Germany Is Now In the Trump Trade Crosshairs

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


I see that Peter Navarro, one of our many new trade gurus, is taking a break from attacking China and is now attacking Germany. Why? Because it’s unfair that the euro area has lots of weak countries that have collectively produced a weak euro, which gives Germany an advantage in its export business. This is all true enough, and I’m no fan of 21st century German economic policy, but it’s a little pointless right now. The euro isn’t going away, and neither is the fact that Europe’s overall economy is in pretty poor shape.

Still, I’ve been wondering when Germany would come into the crosshairs of the Trump administration. There’s a pretty obvious reason to attack them:

Japan has mostly escaped Trump’s ire for some reason, but I imagine they’re next. After that, I guess Ireland is up to bat. None of this jawboning is likely to do any good, however. As long as the dollar stays strong, we’re going to have trade deficits. And so far it’s staying pretty strong:

Trump says he wants the trade deficit to decline. This means he wants our trade surplus to increase (from negative to zero), and for that to happen net national savings also have to increase. This is an accounting identity. Now, Trump very plainly has no plans to increase public saving by attacking the budget deficit. In fact, his tax plans will almost certainly explode the deficit to around the trillion dollar territory, which will reduce public saving. This means that private saving would need to increase by a trillion dollars or so for the trade deficit to go away. What are the odds of that?

Trump and his team can blather all they want. But if they want the trade deficit to decline, they need a weaker dollar and higher national savings. Nothing they’re doing points in the direction of either one of those things. Until that happens, it’s all just hot air.

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate