We wouldn't need a trade war if we went back to being the well oiled mixed economy we were in the 50's, and 60's. It was a mix of government and capitalism at its best. The government regulated industries, and funded research that few corporations would bother with (due to a high risk to profit ratio, or no profits for decades). Then once the research was complete the government would give this research and/or tech away for free to american companies. Example: Microsoft, Amazon, and Google wouldn't be billion dollar companies if not for the invention of the internet.
Also, the government would fund schools, so that people didn't have to go into massive student loan debt.
But guess who gutted the mixed economy in the 70's, 80's, and 90's? The Republicans.
If China beats us economically, it is because they have a better mixed economy than we do. Pure communism failed with the soviet union. China is Communist with just enough capitalist features to make it not all fall apart.
Doubt it, America then was dominant because of surrounding circumstances during that time and not down to policies ... (the entire world suffered massively from the after effects of WWII in comparison to the US only seeing pearl harbour getting attacked)
Government funding for research has only ever proven to be effective at the large scale when attempting to reverse engineer goods from current market leaders to be able to catch up to them but even with state subsidies it has been a huge undertaking by the Chinese government to recreate/rediscover every bit of western technology and sometimes it's a success to the point where Huawei is the leading edge carrier equipment provider and other times like we see with Fujian Jinhua who's been trying to make DRAM with results that have been less than impressive so far despite pouring in billions from the government itself ... (government subsidies do very little once you're the market leader)
People didn't get student loan debts back then because there was a smaller market for post-secondary education so the schools charged less and there were less enrollments as well ...
If China beats America, it'll be because what they've reverse engineered isn't much behind the leading market leader and they provide abundant high quality labour as well. Mixed economy ? LOL, you must be kidding ...
China has a 996 hour working hour system, no freedom of movement even within their own country, far worse income inequalities than the western world, anti-union laws, far less generous subsidies/employee benefits and if there was ever a scale from 1-10 rating just how capitalistic each nation is with the US rating at 10 then China would be rated at 11 because that's just how competitively ruthless their system is ...
A trade war is necessary to curb stomp China's ascent because if one nation has the ability to truly bankrupt America then it's China and only China ...
You are right that the US was helped a lot by the fact that the rest of the world was hurt badly by WWII. Other things also helped a lot though such as...
1. Women started entering the workforce, which meant less people sitting around doing nothing.
2. Interstate highway system (authorized in 1956) made transportation of goods, and building materials easier.
3. Regulation of markets to help protect against things like pollution, low pay, and a ton of other things that can slow down an economy.
4. Heavy government investment in R&D.
5. More people going to college thanks to the government subsidizing education. (G.I. Bill and the like)
I'm not going to pretend to know exactly how much of it was a result of the rest of the world being bombed out, and exactly how much of it was a result of the above 5 things. But to just say it was all just a result of the rest of the world being bombed out is not the whole picture.
"Government funding for research has only ever proven to be effective at the large scale when attempting to reverse engineer goods from current market leaders to be able to catch up to them."
We were the current market leader in computer technology when ARPANET was being built, and that research eventually gave fruition to the internet as we know it. When we landed on the moon, we didn't just catch up to Russia in space tech, we blew right by them. Same goes for when we developed nuclear bombs. Government research didn't merely allow us to catch up. We passed current market leaders. Russia didn't have the bomb until 1949.
In 1989 there were 13.54 million people attending college in the US. In 2018 there were 19.83 million people attending college in the US. https://www.statista.com/statistics/183995/us-college-enrollment-and-projections-in-public-and-private-institutions/ The population of the United States was 246.8 million in 1989. So that makes the college enrollment rate about 5.4% in 1989. Using the same math the enrollment rate was almost exactly 6% in 2018. That's an 11% increase in almost 30 years. Now look at the following graph.
And, yes that graph is adjusted for inflation. It's all in 2018 dollars. Why has the cost of public four year schools nearly tripled, while enrollment hasn't grown all that much? Why has price exploded, but demand has not?
Yes, all those things out listed about China suck. Slave level working hours, no ability to move in country, income inequality, anti-union laws, etc. But that doesn't make them not a mixed economy. Mixed economy simply means the government, and businesses work together to sustain or grow the country's economy. You can be a mixed economy, and still be anti-freedom, high poverty, no workers rights etc.
P.S. Trump's overall policies are extremely damaging to the U.S. economy as a whole. Even if he managed to reel in China, we'd still be going down the toilet fast thanks to his other policies. But let's not make this thread about that. That would be a whole other thread topic.