To GOP Activists, Trump Again Invokes American System Economics

March 23, 2017

Speaking to a dinner of the Republican National Congressional Committee March 21, President Donald Trump fervently spoke of the "American System of economy" for a second day, following his evocation of Henry Clay, Abraham Lincoln, and the American System at a Kentucky mass rally March 20. The last president to preach the American System may have been William McKinley; Trump's "whig" speeches have generated a freaked-out response from the Von Mises Society and similar British and "Austrian school" free traders and "libertarians."

"I called it the American model," said Trump, in a speech that had at first trod familiar ground of congratulations to fundraisers and Republicans present including himself. "And this is the system our Founders wanted. Our greatest American leaders — including George Washington, Hamilton, Jackson, Lincoln — they all agreed that for America to be a strong nation it must also be a great manufacturing nation."

The President invoked McKinley: "The Republican platform of 1896 — more than a century ago — stated that `Protection and reciprocity are twin measures of American policy and go hand in hand.... We renew and emphasize our allegiance to the policy of protection, as the bulwark of American industrial independence and the foundation of American development and prosperity."

Then Trump progressed to the American System's "internal improvements," or infrastructure projects in today's terms. "Our first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, ran his first campaign for public office in 1832 — when he was only 23 years old.  He began by imagining the benefits a railroad could bring to his port [part] of Illinois — without ever having seen a steam-powered train.  He had no idea, and yet he knew what it could be. Thirty years later, as President, Lincoln signed the law that built the first Transcontinental Railroad, uniting our country from ocean to ocean....

"Another great Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower, had a vision of a national infrastructure plan. As an officer in the Army after World War I, he joined a military convoy that trekked across the nation to the Pacific Coast. It traveled along the Lincoln Highway — called then the Lincoln Highway. Its journey began by the South Lawn of the White House, at a monument known today as Zero Milestone.  Anybody know where that is? The journey made a great impression on then young Eisenhower.  More than three decades later, as President, he signed the bill that created our great Interstate Highway System — once again uniting us as a nation.

"Now is time for a new Republican administration, working with our Republican Congress, to pass the next great infrastructure bill. Our party must dream as big and as bold as Lincoln and Eisenhower."

Trump continued to the American System subjects of invention, and foreign policy. "Imagine the breakthroughs that will breathe fresh life into forgotten places. Picture the new roads that will carve pathways all across our land — and we need them. And think of the new inventions that will lift up the sights of our nation.

"Finally, as we imagine this new prosperity at home, let us also work to achieve real and enduring peace abroad.... The best Republican Presidents have not only been warfighters, but also peacemakers.  We will never hesitate to do what we must to keep us safe today, but we will always seek a more peaceful tomorrow. We will, and we will succeed.... If we stand for these things — safety, prosperity and peace — then there is no limit to what we can achieve."     

Quoth the very bothered Von Mises Society, "The economic policies of Whigs endure. Unfortunately, the dangers of Whig economic folly and fallacy do not diminish with time."

What "endure," are great nations built on the American System.