Saturday’s Alright for Fighting

One of Elton John’s more boisterous songs is the title of this post. It is OK to stand up for the rights of others and yourself, but we need not resort to physical fighting. We must do so with our words that express our ideas. Words that are hurtful or demean are a verbal form of fighting.

I mention this as we must not follow the example of how the President chooses to communicate. We must be civil and listen to each other’s ideas and perspectives. Name calling is a shortcut when the speaker does not have a good argument. When I hear the President or anyone else name call, it makes me pay attention to the opposing side’s argument. The same holds true when he berates people.

The sad truth is people who act like this do so to be tough and bully others into doing things their way. Eventually it wears thin and others won’t want to be around people who act this way. It is one reason the White House has so much turnover. It is reported the latest departure is due to her being constantly berated by her boss. It came to a head when she admitted under oath she told “white lies” on his behalf.

Our issues are complex and deserve rational and reasoned debate. The causes are often multi-faceted and deserve holistic solutions. They do not need to be based on whims or inaccurate information. They do not need to be rashly done without vetting, especially when others need to be aware of and can plan for them. The rash decision by the President to impose tariffs is a good example because it caught the White House staff, members of Congress, our trading partners, investors and business leaders off guard.

This should not be how important decisions are made. We should rationally talk through them and look at their ramifications. We should invite input as complex issues need to be vetted. They need buy-in. This one was not. Tariffs may sound good, but they usually have devastating results. As one global economist said “this is how recessions start.”




22 thoughts on “Saturday’s Alright for Fighting

  1. As always argued with dignity and eloquence Keith.
    I heard on the BBC news this morning that other heads of nations are already warning the USA (ie The Trump administration) of reprisals if tariffs are imposed.

    • Roger, many thanks. Last night on PBS Newshour, conservative columnist David Brooks noted that the President sees trade in a zero-sum fashion. This binary thinking does not consider that trade lifts multiple boats.

      When I spoke of President’s creating headwinds and tailwinds to the economy a few weeks ago, this is a definite headwind. Trade wars are not productive to anyone long term. The UK and EU pushback to try and stop this train are time well spent. Keith

      • Roger, that is an excellent point. What is also totally lost on this President are two key concepts:
        1) we do well when we all do well
        2) we are safer when we all do well

        If countries are taken advantage, corruption and totalitarianism can take hold. Keith

      • And disillusionment within his support, which can work both ways, some might come back to the centre, others might drift even further right in their quest for their Eden

  2. Keith, you know I try to avoid political comments but sometimes I cannot resist. This president is separating all he does. He separates the country and meanwhile even the world. With his “America first” attitude he tries to dictate the rest of the world which will be more isolating than connecting. He wants to put high taxes on exports to Europe. Why should Europe silently accept that? The EU is not about to think of higher taxes for exports to the US. This is kindergarten but not a professional way of a statesman leading a country!

    • Erika, please feel free to opine. I like that your bring an EU perspective, but also flavored by your time in the US. Rather than repeat what I just wrote to Roger, please take a peek at that response. You and I are on the same page. In short, the US cannot shrink to greatness. This decision will be dilutive to the overall economy, just like pulling out of the TPP and making things difficult under NAFTA. Thanks, my friend. Keith

      • I will head over to read that response, thank you! I like what you said about the US cannot shrink to greatness. That totally nails that insane attitude!

      • Thanks Erika. The three Presidents under whom the most jobs were created are Bill Clinton, FDR and Ronald Reagan. Reagan and Clinton were all about global trade and no deficits. Trump is poor on both counts. Keith

    • Holly, impulsive decisions are no way to run a country or a company. I am reminded by Trump’s decision to set up a mortgage company in the middle of the housing crisis. Of course, it failed. We need to take the time to get things right, as our problems are complex. The terrible efforts to repeal the ACA last year were rushed and poorly done. Keith

      • We are on a downhill slide it seems Keith, without our representatives unwilling to step in. I understand this tariff must be approve by congress but wonder when they will say enough is enough.

      • Holly, you are correct in terms of governance. Fortunately, many things happen in spite of bad governance. Many good things are happening around addressing climate change in spite of Trump, eg. It would be nice if Congress pitched in and did their job. Keith

  3. Dear Keith,

    The trouble with the president besides the normal list, is that he does not have someone explain issues in simple terms with all the different analysis to help the president to think things through. The tariff idea was because while Mr Porter, Ms Hicks and others were absent, the commerce secretary swooped in with a bunch of steel industry executives. Mr. Wilbur Ross and his cronies talked President Trump into the tariffs. The president was not presented with alternative points of views and solutions.

    This keeps happening where the last person gives his sales pitch with his bias including General Kelly. Of course, he gets frustrated and confused.

    Hugs, Gronda

    • Gronda, I just hope the last person in the office one day may talk of preemptive attacks. Who knows what will happen. I would hate to see McMaster go as he feeds it back to him. Keith

      • Dear Keith,

        My research indicates that Sheldon Adelson and a prominent Jewish organization have been hard at work behind the scenes to oust General H.R. McMaster for the firing of Erzra Cohen=Watnick, his reticence to back the move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and for advising the president against scrapping the US-Iran Nuclear deal.

        Hugs, Gronda

  4. There are no such references. Please listen more carefully. The words “death,” “star” and “plan” appear nowhere in the song, either in sequence of spread out.

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