I came across this interview on PBS News (Making Sense of Financial News) in which Paul Solman interviews economic historian Adam Tooze about the historical context of Trump’s economic policies. Tooze wrote an excellent book about the economics of World War II Germany entitled “The Wages of Destruction” – well worth a read.
He refers to Trump’s policies as nationalism, with a commitment to the redevelopment of American manufacturing and industrial jobs. He cites the following historical events which Trump has seized ownership of.
- 1933 and 1938 – the New Deal under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the origins of the modern public sector – government-driven infrastructure spending.
- 1950s, in which the Eisenhower administration brings about the modern interstate highway system.
He does have concerns about Trump’s aggressive trade policy of protecting United States manufacturing industries and sees a depreciating US dollar, higher US interest rates and a collapse in the market for US debt. However Trump’s rhetoric only applies to approximately 15% of the US labour force. Tooze believes that the appeal of Trump to the voters was that he offered hope for ordinary Americans to be able to earn a living based on the historical context of nationalism.