Is protectionism a good thing for America? Probably not. Free trade among countries is desirable. Of course, it should be fair as well but swinging to the side of protectionism seems dangerous.
The language of protectionism is also similar to the language of the 1930s where the Smoot-Hawley tariff extended the Great Depression. The great majority of economists then and ever since view the Act, and the ensuing retaliatory tariffs by America’s trading partners, as responsible for reducing American exports and imports by more than half. Not a great result to be sure. It is worth noting that both Reed Smoot and Willis Hawley were defeated for reelection in 1932, the depression had worsened for workers and farmers despite their promises of prosperity with a high tariff
It seems like Mr. Trump is a pretty competitive person. Why not allow the market to sort it all out? What is wrong with competing on quality and price. Years ago “Made in Japan” was not a good thing. That has changed. Competition made it happen.
After the recent spate of primary elections, many are saying that it is inevitable that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee in the 2016 election. If Donald Trump were to become President and enact the policies he has espoused on the campaign trail — signature policies such as his call for China and Mexico tariffs (the latter to build his famous wall), those policies will be the biggest job-killer we have seen since the Great Depression. Bernie Sanders, also doing much better than anyone had expected advocates the same brand of protectionist policies.