This week, a few links about Trump that won’t cause you to claw your eyes out because of the terrible journalism.
- Scott Sumner on Trump the mailman: Scott’s main points that Trump doesn’t drive the economy or the stock market, and that he shouldn’t get credit or blame for either, and that a person can be good-neutral for the market and a terrible person are all well made.
The vast majority of my commenters do not know how to read for content; they indulge in mood affiliation. “Sumner said Trump was horrible, so if Trump does something good, or if stocks rise, then Sumner was wrong.”
- Bryan Caplan corrects Vox, also states his default position: Caplan outlines the 1965 policy that will hopefully be left alone.
In the social media age, observers tend to equate silence with approval, or at least disinterest. At least in my case, you shouldn’t. By default, please assume I think all of Trump’s immigration policies are terrible.
- Tyler Cowen, “Why Trump’s Staff is Lying”: Tyler takes the “Training Day” angle, didn’t know Spicer likes to get wet.
Another reason for promoting lying is what economists sometimes call loyalty filters. If you want to ascertain if someone is truly loyal to you, ask them to do something outrageous or stupid. If they balk, then you know right away they aren’t fully with you. That too is a sign of incipient mistrust within the ruling clique, and it is part of the same worldview that leads Trump to rely so heavily on family members.
Trump specializes in lower-status lies, typically more of the bald-faced sort, namely stating “x” when obviously “not x” is the case. They are proclamations of power, and signals that the opinions of mainstream media and political opponents will be disregarded.