Trump’s Trade Threats Aren’t Scaring Anyone

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Over at Wonkblog, Elizabeth Winkler says that Donald Trump’s trade threats seem to be working:

Since January, G-20 countries have imposed 29 percent fewer protectionist policies than they did in the same period in 2016. And it’s not because the United States is playing nice: Since January, U.S. policymakers have imposed 26 percent more protectionist policies on its G-20 peers than during the same period a year before, according to the report.

….Caroline Freund, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, calls this a “backlash to the backlash against globalization.”…“If [Trump] is going to go on a trade rampage, they don’t want to attract extra attention by imposing new measures,” Freund said.

Technically these figures are correct. But they’re pretty misleading. The other G20 countries have cut back on their trade actions against everybody in the G20, not just the US:

In 2017 so far, G20 countries have cut back on protectionist activities against the US by 29 percent, but they’ve cut back against everyone else by 46 percent. Here’s how this translates: last year, only 9 percent of G20 protectionism was aimed at the US. This year it’s 12 percent.

This suggests a harsher relative attitude toward the US this year, not a milder one. The real difference here is that the rest of the G20 is trying to cut back overall on protectionist activities while the US isn’t. But thanks to Trump’s threats, they’re not cutting back very much against the US. It doesn’t seem as if anyone is really all that afraid of him.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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