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Using Donald Trump’s Tough Talk to Create Real Jobs

Americans are ready for an economic nationalist to lead them. But that doesn’t mean what you might think.


This country, we are taught, was founded on the principles of individualism and free enterprise. But its rise to economic pre-eminence was set in motion by nationalists like Alexander Hamilton, who delivered America’s first industrial policy, including plans for tariffs and spending on roads. Henry Clay’s American System, Abraham Lincoln’s land-grant research universities and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal can all be counted as legacies of Hamilton’s vision.

我们知道,美国是在个人主义和自由企业的原则上建立起来的。但是美国在经济上的崛起是由亚历山大·汉密尔顿(Alexander Hamilton)等民族主义者的政策推动的。汉密尔顿提出了美国第一个工业政策,其中包括关税和修路计划。亨利·克莱(Henry Clay)的美国制度(American System)、亚伯拉罕·林肯(Abraham Lincoln)为研究型大学拨赠土地,以及富兰克林·德拉诺·罗斯福(Franklin Delano Roosevelt)的新政(New Deal),都可以看作汉密尔顿的愿景遗产。

Thanks to these leaders’ pragmatism, the United States became the world’s industrial powerhouse and, spurred by the rise of trade unions, built a prosperous middle class. That provided a foundation for economic and political stability in a rapidly changing world.


But since 2000, the United States has shed almost one-third of its manufacturing jobs, and millions of Americans have been permanently shuffled into work for the service industry. Some jobs vanished because of automation, but many were also lost because of a flood of Chinese imports.


President-elect Donald J. Trump talks like an economic nationalist, but a wall of tariffs alone won’t create 21st-century manufacturing jobs. The Carrier deal last week captured outsize attention not because of its scale, but rather because of its inelegance: Mr. Trump shamed a company for sending jobs out of the country.

候任总统唐纳德·J·特朗普(Donald J. Trump)说话的方式很像是一个经济民族主义者,但在21世纪,单靠关税壁垒是不会带来制造业工作机会的。上周开利(Carrier)公司的事情引发了大量的关注,这并非因其规模,而是这种做法欠妥:因为一家公司想把工作岗位搬到国外去,特朗普就羞辱它。

And Mr. Trump can’t simply tweet back into existence every factory job that has disappeared. A pragmatic economic nationalism — one not hobbled by a philosophy, and one that can imagine an economy that will work even for its forgotten corners — offers solutions.

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First, we need to negotiate a new manufacturing deal with China to end its trade war on the United States. We need to reduce Chinese imports.


We are in a surprisingly strong position to make such a deal. China has a big incentive to get along with the United States: America is the destination for nearly one in five Chinese exports, making us a market China can’t afford to lose. American exports to China, meanwhile, account for less than 1 percent of our gross domestic product.


There are also precedents for using tariffs to back up negotiations. President Ronald Reagan imposed tariffs on Japanese semiconductors in 1987, and the Obama administration imposed tariffs on some Chinese steel earlier this year.

而且把关税作为谈判的筹码也并非没有先例。比如罗纳德·里根(Ronald Reagan)总统1987年对日本半导体征收关税;奥巴马政府今年早些时候对中国的部分钢铁征收了关税。

Next, we must ensure that domestic demand is increased through direct investments in infrastructure and research. Mr. Trump in his presidential campaign said we needed at least $500 billion in new infrastructure investment. America’s civil engineers would like seven times that.


Mr. Trump’s team has already proposed federal tax credits for infrastructure, but those alone aren’t sufficient. Attaching “buy American” preferences on material would greatly help the economy and would spare us national embarrassments, like the use of Chinese steel on the recently rebuilt San Franciso-Oakland Bay Bridge.

特朗普的团队已经提出要减免基础设施的联邦税,但仅仅这样是不够的。给建筑材料附加上优先“购买美国产品”的要求将大大有助于经济的发展,而且会让我们国家减少一些尴尬,例如,最近重建旧金山-奥克兰海湾大桥(San Franciso-Oakland Bay Bridge)的时候使用了中国钢铁。

And the new administration should expand the fledgling network of manufacturing research and development institutions established under President Obama. This network, pulling together government, academia and industry, operates like a virtual Bell Labs, producing small-scale innovations that can be widely shared.

新政府应该扩大奥巴马总统任内新设立的制造业创新网络。这个网络将政府、学术界和产业联系起来,像虚拟的贝尔实验室(Bell Labs)那样运作,推出可以广泛分享的小规模创新。

Third, tax breaks to manufacturers for capital expenditures could help keep factory jobs in the United States. Companies that want to build factories face high capital costs on Wall Street, largely because it’s easier to turn a quick buck on the latest financial product than to make a long-term investment in a factory. If a government is going to offer tax breaks, it makes sense to direct them to the manufacturing sector, which can support a larger number of well-paying jobs.


Lastly, the Obama administration has embraced some ideas from Germany on promoting apprenticeships and other vocational training in a wider variety of industries than just construction. We’re not Germany, with its high-wage, high-export and stable manufacturing sector, but its model for building a dynamic work force offers lessons for the incoming administration.


Struggling American workers aren’t the only class of people under stress today: Global companies are taking note of Mr. Trump’s stream of threats. And while there is a certain satisfaction from knowing that executives may now feel an unease that many workers have endured for years with the constant threat of losing their livelihoods, this isn’t about score-settling.


This is about a resurgent manufacturing sector that is in the interest of both workers and businesses. Its success will ultimately strengthen America’s middle class, where the bulk of our national wealth once resided. It can again.




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