Democrats Should Steal Trump's Thunder on Trade

It's time to run bigger, better and harder on trade policies.

"By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he [the entrepreneur] intends only his own security, and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention."

-- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, 1776 (emphasis added to rebut "free trade" misuse of this quote, as free-traders always drop the first 11 words)

There's an old saying that even a broken clock is right twice a day. In that spirit, Donald Trump and his advisors are at least partly right about trade and tariffs.

Ironically, he's totally defying the entire Republican Party, as well as the Bill Clinton-corporate wing of the Democratic Party, and running with policies that progressive Democrats have been pushing for a century.

While most progressive politicians will admit Trump is right on trade (and several have on my radio/TV show), there aren't a lot of Democrats these days willing to enthusiastically acknowledge Trump might be right about anything so they're not much popping up on network or cable TV.

Which is unfortunate: the Democratic Party should return to its progressive/protectionist/union roots and steal this issue right from Trump's teeth, saying that he's not doing it well enough or fast enough. They should run hard in 2020 on Bernie's suggestion that we use protectionist policies to end our trade deficits and bring back home our jobs.

The disastrous trade deficits we've been running since the Reagan era are damaging to the future of America for a variety of reasons, from national security to where the profits from American companies end up, to the flattening of American working wages and benefits.

Read more here.


HotCoffee's picture
HotCoffee 38 weeks 4 days ago

For the sake of keeping Thoms blog alive...since he isn't.

I have another one of my rabbit holes for you.

The Confederate Mind


Legend 38 weeks 4 days ago

Back when Thom had the Forum there were a lot of excellent posters. And then there were the Trolls. A lot of discussion took place about posting mindless non factual postings and posting fact with reference. I can post that Melania Trump was a prostituit before she married Trump. That is a mindless non factual posting. Nothing to back it up. Then you say refute it. All that you can say is no she was not. There is nothing that proves she was not. That does not prove anything either. Posting mindless non factual postings does nothing for this site. It just proves that Trolls normally only can post that way. The Trolls are very guilty of this. Did you not learn in High School about writing and documenting with Footnotes and references? That you just do not cut and paste from written articles without quotes and references?

Coalage3 38 weeks 4 days ago

Okay Legend. Does the current democratic party welcome pro-lifers? I think not. Does the current democratic party welcome pro-religion believers? Of course not. Does the current democratic party welcome gun owners? Really, you got to be kidding. Is there, or is there not, a current faction of the democratic party that is trying to limit the free speech rights of groups and individuals that they do not agree with? Are you automatically a bigot if you don't understand and agree with all facets of the LGBTXMUTS movements? A lot of democrats/progressives think so.

Now, at least to me, these tendencies of the current democratic party are exactly fascist in nature. That is, one must adhere to the party line, or you are a heretic. There is no room for dissenting views...period. And I don't need a writer for the NYT, or National Review, or the Nation to verify it for me. Its right there in front of my own eyes for all to see.

Sieg Heil!!!

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 38 weeks 4 days ago

Rick Steve,

In leftie/socialist lingo, a Troll is anyone who disagrees with their opinion.

Just like the Thom Hartmann show, this is an opinion forum not a high school English Lit class. We are free to express ourselves as we see fit. If you disagree, don't respond.

One of the only times I ever agreed with past poster Mr. Ed who said,

“You're not Mommy the Monitor. This is a free-speech zone, so post as much or as little as your black heart desires. If you can't handle my politically incorrect posts, then don't read them and don't respond.” See the pattern here?

The fact you constantly get the vapors over someone else not agreeing with you is of no consequence.

Legend 38 weeks 4 days ago

The world of Republican Trolls. Fact free. Ignore history. Post anything that comes to mind. Brainwashed by their right wing media. It is a very closed world. Not worth commenting on.

Coalage3 38 weeks 4 days ago

That was a strange post considering you seem to be someone who cannot enter a thought or comment unless it is accompanied by a google search. That just further proves my point that the democrats are becoming the true fascists. That is, they have quit thinking for themselves and now are content to let someone else do it for them. They must first consult the "offical sources" before commenting. After all, they can't having their progressive card revoked for saying something outside of the party boundaries.

You are right Legend...not worth commenting. Everybody already knows what your "sources" think. Apparently, you don't care at all to say what you think. Never mind...

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 38 weeks 4 days ago

Coalage3, "facts" sometimes come from selective sources. Here is a great source from one of the kids whose generation was busy eating tidepods a few weeks ago and now is an expert political commentator.

"David Hogg Reveals Why He’s Such An “Expert” In Politics…"

Sources; Al Gores invention

HotCoffee's picture
HotCoffee 38 weeks 4 days ago


Enjoy your sense of humor!

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 38 weeks 3 days ago

"HotCoffee • 4 days 50 min ago#6

Looks like Thom's website is going down....just like mccabe."

HotCoffee, you apparently are correct, after a long bout with mental illness, this forum has committed suicide. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your local tiny violin manufacturer.

gumball's picture
gumball 38 weeks 3 days ago

Back to the topic at hand.

I keep hearing Thom trying to make the case that Trump is beholden to the oligarchs. If that were the case why is he taking on the trade policies that have benefited the corporations at the expense of workers?

There has been a lot of talk from Clinton/Obama on the campaign trails, and then when they get into power they do the opposite. Now all of a sudden the left is becoming Free Traders; that is what I get from reading Huffington Post.

HotCoffee's picture
HotCoffee 38 weeks 3 days ago


I will at least buy one, just in case you want one too.....

Miniature Violin: Small, 4 inches Available from these sellers.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 38 weeks 3 days ago

Gumball: Trump not long ago signed legislation that will add at least 1.5 trillion to the deficit. Most of that money will end up in the pockets of the Fascists Thom makes the case "Trump is beholden to." Thom agrees with Trump on tariffs, that's about it.

BTW: Oligarchs don't necessarily promote racism and antisemitism....Fascists do! However the current fascists are being very discreet about it, even fooling most progressives. So calling them oligarchs misses the mark and creates a false sense of ease about the path this country and many others are following right now.

Coalage3 38 weeks 3 days ago

Trump is a republican, at least in name. The current fascists are democrats.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 38 weeks 3 days ago

It appears nothing will be done to stop Putin's meddling in our elections in 2018. Why would we expect the party benefiting to stop the attack anyway?

I'll try to be clear about the real danger one more time. With each passing day and more info coming in I'm now convinced that very powerful United States citizens have in a sense farmed out the election fraud to a foreign hostile power just like someone would hire an assassin. This distancing from the actual crime keeps the domestic side of the collusion far under the radar. It's quite convenient to enlist Putin who has already been trying to subvert our democracy. Thus those who in a sense are using him are actually far more dangerous to the stability of our Republic than Putin.

This attack would have been ended immediatly had it been Democrats enlisting a Dem Socialist country for help to put someone like Bernie in the White House.

Our intel agencies have the ability to stop this. Ask yourself why they aren't...pretty obvious and all treasonous. It's a big fat lie that Trump won't give them permission's their constitutional mandate to stop the attack....but the crime roots are domestic and fascist.

gumball's picture
gumball 38 weeks 2 days ago

What do you think should be done with Russia?

Riverplunge's picture
Riverplunge 38 weeks 2 days ago

The Pope said stop breeding??! I always thought that Catholic families were big on huge families.

HotCoffee's picture
HotCoffee 38 weeks 2 days ago


I think Russia and China are planning to gang up on us to consolidate their power. Therefore it seems to me that Trump is trying to strenthen our Millitary, secure our energy & steel resources and make us as independent from China as possible in the shortest amount of time possible in case that happens. He also is attacking China's financial power, and countering Russia in Syria, while costing them resources, as happened in Afganistan. Look around your house what isn't made in China???

I don't think he's against alt. energy sources...but I don't think he belives we could survive on them alone therefore his stand on coal and oil.

I sure wish he would use the money to shore up the electrical grid in case of emp attack!

All this with the Dems and fake repubs, fighting him tooth and nail.

Anyone wanting to see whats going on really should read all1200+ pages of Tragedy & Hope by Caroll Quigley.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 38 weeks 2 days ago

Bolton is back...anybody smell a new war? It's gonna bite us in the ass this time. Trillions in new war spending will be the least of our problems

Legend 38 weeks 2 days ago

It is time for the Republicans to put Country over party. We are way over the edge wih a POTUS that has no rudder and a White House with a revolving door at the entrance. .

jefflisse's picture
jefflisse 38 weeks 1 day ago

Bolton is back? WTF!
I think its time to order a 1960s school desk...

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 38 weeks 1 day ago

Mega War this time around won't end with a hasty cremation of the evil soul outside of a Berlin bunker. Oh it's the same evil alright, but unlike the circumstances in 1945, the evil we now face will take us all down with it. Humanity never learns from the growing pains of war. We seem stuck in an adolescent stage of hyper testosterone and greed. I'm beginning to think anyone thirsting for power of any kind is mentally ill.

The containment of war to a biblical lands city where young kids lay blown to pieces with parents out of their minds with unimaginable pain, and wondering who could possibly be this evil, will not be neatly swept under the global media carpet this time. The innocent are always the vast majority of victims in a rich mans war for profit, and I'm certain we are bound to pay for allowing this for it on our soil.

I can't tell you why I think this, it's just a strong heart felt feeling I've had since our electoral firewall let us all down. I don't believe in ghosts, take meds, or play with my poop, maybe it's just an awareness of military history and a subliminal backlash to the horrors of that knowlege.

jefflisse's picture
jefflisse 38 weeks 1 day ago

You are the crown of creation.
You are the crown of creation.
And you've got no place to go.

"Crown of Creation"
Jefferson Airplane"
Circa: 1968

jefflisse's picture
jefflisse 38 weeks 1 day ago


2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 38 weeks 1 day ago

"we were all so close there was no room".... "we bled inside each others wounds" "we all caught the same disease" "we all sang the songs of peace" "some came to sing, some came to pray," "some came to keep the dark away" ....Melanie

The white bird is our friend!

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 38 weeks 21 hours ago

I turn on the tube and what do I see
A whole lotta people cryin' "Don't blame me"
They point their crooked little fingers at everbody else
Spend all their time feelin' sorry for themselves
Victim of this, victim of that
Your momma's too thin; your daddy's too fat

Get over it
Get over it
All this whinin' and cryin' and pitchin' a fit
Get over it, get over it

You say you haven't been the same since you had your little crash
But you might feel better if they gave you some cash
The more I think about it, Old Billy was right
Let's kill all the lawyers - kill 'em tonight
You don't want to work; you want to live like a king
But the big, bad world doesn't owe you a thing

Get over it
Get over it
If you don't want to play, then you might as well split
Get over it, get over it

It's like going to confession every time I hear you speak
You're makin' the most of your losin' streak
Some call it sick, but I call it weak

You drag it around like a ball and chain
You wallow in the guilt; you wallow in the pain
You wave it like a flag, you wear it like a crown
Got your mind in the gutter, bringin' everybody down
Complain about the present and blame it on the past
I'd like to find your inner child and kick it's little ass

Get over it
Get over it
All this bitchin' and moanin' and pitchin' a fit
Get over it, get over it

Get over it
Get over it
It's gotta stop sometime, so why don't you quit
Get over it, get over it

Get over itSongwriters: GLENN FREY, DON HENLEYGet Over It lyrics © Cass County Music / Wisteria Music / Privet Music, Red Cloud Music

Combad57's picture
Combad57 37 weeks 6 days ago

Here is a fact supporting Thom's stance on trade. The U.S. has at last count 141 trading partners worldwide. All of those 141 have a VAT (value added tax) on imports. The U.S. does not, thanks to the globalists' sway over our legisltors.

For instance, Germany's VAT is on average 19.6%. Note that Germany has a near balance of trade or only a slight deficit despite being a high cost producer.

I'm quite sure Trump is totally unaware of this fact. Neverthe less, he's right that China is eating our lunch on trade. We are the world's suckers.

ckrob's picture
ckrob 37 weeks 3 days ago

As you say, "there is no such thing as a free market." Someone please show me one "free market" that doesn't exist for someone to make a profit. They should simply be called markets since a "free market " is a self contradictory term. Barter could conceivably be called a free market but conservatives probably wouldn't be interested in anything that couldn't give them a chance to scratch up a few more bucks.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 37 weeks 2 days ago

I would like to point out to Combad57 a VAT looks like a tariff but it isn't. It is a regressive tax, but most importantly it does nothing to protect jobs. A caller from Great Britain called into Thom and pointed this out. Thom agreed with him. I could give you a simple little example to demonstrate, but probably no one is reading this. It would be better if you did the simple example for yourself. Cheap labor with a VAT will still get the work.

Just ask and I will provide the example.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 37 weeks 2 days ago

The "free" in free market means free of govt protections (regulations).

Dianereynolds's picture
Dianereynolds 37 weeks 1 day ago
chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 36 weeks 6 days ago

Does anyone know why Thom's blogs stopped on March 9?

Does anyone know why Sue's Daily stacks stopped on March 9?

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 36 weeks 6 days ago

My friend Chuckle8: It’s Regans fault the blog stopped.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 36 weeks 5 days ago

ronnie raygun from his grave.

Legend 36 weeks 5 days ago

I assume that it is like the Forum. He shut it down when it was overun with mindless, factless right wing trolls. Plus I see Thom as winding down his show. He is 66. Moved back to Portland. Will probably retire at some point.

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 36 weeks 4 days ago

My Friend Legend,

I guess those “factless right wing trolls” aré smarter than you lefties——They won. :)

Legend 36 weeks 4 days ago

Only in your world knobs. Fact free.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 36 weeks 4 days ago

Interesting that shutting down conversation is considered a win. One can see why billionaires love right wing trolls.

Coalage3 36 weeks 3 days ago

Yup, stopping conversation is now the way forward for the Fascist Democratic Party. Is anybody really surprised?

changeX's picture
changeX 36 weeks 2 days ago

The dear Lady in the photo you use without permission was apparently passionate about collecting valuable jewels. I am sure she wishes that you cease using her as an avatar without permission misrepresenting her opinions and values. ha

Kend's picture
Kend 36 weeks 2 days ago

I have been on this for about ten years. I miss it. It certainly helped me understand the left better. I remember Thom saying that all people want is a good job, enough money to buy a house, take a holiday once a year, send the kids to collage and retire with a good pension. That day realized how different I was, I wanted everything and was willing to do anything to get it. To me the only difference between the left and the right is how they believe wealth should be distributed. Oh well looks like I might have to find a new place to argue my very intelligent, fact based comments. Hope not had a lot of fun with you all.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 36 weeks 2 days ago

I don't think your desire to have as much as you can get as soon as you can get it is much different from anyone. The difference between you and the others on this blog seems to be that we realize that desire leads to the economy described so well by Charles Dickens. Of course, the 1890's, the 1920's and somewhat the 2008 are different versions of the Charles Dickens description.

It seems when Teddy Roosevelt said that everyone deserves “a good job, enough money to buy a house, take a holiday once a year, send the kids to college and retire with a good pension” he did not mean that is all they want. It seems that he meant that is a minimum they deserve for being a citizen of the US and putting in a full week’s work.

changeX's picture
changeX 36 weeks 2 days ago

Oh dear, before you go please tell us; for a substantial portion of your life doing anything to get everything for yourself including making sure that wealth distribution comes your way, please take a moment to explain... as exceptional and intelligent as you say that you are and standing out from the rest of us lollygags, now that you have everything, exactly what you have, etc.?

Legend 36 weeks 2 days ago

Interesting when Kend posts "Oh well looks like I might have to find a new place to argue my very intelligent, fact based comments." When he has never posted 1 fact, posts only opinion and has been called out on it multible times. Intelligent? You cannot even spell College correct.

Worn out door knobs's picture
Worn out door knobs 36 weeks 2 days ago

My friend Legend:

The problem is you are working from a diffent set of facts. Which is one of the reasons this site is closing. You and others on the left are posting “wishing and hoping” facts. Kend and others are posting actual facts. The readers of this blog know what is true, no matter how many BS references you cite. Here are a few facts for you. Presidente Trumps approvals are improving. President Trumps tax cut is huge success. No Democrat supported the tax cut. Most folks see through all the Trumped up charges (pun intended) you lefties are generating. The left has lost all credibility, except among those on the left. If you don’t want to be left behind, you better get over it. The resistance isn’t working...

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 36 weeks 2 days ago

I do not see how "knobs" can call a conviction in a court of law a "tRumped" up charge. Keep in mind that tRump can afford the best lawyers. For the tRump university con job he had to pay a $25 million fine. I do not understand how anyone cannot think that tRump is not a horrible person for screwing over so many students to make a profit. Worse than that, however, is a factual display that he pathologically lies. For a Prez, it seems to me that trusting his word, at least a little, is the whole enchilada.

I would like to mention that it seems that polls are a measure of whose propaganda is the best.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 36 weeks 2 days ago

Kend, my #42 was in response to your #41, I had your name on it, but a software glitch on this website messed up the whole message.

Legend 36 weeks 1 day ago

Fact is knobs the Trump administration is a train wreck everyday. He was living off of the Market going up but has now killed that. November cannot come soon enough.

changeX's picture
changeX 36 weeks 1 hour ago


Legend 35 weeks 6 days ago

I talked to a couple today (64 years old) that had $2200 per month insurance. The wife fell and hit her head and was taken to the ER. Minimal was done. The deductible was $6800. The bill was around $20000. This is insanity.

The Thom Hartmann Program - Aug 30th 2018

It seems it's all racism, all the time w/the GOP...Neo-Nazi robocall hits Iowa on Molly Tibbett’s murder: “KILL THEM ALL. ” Richard Wolff drops by about the National Debt. Is it a disaster or an OK thing? Also - Trump & The National Enquirer - Is the Economy Here To Serve Us Or Are We Here to Serve the economy?

Latest Headlines

Who rejected United States-North Korea peace talks?

There were conflicting reports on Sunday regarding a recent proposal for United States-North Korea peace talks which was allegedly made before North Korea"s recent nuclear test

U.K. Pound Falls As Markets Get Brexit Jitters

Bloomberg said on Monday the pound had sustained its biggest fall against the dollar in 11 months

Clinton: I'll defend Israel but push for 'two-state solution

Hillary Clinton believes both Republican candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz "missed the mark" with their approach to the Israel-Palestinian Arab conflict
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Never one to shy away from the truth, Thom Hartmann’s collected works are inspiring, wise, and compelling. His work lights the way to a better America."
Van Jones, cofounder of and author of The Green Collar Economy
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Right through the worst of the Bush years and into the present, Thom Hartmann has been one of the very few voices constantly willing to tell the truth. Rank him up there with Jon Stewart, Bill Moyers, and Paul Krugman for having the sheer persistent courage of his convictions."
Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann seeks out interesting subjects from such disparate outposts of curiosity that you have to wonder whether or not he uncovered them or they selected him."
Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, producer, and environmental activist