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On talking past each other — and the importance of a baseline of facts

talking past each other
Photo by Gem & Lauris RK on Unsplash

This is a slight follow-up to my Monday post, headlined “On the economy, Obama owns Trump,” which reviewed some measures of economic performance under President Barack Obama and President Donalc Trump (so far).

I acknowledged that giving a president credit or blame for everything that happens in the economy or in the world during the tenure is an absurdity. So there’s that.

I also admitted that, when dealing with Trump, Trumpism, Trump admirers, it seems like a sucker play to engage in too much intellectual honesty about factual matters, because it too often won’t be reciprocated. That’s not across lines of left and right. It’s about Trump (and his strongest admirers) not accepting the norms of intellectual honesty.

I generally read all the comments that run under my posts (my thanks here to all who comment). There are Trump defenders who regularly rebut and rebuke me. I will defend to the death their right to do so. I don’t believe that I’ve ever replied to them before. But I just feel like doing so today, to say that their position is roughly this:

Barack Obama deserves no credit for anything good that happened during his tenure, but gets the blame for everything bad that happened and everything good that didn’t happen.

Trump deserves all the credit for everything good that has happened since the day he took office, but none of the blame for anything bad that has happened or anything good that failed to happen.

Talking past each other is dangerous. We need to find a way to connect across areas of disagreement and actually listen. The twin demons of “selective perception” and “confirmation bias” are powerful. They get in the way of even noticing (let alone acknowledging) information that supports a position contrary to one’s own. Or, if we do notice such information, we may be powerfully motivated to disbelieve it or explain it away.

I have friends who are much more conservative than I am, who believe in the importance of trying to get the facts right — even, or perhaps especially – when the facts are subject to conflicting reasonable interpretations, with whom I can have such conversations. I treasure those relationships and those conversations. Unfortunately, in the current climate, because they believe in getting the facts right, and believe in civility of exchanges even across areas of disagreement, it’s hard for them to whole-heartedly defend Trump. (Plus he’s not really much of a conservative, as they understand the essence of conservatism.) That’s not their fault; in fact, it’s to their credit.

I looked up a passage from Obama’s televised farewell address, broadcast 10 days before the transfer of the presidency to his successor. He tried to take the high road, but went out of his way not to mention Trump by name. The passage went like this:

Regardless of the station we occupy, we all have to try harder; we all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family just like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.

And that’s not easy to do. For too many of us it’s become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods, or on college campuses, or places of worship, or especially our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. In the rise of naked partisanship and increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste, all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable.

And increasingly we become so secure in our bubbles that we start accepting only information, whether it’s true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that is out there.

And this trend represents a third threat to our democracy. Look, politics is a battle of ideas. That’s how our democracy was designed. In the course of a healthy debate, we prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. But without some common baseline of facts, without a willingness to admit new information and concede that your opponent might be making a fair point, and that science and reason matter, then we’re going to keep talking past each other, and we’ll make common ground and compromise impossible.

That was good stuff.

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Comments (43)

  1. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 05/16/2019 - 10:36 am.

    Too many folks see empathy, the ability to put yourself in another’s shoes, as some kind of weakness. In reality it is a great competitive strength: truly understanding the thoughts and motivations of another person or group.

    It is what you do with that empathetic understanding that controls the weak/strong, evil/good eventual outcome.

    My biggest Trumpian concern (beyond the whole truth thing) is their complete avoidance of empathetic thought:

    What if HRC put Chelsea in charge of MidEast peace when she could not even get a security clearance?

    What if Senate Majority Leader Schumer finds his Merrick Garland moment?

    What if HRC’s SEC STATE called her a “#$@% moron”?

    What if President Warren says she is immune from any criminal prosecution or congressional investigation?

    All these things would pale in comparison to Obama’s sins. Sins that had the right at the boiling point back in the day.

    The current Trumpian view point seems to be:

    “Sure all these Trump things are outrageous; but, I am getting mine right now and we will leave later to later”

    And later will come and the right will blow up at even the slightest left intransigence and the process continues.

    Empathy is the cure for the need to ignore/defend the indefensible and the more we practice it the better off we will be.

    My small contribution to this cause of late has been that I will not defend Rep. Omar’s comments if they lack basic forethought, even though I may find agreement with her on many issues. Wrong is wrong….

  2. Submitted by cory johnson on 05/16/2019 - 11:11 am.

    You could replace Obama with Trump and accuratey represent the feelings of 90% of the posters on this site. And they also think Russians changed votes.

    • Submitted by Marc Post on 05/16/2019 - 01:35 pm.

      Mr. Johnson. Your post is a example of what the article is talking about. Your 90% figure is a fabrication. You made it up. To put it in not politically correct terms, it’s a lie. Your “they also think Russians changed votes” is also a lie.

      Your post is a transparent, shameful attempt to put words in other peoples mouths.

      Where is your evidence?

      • Submitted by cory johnson on 05/16/2019 - 02:41 pm.

        It’s called an estimate. Probably an underestimate. The automatic hate of and for anything Trump is universal here.
        As for the Russia assertion: https://today.yougov.com/topics/politics/articles-reports/2018/03/09/russias-impact-election-seen-through-partisan-eyes. I really hope the poll is wrong because that would be nuts.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/16/2019 - 03:33 pm.

          An estimate is a projection based on quantitative facts.
          Without that basis, it is a guess; an opinion.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/16/2019 - 03:37 pm.

          And note that despite the title YOUGOV is not a government agency.
          It’s a marketing research company founded by two members of Britain’s Conservative Party.

        • Submitted by Steve Rose on 05/17/2019 - 09:27 am.

          There is a long list of Democrats, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Obama, Schumer, Biden, that are on record supporting better border security. Now that the issue can be used to cast President Trump as a racist, they are all against it.

          • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/17/2019 - 11:01 am.

            There’s a difference between stopping known criminals and branding all Latin Americans as criminals.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/17/2019 - 11:13 am.

            There is a difference between “better border security” and “building a wall to keep out some fantastical hordes of brown criminals.”

            “Now that the issue can be used to cast President Trump as a racist, they are all against it.”

            There are many issues that can be used to cast Trump as a racist. He has a long history that is not vitiated by palling around with Mike Tyson and Kanye West.

  3. Submitted by Henk Tobias on 05/16/2019 - 11:47 am.

    “Plus he’s not really much of a conservative, as they understand the essence of conservatism.”

    This is rich. We heard this a lot before he clinched the nomination. Now we only hear it from Republicans who don’t want to accept how far off the rails the Republican brand of Conservatism had taken them. Name one major policy, or minor policy for that matter, that Donald has enacted that didn’t track with what is Considered Conservatism. Tax Cut, check. Anti-Immigrant policies, Check. Right now, he’s stirring up war with Iran, this has been a Conservative dream for a long time. No Donald may not match what your friends view of Conservatism is, but it tracks perfectly with where Republicans have been going since at least the days of St. Ronny Reagan.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/16/2019 - 01:45 pm.

      National debt.
      Despite all his blather, he hasn’t cut entitlements to balance his tax cuts.

      • Submitted by Scott Walters on 05/16/2019 - 03:30 pm.

        Republican Conservatives haven’t cared about the debt or the deficit for decades. Ronald Reagan actually cared a little, that’s why he signed one of the largest tax increases in history when he saw what his initial cuts were doing to the deficit. Since then, deficits only matter when Democrats hold most of the levers of power. When Republicans are in charge, deficits/the debt are irrelevant.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/16/2019 - 03:32 pm.

      I have always thought that real conservatives disdain things like moral relativism, and have a great respect for traditions and the institutions built up around those traditions. A person who was sincere in those beliefs would have a difficult time supporting Trump.

  4. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 05/16/2019 - 01:16 pm.

    Baseline of facts….

    Let’s see…. asbestos, tobacco, leaded gas, climate change, food inspection, black lung, Love canal, thalidomide…

    A quick small list of issues where the “baseline” facts have been successfully suppressed or denied until the damage is right in the face of a majority of citizens.

    Oddly enough, the suppression works in the favor of wealthy and powerful.

    The biggest tactic of modern conservatism is in the denial of science and fact in the service of wealth and power.

    But hey, go back to playing Candy Crush—it’s the perfect synthetic achievement . You feel a sense of accomplishment and power all the while you’re being side-lined from the world.

  5. Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 05/16/2019 - 03:23 pm.

    The author says he wants to create a baseline for factual conversation, then describes the right’s baseline as discrediting everything Obama does and praising everything Trump does. This is false and misleading.

    Then he says “we need to find a way to connect… and actually listen.”

    The whole article feels like nothing but lip service. Perhaps, the author could begin by writing a positive article about what Trump has accomplished.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/16/2019 - 03:38 pm.

      There’s a difference been accomplishing something and taking credit for something.
      Most of what Trump has accomplished has been energizing the Democratic party.

    • Submitted by cory johnson on 05/16/2019 - 03:44 pm.

      It was certainly an irony-soaked article. But I’m sure we will get many responses explaining why leftists have the market cornered on truth.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/16/2019 - 05:13 pm.

        Not truth — that’s a matter of assumptions leading to belief.
        But the Left does have a preference for facts.

      • Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 05/16/2019 - 09:26 pm.

        As my Hennepin County judge would say: Make your case councelor! Or are you afraid of a fair justice verdict?

      • Submitted by Neal Rovick on 05/17/2019 - 07:37 am.

        Please provide 2 or 3 examples of recent issues where the conservative movement has used science or fact as the basis of their policy proposals.

    • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 05/16/2019 - 05:35 pm.

      Paul, you are making my point.

      If the author can’t write one article highlighting something positive that has come from Trump, then how can he ever have a conversation with someone who supports Trump?

      Like I said, lip service.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/17/2019 - 09:07 am.

      Let’s start by acknowledging three facts:

      1. Donald Trump lies repeatedly and with apparent effort. Before you retreat into the defensive cocoon of “all presidents lie,” I will say yes, they do. Obama did it, Clinton did it, FDR did it. Trump, however, spins lies with a frequency that is, to borrow a word, unprecedented.

      2. Donald Trump retains enormous loyalty within his base that has not changed to any significant degree since his election. Whether that loyalty is in spite of, or because of, his hostility to the truth is a matter for debate.

      3. he antipathy within the Republican Party to anything associated with the presidency of Barack Obama is strong, and continues unabated to this day. If we applied your test (i.e. get the right-wing to talk about something good President Obama did), the failure would be beyond miserable.

      • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 05/17/2019 - 12:17 pm.

        That’s a good start, RB.

        Now, level the field and list three negative things about Obama.

        Even better, list three Trump positives and three Obama positives. That would start a more meaningful conversation.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/17/2019 - 12:39 pm.

          No. This eternal quest for “balance” that conservatives want is, to put it politely, foolish.

          I don’t know why I have to keep repeating this, but Barack Obama is no longer President, and there is no realistic scenario by which he will ever become President again. Do you understand that fact? Obama is not President any more. The only reason to mention negatives about Obama would be to assuage the hurt feelings of conservatives, who resent to high heaven the fact that the Islamo-fascist Kenyan usurper was elected, re-elected, and left office with a 59% approval rating.

          I’m not going to do it.

    • Submitted by Robert Lilly on 05/17/2019 - 12:37 pm.

      You first, Give Obama credit for something, anything.

      • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 05/17/2019 - 12:58 pm.

        Obama:
        Brought us out of a recession and drastically reduced unemployment
        Pulled a formidable number of troops from Afghanistan
        Began to change our prisons where we lock up people for years for such things as marijuana use
        Started out as being cool to gay marriage, then supported it
        Repealed the military’s don’t ask don’t tell policy
        Supported veterans through the GI bill
        Started talks with Cuba
        Increased stem cell research

        Most importantly, to this day, he shows by example the importance of marriage. He consistently shows respect to his wife and children and they show respect for him.

  6. Submitted by William Hunter Duncan on 05/16/2019 - 08:48 pm.

    I find both Trump and Obama to be odious. But whenever I offer actual facts about why I feel that way – such as, look at their economic advisors, pretty much the same crop of Wall Street elitists since Clinton, with pretty much the same increase in income inequality – I get accused of being a (insert pejorative) Trump supporter by Obama fans or a (insert pejorative) Obama supporter by Trump fans.

    In that way I find most Obama fans and Trump fans to be immune to facts. Obama and Trump are both like figurhead stand-ins for a Messiah.

    Meanwhile, the totally unaccountable privatized war machine churns on, the economy from health care to finance to edu becomes more like a high class exercise in racketeering by the day, and the ecological situation globally becomes ever more dire.

  7. Submitted by Steve Scholl on 05/16/2019 - 11:48 pm.

    What’s up Eric? Feelin’ the need to reassure yourself of your virtue?
    As the resident pit bull, you take the most unrelenting partisan approach to politics. If the President were to jump into a lake to save a drowning child you would criticize him for polluting the water with his excessive hair grease, or engaging in a publicity stunt.

    Your stated effort in your article is totally laughable.

    • Submitted by Robert Lilly on 05/17/2019 - 12:43 pm.

      Your projection is laughable, If Trump did that, the whole world would rejoice because there would be evidence of a shred of decency in the man. To date, nothing like that has happened, quite the opposite.

  8. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 05/17/2019 - 08:39 am.

    It’s been my experience over the last forty years that people who disagree with self-described conservatives are seen or accused of being “leftists” or, Communists, socialists, radicals, extremists. To me, “conservatives” have always been self-righteous and dogmatic about whatever “Truth” they espouse. There are no gray areas for a true conservative which is why I suppose they would think that someone who disagrees with them would simply be a “negative” (as in photographic negative) of their color photo of the Truth.

    I’d like to hear from some conservative posters about what they think are the current occupant’s accomplishments and why they are accomplishments. I don’t want to hear about his success in, for example ramrodding ideological partisan appointments to the Supreme Court and other federal courts and to the federal bureaucracy. How about trashing the agreement Obama had with Iran? Explain to me please why that was a sensible action and by the way do you think the US should invade and start another war in the Middle East after the War on Iraq was oh-so-successful and right? How about withdrawing from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Current Ocupant’s rather obvious policies promoting the increased usage of coal and fossil fuels and the handicapping of renewables?

    My sense of a conservative is someone who thinks: life is real good for me and my family right now. Trump has made America great again so I don’t care and I don'[t want to hear about anyone else or my children or grandchildren’s future or about anything that will affect me in my happy bubble.

    • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 05/17/2019 - 10:37 am.

      Briefly, Jon

      Fact: The US’s switch to natural gas from fracking has reduced our C02 emissions more than all solar and wind have worldwide. (Source: Bjorn Lomberg)

      Fact: Unemployment is at its lowest since the 60s.

      Fact: The effects of the Paris accord makes barely a scratch in long term climate models. (Source: Bjorn Lomberg) Actually, removing the entire United States from long-term climate models affects predictions about 5%, which means a 2.1 degree temperature rise is reduced to a 2 degree rise. This is because US is a leader in CO2 reductions, and more importantly, innovation.

      Fact: “3 Billion of the world’s poorest people still rely on solid fuels,” which lead to “4.3 million deaths in 2012.” By curtailing energy policies like coal, oil, and natural gas, we kill our world’s poor.
      https://www.who.int/sustainable-development/housing/health-risks/household-air-pollution/en/
      Promoting sound energy policies, Trump is a liberator of our world’s poor.

      Fact: The world bank has ended direct funding of new coal power plants and has agreed to “axe support for oil and gas exploration.” These decisions do not affect the wealthy; they affect our world’s poor, resulting in many many deaths.
      https://www.desmogblog.com/2019/04/14/world-bank-criticized-coal-oil-gas-funding

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/17/2019 - 11:10 am.

        Just to begin…
        Fact: Natural gas extraction produces methane, a more potent polluter per volume than coal.
        Fact: Unemployment rates by themselves can be misleading, since they don’t take into account the number of people who have dropped out of the work force. When you factor in all potentially employable people, the figures don’t look as good.
        Fact: Employment by itself does not look at wages. After 20 years of stagnation they have finally started to increase (although less so if you include cuts in benefits). It’s too soon to say if the wage increase will be significant and permanent (right now it’s driven partly by seasonal construction hiring).

      • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 05/17/2019 - 04:59 pm.

        I googled Bjorn Lomberg, whom you cite as a source for certain assertions you call “facts.” Lomberg is a leading climate change skeptic and has been challenged in various fora about various claims about climate change and the ability of nations to address it. He is not completely dismissed however. I’d like to know where he stands on a carbon tax since he does agree that fossil fuels are heavily subsidized which encourages wasteful use.

        From the World Health Organization source you cite for coal, and other fossil fuel use by the poor:

        “These household energy practices emit large quantities of health-damaging particulate matter and climate warming pollutants (e.g. black carbon) into the household environment, increasing the risk of respiratory illnesses, including childhood pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cardiovascular diseases, and lung cancers.”

        One criticism I have not just for the present administration but for past Democratic and republican administrations and Congress is in the fixation over so-called “intellectual property” devised to protect useless innovations that only encourage monopoly pricing and concentration of wealth. Where are the innovations that could solve these problems for the poor? They don’t exist because there just ain’t enough money in it under our rotten and broken down capitalistic system.

        Aside from these other points, do you think any of these ‘facts” you cite justify the current administration’s policies like abrogating EPA rules on carbon emissions or prohibiting agencies from studying or even mentioning climate change as a possible reason for policy action? Since when is officially “sticking one’s head in the sand” about an issue or concern a rational or intelligent policy position for any government to take?

      • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 05/17/2019 - 07:33 pm.

        1) Keep Googling Bjorn. He is a good guy. Calling someone like Bjorn Lomborg a sceptic is false. He regularly meets with leading economists and from countries all over the world. His statistics are about the most robust around. He reliably shows that global warming will add 2% to our GDP in 2100, and our GDP will be 3x what it is now because of the energy we consume. This 2% variance is a far cry from the alarmists that talk about how storms, hurricanes and flooding will drastically change our civilization. They won’t. Nor will migration be significantly affected.

        2) You don’t have to put quotes around ‘facts.’ I have listed these facts, quote-free.

        3) I did not mention the EPA or Trumps environmental policies, and never mentioned anyone sticking their head in the sand.

        4) You haven’t heard of any future innovations because they happen in the future. We need to increase R&D in this area. Not just in battery storage. And when a breakthrough happens, it will be in the private sector which means capitalism. The company making the device will get very wealthy, benefiting humankind even more. Win-win.

        5) Remember, 3-4 Million people die every year due to indoor pollution. Energy policy restrictions may kill more. As a side note, here is a starter video on how those during Obama’s tenure suppressed truths about global warming.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttNg1F7T0Y0&feature=youtu.be

        • Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 05/17/2019 - 10:17 pm.

          Maybe you’re not a typical Trumpster. I’m glad you’re not a head in the sand denialist. My point about “intellectual property” is that the current patent and trademark system is not working. Maybe you agree. Great.
          The same can’t be said for the current occupant and his supporters. Maybe it’s not fair to call Lomberg a skeptic but the title of the book which brought Lomberg to fame in 2001 is “The Skeptical Environmentalist.”

          If his point is that we shouldn’t be alarmist or panicky about climate change, I can’t disagree. But time is running out on stopping or reversing the effects of, well, recent history. I don’t like to hear about what happens after that. Anyone with sense would have seen that the Iraq war would have been a catastrophe. But the people were sold and wanted a War and they got it. I’m tired of saying “I told you so” . I don’t care to be listening to the inevitable blaming and hysteria when people discover their government sold them out on climate change.

          In the long run, we’re all dead, as Keynes said. But the consequences of failing to take more dramatic actions to reverse mistakes of the past 40-50-60-70 years is extinction. Or at least a much bleaker future for our children and their children. That’s something on a different order of magnitude than the numbers who die every year from some cause or other.

        • Submitted by Ray J Wallin on 05/18/2019 - 10:15 am.

          I agree with what you are saying, except your last paragraph. More and more research is coming out saying we will have a mild warming, not a catastrophe.

          In the last 15 years, only 3% of the planet has gotten browner. Overall, our planet is healthier and greener. We now have an overabundance of food.

          Our past mistakes you talk about have produced more good than bad. Yes, we need to fix our pollution and CO2 issues. In the mean time, we are healthier, live longer, and the poorest in the world continue to see the greatest improvements.

        • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/18/2019 - 05:27 pm.

          As usual, Wikipedia has a good description of Lomborg.
          His professional training is in political science, not environmental science or economics.
          His Web site (and Wikipedia) show a large number of self published books, but no peer reviewed publications.
          He certainly has a right to his own opinions (that’s why he has his own think tank), but it looks to me like he is cherry picking his data. Most scientists with more directly relevant training are not quite as sanguine about environmental change over the next century. Sea level rises are real.
          I trust groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists at bit more.
          https://www.ucsusa.org/about-us

  9. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 05/17/2019 - 09:04 am.

    Well, I don’t remember any Trump supporter (they all tend to be “fervent,” and full of emotion) admitting to any wrong move their guy has made, either as candidate or as President. They defend his every word, his every move, his every stupid Tweet.

    There are lots of Republicans who see Trump as a lying fool who is more interested in himself than he is in the country, and they see faults: James Comey (was a Republican), Robert Mueller (was/is a Republican), David Brooks of the NYTimes, etc. Not to mention all the Never Trump movement Republicans.

    Trumpites refuse to understand that his ACTIONS are unacceptable to most Americans.

    And when they compound the problem by not reading the Mueller Report. . . . so they won’t see Trump’s problematic actions. . . . they’re uninformed.

  10. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 05/17/2019 - 10:14 am.

    I think the facts are the same, it’s the priorities that are different.

  11. Submitted by Brian Simon on 05/17/2019 - 11:19 am.

    There is criticism that dems/liberals aren’t willing to acknowledge any of Pres Trump’s accomplishments. I’m wondering what those are. Can you point to nonpartisan accomplishments of the Trump admin?

    • Submitted by Henry Johnson on 05/17/2019 - 03:02 pm.

      I guess Trump supporters would claim that Trump should be given credit for the economy being so good.

      But I think that going back for decades, Presidents have always claimed credit for a good economy, pretending that this is something that they personally did themselves (when in fact they didn’t), while distancing themselves and blaming someone else if the economy was bad.

      In reality, Trump inherited a very good economy and a very stock market when he took office, regardless of his saying that he inherited a mess – lies – unemployment was already low the day he was sworn in, and the stock market was in a strong bull run going back to 2009!

      The republican party as a whole can take some credit for making the economy even better in the short term anyway, by pushing thru a tax cut, however, that greatly increased the deficit and the proposed budgets for 2019 and 2020 do the same.

      So like giving a bottle of whisky to an alcoholic, yes, it creates a rosy glow in the short term (stimulus to the economy) but it also sets the alcoholic up for even more serious health deterioration in the long term.

      So after whining and complaing about Obama for 8 years because there was too much deficit spending, which was done to try to get the economy on it’s feet after a genuine fiscal crisis in 2008, the republicans put thru a tax cut which results even more deficit spending than took place in the Obama years – even though the economy was NOT in crisis when Trump took office.

      Republicans claimed to believe in a balanced budget, until they owned the White house and both branches of congress, then it was who cares about deficiits?

      Other than a tax cut, I don’t think Trump has done much at all, and again, we’ll see if giving another bottle of whisky to an alcoholic was really such a great idea in the long term.

      The US is clearly, clearly and heavily addicted to deficit spending, from BOTH major parties, so I think the analogy of giving a big bottle of whisky to an alcoholic is appropriate.

      Note that when a reporter once asked Trump wasn’t concerned that floating a large deficit spending budget by having this big tax cut wasn’t a danger to the long term health of the economy, Trump answered very frankly – “Yeah, but I won’t be in office then”.

      This is who we have in charge, someone who is so narcissistic that he only cares about his personal ego, and short term appearances.

      I would bet that he’s kind of hoping the economy tanks after he leaves office, so that people will say “hey, things were great under Trump, but now that he’s left office it’s all gone to hell!”.

      Does anyone doubt that he’d love that, even if he knew himself that his own policies while in office led to the economy going south?

      By the way, I’m not a democrat, so the fact that I believe that the president should not be given all that much credit or blame for how the economy happened to be during their watch is not limited to Trump.

      For example, all George Bush did was appoint the same ‘easy money’ folks to the Fed that Clinton did ( namely Bernanke after Greenspan ) and it was congress, under Clinton and Bush that decided to let Wall street leverage itself 40-to-1 and to bundle mortgages into ‘A’ rated bonds that were actually junk. (agreed to by BOTH parties)

      So Bill Clinton actually had just as much to do with the collapse of 2008 as George Bush did, even though people talk about economic prosperity during the Clinton years.

      More whisky to the alcoholic in terms of setting up the conditions for the wild speculation and corruption (junk bonds rated ‘A’) that led to 2008.

      Again, these long term trends, like supr-low interest rates held too long, deficit spending, and easy money policies – the bill doesn’t come due for those right away, and it’s sort of a musical chairs game IMO as to which president gets caught taking the blame for bad policies that persisted for 10 or 15 years in some cases.

      Bad policies that usually that persisted across 2 or even 3 administrations before the bill finally came due and resulted in a bad economy or a financial crisis.

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