What do you Americans think of this trade war that Trump has started?
A lot of people are really clueless about what a trade deficit is. I've literally talked to people who thought that a trade deficit basically meant that a country was stealing from us. If we have a $30b trade deficit with Norway, they think that means that Norway still has to pay $30b to us.
Basically by their logic, if I go to Walmart and buy $10 worth of stuff, Walmart owes me $10 because now I have a $10 trade deficit.
Even more problematic is that the US does a massive amount of services, even for other countries. We actually had a surplus against China when you take that into account.
So the justification for the trade war is based on false assumptions.
Growing up, I thought that having more tariffs ought not to be a bad thing. We have a giant debt and deficit and I figured that tariffs could be a way to pay off some of it.
But of course, things are hardly that simple. For two reasons. Other countries can do the same to us, and a lot of businesses are dependent on trading certain things. A lot of manufacturing companies were getting very worried about the steel and aluminum tariffs.
Whether the issue is just that we are putting tariffs on things that are too important or putting tariffs on things in general isn't helpful, I don't know enough to be sure which is correct.
But overall, it seems way more damaging than it is worth.