Hitler Economics in the Age of Trump

It is important to look at all things Hitler when attempting to analyse Donald Trump. Examples of this are the similarity of their statements and actions, including the separation of children from their parents. This was a tactic used by Adolph Hitler for intimidation of Jews before and during the Holocaust.

While Trump's actions have not risen to the level of evil of Nazi Germany, the inability to relocate parents to children based on this flawed activity is certainly Nazi-like. The suffering of children and of parents who love them is disturbing. The crying and suffering has been documented. It is really a dreadful situation Donald Trump and his compassionless architect Stephen Miller have created. When Steve Bannon was fired by POTUS, Miller was retained. I thought at the time that was a bad sign.

Trump borrows many sayings and actions from Hitler himself! This is not to say that Obama and other presidents have not dabbled in detention camps, even to the point of separation of children from parents in exceptional cases. It is an all too familiar dark side to American history, starting with slavery.

Cherkashchyna Ukrainians being deported to Germany to serve as slave labor (OST-Arbeiter), 1942

Perhaps the most subtle Hitler influence on Trump is in the realm of economics. From Mises we have this analysis:

In the 1930s, Hitler was widely viewed as just another protectionist central planner who recognized the supposed failure of the free market and the need for nationally guided economic development. Proto-Keynesian socialist economist Joan Robinson wrote that "Hitler found a cure against unemployment before Keynes was finished explaining it."
What were those economic policies? He suspended the gold standard, embarked on huge public-works programs like autobahns, protected industry from foreign competition, expanded credit, instituted jobs programs, bullied the private sector on prices and production decisions, vastly expanded the military, enforced capital controls, instituted family planning, penalized smoking, brought about national healthcare and unemployment insurance, imposed education standards, and eventually ran huge deficits. 
The Mises blog goes on to say that the policies of Hitler are practiced in many nations today.  And it is no surprise that Donald Trump, who is Hitler-lite in so many other facits of his thinking, would adopt his economic program. Other nations have adopted some form of central planning while still supporting free trade, and have not gone to war or committed mass atrocities. What made Hitler different?

David Woolner reported in Business Insider some time ago:

It was only a matter of time before the German government defaulted on its reparations payments. When it did so in 1922, the French responded by invading Germany's industrial heartland, the Ruhr. This in turn led to a campaign of passive resistance among German workers and the decision by the German government to continue to pay them, leading to hyper-inflation and the collapse of the German economy. 
Woolner goes on to say that the US propped up the German economy, which allowed Germany to pay reduced reparations to England and France, which allowed them to pay debt to the Americans. However, the crash of 1929 ended that clever arrangement. That is when trouble began.

Herbert Hoover had the opportunity to reduce the German reparations even further, and forgive the debts of England and France. But he rejected the idea. By the time he paused the debt payments in 1931, it was too late!

CNBC tells us that an ABC poll taken in 2010 showed that 53 percent of Americans thought free trade hurt America. A higher percentage, 61 percent of Tea Party members and 65 percent of union members opposed free trade.

In the Mises article cited above, Lew Rockwell warns:

David Raub, the author of the article for Glenview, was being naïve in thinking he could look at the facts as the mainstream sees them and come up with what he thought would be a conventional answer. The ADL is right in this case: central planning should never be praised. We must always consider its historical context and inevitable political results.
Whether we can totally agree with this simply because Hitler applied these principles is open for debate. For example, I have written that the American government was not powerful enough to stop international bankers from engaging in predatory lending during the housing bubble of the last decade, not only in the USA, but in Spain, Eastern Europe, and even in the UK. And FDR helped many Americans through times of trouble during the Great Depression.

There is a case to be made for sovereignty and mutual respect of sovereign nations, but just not in the way that Trump has made it. There is a benign sovereignty versus a belligerent and hostile sovereignty.

This fact is why when a president of the United States applies the same principles of central planning because he borrows from Adolph Hitler, we can be concerned, and the ADL was right to be concerned. Regardless of one's opinion of the ADL overall, it rightly has come out both against the separation of children and against the protectionism of Donald Trump.

The issuance of tariffs for certain industries as a protection to certain elements of the population, but with a decided decrease in tariffs over time across the board, has been seen as acceptable behavior. All nations do this. However, Donald Trump has declared war through tariffs. It is a multifront war, alienating allies and enemies alike. It is not unlike Hitler's multifront violent war that became his ultimate undoing.

Hitler was a socialist, but not a Marxist socialist. He said that true socialism upheld the importance of private property. That is why we can say that fascism is a right wing doctrine, and communism is a left wing doctrine, although unions sometimes support trade restrictions. Hitler wanted private property to exist, but for the government to have control when deemed necessary.

Hitler believed, as does Trump, that superior individuals come out of a dog eat dog mentality between citizens of the nation. The cream rises to the top. Yet Hitler expanded welfare programs to establish a "socially just state" as noted by the Wikipedia article. And he certainly wanted to nationalize some business, especially Jewish business. He was a walking contradiction. He was all over the place. Sound familiar?

The ultimate thinking that led Hitler to be Hitler was the thought that Jews and Bolshevism were the same. Clearly he knew most Jews were not Bolsheviks. But Trump thinks along the same lines, equating immigrants with MS-13 gang. Most immigrants are not members of MS-13.

Hitler rejected a huge trade deficit and moved toward self sufficiency. But Hitler knew that full autarky was impossible, as he lacked many raw resources. Therefore Hitler engaged in bilateral trade agreements, rather than trade with the world. This is the exact goal of Donald Trump.

The danger of seeking autarky, of course, is that it shuts out the world. It is a policy controlled by bilateral manipulations of other nations. It is a policy that ultimately destroys political freedom but the populace loves the economic benefits. Most people care more about prosperity than about political freedom. They have families and practical issues that come before the lofty ideals of freedom. The United States is moving in the same direction under Donald Trump.

And in Hitler's Germany, the streets were free of crime!

POTUS has said he wants his people to sit up and pay attention to him, but then he said he was kidding. I doubt if, deep down, he was kidding. It is not without good reason that Time magazine viewed Trump as king.

But perhaps most disturbing was the information released about the expansion of camps for migrants planned by the Navy. Trump has an expanded plan for them. Austerity is the plan, but could easily be replaced by using these immigrants as slave labor. From the Wikipedia article cited above:

Even before the war, Nazi Germany maintained a supply of slave labour. "Undesirables" (Germanunzuverlässige Elemente), such as the homeless, homosexuals, and alleged criminals as well as political dissidentscommunistsJews, and anyone else that the regime wanted out of the way were imprisoned in labour campsPrisoners of war and civilians were brought into Germany from occupied territories after the German invasion of Poland. The necessary labour for the German war economy was provided by the new camp system, serving as one of the key instruments of terror. Historians estimate that some 5 million Polish citizens (including Polish Jews) went through them.[113]
Is Donald Trump playing Hitler, with no intention of becoming Hitler? That is certainly difficult to assess. But if people are not concerned that Hitler-lite could turn into a most wicked POTUS, their heads surely must be in the sand. The economics of Trump are to be watched carefully, as their results could force POTUS into decisions that endanger the entire world. The only way, ultimately, to protect against tendencies toward autarky is for free trade capitalism to step up and increase labor share of GDP.


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