Nearly all surviving Democrat and Republican presidential candidates (except John Kasich) have essentially endorsed the shared campaign theme of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders that the U.S. economy is weak because we import too many goods from foreign countries. If only we could raise the cost of imports with tariffs, according to the Trump-Sanders theory, then the U.S. economy would supposedly have more jobs and higher real wages.
Paying more for anything (such as Fords or iPhones) is no way to get rich. Yet that concept somehow eludes many non-economists. Theory aside, the idea that fewer imports are good for the economy is the exact opposite of what we have experienced. The fact is that U.S. imports always fall when the economy slips into recession and imports rise briskly whenever the economy does.