“Trump in one year is already better than sixteen years of [George W. Bush and Barack Obama] put together,” said former Wall Street Journal editor Brett M. Decker, pointing to a current 17-year high in consumer confidence.
Decker, an expert on Asia and the bestselling author of Bowing to Beijing: How Barack Obama Is Hastening America’s Decline and Ushering a Century of Chinese Domination, joined Friday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Tonight with Breitbart News’s Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon and Senior Editor-at-Large Rebecca Mansour.
“The leading indicator, when you dig into the data on why consumer confidence is high, is because people are anticipating higher wages,” said Decker. “The economy and consumer, they work logically. … What you’re seeing [are] the consequences of positive policy.”
President Donald Trump’s economic policies incentivize economic investment in America, said Decker, noting the mobility of capital in the modern era. “Businesses and consumers are [responding] logically” to the Trump administration’s economic policies, he added.
Decker rejected narratives crediting former President Barack Obama’s economic policies with recently developing economic figures during Trump’s presidential tenure, framing such assertions as “absolutely crazy”: “You look at the unemployment numbers, and it’s 4.1 percent. I look at Obama and Bush kind of combined, when I look at their block of sixteen years. Anyone that says this is inheriting some kind of Obama economy, he had eight years, and in 2010, the unemployment rate was 9.6 percent, absolutely crazy. … This idea that it has anything to do with Obama is absolutely crazy.”
Dropping unemployment rates, said Decker, will not be welcomed by all persons or interests. “Big business” interests, he said, prefer higher rates of unemployment given their depressive effects on wages. He also praised Trump’s emphasis on expanding domestic manufacturing. “When there are fewer people looking for jobs, you have to pay those few people more to take those jobs. What scares me about this is big business … seeing the unemployment numbers go down, and they’re like, ‘Oh, no. We’re going to have to pay these people more. We better call Paul Ryan and get him to flood us with cheap immigrant labor.’ So not everybody who looks at these numbers gets excited. There are different kinds of reactions.”
Decker went on to say that “one of [his] favorite things that Trump has done [was when] he was with some of the automakers, and he pointed to the head of Toyota of America, he said, ‘You have to build plants here.’ Within a short period of time, Toyota canceled a factory they were building in Mexico and said they were going to put it in the U.S., instead. What is that, a few thousand extra manufacturing jobs?”
Decker added, “Trade policy, I think, is one of the clearest areas where, if you look at the deindustrialization of America, how much government policy matters. The period between 1994, when NAFTA was passed, and 2014, a 20-year period … our trade deficit with [Canada and Mexico] went up 430 percent. … We get zero benefit out of these trade deals.”
America’s hemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs to other countries, said Decker, was economically disadvantageous: “Fundamentally, I think most people know in their heart of hearts, you can’t just be a consumer economy. If you want to consume anything, you have to make something. We’ve had decades of policy where we just decided we didn’t have to make anything anymore.”
Neo-conservative predictions of China’s political liberalization resulting from its deeper integration into the global economy had not borne out, said Bannon and Decker, with the former describing it as “one of biggest strategic mistakes” of modern Western political leadership.
Decker said, “This idea that you see among the neo-con right is, if you make [China] richer, eventually they’re gonna get more economic freedom. People are gonna demand more political freedom.” Bannon responded, “Oops. That was a miss,” and Decker agreed. “That was one of the biggest strategic mistakes,” said Bannon, adding, “When they look back at the history of this thing a hundred years from now, the Clinton and Bush administrations, the strategic miscalculation about China will go down in history as one of the greatest failures of the elites and the leadership of this country – the mid-nineties to up until, really, President Trump came on the scene, the whole ‘China’s gonna change.’”