Former President Donald Trump was the most pro-tariff president in decades, particularly targeting China. Instead of pushing back, President Joe Biden has preserved most of the Trum...
Former President Donald Trump was the most pro-tariff president in decades, particularly targeting China. Instead of pushing back, President Joe Biden has preserved most of the Trump tariff regime. The Inflation Reduction Act, Biden’s signature climate bill, extensively favors US industry in a way that has provoked mass outrage from foreign governments, including close allies; an Indian government official called it “the most protectionist act ever drafted in the world,” and a South Korean official called it a “betrayal.”
Biden seems to be joining Trump in turning America inward, at least economically, and undermining the open trade regime that their predecessors from both parties worked for decades to build.
In making sense of this strange continuity, the first person I called was Kimberly Clausing. A professor at UCLA Law School, Clausing was formerly deputy assistant secretary of the treasury for tax analysis in the Biden administration, making her the lead economist for tax issues in the Treasury department. Before her time in the White House, she also wrote an excellent book, Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital, in 2019, which pushed back both on Trump’s isolationist tendencies and on hostility to trade, immigration, and capital flows from progressives.