Thursday’s Forum

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: If they threw some cash at me I’d take it too and it would have just as much effect on my vote as it does with blacks. There’s a sucker born every minute.

    3
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Telescope captures most detailed pictures yet of the sun

    The sun’s turbulent surface has been revealed in unprecedented detail in the first observations by the Inouye solar telescope in Hawaii. The striking images reveal a surprising level of structure hidden within the churning plasma exterior, bringing a previously hazy impression of the sun’s patchwork surface sharply into focus for the first time.

    Yeah yeah, new telescope sees things never before seen, improving our understanding of the sun’s behaviour, yadda yadda yadda. Yyyaaaaaaawn…. Then there’s this:

    The US National Solar Observatory’s $344m (£265m) telescope features a four-metre mirror – the world’s largest for a solar telescope – and is located at the 3,000-metre (10,000ft) summit of the Haleakalā volcano on the island of Maui.

    Valentin Pillet, the director of the National Solar Observatory, described the telescope, which had been under construction since 2013, as a “formidable technological achievement”. A major challenge was maintaining the telescope’s primary mirror at ambient temperature while it looked directly at the sun – any temperature deviation causes air turbulence that could ruin the image quality. The heat is intense enough to rapidly melt metal at the mirror’s focal point.

    Each night, a swimming pool’s worth of ice is emptied into eight tanks. During the day, coolant is routed through the ice tanks and distributed through the observatory by 7.5 miles (12km) of piping. More than 100 air jets are also positioned behind the main mirror.

    Incoming light from the sun is deflected from the primary mirror into a chamber of mirrors that sits below the observatory’s dome. Here, the light is bounced from mirror to mirror as it is apportioned between spectrometers, polarimeters and other various other instruments. The observatory’s full suite of instruments, which will allow scientists to measure the magnetic field from the sun’s surface up to its outer atmosphere, will come online later this year.

    Pretty cool shit.

    6
  4. sam says:
  5. Scott says:

    After the lightness of yesterday’s pun fest, I hate to bring things down but:

    The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two Airmen who were supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. They died January 27 in the crash of a Bombardier E-11A aircraft in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

    Killed were:

    Lt. Col. Paul K. Voss, 46, of Yigo, Guam. He was assigned to Headquarters Air Combat Command at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. For more information, media may contact the Air Combat Command public affairs office at (757) 764-5007.

    Capt. Ryan S. Phaneuf, 30, of Hudson, New Hampshire. He was assigned to the 37th Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota. For more information, media may contact the 28th Bomb Wing public affairs office at (605) 385-5056.

    https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Releases/Release/Article/2069206/dod-identifies-air-force-casualties/source/GovDelivery/

    Think of them and their families.

    On a related note:

    House readies vote to repeal Iraq war authorization

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/29/politics/khanna-lee-aumf-preview/index.html

    It’s time.

    5
  6. Jim Brown 32 says:

    I was musing today about how differently the Clinton and Trump impeachments would go if there were no direct elections of Senators. I’ve said many times that subjecting both chambers of the Legislative branch to populist forces has caused more problems than it solved.

    2
  7. Scott says:

    Boeing Posts Full-Year Loss Amid 737 MAX Setbacks

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/boeing-falls-to-full-year-loss-11580302091

    It’s not provable but I think Boeing’s troubles had their origin in 2001 when they moved their HQs from Seattle to Chicago. The move demonstrated they were more interested in financial engineering than actual engineering.

    6
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The US has deployed its first low-yield Trident nuclear warhead on a submarine that is currently patrolling the Atlantic Ocean, it has been reported, in what arms control advocates warn is a dangerous step towards making a nuclear launch more likely.

    According to the Federation of American Scientists, the USS Tennessee – which left port in Georgia at the end of last year – is the first submarine to go on patrol armed with the W76-2 warhead, commissioned by Donald Trump two years ago.

    It has an explosive yield of five kilotons, a third of the power of the “Little Boy” bomb dropped on Hiroshima and considerably lower than the 90- and 455-kiloton warheads on other US submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
    ………………………………….
    Advocates of W76-2 argued that the US had no effective deterrent against Russian tactical weapons because Moscow assumed Washington would not risk using the overwhelming power of its intercontinental ballistic missiles in response, for fear of escalating from a regional conflict to a civilian-destroying war.

    Critics of the warhead say it accelerates a drift towards thinking of nuclear weapons as a means to fight and win wars, rather than as purely a deterrent of last resort. And the fielding of a tactical nuclear weapon, they warn, gives US political and military leaders a dangerous new option in confronting adversaries other than Russia.

    Discuss. But remember the wildcard:

    Trump’s NPR says the US could use nuclear weapons in response to “significant non-nuclear strategic attacks”, including but not limited to “attacks on US, allied or partner civilian population or infrastructure”.

  9. CSK says:

    @Scott:
    I always find these deaths painful, but particularly so since I have a nephew who’s in the service. RIP.

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Gee, do they make the black voters sign contracts?

    1
  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Construction is in demand – but who’s going to do all the work?
    Gene Marks

    “Contractors are very optimistic about demand for construction in 2020,” said Stephen E Sandherr, the association’s chief executive officer. “At the same time, many construction executives are troubled by labor shortages and the impacts those shortages are having on operations, training and safety programs, and bottom lines.”

    It’s an issue I hear from just about all of my clients – finding and keeping good people in this environment of very low unemployment. Unfortunately, like industries that rely on lower paid workers, it hits the construction sector hard. Eighty-one per cent of respondents to the survey said they were having a difficult time finding workers and worker quality and shortages are affecting three-quarters of the businesses asked.
    …………………………………..
    Many of them are investing in training programs, increasing pay and bonuses and funding technology like drones, robots, 3D printers. They’re putting money behind project management and fleet tracking software to increase productivity and cut down on labor costs as well as revisiting how they plan jobs by using “lean” construction techniques and building models to better forecast their projects.

    They’re also begging Washington for help.

    The industry wants increased funding for career and technical education and help to make it easier for people enrolled in short-term construction projects to qualify for federal Pell grants. They’re also pushing their legislators for more immigration relief, like a temporary visa program for construction workers and the protection of the legal status of certain immigrant workers who are already here, as well as taking steps to reduce the number of illegal immigration that are exploited by unscrupulous managers to outbid their competitors.

    Orrrr… They could just hire union workers, you know, the guys who show up on the jobsite already trained and certified by their union? You know, guys who are not only willing but wanting to do that work? Because they are well paid, have a pension, a good health plan, etc etc?

    I know, that’s just crazy talk.

    9
  11. Moosebreath says:

    @sam:

    “Amazon’s Ring app shares loads of your personal info, report finds”

    What a surprise that a company which has made clear that their business model is selling their customers’ personal information would sell their customers’ personal information. It’s why I am not on Facebook.

    1
  12. Kathy says:

    @Scott:

    Here’s a related link to The Atlantic, musing on how the acquisition of McDonnell Douglas set Boeing on the wrong course.

    1
  13. mattbernius says:

    #BREAKING: Leaked State cable to me says the Trump admin to change US landmine policy.

    Reversing Obama-era ban that US won’t “produce or otherwise acquire any anti-personnel landmines,” Trump policy allows “planning for and use of APLs in future potential conflicts.”

    Story TK

    Source: https://twitter.com/AlexWardVox/status/1222885477050732544?s=19

    Provided this is accurate,

    Eff the evil assholes in the administration who approved that and anyone who defends this is normalizing evil.

    5
  14. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    A couple items in the news cycle that go to the heart of the Trump mythos:
    Immigration:
    A section of Trumps “impenetrable” wall fell over because…wind.
    https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/29/politics/us-border-wall-falls-over-high-winds/index.html
    Also; longest smuggling tunnel ever, 3/4 of a mile, is found. Unlikely to be stopped by Trumps big beautiful wall.
    https://www.foxnews.com/us/longest-ever-border-smuggling-tunnel-found-stretching-between-tijuana-san-diego
    Economy:
    According to the BEA report, out today, real GDP increased 2.3 percent in 2019. So after dropping $1T in deficit spending, not to mention billions in Qualitative Easing, Trump’s economy is humming along at the same rate as Obama’s second term average.
    https://www.bea.gov/news/2020/gross-domestic-product-fourth-quarter-and-year-2019-advance-estimate
    Foreign Policy:
    The long awaited ME Peace Plan has been panned, is universally considered a non-starter, and was actually nothing more than a photo-op for Trump and Netanyahoo.
    After Trump told us that there were no casualties in the Iran air strike, we find out that actually 50 troops suffered traumatic brain injuries. Casualties include injuries that remove you from the battlefield.

    My point with all of this is that we are literally just hours away from appointing a man to KING OF THESE UNITED STATES that has really accomplished next to nothing. I mean…if we are going to toss 244 years of Democracy on the trash heap of history…shred the system of Government that our Founding Fathers designed…shouldn’t we at least do it for someone who is worthy?

    8
  15. 95 South says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Trump’s economy for the first three years is growing at a 2.5% rate, compared with Obama’s second term rate of 2.2%.

    1
  16. Moosebreath says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    “appointing a man to KING OF THESE UNITED STATES”

    Don Henley’s comment on Reagan (“this tired old man we elected king”) seems to fit Trump even better.

    2
  17. Jax says:

    @Scott: I find myself in a position of not believing anything that comes out of this administration. They already lied about the casualties at the base in Iraq, for all we know there could’ve been an entire Navy Seal team or three on that plane and I don’t think they’d tell us.

    Sincerest condolences to the families of the deceased. 🙁

    1
  18. Scott says:

    @Kathy: Wow! Just read that article. Dead on.

    1
  19. Teve says:

    According to the BEA report, out today, real GDP increased 2.3 percent in 2019. So after dropping $1T in deficit spending, not to mention billions in Qualitative Easing, Trump’s economy is humming along at the same rate as Obama’s second term average.

    Yep gdp growth was 2.8 in 2017, 2.5 in 2018, and 2.3 last year. And trump’s on tv saying it’s 3%.

    1
  20. MarkedMan says:

    I’m seeing a lot of hype about a new Fox documentary that “proves” Alien spacecraft have visited us. There are only two things I thing about when I hear things like this:

    First, they presuppose a massive government coverup. But this assumes that every US President back to every Kennedy and every other world leader who would be in on the coverup decided without exception that they will take a pass on becoming one of the most famous people in the history of the world when they stood in front of the television cameras and made the announcement. Think about that concept and then think about Donald Trump.

    Second, in every year since the personal, portable camera became a thing, we have had a few grainy pictures or film/video of things that might be alien spacecraft. As the number of such cameras increased by a half dozen orders of magnitude and became increasingly high resolution and it became more common for a person to be carrying one, we still got only a few pictures of suspect UFOs each year, no sharper, no more detail. Today, there are probably a couple of billion people or more that have a decently high resolution camera on their mobile phone and within easy reach 24 hours a day, but we are still no ,ore likely to get a closeup high resolution film than when state of the art was this thing

    4
  21. DrDaveT says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    has really accomplished next to nothing

    He’s accomplished everything his backers want: a handout to the rich, a Supreme Court that will protect that (and make abortion illegal), and normalizing social evil.

    4
  22. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @95 South:
    Right…after injecting $1T in deficit spending the sugar high is now gone…and we are right back to Obama’s economy. I mean…anyone can spend $1T and goose the economy. But he’s done nothing to help the economy in any sustainable way.
    And further…If a Democrat blew up the deficit to $1T…you’d be screaming your head off. Why is it OK for Trump?

    3
  23. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @DrDaveT:

    He’s accomplished everything his backers want: a handout to the rich, a Supreme Court that will protect that (and make abortion illegal), and normalizing social evil.

    I will just say that any Republican that got elected in 2016 would have instituted a handout to the Rich, and gotten the Judges. Normalizing Social Evil….not sure.
    But the point is…Why Trump? Surely we can find someone more qualified to be KOTUS? (King of the United States)

    1
  24. Kathy says:

    @Scott:

    What I recall most of the mid-80s to late 90s is the vast amount of paper airplanes both companies produced. These are designs, concepts, notions, ideas, that are never developed into actual production, or even prototypes.

    Both played around with unducted fan engines, which were so hyped I’m sure 90% of it was either false or exaggerated. McDonnell toyed with an MD-12, four engine, double deck kind of like the A380. Looking back, ti’s just as well it stayed on paper. Boeing proposed the 7J7, which would have been a twin-aisle narrow body with unducted fan engines. Think of a shorter 767 with the engines in the back. Zip. the Sonic Cruiser looked like a weird Concorde, and would have flown just under the speed of sound. again, just as well it died in utero. The extra speed was a modest gain, but ti would have consumed more fuel.

    Instead we got the MD-11 a a follow on to the DC-10. The 757 as a new development, which didn’t fail, but wasn’t a hit. The 767, which sold well only after ETOPS rules allowed twin engine planes to fly longer distances over water (this was a boon to Airbus, too). And the various MD-80/90 models to follow on the venerable DC-9. The last fell under Boeing’s management, and was named B-717. And then two more generations of the 737, which we all know how that turned out with the MAX.

    Perhaps a company more focused on engineering than making money would have designed a 757 replacement by now. as it is, Airbus’ jury-rigged A321XLR is getting those order for the middle market segment. Certainly they’d have seen the folly of further modifying a regional jet, and drawn up a clean slate replacement.

  25. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @95 South:

    Trump’s economy for the first three years is growing at a 2.5% rate

    Actually it is shrinking at a 2.5% rate…2.8%>2.5%>2.3%
    Job growth, too, is slowing under Trump.
    The only thing really growing, at a rate that isn’t simply a continuation of Obama trends, is the deficit.

  26. Teve says:

    America’s democracy is failing

    There’s going to be a constitutional crisis in the next two decades. You just can’t have a handful of propaganda-drenched fools in empty states blocking any and all attempts to deal with serious problems like global warming and income inequality. The system is going to reach a breaking point.

    1
  27. 95 South says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: The economy is growing, not shrinking. It is growing at a faster rate in the past three years than in Obama’s last term. It grew faster in 2017 than 2016, faster in 2018 than 2017, and slower in 2019 than 2018.

    2
  28. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @95 South:

    The economy is growing, not shrinking.

    I’m confused…isn’t 2.3% smaller than 2.5%?
    And you’re refusing to answer my question…why is it OK for Trump to explode the deficit?

  29. Teve says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: it is still positive growth , but it’s decelerating.

    1
  30. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Teve:

    it is still positive growth , but it’s decelerating.

    Yes…of course that is correct. In fact, it is the 128th month of this economic expansion.
    All praise KOTUS, for he has single-handedly created this wonderous economy.
    /snark.

    2
  31. 95 South says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Year Real GDP Growth
    2013 1.8
    2014 2.5
    2015 2.9
    2016 1.6
    2017 2.4
    2018 2.9
    2019 2.3

    https://www.bea.gov/data/gdp/gross-domestic-product
    Table 5

    2
  32. Just nutha ignint crackerddd says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Come on now. They admitted that they were concerned (probably mostly at that) about the bottom line. Paying people what their worth lowers the bottom line faster than any other factor. At least that’s what my business majors always told me in their “why nobody should earn more than the minimum wage–which is already too high now” research essays.

  33. Kathy says:

    Tomorrow Netflix will air the series finale of The Good Place.

    I’ve avoided reading possible spoilers, and even fan speculation. I am anticipating some kind of last twist, and I don’t even want to speculate about what it will be.

    SPOILERS FOLLOW:

    You’ve been warned.

    I didn’t exactly anticipate the twist in “Patty,” but it was something I thought possible from the start. as far back as season one, I wondered whether the people running the Good Place, if they can allow someone in by mistake, might not be incompetent at running paradise.

    Well, kind of, as it turned out.

    BTW, it was kind of brilliant to have Hypatia of Alexandria in the show, and to have her deliver the twist. And did anyone note a bit of Phoebe in Kudrow’s performance? It struck me when she sees she’s wearing a Jaguars jersey with a number and says something like “Hey, I have math on my clothes!”

  34. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @95 South:

    2018 2.9 2019 2.3

    I s this not a deceleration?
    Trump promised 3-4% for as far as the eye can see. Where is it?
    Job growth is decelerating as well.
    And for the 3rd time…why is it OK for Trump to explode the deficit?

  35. Mister Bluster says:

    And for the 3rd time…why is it OK for Trump to explode the deficit?
    It is ok for Supreme Leader and Chairman of the Republican Sex Workers Party Kim Jong Trump to explode the deficit because “grab them by the pussy” and he screws porn stars to commit adultry. That is all that Republican Man cares about.

    1
  36. 95 South says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: I said it was a deceleration in growth rate but the past three years had a higher overall growth rate than Obama’s second term. We agree I was right now, right? As for your analysis, “you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts”.

    3
  37. grumpy realist says:

    Remember everyone, the U.K. leaves the E.U. at 11 pm (U.K. time) tomorrow.

    Aside from the handful of cheap populist politicians who’ll fondly remember whooping it up near Big Ben, I suspect the reality of the situation (hell, now the dog has REALLY caught the car) is going to start kicking in, big time. The U.K. gets to drift along is a quasi-belonging state until the end of 2020, but that’s not going to solve any of the problems. At least Farage and his merry band will be out of the European Parliament.

    3
  38. Gustopher says:

    @95 South: Do you trust those numbers? Are you sure there aren’t Deep State Economists revising them for political purposes? 😉

    And, do you think the modest increase is worth an ongoing giant hole in the deficit?

    I recall people being opposed to a short term stimulus when the economy contracted in 2008, because of debt concerns.

    2
  39. @Gustopher: Indeed. The lack of concern about deficits is pretty amazing.

    Also: if 95 South is happy with the Trump economy, I am assuming that he was similarly happy about the Obama economy post-recession.

    But, of course, he isn’t, despite the substantial similarities between the two.

    7
  40. Jax says:

    Hahahaha…..funniest thing I’ve seen on Facebook today.

    Impeachment, a summary:

    ALL THE WITNESSES: Ok we all agree. This is what happened.

    REPUBLICANS: None of you were in the room!

    BOLTON: *raises hand* Well I was in the…

    REPUBLICANS: Who asked you?! Shut up! You’re a liberal pawn!

    BOLTON: Um… I’m actually I’m a lifelong Republican and I was literally Trump’s national security advi…

    REPUBLICANS: Shut your mustache! Somebody bring back the first national security advisor.

    FLYNN: *in orange jumpsuit* Hey sorry guys I’m in jail lol.

    REPUBLICANS: What? Why?

    FLYNN: For lying to the FBI about the Russia investigation.

    REPUBLICANS: Well what idiot told you to do that?!

    FLYNN: The Pres…

    REPUBLICANS: Shut up! No one believes either of you!

    KELLY: *raises hand* I believe them. And I was Trump’s Chief of sta…

    REPUBLICANS: Shut up! Let’s talk to the real chief of staff. Who is he?

    MULVANEY: *raises hand* It’s me.

    REPUBLICANS: Shit. Never mind.

    PARNAS: *raises hand* I was also in the room. In fact, here’s a cell phone video of the President saying that…

    REPUBLICANS: Wait what?! How in hell did you sneak a cell phone into a meeting with the President?

    PARNAS: It was easy I just walked right in and…

    REPUBLICANS: Shut up! You’re a criminal!

    PARNAS: Correct. And I just walked right into…

    TRUMP: I don’t know him.

    PARNAS: And here’s 500 pictures of me with the President because we’re besties.

    REPUBLICANS: Wait… What idiot introduced you to the President??

    PARNAS: His personal lawyer.

    REPUBLICANS: Cohen??

    COHEN: *also in orange jumpsuit* Hey no sorry guys I’m in jail too.

    REPUBLICANS: Why?

    COHEN: For campaign finance violations.

    REPUBLICANS: Who’s campaign?

    COHEN: The Pres…

    REPUBLICANS: Shut up! Who was the campaign chair??

    MANAFORT: *jumpsuit* Yeah. Me. Also in jail.

    REPUBLICANS: IS EVERYBODY IN JAIL?!?

    PARNAS: It was Giuliani.

    YOVANOVITCH: Giuliani! That’s the guy who had me fired from my job!

    REPUBLICANS: Who are you??

    YOVANOVITCH: I was the ambassador to Ukraine.

    REPUBLICANS: Wait, you had her fired? Do you work for the government??

    GIULIANI: Nope.

    REPUBLICANS: Well who is the ambassador to the European Union??

    SONDLAND: *raises hand* Me. I was also in the roo…

    REPUBLICANS: F@$&!!!

    PUTIN: *rubs his bare chest*

    4
  41. mattbernius says:
  42. An Interested Party says:

    Hahahaha…..funniest thing I’ve seen on Facebook today.

    If Paddy Chayefsky were still alive and writing a satire about politics, he wouldn’t have to search much for material…rather, he could simply look at the Trump Administration…

    1
  43. Tyrell says:

    I am always looking for news services that are impartial and balanced. Here are a few that I use: BBC , PBS, Allsides, CNN Tcch (Pioneers is good), CNBC, Scholastic, Newsela, Knewz-science, Motor Trend, CNET (has a section for downloads).
    Maybe you have some more.

  44. Jax says:

    @Guarneri: I don’t actually know any people who are happy, everybody in this area is bitching about high unemployment, Trump’s twitter habit, trade wars messing with cattle prices, and everything we buy that’s made of steel has increased in price.

    I’m in a red state, so outside of people like you who are in it to “pwn the libs”, Trump might be losing support.

  45. Teve says:

    A friend on FB:

    All we need is for China to start helping the DNC and you’ll see election security reform overnight. Kind of like how Reagan suddenly embraced gun control when the Black Panthers started buying guns.

    1
  46. An Interested Party says:

    So why are the American people happy? Despite all that overwhelming vicious and biased right leaning media coverage……….oh, wait. Its a real conundrum………….or not.

    Certainly they aren’t happy with your dear leader…isn’t it amazing that with such a good economy, he’s disliked by that many people? Any other president would be cruising to a record landslide reelection with these economic numbers…

    1
  47. 95 South says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Steven: please highlight the part where I said I was happy about the economy.

  48. @95 South: That’s a fair point. You seem to be cheerleading for the current admin.

    Perhaps you could clarify your point?

    1
  49. 95 South says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Where was I cheerleading for the administration? Daryl said “blah blah blah error” so I corrected the error. Anyone can read “blah blah blah” and make up their own mind. Daryl’s entitled to his own opinion but most of his GDP facts were wrong.

  50. @95 South: Fair enough.

  51. 95 South says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Why didn’t you correct Daryl?

  52. @95 South: I misunderstood the entire interchange. I have acknowledged your point (twice).

    In regards to the GDP figures, that has all been corrected at this point, yes?

  53. An Interested Party says:

    Ultimately, arguments about GDP numbers are meaningless

    The core of Donald Trump’s platform is that his policies have produced what he touts as “The Greatest Economy in American History!” The truth is very different. By enacting a huge tax cut, in late 2017, that was heavily slanted toward corporations and the rich, Trump and the Republicans gave the economy a temporary boost—in 2018, it grew at an annual rate of 2.9 per cent—that has now faded.

    In the fourth quarter of last year, G.D.P.—the broadest measure of activity in the economy—expanded at an annual rate of 2.1 per cent, the new report from the Commerce Department showed. Taking 2019 as a whole, G.D.P. grew at 2.3 per cent. These growth rates are nowhere near the four-per-cent growth that Trump promised in 2016. Instead, they are in line with the average growth rate since 2000, which is 2.2 per cent. And this ho-hum outcome has only been achieved at a tremendous cost. The federal government is now running an enormous budget deficit and accumulating vast amounts of new debt, which will burden taxpayers for decades to come. After three years of Trump’s Presidency, in fact, the United States is starting to look like one of his highly indebted business ventures.

    This year, the new report from the C.B.O. says, the deficit will be about a trillion dollars. Ten years from now, it will be roughly $1.3 trillion. Numbers like these are so big that they are hard to take in. The way economists make sense of them is by comparing the dollar amount to the level of G.D.P., much like a family might compare its mortgage to its income. If you do this, you can see just how out of whack with history the Trump Presidency really is.

    According to the C.B.O.’s projections, the budget deficit will be 4.6 per cent of G.D.P. this year, and by 2030 it will have risen to 5.4 per cent of G.D.P. Before Trump took office, the United States had never run sustained deficits of this magnitude except during wars, when spending on armaments and other items increased sharply, or during economic slumps, when tax receipts plummeted. “Other than a six-year period during and immediately after World War II, the deficit over the past century has not exceeded 4.0 percent for more than five consecutive years,” the C.B.O. report notes. “And during the past 50 years, deficits have averaged 1.5 percent of GDP when the economy was relatively strong (as it is now).”

    What about the level of government debt? “Because of the large deficits, federal debt held by the public is projected to grow, from 81 percent of GDP in 2020 to 98 percent in 2030 (its highest percentage since 1946),” the C.B.O. report says. “By 2050, debt would be 180 percent of GDP—far higher than it has ever been.”

    As the author notes, this is all being done by the same person who had a string of businesses that went bankrupt after he piled mountains of debt on them…once again, it will be left to a Democratic president to try to clean up the fiscal mess left by a Republican predecessor…