Perception matters more than reality to the US president

Our friend Jill has written an excellent post on “Trumponomics 101” (a link is provided below). What I opined in a comment is Trump is more about perception than reality. Here are a few examples:

– he beats his chest on his trade and tariff decisions, but they have dampened the global economy, of which we are a key part, as well as certain US industries.

– he left the Trans Pacific Partnership which was designed to compete better with China on trade (note the other ten countries proceeded without us).

– he claims being tough on immigration and terror, but his travel ban and reduction in legal immigration are dilutive to our economy (note legal immigration has fallen as well).

– he touts his tax law, but it borrowed from our future to make a pretty good economy a little better for eighteen months or so.

Focusing on another tax cut to lessen the impact of the slowing growth is malfeasance, as was the first tax cut in December, 2017. And, lowering interest rates won’t push a lot of investment as businesses are concerned by the chaos caused by Trump.

So, Trump is worried about the market and economy retrenching from its growth not recognizing the headwinds he created. Note, for brevity I did not speak to other headwinds – not investing more in renewables, infrastructure, healthcare, etc.

Yet, the biggest perception he painted to his followers before the election was the US economy was in trouble citing the unemployment rate at 30%, then 40% then 42%. The reality is the unemployment rate was beneath 5% and we were in an economic growth period of 90 consecutive months (7 1/2 years) which continues to this day. He convinced his followers that he alone helped turn the economy around, which was doing pretty good.

Reality does matter. And, you won’t get a lot of that from Trump, who had a faux reality TV show.

Trumponomics 101

11 thoughts on “Perception matters more than reality to the US president

  1. Note to Readers: An addendum to the “perception over reality” focus is making decisions that looked good in the short run or schmooze people, but are harmful in the long run. After six bankruptcies for various businesses, the US president does not seem as concerned with our debt and deficit as we need him and Congress to be. This discussion of a payroll tax cut is a more drastic measure when the economy is in trouble. The economy is softening, but it is not in trouble. The reason is Trump’s fragile ego cannot tolerate it softening on his watch. So, he would rather borrow even more to prop it up.

    But, in addition to the borrowing, if we over use stimulus tools now, we won’t have them when they are needed. It is that simple.

  2. Many thanks for the mention and link, Keith. Your last sentence says it all … we cannot believe a single word he or any of his minions say. We are paying them all to lie to us, and at the end of the day, we will be the ones to pay the piper. Sigh.

    • Jill, thanks. Your post is well done. You should read Eugene Robinson’s recent editorial called “Trump panicking that reality presidency won’t be renewed.” His opening and closing paragraphs are priceless. Here is the opening:
      “Uh-oh. President Trump is in such a state of panic about his dimming reelection prospects that he’s getting his lies mixed up and occasionally blurting out the truth.”

      It is hard to keep track, even for the liar. Keith

      • Thanks! I did check out Eugene Robinson’s editorial … he is on top of his game, as always. He’s one of my favourites. It surely must be hard, especially with a mind that doesn’t seem to work very well, to keep up with the lies. The truth would be much simpler, but would likely get him impeached in about a New York minute!

      • Jill, well he did brag that he was the “chosen one” yesterday. Except, I wonder what chosen means. As for Robinson, his columns are well-thought out, even if you do not agree with everything. It should be noted thst Trump may get another primary candidate, former Congressman Joe Walsh, who supported him early, but now calls him “unfit” and a “divider.” I think the GOP is getting worried. I do agree with the Mooch that the incumbent is “off the rails.” Keith

  3. A spoilt brat of privilege who dodged the draft, never did an honest day’s work in his life, creature of reality TV and finally the poster-boy for 60,000,000+ voters who would have anyone other than a liberal in the Whitehouse.
    What do you expect when this freak of the US voting system is allowed to be there because of the mentality of Anyone But a Liberal, or worse ‘One of Those People’.
    Unhappy times for Rational Folk

    • Roger, you will not get an argument, especially over your first sentence. And, now he has offended Denmark with his Greenland banter and has attempted to save face by not going. This serves no good purpose. So, because he decided to make an issue of out of something (in buying Greenland), he now has caused friction.

      As Ronald Reagan would say “there you go again.” Call me crazy, if he really wanted to buy something, why would he not ask them privately if it was for sale, rather than announcing his intentions on twitter. He says he is this great deal maker, but the evidence is lacking. For example, he conceded two things to Israel without getting anything in return. No wonder they love him. Keith

      • As I was explaining to Sheila, although it ended up more as a tirade….
        He is not mad.
        He is an oaf placed there by a section of the population who would have anyone but a person of ‘liberal’ views, or a woman or ‘One of those people again’ in the Whitehouse.
        They also get a secret thrill at his perceived constant goading of the opposition.
        This is the tragic state of US politics. Polarisation.
        And we have Brexit. The nation is bitterly split….Same circumstance.
        (It must be getting to be again I’m in one of my ‘You see the problem with Stalin was that he over-thought the business of state control far, far too much’ moods again…..It’s a tendency for some sections of The Hard Left…no wonder we have trouble getting into and never staying in government )

      • Roger, this episode with Denmark is a perfect example. Rather than quietly approaching the Danish leaders asking if they would be interested in selling Greenland (or jointly developing it), he announces on twitter out of the blue. Then he reacts poorly to people calling the idea what it is. Now, he has created yet another adversarial moment with an ally. Unfortunately, his twitter intentions, bombastic style and fragile ego is not how relationships are made and nurtured. His attacks on Theresa May are of the same mold. In short, Trump wants total sycophancy from people, otherwise he attacks. Keith

  4. Note to Readers: Today, Bloomberg News had the following article:
    https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/us-budget-gap-to-top-dollar1-trillion-2-years-sooner-than-expected/ar-AAG7FCs?ocid=spartandhp

    This is a key reason Trump’s discussion of reducing payroll taxes is malfeasance, even worse than the tax cuts. The latter borrowed from the future to make a pretty good economy a little better. This former would be making Social Security/ Medicare less secure, while stimulating an economy when it is doing pretty well. This a measure to be used when the situation is dire. If we use our tools when the market is doing well, it takes them away when they are needed more.

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