The Wall Street Journal led off one of its Wednesday editorials with this gem.
The great counterfactual of the Trump Presidency is how much faster the economy would be growing without the damage of his trade protectionism.
Never mind that the great counterfactual of the FDR and Wilson Presidencies (among others) is how much better off the nation would be without the damage of their warfighting.
Once again, WSJ Editors choose to misconstrue the nature of tariffs as tools of international diplomacy and conflict with the nature of tariffs as protectionism. International conflict unavoidably involves domestic damage.
The real consideration is whether today’s temporary damage from deploying tariffs as tools is worth the long-term gain. Was the damage suffered in those wars worth avoiding the damage of abject surrender to brutal conquerors, worth the gains from winning those wars?
Would these Editors prefer abject economic surrender to the PRC, the payment of our intellectual property and technological advances to the PRC as tribute, to be followed inevitably by political subjugation after the collapse of our economy, to the long-term gains of getting a more honest trade regime?