Episode 0033: A Solution to America’s trade deficit problem and the investment implications

Donald Trump is about to be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.  As far as we can tell, every other country in the world advances a self-serving industrial policy, to the detriment of the United States, which embraces free trade.  In this final episode of Stocks-in-Depth’s review of Ian Fletcher’s 2010-2011 book, Free Trade Doesn’t Work, we start by presenting the author’s case that China, Japan, and Europe have emphasized industrial policy over free trade for years.  Fletcher’s solution for the U.S. is a flat tariff, which would eliminate the influence of lobbyists and the inefficiencies of propping up dying industries.  We suspect that Trump’s appointment of Peter Navarro to run the National Trade Council might signal that this proposal is on the table.  If the Trump administration considers imposing a flat tariff to balance the trade deficit and stimulate job creation, what would the economic outcome be?  What are the investment implications?  Are there second and third order effects that might be considered?  Might inflation result?  In this conclusion to its 4-part series on free trade and the flat tariff solution, Stocks-in-Depth moderator Bill Baker, CFA examines each of these questions and more in this exciting extension of thought to what Ian Fletcher wrote prophetically in 2010-2011.