Fake President caves on census — stamps his little foot and marches on with predictable executive orders


Tweedledee and Tweedledumb bookend their masterNicholas Kamm/AFP

❝ …Trump retreated from his quest to add a question about US citizenship to the 2020 census on Thursday, declaring instead he would ask government agencies to provide records that could determine a head-count of citizens without polling census-takers directly.

The turnaround comes after Trump repeatedly said he would continue fighting to insert the question despite a Supreme Court ruling that dealt a blow to the effort last month. It reflects legal reality intersecting with Trump’s desire to bolster his image as an immigration hard-liner as he moves ahead with his 2020 reelection bid…

❝ In announcing the decision, Trump insisted he would be unrelenting in seeking out citizenship information from alternate sources. He said agencies would be required to provide the Commerce Department with documents and records of citizens and non-citizens, which he said would help provide an accurate picture of US citizenship…“We will leave no stone unturned,” Trump said.

Then, he crawled back under the rock where he sleeps most of the time…

Two-Thirds of Business Economists See Trump Recession by End-2020

Two-thirds of business economists in the U.S. expect a recession to begin by the end of 2020, while a plurality of respondents say trade policy is the greatest risk to the expansion, according to a new survey.

About 10 percent see the next contraction starting in 2019, 56 percent say 2020 and 33 percent said 2021 or later, according to the Aug. 28-Sept. 17 poll of 51 forecasters issued by the National Association for Business Economics…

Forty-one percent said the biggest downside risk was trade policy, followed by 18 percent of respondents citing higher interest rates and the same share saying it would be a substantial stock-market decline or volatility.

The reality of supply-side economics is failure. Trump’s added difference is in also increasing the national debt another trillion dollar$

Trump’s trade team bases their analysis on an ignoranus mistake

❝ Donald Trump gives every indication of wanting to govern like a conventional conservative Republican on the vast majority of domestic issues. One big potential exception is trade, where he campaigned in an unorthodox manner and is setting the stage for a shake-up of how federal trade policy is normally conducted.

One part of that is Trump has stated his intention to make Commerce Secretary (and billionaire investor) Wilbur Ross the lead authority on trade negotiations. The other is that he is tapping University of California economist Peter Navarro for a brand new White House job, heading up something Trump is calling the National Trade Council…

❝ This makes sense, since Ross and Navarro were the co-authors of an important policy paper the Trump campaign put out during the election season that mostly focused on trade issues.

Unfortunately, the paper’s discussion of trade was incredibly shoddy. George Mason University’s Scott Sumner describes as “a complete mess,” which, if anything, is too kind. When Adam Davidson profiled Navarro for the New Yorker, he wrote that even when he asked Navarro to help him out, he couldn’t find a single other economist who fully agreed with him on trade and China. Which is about what you would expect, since the Ross/Navarro trade policy analysis is based on a mistake that would get you flunked out of an AP economics class.

❝ “When net exports are negative,” Ross and Navarro write, “that is, when a country runs a trade deficit by importing more than it exports, this subtracts from growth.”

They believe that, therefore, we can boost growth by curtailing imports…

❝ Reading this, you might wonder why it is that in the real world, economists actually do try to develop complex computer models of the economy. The answer is that the alternative method Ross and Navarro are proposing doesn’t even remotely work…

❝ According to Ross and Navarro, if the United States made it illegal to import oil, thus wiping $180 billion off the trade deficit, our GDP would rise by $180 billion. With labor constituting 44 percent of GDP, that would mean about $80 billion worth of higher wages for American workers. So why doesn’t Congress take this simple, easy step to boost growth and create jobs?

Well, because it’s ridiculous.

What would actually happen is that gasoline would become much more expensive, consumers would need to cut back spending on non-gasoline items, businesses would face a higher cost structure, and the overall economy would slow down with inflation-adjusted incomes falling. Modeling the precise impact of a total shutdown of oil imports is hard (hence the computer models). But we know from experience the directional impact of sharp disruptions in the supply of imported oil, and it’s not at all what Ross and Navarro say it would be.

❝ [These clowns use] an accounting procedure, not a causal theory. The accounting procedure says that government purchases are an element of GDP — higher G means higher GDP, and absolutely everyone agrees on that. But whether increasing government spending will boost or harm the economy is obviously a hot topic of political debate. A sensible high-level take would be “it depends.” It matters what you spend the money on; it matters how you raise the revenue and what the larger economic situation is.

The net exports situation is just the same. If America’s net exports grow because America becomes a fashionable tourist destination and sales of Boeing airplanes surge, then that will boost the economy. But if America’s net exports grow because new Trump-imposed taxes cause the price of imported goods to surge, then the economy is going to shrink.

It is reasonably common for people to make the kind of mistake that Ross and Navarro are making here, which is why professors generally make it a point of emphasis when introducing the GDP concept to students. Why a credentialed economist would do it in a policy paper for a presidential candidate is another matter.

Trump’s trade message is total nonsense.

If you’re only speaking to populist, uneducated, dispirited voters it works pretty well. You don’t have to deliver on anything more than bullshit ideology. Drag this silliness into the arena of trade and commerce, markets and macro economics – and we’re all screwed.