Friday, March 02, 2018

Why Won't People Say Nice Things About Me On The Teevee

The elite consensus is a stubborn, almost immutable thing. Tariffs are bad. On this point "no one" disagrees? Why are they bad? Well as we all know, they're bad for "the economy." What is "the economy?" Well, erm, ah, um, GDP or growth or something?

On most things, if one political party or another, or the president, takes a particular side, then the issue becomes "political" and for "objective" journalists, it is no longer a thing for which there is a right or wrong answer, either empirically or morally, but an issue with two sides, about which the importance of the "optics" of posturing supersedes the importance of the issue itself. It's merely politics.

But for some issues, those hardwired Econ 101 issues, it is much more difficult to move them from the realm of agreement to the realm of dispute. Tariffs are bad, and it's going to take a lot more than President Trump deciding they are good to dislodge this idea.

So Trump isn't going to get good press for it, not unless the conservative propaganda machine revs up and decides, suddenly, that we are all protectionists now. Trump doesn't quite get how these things work.

By Thursday afternoon, the U.S. stock market had fallen and Trump, surrounded by his senior advisers in the Oval Office, was said to be furious.