Merry Christmas, America!

The Wall Street Journal sends a daily email to subscribers with highlights from the news. Today’s email begins:

Stocks and bonds are staging an extraordinary run. They are on track for their biggest simultaneous gains in more than two decades. The S&P 500 has soared 28.6% this year, while a bond rally has pushed the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note down by three quarters of a percentage point. Yields move inversely to prices.

Behind this year’s gains: An improving economic outlook, progress on trade and the Fed’s interest-rate cuts.

The progress on trade includes, most recently, China’s announcement that it will lower tariffs on more than 800 product categories. Also from the Wall Street Journal:

China will cut import tariffs for frozen pork, pharmaceuticals and some high-tech components starting from Jan. 1, a move that comes as Beijing and Washington are trying to complete a phase-one trade deal.

The plan, approved by China’s cabinet, will lower tariffs for all trading partners on 859 types of products to below the rates that most-favored nations enjoy, the Finance Ministry said Monday. …

The lower levies will apply to frozen pork, as China aims to shore up its meat supplies amid an outbreak of swine fever, as well as semiconductor products and medicines to treat asthma and diabetes. Tariffs on some of the products will go to zero.
The announcement comes as China and the U.S. are close to signing a trade deal aimed at putting an end to a tit-for-tat tariff war that has lasted nearly two years. Neither side has released a version of their draft agreement, but China said it would purchase more American products, including farm goods, while Washington said it would cancel plans for fresh round of tariffs while reducing some existing ones.

Monday’s tariffs cuts appear to pave the way for China to import more from the U.S. without violating international trading rules that ban managed trade. Chief U.S. trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer has said Beijing promised to increase imports from the U.S. by $200 billion over the next two years, including the purchase of at least $40 billion in U.S. farm goods annually.

And, of course, the Democrats have finally abandoned their effort to kill the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement.

The liberal press likes to portray President Trump as a troglodytic protectionist, but that was never Trump’s position on trade. As we are now seeing, Trump wanted to renegotiate several trade agreements to make them more favorable to to the U.S., and he also has been willing, in the case of China, to use trade as a lever to obtain other concessions. But the bottom line of his efforts has been freer and fairer trade.

To this point, not much attention has been paid to Trump’s backing off on a threat to impose tariffs on Brazil (and, likely, Argentina):

Most important, of course, is the fact that Trump’s policies have promoted economic growth, job growth and higher wages. Over a year ago, I testified before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was already producing measurable results in Minnesota. Today, those consequences are even clearer.

I think pretty much everyone understands that the Democrats are pursuing their impeachment charade in part because they have no answers to President Trump’s record on the economy. The claim, often repeated in Democratic presidential debates, that Trump’s economy is leaving working-class Americans behind, is the opposite of the truth.

A friend texted me this meme earlier today:

Merry Christmas, America!