Manchester rooftop view Andrew Aitchison/Getty Images

Toward a Rust Belt Powerhouse

Instead of hurling unfounded accusations at China on Twitter, US President-elect Donald Trump should be developing a genuine pro-growth strategy for America. Such a strategy could follow the British “northern powerhouse” model, focused on revitalizing the economies of the former manufacturing heartland.

LONDON – A few days ago, US President-elect Donald Trump took to Twitter – his medium of choice – to declare that he did not need China’s permission to contact Taiwan, because China didn’t ask for permission to devalue its currency. At that moment, my hope that the Trump shake-up would be economically beneficial for the United States diminished.

I believe that the developed economies need a jolt to escape their post-2008 malaise and their excessive reliance on easy monetary policy. Given Trump’s propensity for shaking things up, he seemed a good candidate for the job. But if the Trump disruption were actually going to help the US, it would need to focus on economic essentials, rather than simplistic – and often false – populist memes.

Judging by his accusations against China, it seems that Trump is simply stirring the pot and riling up his supporters – not advancing any kind of constructive agenda. After all, any reasonable observer of China – including some of Trump’s own advisers, with whom I have worked in the past – knows that the country has not devalued its currency for some time.

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