Economy Trade

No, The (Non-Existent) Jobs Aren’t Coming Back

Written by SK Ashby

Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner spoke at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Saudi Arabia this morning where he acknowledged that Trump's trade war has come with considerable costs, but the cost is worth it, he said.

It's worth paying the price for Trump's trade war now, Kushner says, because of something that's never actually going to happen.

Kushner acknowledged that the trade dispute with China, which has heaped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of each others’ goods, has had political costs for Trump.

“All of the costs of it, the tariffs, the retaliation that people have put on, he’s paid the price for, during his presidency,” Kushner said.

But he said the trade deals that result from such disputes will bring back jobs to the United States.

We could be extraordinarily and unreasonably generous and assume that Trump will eventually strike a deal to completely end his trade war and roll back all of our tariffs on Chinese goods and all of China's retaliatory tariffs on American goods.

It doesn't appear that's ever going to happen but, even if it did, it still wouldn't "bring back jobs" to the United States. You can't bring back jobs that no longer exist in the world.

Even China is facing a relatively near future in which jobs are either automated or shipped to other countries with even lower costs associated with them such as Vietnam. And those countries, by the way, are members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that Trump unilaterally withdrew from after the Obama administration spearheaded efforts to ensure that the text of the deal was beneficial to the United States. Language that benefits the United States was removed from the deal after Trump's withdrawal.

But the uncertain future of global production is the long term. In the short term, Trump's "greatest and biggest deal ever" will not roll back any of his tariffs and won't fundamentally alter our trade relationship with China or any other nation. It will hardly change anything at all except allow soybean farmers to finally sell their stock from last year's harvest.

It probably goes without saying that it's very easy for Jared Kushner to say Trump's trade war is worth the cost because Kushner hasn't had to pay for any of the costs.