Charles Lane at WaPo is correct when he writes:
One of Trump’s top proposals, emblematic of a wider protectionist approach, is to stop Ford Motor Co.’s construction of a plant in Mexico, by threatening the Michigan company with tariffs on goods it might build south of the border...
It’s a remarkable take on capitalism for a Republican, this vision of the president thuggishly telling private business managers what they can and cannot do with their property. And he calls Bernie Sanders a communist!...
Never mind all that: Trump’s idea would be terrible even if feasible. For reasons familiar to all Economics 101 students, blunt-force protectionism destroys jobs, probably many more than it “saves.”
In the simplest terms, Trump’s approach amounts to an increase in the regulatory and tax burden on U.S.-based businesses. Other things being equal, the heavier that burden, the less likely businesses would be to invest in the United States, and the fewer jobs would be created.
Investors might get especially skittish if policy can change at the whim of a White House wheeler-dealer who relishes dissing CEOs by phone — and who told Fox News’s Chris Wallace on Sunday that, in negotiations, “I want to be unpredictable, because, you know, we need unpredictability. Everything is so predictable with our country.” So much for a stable business climate.