Try building your cars in the US – what a great idea

During his visit to Japan, the US President came upon a sudden revelation. He said “Try building your cars in the United States instead of shipping them over.” What a great idea! The nice part is Japan automakers are already building cars in Tennessee (Nissan), Ohio (Honda) and Kentucky (Toyota). Last time I checked, those three states are part of the US.

What sometimes gets lost in his bluster, demonization and excessive tweeting is a man who is not steeped in history, geography or current events. Nor, as folks who work with him have said, does he shows much interest in learning or doing homework to make himself more aware. So, we must live with John Belushi’s less-studious character in the movie “Animal House,” when he spoke of the “Germans bombing Pearl Harbor,” as our President.

How should Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe react to such an uninformed statement by our President? I wonder if he looked at an adviser and nonverbally conveyed “really?” Does the US President know BMWs are made in South Carolina, Volkswagens are made in Tennessee and Mercedes and Hyundais are made in Alabama, e.g.?

When we talk about global trade and jobs, we cannot overlook what these foreign companies and many others are doing here. They are employing American workers. The focus tends to look only at jobs lost and not jobs gained by global trade. That inappropriately simplifies the issue and leads to wrong conclusions.

Global trade increases the economic pie, especially when the global needs are nurtured. That is a key premise of the Nash Equilibrium which won a Nobel Prize for its creator John Nash. Yes, we need to be mindful of jobs lost and provide restorative action. This could range from retraining to recruiting new businesses or looking for trade-offs. The same strategy holds true with the more significant culprit in job loss, technology advances.

Initially, I thought the now President was over-simplifying things to sell his messiah-like message. Only I can solve your problems, believe me, he has said in numbers of ways. As award winning author Thomas Friedman said about the President, “He has no second paragraph.” The sad truth is the President has no second paragraph because he may not know what comes next.

A President does not need to know everything – that person cannot possibly fulfill that mission. But, we must have one that knows more things than this one does and who does not lie or bluff when he does not. And, if does not know, he need not be afraid of learning.

20 thoughts on “Try building your cars in the US – what a great idea

    • Raye, the President’s biographers and business reporters have usually not been too keen on his management skills. He gets higher marks for his selling ability. So, per the words of conservative pundit David Brooks, we have a White House of “chaos and incompetence.” So, to your point, no one is minding the store. Keith

    • Dave, thanks for opining. Short answer is yes, as we would not be pulling out of the Paris accord, we would be shoring up the imperfect ACA and we would not be promoting environmental threatening changes. I also think the decline in civil rights for some would not have occurred.

      She is a horrible candidate, but her marks as a Senator were high and she did some good things as Secretary of State. I also believe we need to improve the lot of women around the world and here and she would have been an ambassador for that.

      Would we have other problems? Yes, as the GOP led Congress would have committee after committee to continue to discredit her. And, her imperfections (real and embellished) would have constantly been exposed. Yet, per Michael Bloomberg, the former Mayor of New York, who knew both of them, she is the sane choice. One Republican pundit who voted for Hillary said, he at least knew what he would be getting out of her. Who knows with Trump?

      Right now, things are so tribal in our country, we are collaborating less than before. And, that is a shame. As an Independent, neither side can claim all the good ideas and both have some bad ones. It frustrates me that my most recent former party does not care about the deficit and debt. And, the party of my youth tends to forget that we need to pay for things.

      So, I would be breathing easier with Clinton in charge. The current leader is a daily feed of chaos and incompetence, at least in my view. Keith

  1. Yeah, and his “development company” could have built a nicer, cheaper military base in South Korea…using imported/slave labor, huge tax rebates, and the always certain insurance of bankruptcy (on the backs of middle class tax payers) when things go south.

    • Linda, I had not heard that comment. As you know, I don’t put much credence in what he says. His proclivity and history of not being very truthful and to aggrandize his efforts are part of his schtick. Keith

      • Linda, I think they have learned the Saudi Arabia model from earlier this year – if you flatter Trump and cater to him, he will follow your wishes. I used to work with a narcissist. He was more amenable if you marketed to him as if he was a third party. Keith

  2. Dear Keith,

    I am now looking at President Trump as the male version of Sarah Palin. They are kindred souls. They are clueless about how much they don’t know and they can’t be bothered to take the time to do their homework. Why bother, when they know all the answers without doing their due diligence.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, that comparison would drive him bonkers. He does have her tendency to opine on things they do not understand and neither likes to read much. Keith

    • Janis, unfortunately, we are only a tweet away from some ill-informed pronouncement. Our problems are complex, so when they are over-simplified, lied about or we address a non-existent problem, we end up with poor solutions.

      It should be shameful with Syria joining the Paris Climate Change Accord, the United States remains the lone country to not support it. My guess is Putin encouraged Basher al-Assad to sign up to demonize further the US. His grand strategy is to diminish democracy and our standing in the world and he had the widest of grins on his face. If allowed to continue, this period will be remembered as the time the US gave up its moral leadership position in the world. Keith

      • I don’t think many people really truly understand Putin’s overall strategy, least of all trump and his supporters. It is very dangerous to ignore reality for political gain, but we are playing the role of his puppet quite well.

      • Janis, I think you are right. Putin is indeed a puppeteer. He controls messaging in his own country and is actively involved and aware of the influence abroad. I do believe he had a hand in the Brexit vote, as well.

        What is also not understood is his folks are still doing to undermine our democracy and sow division. Keith

  3. One day, I swear he is going to go on an overseas trade visit and come back with glass beads and say he’s arranged a really great deal…
    Next day one of your major cities find they are own by China.

    • Roger, if he is allowed to continue this nationalist movement, China will indeed fill that role. When General Michael Haley, former CIA Director under Bush and Obama said the number one threat to our security is us, he was meaning if the US pulled away from our global moral leadership, it will be filled by others. He noted in Davos, Xi Jingping gave the speech the American President usually makes. Clearly he is more statesman-like than Trump. Putin will even assume a more center stage as the US lessens its role. Keith

      PS – if we continue to let our debt go unchecked, we may need to cede a major city to China.

      • Hello Keith.
        History does love her ironies.
        Consider the spectacularly immoral (even by war standards) Opium Wars instigated by Britain upon China….. Now who are we were asking to invest in power stations for our electricity?

      • Roger, ironies abound if we just take the time to look at them. The US sides with a corrupt leader in the Vietnam War and we fight an enemy we do not understand very well and many Americans die. Then, we don’t learn those lessons and prop up a corrupt leader in Iraq, who diminishes the voice of a minority which leads to ISIS. We do not understand the issues and Americans die.

        What frustrates many is the people dying are everyday folks. We must do our homework and understand what we are fighting for before we engage. In the Vietnam War documentary, many Vets noted we are fighting on the wrong side. And, Senator John McCain noted last week, he is supportive of the Kurds who are being ostracized by Iraqi leadership after helping save Iraq’s bacon fighting ISIS. Keith

  4. Note to Readers: It is much more than foreign cars made in America. Michelin makes tires, Haier makes refrigerators, Husqvarna makes lawn machinery and tools, Doosan makes industrial products, Mitsubishi makes lawn machinery and tools, and so on. These companies decided it was cheaper to build where they sell than to ship from overseas. As we consider the impact of global trade on jobs, we must remember the jobs created. NAFTA has added significant numbers of jobs, especially in Texas and helps our farming industry. Yet, we should consider the impact on places where jobs were lost and retrain or retool other industries. We could always do better at this and must invest in these impacted people and towns.

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