Donald Trump is a compulsive liar, and we all know that. Now, he even admits it.
Recently, Trump was recorded admitting that he lied to the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. It wasn’t a trivial lie. He lied that America had a trade deficit with Canada. This is a bedrock accusation that shapes his justification for national trade policy.
It’s always a sign of weakness when your rationale is based on lies and character assassination. If truth and logic aren’t on your side, you should probably regroup or capitulate. Of course, it’s been said that a good lie beats the complicated truth any day.
We all lose
The media pissed all over themselves by playing into it. Sure, it was demonstrably false, but then the press got into the numbers game. America actually was running a $12.5 billion surplus with Canada as of 2016 for all goods and services. Then, the White House counter-media staff refuted this and played their own numbers game. If looking only at the goods the U.S. trades with Canada, then America does have a $12.1 billion deficit. Yes, they were now justifying Trump’s lie by saying he was right all along. A great guesser. A great bluffer.
But here’s the real truth: America runs an even trade deal with Canada.
That’s probably what Trudeau meant all along. You see, America and Canada’s total trade is about $550 billion a year. So, $12 billion is like 2 percent, and what the hell is 2 percent, anyway? It’s basically an accounting error.
So, we have a lying president that looks for a phony justification to justify a phony trade policy. Then, the media get mired into a numbers game, and we’re all losers for it.
A nugget from Econ. 101
As long as we are chatting about trade, now Trump wants a tariff on steel and aluminum. It’s all talk and no policy.
Here’s a little nugget from Econ. 101: Steel is an intermediary material used for production of final products like cars, machine tools, aircraft, beer cans, etc. Since steel and aluminum are in so many of our products, we’ll all pay pay a little bit more.
OK, I’ll bet you figured that out already, but how about this? Think about all of our export products competing on the world market against foreign competition. Due to higher costs, American companies lose market share and production goes overseas. So much for our fearless leader saving American jobs.
We are played like fools
It might not happen. Maybe the tariffs will be implemented like Trump’s border wall, his Muslim ban, his Obamacare replacement or Congressional sanctions against Russia. The cryin’ shame here is we need to improve our trade policy and our health care, punish Russian interference, improve education, create fair taxation and all the rest. Unfortunately, first-rate problems can’t be solved by a second-rate press and a third-rate president.
Instead, a good lie beats the complicated truth any day, particularly when the media piss all over themselves.
And we are played like fools.