Trump to Nominate Herman Cain to Fed
Nein. Nein. Nein.
Bloomberg (“Trump Says Herman Cain, Ex-Pizza Executive, Is in ‘Good Shape’ for Fed Seat“):
President Donald Trump said Herman Cain, the former pizza company executive who ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, is being vetted for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board.
Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday that Cain is in “good shape.” Cain would fill one of two open seats on the board; the president plans to name Stephen Moore, a visiting fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a long-time Trump supporter, for the other.
In Cain and Moore, Trump would place two political loyalists on the board of a central bank that has frequently crossed him. The president has repeatedly attacked Jerome Powell, his own appointee as Federal Reserve chairman, for raising interest rates, and Bloomberg News reported in December that Trump had even discussed firing him.
One way the president can directly influence monetary policy is through nominations to the Fed board, though anyone he picks must be confirmed by the Senate. Asked Thursday if he’s trying to send a signal to the Fed with Cain and Moore, Trump said: “None whatsoever.”
Cain in September co-founded a pro-Trump super-political action committee, America Fighting Back PAC, which features a photo of the president on its website and says: “We must protect Donald Trump and his agenda from impeachment.”
Cain, who had a long corporate career, has previously worked in the Federal Reserve system. From 1992 to 1996, he served as a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, as well as deputy chairman and then chairman.
He advocated for the U.S. to return to the gold standard during his presidential campaign and as recently as December 2017 defended higher interest rates, a position that contrasts with Trump’s repeated criticisms of the Fed last year.
Cain ran for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination but dropped out in late 2011 after allegations he engaged in sexual harassment when he led the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. An Atlanta woman said she had had an extramarital affair with Cain for more than 13 years.
During the presidential campaign, Cain became known for his “9-9-9” tax plan, which would have replaced much of the U.S. tax code with a flat 9 percent tax on sales transactions as well as corporate and individual income.
The reaction has been, shall we say, predictable.
Jonathan Chait (“Trump Wants Herman Cain on the Fed Because He’s an Unqualified Hack“):
Cain rose to fame during the 2012 election by running a proto-Trump candidacy in which he called for an electrified fence on the southern border, before eventually being forced from the race in a hail of sexual-harassment complaints. Cain was, in essence, proof of concept for the Trump campaign four years later, demonstrating the potential for a cartoonish infotainer to catapult to the top of the race by substituting aggressively simplistic catchphrases for even the semblance of a platform.
Viewed as a monetary policy-maker, Cain shares a great deal in common with Stephen Moore, another Trump nominee for the Fed. Moore helped craft Cain’s famous 9-9-9 tax-reform proposal, a plan so wildly impractical even the most fanatical tax-cutters distanced themselves from it. Cain and Moore both occupy a special category in the conservative-movement universe as figures so transparently dim that even the other charlatans consider them charlatans.
He also pooh-poohs the notion that his KC Fed experience makes him qualified:
Cain, unlike Moore, does have some relevant work history that bears on his qualification for the Fed: He served on the Kansas City Federal Reserve between 1989 and 1996. These spots are often filled by local business leaders who are not required to possess much knowledge or carry out policy:
More direct evidence of Cain’s understanding of monetary policy comes from his punditry. The Federal Reserve uses monetary policy to help smooth out business cycles. When the economy slows down, it lowers interest rates to encourage more borrowing and economic activity. When the economy speeds up, it does the opposite, to prevent inflation. There are legitimate disagreements within this framework — intelligent observers can and do disagree about when the economy is growing fast enough to justify higher interest rates.
But Cain has advocated hard-money views that occupy a different universe than anything Federal Reserve board members have advocated, or probably even consider sane. Cain assailed the “politicized” Federal Reserve for “inflat[ing] our currency” in 2011, and calling for a return to the gold standard in 2012. The gold standard is an extreme deflationary policy favored by right-wing cranks, which would make it impossible to lower interest rates during recessions. The gold standard is a policy for people who object to the entire purpose of the Federal Reserve.
On the surface, it might seem paradoxical that Trump’s response to a Federal Reserve policy that he considers too tight is to nominate a fanatical tight-money advocate. It would be like rejecting Yellen as too short and then nominating somebody three-feet tall.
But there is a peculiar logic to it. Cain’s gold-standard fanaticism did not come from any deep ideological belief about interest rates or the money supply. It was an expression of right-wing fanaticism and partisanship during the Obama administration. The conservative business elite habitually expressed wild fears that Obama was producing hyperinflation, socialism, or some other form of uncontrollable social disintegration. Cain’s punditry followed that script. So did Trump’s, who at the time attacked the Federal Reserve for its loose money.
Paul Krugman takes to Twitter to make a more succinct argument, which I’ve edited for formatting purposes:
By choosing Herman Cain for the Fed, Trump has actually broken new ground. Moore was a shocker, but Cain represents a whole new level of Trumpiness.
The two can seem similar, in that both are clearly unqualified and likely to be purely political animals. But there’s more.
Moore is an incompetent, dishonest hack. But he didn’t come out of nowhere. The modern GOP wants people like him, and Moore — along with Kudlow – has been the party’s go-to guy for hack economics for a long time. Trump was just rounding up the usual suspects.
But while Moore was out there predicting hyperinflation, faking numbers for the WSJ and giving speeches to Freedomfest, Cain was selling phony remedies for erectile dysfunction.
Some people inside the conservative cult probably didn’t even know that Moore was a hack. Everybody knew, to the extent they thought of him at all, that Cain was a clown. So choosing Cain is an assertion that Trump can pick anyone, and expect the party to kneel down.
The thing is, he’s probably right. All indications now are that there is no nomination Trump can make that’s so absurd that more than 1 or 2 GOP Senators will say no.
Sadly, he’s almost certainly right.
“Nein. Nein. Nein.”
That was my thought exactly.
I kinda of like Cain, even thought I don’t agree with him often. He’s smart and funny and, when he would guest host radio shows, would engage people who disagreed with him.
He has absolutely no business being on the Fed.
The Fed has been the one constant over the last 35 years, keeping the economy from getting too hot or too cold. They’ve shown an unusual ability to learn from past mistakes, not recreating their disastrous policies of the 1930s or the 1970s. Trump is clearly hoping they’ll goose the economy for his re-election, long-term consequence be damned. If the economy crashes or we get inflation after 2020, well … just like with the deficit, that’s somebody else’s problem.
Germans have a very high level of respect for Fachverständnis (professional competence). They would also say “Nein” to the clowns Trump persists in naming to posts for which they are profoundly unqualified.
Somewhat related: Trump announced today that he will not be attending the White House Correspondents Dinner, but instead will hold a rally. His reasoning? “Everybody wants it, and it will be a big one.” I wonder who “everybody” is?
As for Cain, is Trump paying him back because Cain is raising funds for Trump’s re-election?
Were Fred Flintstone and Homer Simpson not available?
Before even reading the article, I must tell you: your subtitle is perfect!
@Guarneri: Since chances are you will appear here to contribute your opinion, when you do so, can you explicitly let us know if you — personally — think Cain is qualified and support his nomination.
I know you’ll have lots of comments/critiques about aspects of the quoted analysis, but they don’t tell us what you actually think of this choice.
So for once, can you just answer the question: Do you, @Guarneri, think that Cain is qualified for this position and is someone you support for it?
Any chance that Trump’s presidency wouldn’t be a disaster for both the nation and for the Republican Party would have required a Congress that was willing to check his worst impulses. But, well, the Republican Party.
I think I can answer that. No. No he won’t. That simply is not how Trumpers are wired. After all, if they cared about honesty, logic, consistency or even basic human decency, would they be Trumpers in the first place?
@mattbernius: I agree with @MarkedMan, it is unlikely you will get an answer.
Nor will he admit that this nomination would be more evidence that Trump makes choices based on people he sees on TV (note that, along those lines, he never addressed my long list of evidence to back my claim, despite the fact that he accused me of deviating from sanity for suggesting such a thing).
@mattbernius: @MarkedMan: He’ll say Cain is more qualified than Obama. And he’ll think he’s hilariously pwned the libs.
He’ll say it’s better than if Hillary had won because Hillary would have appointed George Soros head of the Federal Reserve and Soros would have snuck a nuclear bomb into Fort Knox to contaminate the gold supply there, boosting the value of his precious metal reserves.
I actually think there are some nominations that Republicans would book at. I suspect Surgeon General is one position where just being a doctor who is a Trump loyalist might not get you through.
When I look at Moore and Cain I think of Peter Diamond, who was not even given a hearing when nominated to the Fed largely because of noted fiscal policy expert Richard Shelby, who felt that he didn’t have the right experience, plus he was a Keynesian. I guess the fact that he shared the Nobel Prize in economics that year was just dumb luck. In a sane world Richard Shelby would be in some job that couldn’t harm anyone instead of a being a US Senator.
Officially, Fred is being kept too busy by Mr. Slate to leave rock quarry and had to decline. Unofficially, Mr. Gazoo threatened to turn Fred into Pebbles’ identical twin sister if he accepted the Fed job.
@MarkedMan & @Steven L. Taylor:
Oh, I don’t expect an answer. But hope springs eternal.
(Also, continuing to ask this publicly might lead others to start to wonder why he’s so afraid to answer this sort of question…)
Probably. Of course, this would miss the general fact that Obama wasn’t a member of the Fed. So that wouldn’t be answering the question — just more dissembling.
That’s a good guess too. And again, it wouldn’t be answering the actual question.
Man, its striking that no one yet thinks he would directly answer the question… I really wonder why that is.
Nah, @Guarneri won’t show up. He only pops in when he thinks he has a winner, and then he snarks and runs. He’s not up to intellectual give-and-take, and he lacks the character to consistently support a man he knows is a buffoon. Guarneri only shoots from the trees and runs away having harmed no one.
@Steven L. Taylor: The thing I wonder about with many of these Trumpers is whether what they say is the result of bad faith, or whether the infobubble they are in is so different from the one you and I are in that they believe that stuff.
For instance, I know a very conservative man who comes to work out with us at the dojo. I like him. He makes a positive contribution. He works hard. Then every once in a while he’ll say things like “Obama was the worst, most incompetent person we’ve ever had holding the office”
And I wonder how someone could have reached that conclusion. I can get not liking his policies. But “most incompetent”? Where does that come from? That’s a really high bar (Warren Harding, I’m looking at you!) It sure isn’t bad faith, at least not in this case.
This worries me. If our information streams are that different, how do we move forward?
I thought that when someone mentioned this in one of the comment threads yesterday, that person was making a joke. Now that I know… WTF???
@Kathy: I can’t speak for Homer, but Fred Flintstone explicitly came out as “unwilling to shill for Trump.”
ETA: “Man, its striking that no one yet thinks he would directly answer the question… I really wonder why that is.”
No, you don’t. You can’t fool me; you know why.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: we’re lucky he hasn’t nominated
Zircon and BurlapDiamond and Silk.
(H/t Joe My God)
Moore? Now Cain?
So the qualification for the FED is that you have to be dumber than even Dennison, himself?
@Jay L Gischer: People have different motivations. On my side, I find it humiliating to NOT admit when I have been wrong. It makes me feel weak and ineffectual, like a chump. On top of that, I value facts and reality a great deal in and of themselves. So when I am wrong I want to correct it sooner rather than later.
But other people consider it emasculating to ever admit they are wrong about anything. I’m not talking about being wrong, only admitting they are wrong. I don’t get this feeling, so I can’t understand the motivation. But I can recognize it when I see it.
Seems awfully unfair. Cain has gone out of his way to establish himself as a clown and a huckster. It would be a shame to ruin that for him and make him take a real job.
Query- If he works for the Fed can he continue raising money for Trump?
@Jay L Gischer:
At a guess, right-wing media.
But had Obama been so incompetent, there’d be no Obamacare for the Republicans to repeal. Sure, the Democratic leadership in the Congress could have come up with such an extensive bill all on their own, but they’d have had a hard time passing it, and even fully crafting it, without presidential support and leadership.
Had Obama been so incompetent, his first two years in office would have been almost bereft of all but the most routine legislation, with perhaps one or two big ticket items passing. Like, you know, Dennison’s first two years were.
@Kathy: about five years ago I was working part-time in a hardware store to make some extra money, and while I mostly kept my politics to myself there were a few young smart people I chatted with openly. But people are always chatting and apparently word about some of the conversations got around, and one day at lunch this guy in the break room named Charlie asks me, with complete seriousness, “You don’t think Obama is trying to destroy the country from the inside?” and he was legitimately confused as to how I could not understand that obvious truth. Well I don’t work there anymore, but I did see that same guy about two months after Donald Trump was elected, and he was ebullient. He said, “Can you believe how the economy is already booming???”
If you get all of your information from Hannity, Ingraham, Lou Dobbs, etcetera, you live in a very different world than people in reality live in.
This type of person is inherently weak…like the guy that tells you he is an alpha male.
Is there any better illustration of the principle that Trump has raised score-settling to a basic principle of government, with the active connivance of the congressional GOP?
@Jay L Gischer:
That’s where the FEMA reeducation camps come in.
What, no gratitude that El Cheeto restored everyone’s guns Obama had taken away? Poor guy, his fabulism really took a beating under Obama.
I was recently at a meal where I met a young man who was a very avid and vocal Trump supporter. While I frequently spar with the Trumpists here at OTB, in the offline world I generally avoid getting into political arguments with strangers. In this case, however, the young man was so persistent I felt myself getting sucked into it. He asked me if I was a Trump supporter, and I said no, and then he was like “How can you not be a Trump supporter?” and talked about all the wonderful things Trump had supposedly done. So I countered him.
He seemed completely unprepared for my answers, even though I was just informing him of what I saw as the most banal, basic facts. For example, he referred to Obamacare as “socialized medicine.” I explained to him that it was not socialized medicine, that it relies mostly on private insurance companies–but I added that I saw nothing wrong with “socialized” health insurance, which works fine in many countries. When he brought up the border wall, I explained to him that most illegal immigrants aren’t people who hopped the border but people who entered the country legally and overstayed their visas.
He didn’t dismiss what I said or call it fake news. He just seemed stunned. It was like that moment when one of Roy Moore’s attorneys went on CNN and was informed by Jake Tapper that there’s no legal or constitutional requirement that a politician must swear on the Bible–and he just stared stupidly at the camera for several moments, as if what Tapper said had never even occurred to him. That’s what this kid was like. I suspect he’d have been reachable if I’d have spoken more to him, but I wouldn’t have thought so if he’d been older.
This is so disturbing. The NYT also has a piece out that says Trump is once again not-so-subtly suggesting that the Fed should cut interest rates “to give the economy a lift.”
He doesn’t understand economic basics, and he’s just named two incompetents to the Fed. Will the Senate confirm them?
NYT thinks he’s “not so subtly suggesting” they ease? He’s trying to pack the board to force it.
OK, he’s breaking norms all over. But couldn’t he even pretend to take his job seriously?
The man is too psychologically abnormal for that.
Also, Trump’s goals are abnormal, as are his incentives:
You guys crack me up. I call them like I see them. Period. No matter the issue or who expresses the opinion. Hell, I’ve even agreed with Reynolds when I think he’s got a good point. That of course was before he went batshixxt crazy after Hillary lost. I haven’t been lobotomized into slavish group think by TDS as have the vast majority here.
Although I’m not nearly as enamoured by PhD economists as Dr Taylor, after all, look at the Feds record, but no, I think Cain is a bad choice. I’ll be surprised if it stands. My criticism of the Fed is well worn territory over at Schuler’s place. It saved Obama from 1% growth at the expense of asset bubbles that increased income inequality problems and screwed savers. Funny thing, I didn’t hear a peep here, or from Obama.
And as for hacks, Krugman, really? You can’t be serious. What side of the issue is he on today?
If confirmed, Stephen Moore and Herman Cain will be on the fed board til 2033, or until one or both of them (Cain most likely) can be removed for cause.
My unreserved compliments and kudos for clearly articulating your stance.
Snark-free up-vote is enclosed.
Well…yeah, you do suffer from acute TDS.
Anyone who supports this buffoon, as you do unquestioningly, is deranged.
I do not agree with putting incompetent people in positions of power and responsibility, and I certainly hate idea that a booming economy will help re-elected Trump. That said, I cannot understand why people are are so against the Fed “juicing” the economy. Do these people realize the direction the economy has taken over the past fifty years? Low interest rates encourage investment which in turn puts positive pressure on the labor market: a greater percentage of profits goes into workers’s pockets. This results in inflation, of course, but also effectively reduces the debt burden. All this is positive for the average Joe and for the country as a whole as every year wealth is less concentrated. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that higher wages equate with higher tax revenue, leading to greater scope for government action, and ultimately greater trust in the government.
Be against rank patronage, and be against Trump, but have a clear idea of the sort of monitory policies that have been in place for decades, why they have been championed, and what they have brought about.
@Guarneri: Thanks for answering the Cain question.
@Kit: Speaking for myself, my only stated opinion of late here at OTB (I think) has been an opposition to appointing manifestly unqualified persons to the body.
My only specific view on interest rates is that the Fed ought to make an informed choice, and the sitting president (regardless of who it is) shouldn’t be trying to influence that body to make choices because they might be politically advantageous to said sitting president.
@Steven L. Taylor:
I’d quibble, but triangulating between my position, yours, and the short-term calculations I imagine that Trump is making, leaves me uncomfortable. Still, I would like to see more posts on the subject.
As I said, I call them as I see them. Not much of that around here. Just cheerleading.
More broadly, I think people would be surprised at my criticism and thoughts on Trump. He’s a cad and boorish. BuT I have the capacity to look through to key policy issues. I define those as immigration, managed trade, ecoNomy, and limited foreign engagement. He’s correct on all four. The past three presidents have not. Those focused just on “hooray for our side” are prisoners to to their bitterness over an election. And the bizarre conspiratorial Russia, Russia, Russia stuff is just complete insanity.
@Daryl and his brother Darryl:
I rest my case.
By the way. Can anyone tell me what President has not had a view, and argued for a stimulative Fed policy??
It’s what presidents do.
“That said, I cannot understand why people are are so against the Fed “juicing” the economy. Do these people realize the direction the economy has taken over the past fifty years? Low interest rates encourage investment which in turn puts positive pressure on the labor market: a greater percentage of profits goes into workers’s pockets. This results in inflation, of course, but also effectively reduces the debt burden. All this is positive for the average Joe and for the country as a whole as every year wealth is less concentrated.”
Inflation, once it gets started, tends to escalate, as people assume there will be a certain level of inflation even before seeing how the economy is. This was a large problem in the 1970’s — inflation expectations kept “ratcheting upwards”, and soon we had inflation levels over 10%, which were a problem by themselves, and could arguably have led to far worse levels of inflation in the future.
Given how many times it took you to actually make a direct comment on Trump’s fed picks — as just one example of you repeatedly dodging direct questions while insulting most of us — this might be a little more aspirational rather than fact based.
Looking at that list, I can understand being satisfied with Trump on “immigration” as that’s ideological. I also question the overall effectiveness of those policies relative to the pain and disruption they caused (but hey, maybe you’re all for causing maximum pain… which to be honest is pretty U of C biz school…). But like I said, this is ultimately ideological.
I question what positive things Trump has substantively done on managed trade, but I suspect that’s largely ideological as well.
Again, I’m curious about what you mean by “economy” but that’s too large a topic to unpack and admittedly not my bailiwick.
But, I cannot understand how any intelligent individual sees Trump’s foreign policy as “limited foreign engagement” when you actually look at the details (or specifically all that more limited than Obama’s — if anything Trump has expanded our foreign military engagement in a number of under-reported areas). Unless all that means is gutting the State Department and pissing off all of our allies.
Well, you snark a lot about how you see them (and often without much in the way of explanation).
You support the child separation policy, as well as those which exacerbate the humanitarian crisis (such as metering asylum-seekers?). Do you really think a wall will be efficacious? You support limiting visas in general, blanket bans of folks from some Muslim countries? You think it is positive that these approached have decreased the number of student visas issued? You think threatening to close the borders is good policy?
You support unnecessary antagonism with trading partners? You like tariffs? You support damaging soy bean prices and then subsidizing the farmers who are damaged?
In regards to the economy, I can accept that one might like the regulatory moves and the tax cuts–beyond that we are still living through the basic trends started in the Obama administration.
That’s just off the top of my head.
Which is one of the reasons that the Fed is supposed to be disconnected from direct political influence and why Presidents are not supposed to publicly campaign for Fed action, but more importantly why they are not expected to put political hacks on the Board of Governors.
Can you answer the very simple question I’ve posed to you repeatedly?
What is the plausible, innocent explanation for why Trump refuses to have any record made, or any American present, when he meets Putin?
@Steven L. Taylor:
I plead guilty to that. But understand, after every argument one has put forth is just met with a) wild eyed partisan “reasoning,” b) claims that you, and all Republicans, are stupid, evil, racist, xenophobic, homophobic, and c) you see the critical posts about Trump for doing things other politicians do and have done, and almost never an acknowledgement of success……. one just throws up their hands and asks what’s the point. It’s the point I tried to make several weeks ago when James was asking where the commenters have gone. The place has devolved into a partisan food fight, and very unbalanced treatment. Trump exaggerating his inaugural crowd size and he’s a liar, Benghazi was driven by a YouTube video and….no problem. So just joust for sport from time to time.
Also, you surely have to know that sarcasm or mocking people for their weird rants is a technique, and more importantly, much of what I do is just poking ribs. I suppose one never knows how things come through over the Internet.
In any event, to the Fed. You are correct, but all presidents jawbone the Fed. Cain is still a poor choice, and he shouldn’t be appointed to rig the system. But, heh, how about Dem plans to patch the Supreme Court?
He doesn’t look at details, he reads Zero Hedge and thinks normal people should take it seriously. They never look at details. Details complicate their worship.
@Jay L Gischer:
I recently had the pleasure of having a drink with Mr. Michael Reynolds. During said dinner, we commiserated on how hard it is to have an actual debate with so many “conservatives” in general, but Trumpists in particular. I was glad it wasn’t just me, after hearing Michael’s stories on trying to engage Trumpists.
But… If you’re in the Trump/Fox bubble, the following items are statements of fact, not opinion, and solid, incontrovertible facts at that.
1. Obama wasn’t born in the USA.
2. Obama is a Muslim.
3. Obama tried to ruin the country intentionally.
4. Hillary Clinton was directly responsible for Benghazi.
5. Obama is part of the Muslim Brotherhood.
6. Obama was a gun grabber
7. Obama had Andrew Breitbart killed.
8. The FBI is nothing but Democrat partisans.
9. The DOJ is filled with Obama appointments who hate America.
10. Obama Administration faked the jobs reports. Now that Trump is president, we’re getting “real” information.
11. Obama lied as much as Trump does now.
12. The IRS actively sought to silence Tea Party Groups.
13. Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson are the only real journalists at Fox.
14. Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and John Podesta, are now, and always have been pedophiles.
15. Hillary Clinton sold all our uranium to Russia.
16. Trump is a brilliant businessman.
17. Trump is the victim of “loose” women who throw themselves at him.
This is just the start of a very long list, but you all get the gist. It’s shocking what gets fed to people who believe it.
“In any event, to the Fed. You are correct, but all presidents jawbone the Fed.”
Yup, but it is pretty rare, as in I am sure it has happened but I cant remember it, to have a POTUS and his advisors push for higher rates when the other team was in charge then push for lower rates when they come into power with the economic conditions actually unchanged or maybe even better.
Without a doubt there are Republicans who are not any of the above. But since you’re being a straight shooter, can you answer another question:
Do you think the current president isn’t, at best a bigot? Do you feel his core policies (with one notable exception that was celebrated) — and many of the policies of his cabinet — are not often racist, xenophobic, and homophobic? If you have counter evidence to dispute that, please share it.
Can you cite some examples? And how do you reconcile that with the amount of issues that the Republican leaning media attacked Obama on that Trump doubled down on to praise? Were those issues pure political BS from the start?
Further, how do you account for all the ways that Trump has broken so many basic norms of the presidency. Or can you find a example of a Democratic Mara Largo?
The reason I am asking is because you seem to essentially be stating that you reflexively are defending the president and Republicans because people are saying mean things about them, not because you actually agree with them (see: Herman Cain as an example).
Years ago, somehow I got into a discussion with a coworker over the war in Iraq (which I supported at the time). Overall he was informed about the situation, but he pulled off some real whoppers out of thin air, which just left me flabbergasted. The three I recall:
1) 9/11 had nothing to do with the war in Afghanistan
2) The Afghan government had requested troops from the UN to combat the Taliban (WTF!!)
3) The US had sent only a few troops as part of an international coalition to aid the Afghans against the Taliban.
No matter what I said, like the UN wasn’t involved, the coalition was mostly NATO and led by the US, and that the Taliban were the Afghan government (or the closest thing to an Afghan government), it was like arguing with an alien who speaks a completely different language.
“How many times?” Care to back that up. You asked, I responded. You are making my case for me.
Immigration ideological? I don’t think so. If I was just ideological I’d support immigration, because as a general proposition I do. But the simple fact right now is that we are being overwhelmed. Large numbers are not interested in assimilation. It drives down wages for low skilled workers, US natural and legal immigrants. (Disproportionately blacks BTW). Mine is simply practical with an eye towards those in the US most harmed. We owe no duty to the worlds citizens.
As for trade. I’m a (semi-retired) partner in a private equity firm. We purchase only manufacturing companies. It’s our niche. I’ve seen first hand how managed trade has benefitted China, Mexico, Germany, etc etc at the expense of the US. I’m a free trader at heart. But I’m not a fool. It’s not ideological, it’s practical. That’s twice you have tried to make arguments against US workers interests. It has nothing to do with business school pain. I’m the guy trying to alleviate the pain to our guys. I put their guys second. Perhaps you differ.
As for foreign policy. He’s making NATO payntheir fair share. That’s big with you guys. Of course it pisses them off. We would all like accelerated disengagement. But he has opponents. But he’s headed in that direction.
And economy. C’mon man. How am I supposed to take you seriously when you ignore multiple measures of a hot economy that get published everyday. Including today. I’m sorry Obama presided over a sluggish economy. But he was wrongheaded. The 2% kid, with free money. Not inspiring. The AOCs and Bernie’s of the world? Clowns.
I’m trying to take you seriously. But you are making it hard. He’s not a bigot. And, oh, he’s not a traitorous Russian spy. He has a different view on immigration. To cast it as bigotry is politics, crass politics put forth by Democrats. I understand politics. But it’s not to be taken seriously by any serious person.
If this is your best summation of Trump’s “successes” on foreign policy (not to mention your understanding of why he is alienating allies), then I’m sorry, but I cannot take anything you write on the topic seriously.
Hint, I suggest you stick to economics if you want to keep up the illusion of any sort of intellectual rigor…
Wow, you really had me going there. Now, I feel like a dupe.
You drop the snark at the start of this comment and for a while you come across as a reasonable, honest broker trying to earnest navigate a hostile environment. I admit being drawn in.
Then you drop a stink bomb like this…
…and I feel such the fool.
If you want balance, you put items of similar weight on both sides of the scales.
Yes, Trump’s boasting about the size of his inaugural crowd is trivial, so it’s seems trivial to ding him on it. Sadly for Trump, the boast was profoundly easy to prove false, yet to this day Trump continues to boast and complain about others unwillingness to accept his version of the facts despite all evidence. Inauguration boasting is no longer about Trump being a liar, it’s about his adolescent inability to admit mistakes. This a profoundly troubling trait in any leader, let alone a President. Of course, you know this, but instead…
You want to say the commenters here and the left in general have said “no problem” to the failures of Benghazi. You won’t/can’t cite anyone here still claiming what Susan Rice said on a talk show wasn’t misleading even though they will argue the offering of incomplete intelligence wasn’t nefarious. You are already on record complaining about 1 formal investigation into Russian meddling into an election, so I don’t have to guess how you’d feel about 9 more investigations, including 5 by opposing party committees should Trump get the same treatment as the Obama administration got on Benghazi. But, I’ll commit to you right now, that if thorough investigation by Congress of Trump shows there was no deliberate wrongdoing, I’m admit I’m wrong – something the Republicans, and you, still refuse to do regarding Benghazi.
@Steven L. Taylor: Yeah. That was my take, too. I looked at what he identified as his priorities and said to myself if these are his priorities and Trump aligns with his values on these points then his values are skewed in a way that I believe will neither be good for the country or for himself personally. I expect that his beliefs are contrary on both counts, but particularly on count two–the one I suspect would be most important to him.
You need to look in the mirror. And question the information bubble you obviously reside in. Just because CNN, Schaffer, WaPo or Rachel Maddow etc say it doesn’t make it so.
Seriously, if you look at his long, well established track record of bigotry (I didn’t even go to full racism) and say he’s not a bigot, then I honestly have to wonder about your views on race as well (but I’m sure you have a black or Hispanic best friend or wife).
Either that or its a great demonstration of your personal ability for self delusion if it means a tax cut for you.
Remind me where I wrote that.
One of the points I’ve made is how trivial and petty the criticisms of Trump are. I rest my case.
Nice straw man argument.
Nice high school debating tactic. You’ve lost your touch.
Have you stopped beating your wife?
Dude, I spent my time in Hyde Park and had that U of C training… I am pretty sure my “bubble” is far wider than yours. And I can tell you that the majority of Foreign Policy analysis — including paleo-con — is on my side.
But please, start listing the FP people who support your point of view if you’re so well read.
Here’s any easy one — can you point to a single non pro-Trumper who thinks he’s doing a good job on FP. Since you’re so well read you must have one at your fingertips.
Which is your admission that no, you can’t answer that very simple, direct question.
@Michael Reynolds: So I wanted to get back to Dr Taylor.
“You support the child separation policy, as well as those which exacerbate the humanitarian crisis (such as metering asylum-seekers?).”
So this is what I’m talking about. This is an execrable charge. Obama had separation and people in “cages” as well. Because he’s a ghoul? No. Because we have an ungodly logistics problem down there. Please tell me you haven’t succumbed to such cheap political talking points.
“Do you really think a wall will be efficacious?”
Yes. Denial seems odd. Walls are everywhere. But it’s not to the exclusion of other methods. The truth is we should be talking 10x the funding Trump was seeking. That it would be impossible to get that funding tells you the real motivations of the principals.
“You support limiting visas in general, blanket bans of folks from some Muslim countries? You think it is positive that these approached have decreased the number of student visas issued?”
We suspended immigration for decades for the very reason existant today. It’s not novel.
“ You think threatening to close the borders is good policy?”
No, but surely you know it’s a negotiating stance. Come on man.
“You support unnecessary antagonism with trading partners?”
Unnessecary is your word. They won’t respond to pretty please with sugar on top.
“You like tariffs?”
No, do you like tariffs on our exports?
“You support damaging soy bean prices and then subsidizing the farmers who are damaged?”
Of course not. They shouldn’t be subsidized in the first place, but that’s government.
“In regards to the economy, I can accept that one might like the regulatory moves and the tax cuts–beyond that we are still living through the basic trends started in the Obama administration.”
The basic trend was 2%. Obama told us to get used to it. Believe what you like, but the statistics took a step jump the past two years. I live and work with business owners for a living Perhaps only 5% would see it your way.
That’s just off the top of my head.
No, my observation that you are playing silly what if debating games. To coin a phrase: sad.
Do you think Mueller is a Russian stooge in on the gig because he didn’t expose the obvious Trump collusion with Russia? It’s a simple question……..
“Here’s any easy one — can you point to a single non pro-Trumper who thinks he’s doing a good job on FP. “
Beg the question much?
In answer to your question: No.
Now answer mine.
Spoiler: You can’t because there is no plausible innocent explanation. There are multiple plausible guilty explanations, but none that are innocent. Not one. Thanks for helping me demonstrate that fact.
Now, given that only guilty answers can possibly apply, what do you think is the nature of that guilt?
This session has confirmed all I have said. Talk amongst yourselves. Get ready for the coming storm as Barr starts looking into Crossfire Hurricane. Get ready for Trumps re-election.
Well, you tried to interact. I watched you, silently urged you on, but I knew if I asked the question, you’d flee.
See, you made the mistake of trying to seem rational. It’s like when a Scientologist is talking and then you ask him about DC-9’s and he has to run away, because otherwise he’s quickly exposed as crazy. Rational is no longer available to you, you’re in a cult of personality. You’ve siloed yourself. So you can fake it for a while, but not long.
There is no plausible, innocent answer to why Trump refuses to have his NSA or his translator in the room when he talks to Putin. You know it, and you know it means Trump is owned by Putin. This was never about collusion, what have I told you for the last almost three years? Money laundering. I’ve probably repeated that just to you a half dozen times.
Trump is a criminal. He ran a phony charity. He committed financial fraud and tax fraud and he launders dirty Russian money. Now the reason that doesn’t bother you, Drew, is that you’re just that same kind of guy, aren’t you? Anything for money. Now, like some holy roller sucker you’ve joined a prosperity cult.
Nice play. But the fact remains if the only FP people who support Trump are the people who do so unreservedly on all issues, then you are discussing a cult. Not to mention a sign of how small your bubble is.
Also, for the record, that wasn’t begging the question when it comes to an expert topic. But the b school was never that into rhetoric.
If Trump’s FP policy is so good, and you are so well read, you should be able to name some honest brokers who didn’t support him but admit he had done the right things more than the wrong things.
Btw, for the record I can name some limited cases of that (some that were undone by later Trump FP actions), but since you are so well read, this should be easy for you.
Again, can you name a FP expert that didn’t support Trump who supports his FP? Because the majority of FP people didn’t support Trump.
Or after you making the student that only people who full support Trump sorry his FP?
I mean, if Seb Gorka or Bolton is your idea of an expert friggin own it…
Anyone who describes AOC and Bernie Sanders as “clowns” while favorably linking to a disingenuous pro-Putin Russian propaganda website and claiming that Trump isn’t a bigot (oh really?) is hardly fair and balanced and definitely deserves all the scorn he recieves…oh, and this…
…is a completely logical and fair thing for Democrats to do, considering what Mitch McConnell did to Merrick Garland…anyone arguing otherwise is simply a Republican partisan hack…
@Michael Reynolds: Trump is a criminal. He ran a phony charity.
Cannot be said enough. What sort of person steals from a charity? Donald Trump. This is not an accusation that he ran a phony charity. they have admitted to the state of New York that Donald Trump engaged in “self-dealing”, which is using charitable funds for your own self interest. The Trump Foundation was a slush fund. Period. That alone should make it impossible for any decent person to support him.
And as far as him being a bigot, the Obama Birther lie is sufficient to prove his bigotry. Add in senior advisors like Steve Bannon (who is one degree of separation for nazis and klansman), Roger Ailes (not just a bigot but a sexual predator), and Stephen Miller and no reasonable person could think that Trump doesn’t have just a little problem with POC. Oh, and the Trump Organization had special codes for blacks trying to rent Trump properties back in the day to make sure they would not qualify as tenants.
This strikes me as something of a slippery slope argument. Yes, above a certain point inflation becomes a real danger, but what is that level? People equate inflation with hyperinflation, just as those of the Right equate any debt with the sort of reckless spending that brings down economies.
The arc of the country’s economy changed in the 70s, and not for the better. That policy over at the Fed played a role seems a reasonable hypothesis. But at this point I’ll admit to being in over my head with regards to my knowledge of economics. Still, I find it a pity that the subject doesn’t generate more interest here at OTB.
I think this is two-fold. First, none of the front-pagers these days have an economics background. Second, it’s been something of a non-issue for such a long time before the Trump era.
Steven and I are both old enough to remember the days of high inflation. But the Fed has made it damn near its sole mission to keep inflation in check. One area where I agree with Trump is that I think they’ve been too aggressive of late fighting the non-existent inflation bogeyman at the cost of stifling the economy unnecessarily. But, again, my economics training consists of a handful of undergraduate courses more than thirty years ago and a graduate International Political Economy course over a quarter century ago.
@Mikey: Wir müssen die Meckerer ausrotten unverzüglich!
MAGA, nationalisation of Bitcoin for all..
Why not, double down on idiot two bit banana republic economic policy.
As my post probably makes clear, I’m coming around to the view that the interest rate has been more of a stealth issue than a non-issue.
I feel I understand where you are coming from, but still would like to see economics addressed a bit more often. Enough money in the Paetron kitty to lure Krugman over?
For the serious response, and as not only a proper financial economist by graduate training but having spent many years on central bank policy committees in the 04 to 10 period (and having two personal friends among your regional CB presidencies) – it’s not wrong to question the structure of modern central bank inflation targetting and indeed subject to serious policy discussion.
What’s wrong is of course going after the subject in Trump’s manner – à la manière d’une République Bananière – for the obvious institution damaging reasons. One can have a vaguely right notion of direction and pursue it in a massively ignorant and self-damaging fashion.
As a technical matter, the most common inflation target ‘in Best Practice’ since the 1990s (as my memory serves) arose from the experiment of the Central Bank of New Zealand in the early 90s – 2% was an experimental number. In the context of the 1970s hangover & 80s transition, it was not a bad guess for a target in terms of wringing out Inflation Expectations (as it’s is empirically evident future expected inflation impacts via actors actions actual resulting inflation – as well as money production).
However, it is also observably too low as a target, now that the hangover of the 1970s is well over and economic structure in most developed countries clearly is structurally generating lower inflationary pressures for multiple (not entirely clear) factors. There is an ongoing policy argument that a better target, to help avoid hitting the Zero Bound problem that’s been evident for a decade now since the 08 crisis, would be 3-4% or even 4-5%. General consensus is inflation under around 5% is not a problem, does not impose undue dead-weight costs. Stability of expectation and stability in change is really more important than a specific percent, and having a target high enough to allow readjustment in case of under-shoot or emergence of a deflationary spiral to avoid or minimize the need to engage in exotic policy like Quantitative Easing would be a good thing.
However, the senior Central Bank decision makers are largely people who cut their professional teeth in the late 1970s and early 1980s and there is a life-experience aversion (the worst of course are the Germans, whose bankers’ inflation aversion is truly irrational) to putting at risk the hard-won credibility of the main central banks in terms of inflation targetting and expectations.
Of course the deeply ironic aspect of this, is that in the global economic policy world, it’s been in the past 10 years (aside from the Germans) the US Republicans who’ve been the loudest voices in the popular arena that have impeded any policy readjustment, with the strange and utterly unfounded in data obsession with a return to 1970s inflation rates.
Sadly the volte-face they seem to be undergoing now is about the worst possible being an incoherent populist bit of hypocrisy.
@Moosebreath: Inflation expectations history in the 1970s were not simply a matter of escalating, but a cycle of quasi-Keynesian goosing as financial policy makers tried to apply the rough tools of pump priming in the face of what was then a novel problem of an exogenous energy (oil) supply shock to an energy – hydrocarbon based energy – inelestic and intensive economy.
And of course for the similar short-termist political calculations as Trump is making, keeping the foot on the gas of ‘stimulus interest rates’ too long, but also being too reluctant to pull the trigger on a recession generating series of interest rate hikes to break the expectations chain.
The problem then being not allowing for a somewhat higher inflation rate variation band, but putting in place an innumerate scheme to Prime the Pump for pure electoral reasons.
A studied change in policy approach, under the control of the technocrats and clearly insulated from populist declarations would be a fine thing.
Undertaken under jaw-boning and corrupt appointment pressures, you have the recipe for destroying Central Bank policy credibility and getting right into the escalating inflations expectations chain.
Quite ironic it could be Republic President and Party, long the most obsessed about 1970s inflation and policy errors, who for short-termist electoral considerations, hypocritically replicate said errors.
Anglo-Conservative politics is now in the state the Left was in the late 1970s – early 1980s. Degenerate, bankrupt, pettily ideological and trapped in hypocritical self-deception.
Needs a renovation.
I’ve often said that Fox News actually makes you stupider and this idea that there has been a burst in growth since Trump took office is an example of that. Fox News reported Obama era numbers adjusted for inflation. They report Trump numbers unadjusted for inflation. Here’s a chart that shows reality. (It’s in the middle of the post.) It can be argued that 2017 should count in Obama’s camp on the generally accepted principle that the economy turns slowly and policy is set in the preceding year, but it actually doesn’t matter. 2017 roughly matched the average for the Obama era. And 2018 was about the same as 2015. And not just this measure. Just about every other measure shows consistent trends that start after the Great Recession, all through the Obama era and into Trump’s presidency. I admit I thought 2018 would be worse given Trump’s incompetence, but the economy seems more resilient then I give it credit for. But the idea that Trump boosted growth or any other significant economic measure can only be justified by the moronic cherry picking of Fox News.
While I agree that some of this goes on, it’s rare. I was at an Atlantic Council event many years ago when Timothy Geithner was still Treasury Secretary. He refused, no matter how the skilled journalist (maybe Katie Kay?) tried to phrase it, to opine in any way on Fed actions. He was steadfast that the Fed was independent and that the White House could not be seen as trying to influence it. And this was at an off-the-record event.
Cain argued for the gold standard. He’s immediately and utterly disqualified.
@de stijl: Moore argued that brownback’s supply-side policies would give Kansas an economic boom, Clinton’s tax raises would lead to massive budget shortfalls, and Obama’s policies would cause immediate hyperinflation. He is equally incompetent and disqualified.
But then, so is everyone who adheres to Republican economics.
Except that, with the exception of this thread, I have no recollection of you engaging in a serious attempt at a debate. You usually drop in, make a single comment, and leave. Maybe years ago you behaved differently, but I am fairly confident in saying that during the Trump era at least I have not seen the dynamic you note in the quote above (certainly not in my threads).
In truth, the above sounds like what Rush Limbaugh used to say (and probably still does)/what I have heard any number of right-wing commentators say to deflect criticism.
It really isn’t an argument, and while yes, some commenters do not engage in measured argument (although this place is calm compared to most corners of the intertubes), the notion that you can’t get a civil exchange, if you are willing to engage in it, is simply not true.
@Guarneri: I know you have stated you were done with the conversation, so I will not attempt a point-by-point response, But let me hit a couple:
This is empirically not true. Latino immigrants integrate into US society the same way every previous wave did. And the only thing being “overwhelmed” is the asylum process (and part of that has been made worse on purpose by the Trump administration).
This is legitimate concern, although the studies I have read indicate that the downward pressures on wages is not that high and that the net economic benefit is positive.
As a businessman, surely you can see there is both a profound demand for this labor as well as a clear supply. The social forces at hand have helped generate the current situation. A wall won’t solve this and nothing is going to make it go away. It needs to be addressed via legislation and a better way for labor and labor demand to connect.
My guess is that you can read trend lines as well as I can.
So yes, yesterday there were good job number for March. I am not denying that. I am pointing out that there were numerous such months in the previous administration as well.
Jobs, GDP, the stock market, etc., have been on the same trend for a long time now. I am not denying that the numbers are currently good. The person engaged in denial is the one who pretends like the current economy started in January of 2017. Really, there is only one year that we can really attribute to Trump, and that was 2o18. It was, overall, a good year, although I expect you investment statements at Q4 of 18 looked pretty shabby.
If you want to be the guy who just tells it like is, you have to be able to look at the data more dispassionately. GDP, for example, under Trump’s first two years in office are not different than Obama’s time in office.
Back to jobs if you want to be the guy who tells it like is, you are going to have to start noting that the unemployment rate is a cumulative number that has to build over time (the current trend had to start somewhere). For example, job creation per year going back to 2011, from known bastion of communism, Forbes:
If 2017 and 2018 are good years (and they are), then why is it some joke to point out 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016?
@Guarneri: Two more, and then I will move on:
A) Your defense is “but, Obama”–that is not a defense of current policy.
B) The Obama administration did not engage in a policy of separating families as a means of deterring migration (the Trump administration did). I also have problems with the way Obama handled some of these issues, but since the issue at hand is ongoing policy in the context of a question about what you support, the current policy is more relevant.
C) The Trump administration has not kept track of thousands of children, and therefore may have permanently separated them from their families. The OIG reported:
So, I ask again, do you support this?
BTW, it is funny you accuse me of talking points, but you are the one who brings up kids in cages. I didn’t.
This is a version of “walls work.”
-Walls won’t stop drugs (despite Trump’s claims).
-Walls won’t stop asylum-seekers (a legal action, btw).
-Walls won’t stop visa overstayers (which accounts for over half of the undocumented, and has been the growth area for the undocumented for years).
There are better ways to spend the money in question.
Honestly, if you are calling them like you see them, I would suggest that you are not looking at much evidence before you make your calls.
“Anglo-Conservative politics is now in the state the Left was in the late 1970s – early 1980s. Degenerate, bankrupt, pettily ideological and trapped in hypocritical self-deception.”
This! Spot on! And Trump is mostly and simply the natural outcome of that moral and intellectual destitution. But I’ve said that before (too many times probably).
@de stijl: Not really (as in true but not germane to the issue at point), if you look closely, you’ll probably find the Cain is, as is true of our other national gold bug Ron Paul, significantly invested in gold and supports going back to because relative to actual value as a currency marker gold is still undervalued by a factor as high as maybe even 100.
Riddle this for yourself–how much per ounce would gold need to sell for to back a roughly three trillion dollar currency supply? And that doesn’t add in the capital sink assets that are frozen right now but are cash convertible (your house, for example, [btw, do you own more than one?]).
@Steven L. Taylor: No, but I suspect that he can’t engage in a civil exchange in which the arguments he’s willing to marshal will persuade anyone of their validity.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
I know enough about gold standard assholes to understand that engaging with someone opening with “Not really…” is unproductive. Shine on, you. That shine I won’t listen to.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
Riddle this for yourself
I shan’t, thanks for asking.
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
“supports going back to because relative to actual value as a currency marker gold is still undervalued by a factor as high as maybe even 100”
Actual value has no meaning. There is no such thing as “actual value”
@Lounsbury: I’ve always been mildly interested by the economics of currencies and currency trading and such but I’ve always been too busy with other things to really look into it. I wonder what’s the basis for people thinking gold has any particular value?