Yesterday, I went to the mall. This is not a new occurrence. I go to the mall almost every day. It is where the grocery store and the office supply store are, as well as the Starbucks and many, many restaurants. To get to the mall, I ride for about 10 minutes on a mini-bus, filled with people heading in my direction. Yesterday, the driver stopped on the way to fill up his tires. The compressor was owned by a guy who had set up a little business for himself on the side of the road. That’s also no big deal.
It’s an election year. That must mean it’s time for Congressional representatives to announce support for ridiculous Constitutional amendments and for state leaders to instill fear in the population by creating all sorts of boogeymen, like (imaginary) undocumented Mexicans running roughshod in the Arizona desert, beheading (imaginary) poor, unsuspecting, hardworking, freedom-loving, salt of the earth Americans.
Which has me wondering: why is discussing problems and solutions like grown ups so unpalatable in America?
I should make clear from the outset that I am not an economist. So this post is more of a question for those of you out there who actually know something about the way economies, and more specifically financial investments, work.
When I want to learn about something, I generally start with my good friend, the Google. Depending on how much I want to know, it can stop there, or lead me to the local public library. Sometimes, when I want to know a lot about one particular thing, I even head for one of the university libraries in town.
They get six years of free reign during which they drive the country into a ditch. Not just any ditch, either--a snow-filled ditch with a pond of thin ice at the bottom, far, far away from the nearest gas station.
Then, they start losing. So, instead of asking themselves why they are losing, they double down, and lose some more.
Right after the election was over, I started a series of posts called Stuff I Learned, about the history of American presidents, as I read a book called The American Presidency. I didn't get very far into the book, and now I can't find it. I'm not all that worried about finishing, not being a fan of non-fiction.
So, at least for now, I won't be sharing with you the stuff I learned about American history. Instead, I'm hoping you'll share with me stuff you already know, because I'm confused.
Trump is effectively pitting the interests of a relatively small group of people, those who work in factories, against hundreds of millions of consumers. Seven years ago, the Obama administration accused China of unfairly subsidizing tires. It imposed tariffs reaching 35 percent. A subsequent analysis by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a nonpartisan think tank, calculated the effect: Some 1,200 American tire-making jobs were preserved, but American consumers paid $1.1 billion extra for tires. That prompted households to cut spending at retailers, resulting in more than 2,500 net jobs lost.
Americans vote their pocketbook. Memorize, live by this lesson. "I Feel Your (monetary) Pain". Never ever ever forget, or we'll be back here again.
For all her white papers and all her slogans on the economy, Hillary Clinton never offered a tangible vision of what millions of new, more dignified jobs would look like; how struggling workers would find them; and what she would do, as president, to make sure those jobs sprouted in their back yards.
Sometimes less is more. Trump's message was "I'll do anything outrageous to make a buck".
He's a fighter, she's a bureaucrat offering new policies (and regulations).
Apparently I've written "fake news" on behalf of Russia without ever receiving a dime from Russia or realizing what I was doing. It took the intrepid reporting of the Washington Post to alert me to what I have been engaged in. My "fake news" has been published in at least 18 Russian propaganda outlets included on the Washington Post-endorsed Enemies List.
Permit me to sit out the Great Media Apology Tour of 2016. Since election night, we have been fed a steady stream of mea culpas for the press’s failure to see it all coming, and especially for negligently ignoring the fear, anxiety and despair in the Rust Belt, the oil patch and rural America. Benighted Trump voters were singing the Red America Blues while we elites were tuned to Live from the Met or some such.