The Heritage Foundation, the Club for Growth, and Stephen Moore Have No Principles Whatsoever. Why Do You Ask?

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Now that Stephen Moore has signed up with Donald Trump, he is opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership. Why? When I was on Trish Regan's show with him, he made four points about TPP:

  1. The agreement is long, and has lots of pages in it.
  2. The agreement does not commit the Asians to stop copying our intellectual property.
  3. The agreement does allow the U.S. to impose retaliatory penalties on other signatories if they do copy our intellectual property, but they will copy anyway.
  4. The agreement is unlike NAFTA, which is a good thing.

But only six short months ago...

No intellectual principles whatsoever. None:

Larry Kudlow, Arthur Laffer, and Stephen Moore (2015): TPP Good For Both Sides Of The Pacific:

Passage of this law would allow the completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade agreement that would cover most of our Asian trading partners (excluding China). The U.S.-Asia trade zone would rival the European Union in size. It would be good for both sides of the Pacific.... The protectionist arguments have been consistently wrong: Employment won’t decline, wages won’t drop, foreigners won’t exploit children and there won’t be a giant sucking sound coming out of Mexico due to freer trade...

Stephen Moore (2015): The GOP's Growing Rift on Trade:

Here’s my big worry right now, as you follow what’s happened in the last year or so and especially in the last six weeks or so. I’m very nervous that Republicans are becoming a kind of ‘close the border’ party—close the border to people, close the border to goods and services. And that’s bad economics. It’s terrible economics. And that’s the wrong direction. I worry that the party is going down this Pat Buchanan wing of the party—that’s now the Donald Trump wing—is ascendant. There’s now becoming a rift within the party between the ‘build the wall’ party and the—I think—the party Reagan [built]...

Stephen Moore and Larry Kudlow(2015): Donald Trump's Protectionism Is Worrisome:

The last American president who was a trade protectionist was Republican Herbert Hoover. Obviously, Hoover’s economic strategy didn’t turn out so well--either for the nation or for the GOP. Does Trump aspire to be a 21st-century Hoover, with a modernized platform of the 1930 Smoot-Hawley tariff, which collapsed the banking system and helped send the U.S. and the world economy into a decade-long depression? We can’t help wondering whether the recent panic in world financial markets is in part a result of the Trump assault on free trade....

The Trump Fortress America platform.... He would prohibit American companies such as Ford from building plants in Mexico. He moans pessimistically that “China is eating our lunch” and “sucking the blood out of the U.S.” But... strategic tax cuts and regulatory relief--not trade and immigration barriers--are the solution to America’s competitiveness deficit.... Free trade is... [a] prosperity building block.... Trump’s call for tariffs as high as 35 percent is worrisome in the extreme.... Take the Ford plant in Mexico. If it’s more profitable for Ford to produce trucks in Mexico, fine. As the supply of Mexican trucks rises, incomes for all Mexicans go up. These same Mexicans then go out and spend their new money--not just on domestic products, but on U.S. goods and services available on the market, thus building up the U.S. economy. It’s win-win....

Slapping Trump’s punitive tariff on imported Chinese goods would hurt America at least as much as Beijing. The same is true for rolling back Reagan’s NAFTA--a great success. Mexico is now our second-largest export market.... China is our number-one import market, with Canada second and Mexico third. Do we really want to pick an economic war with them?... Any lurch toward protectionism in America would give other nations an easy excuse to erect higher trade barriers. The ensuing domino effect could shut down the global trading system.... Trump’s... 35 percent tariff on imported goods would represent the biggest tax increase on U.S. consumers in modern times....

Trade is also vital to American jobs... the greatest antidote to poverty and deprivation in the world’s history.... Growth... exploded... under Republican Reagan and Democrat Clinton, both of whom were free traders who favored legal immigration.

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