Sunday, June 10, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He tried to invent a new catchphrase.

Trump, who is in Singapore to give Kim Jong-Un the peer-status visit that North Korea has sought for decades, spent much of his work day on Twitter, insisting that Canada and the United States' European allies were the real enemy. (Trump's Twitter-time didn't cut into anything more important: he said Thursday that negotiating with a hostile nuclear power was more about "attitude" than preparation, and that he'd be able to "feel" the situation in the first minute.)

One tweet insisted that any situation in which the United States bought more in goods from any country than it sold must now be called "Fool Trade." This was part of Trump's larger argument that, in effect, that selling things is to Americans is a form of theft from the U.S. national "piggy bank."

Trump, whose keen economic instincts enabled him to lead his companies into bankruptcy six times, may actually believe this. (In fact, he may believe a lot of things about trade that are completely false--like the idea that the U.S. has a trade deficit with Canada, when in fact exactly the opposite is true.)  But in reality, trade deficits do not mean money is somehow lost to a country forever. If that were true, there would be virtually no international trade. 

Why should this matter to me?

  • It's bad if the president is economically illiterate and acting on that ignorance.