind believes in maintaining the current social safety net which he describes, in very Keynesian terms, as counter-cyclical. Rather than retirement or health savings accounts which tend to move in conjunction with stock markets and economic cycles.

And immigration has to be targeted towards current employment needs and not be awash with low-skilled labor. With the priority always being American workers.

Lind's essay will provoke both the free-traders and fiscal conservatives, as well as immigration advocates and progressives - especially social justice warriors. But he has sketched out the rough outlines of what Trump's economic policy might be, and the reasons for it. In a concise and coherent way.

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