Offering even less useful commentary than the blog comment sections David Newquist criticizes in Donald Trump, who has yet to say a single instructive sentence during his entire time in the White House. We don’t really learn anything about public policy from his pronouncements to reporters and rallies. His ejaculations (a word that perfectly describes whatever comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth) provide no reliable basis for policy-making or even a clear explanation of what’s happening. Consider this absurd and woefully incomplete statement on why escalating the trade war with China is a good idea:
Speaking at his Florida rally, Trump suggested the U.S. would be fine if there’s no deal and the trade war with China continues.
“If we don’t make the deal, nothing wrong with taking in over $100 billion a year, $100 billion, we never did that before,” he said [Everett Rosenfeld, “Trump: China ‘Broke the Deal’ in Trade Talks,” CNBC, 2019.05.08].
If anyone is listening to the actual words here, we’re hearing the Republican in the White House say that taking more money out of Americans’ pockets and transferring that money to the government is good for America. We’re hearing that complete contradiction of the Republican platform frosted with the meaningless claim that “we never did that before.” The latter is nonsense: we’ve done tariffs before. We’ve taxed Americans for buying products made elsewhere and tanked the global economy doing it. Now Trump is playing Smoot-Hawley again, raising taxes on American consumers, making it harder for regular folks to buy shoes, toys, iPhones, and all the other Walmart purchases that drive our consumer economy, increasing costs for some of the world’s most productive manufacturers, beating down U.S. agriculture, and driving up the chances of a global recession.
To keep the situation in tangible terms, the backpack you got for your daughter last summer for $40 will cost $50. An average family of four will pay $767 more in taxes to the Trump trade war machine.
Meanwhile, the U.S. trade deficit with China, which Trump consistently exaggerates in amount and impact, has risen to new record highs each year of Trump’s noisy and flailing protectionism. And the $41.3 billion in tariffs ($23 billion from tariffs on Chinese goods) that we took out of working people’s pockets in Fiscal Year 2018 was less than the $113 billion he added to the federal budget deficit last year and funneled via tax cuts largely to rich pals who don’t produce nearly as much shared economic stimulus with those dollars as we would have.
Donald Trump doesn’t give accurate numbers, accurate explanations of policy, or accurate interpretations of his own party’s platform. The economy and the federal budget get no net gain from Trump’s policies, and we get no net gain from Trump’s words. It’s time to tune him out and throw him out in favor of policymakers who will benefit both our common understanding and our commonwealth.