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Trump is pursuing Mugabe economics

The jiggery-pook that Trump has been engaging in on the economy may well come to haunt him in the key states that he won in 2016

September 6, 2019

2:03 PM

6 September 2019

2:03 PM

Can Donald Trump weather the spate of bad news that’s coming his way? Trump remains enmeshed in a battle over his prediction that Alabama would be socked by Hurricane Dorian, but what could really upend his presidency is the new report that job creation was a measly 130,000 in August and that the manufacturing industry is taking a hit because of his trade war with China. True to form, Trump is trying to blame someone rather than himself.

Last week, he claimed that American businesses are at fault. They’re ‘badly run and weak’, he claimed. An odd stance for a Republican president to adopt, for sure. Today, he went back to an old reliable, the Federal Reserve, in — what else? — a tweet taking issue with its reluctance to slash interest rates: ‘I agree with @jimcramer, the Fed should lower rates. They were WAY too early to raise, and Way too late to cut – and big dose quantitative tightening didn’t exactly help either. Where did I find this guy Jerome? Oh well, you can’t win them all!’ No, you can’t. But so far, Trump doesn’t seem to have won much of anything. His central claim — that he would restore the American economy to its former commanding heights — is proving to be a bust. In his zest to steer the economy from the White House, Trump seems to have more in common with a socialist-style leader than a champion of the free market.

Perhaps it’s fitting that Robert ‘Zimbabwe Is Mine’ Mugabe just died because Trump appears to be trying to assume his mantle, at least when it comes to economics (for now, Trump hasn’t taken up visiting voting stations to try and steal elections as Mugabe was wont to do). Mugabe, you may recall, tried to compensate for wrecking agriculture by printing more money. In 2008, it reached 231,000,000 percent in Zimbabwe. Trump seems to be trying to pursue Mugabe economics as he berates the Fed for refusing to trash the dollar.

The fact is that his socialist-style form of economics is working about as well as you might expect. According to a new report on how Trump is hurting manufacturing, ‘when Trump imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum in spring 2018, it boosted the fortunes of companies such as US Steel as prices rose. But the honeymoon didn’t last. The nation’s second-largest producer has since idled two blast furnaces. It recently announced that it would lay off “less than 200” employees in Michigan. Its customers are squeezed by a global slowdown linked, in part, to the president’s trade wars.’

The jiggery-pook that Trump has been engaging in on the economy may well come to haunt him in the key states that he won in 2016 — Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Add in aggrieved farmers and you could have a recipe for disaster. All this has Democrats sniffing a big victory in 2020. Writing in the New York Times, Michelle Goldberg even dreams of a tsunami that wipes out the GOP and ushers in a new age of liberal dominance. She bases her eupeptic hopes on a new book by Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg called R.I.P G.O.P. According to Greenberg, ‘the year 2020 will produce a second blue wave on at least the scale of the first in 2018 and finally will crash and shatter the Republican party that was consumed by the ill-begotten battle to stop the New America from governing.’ Will it? Similar predictions were made in 2016. But as Goldberg notes, there is a difference. This time Trump is proving an indefatigable organizer of opposition to his would-be rule over America.

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