Unlike its European or Japanese competitors, America is a huge country with enormous natural resources. It not only can feed itself, but also much of the world. As China is learning, there’s no real substitute, at least at low prices, for American produce.
Perhaps even more critical are energy and natural resources. Japan, China and the EU remain largely dependent on such dicey countries as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia for their oil and gas. The U.S., already the world’s largest producer of oil and gas, has achieved what analyst Walter Russell Mead has called an “oil and gas boom that has sent geopolitical shocks through world affairs.”
Ultimately energy will prove critical to the manufacturing economy, the sector that Trump has most targeted . Lower energy costs offer U.S. firms unique advantages against their prime competitors. Industrial employment has reversed declines from the end of the Obama years, growing by 327,000 jobs over the past year, the best performance since 1995, producing the strongest output in August in 14 years. Retailers, home-builders, business service firms are all hiring, and, for the first time in over a decade, wages for the lower half of the labor force are actually rising and even the long-term unemployed are returning to the workforce.