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  Just What The Hell Is Trump & Tucker Carlson's School Of Economic Thought? (search mode)
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Author Topic: Just What The Hell Is Trump & Tucker Carlson's School Of Economic Thought?  (Read 2338 times)
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« on: January 06, 2019, 11:58:21 pm »

Most politicians don't adhere to a coherent school of thought. I don't even think we have a definitive list of schools of economic thought. There is overlap everywhere. At best you could say that politicians believe in certain macroeconomic concepts or ideas (when it fits them). Macroeconomics is a lot more abstract than some people think. In advanced macroeconomics you basically learn to solve DSGE models or RCK models Tongue. Now obviously these models can have policy implications, but it's way more abstract than what most policymakers face.

Nationalist economics, it's the economic thought of right-wing nationalist parties throughout Europe (Le Pen, Wilders, Danish People's Party, The Finns, SD and elements of the AfD

I am specifying nationalist and not populist as the progress party in Norway and UKIP have more traditional economic views.

But all of this is irrelevant because Trump's economic thought is not being put into action (apart from protectionism) due to people in his cabinet.

In what way is Trump's economic thought not being put into action? He quite literally campaigned on large tax cuts and deregulation. He vowed to defend medicare and social security, but I don't think he ever said something on other welfare programs. And his tax plan was even more insane that the tax cut he got through.

While Carlson is critical of swift technological change I also doubt whether he's as ''statist'' as some of these parties can be.

1.Disagree, there is a rough consistency with Democrats to mainstream and heterodox economic schools, there is no consistency on the right.  Part of this inconsistency on the right is due to their intellectual dishonesty: they are Monetarist anti-deficit hawks when a Democrat is President, they are 'deficits don't matter' Modern Monetary Theorists when a Republican is President, part of the inconsistency though is there is no economic school anymore that has answers for mainstream right wing politicians and voters. (Other than plutocracy if you want to consider that an economic school.)

For Democrats,
Liberals like Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton (and Justin Trudeau and others around the world as well) are clearly rough adherents of mainstream neo-classical economics.

Progressives like Bernie Sanders and OAC are clearly rough adherents of Post Keynesian economics.

2.Donald Trump at various times promised everything to almost everybody.  He campaigned on repealing Obamacare but replacing it with a system that was 'cheaper and more comprehensive.'

He also promised major resources to fight the opioid epidemic.  So, he did comment on other social programs.  

He also promised about 4 different tax plans, including a plan that would raise taxes on the wealthy while cutting them on the poorest.  His only consistency was that he repudiated at one time or another all his tax plans with the exception of corporate tax cuts.

In regards to some of the deregulation, some of that was pushed by the Republican Congress and not so much by Trump.

There is certainly an old European style economic nationalism to some of Trump's policies in regard to tariffs, but at other times, he has said and acted (for instance with Mexico) that many of the threatened tariffs were just being used as leverage to renegotiate trade deals or to attempt to negotiate trade deals.

On the campaign trail, Trump sometimes said that he didn't oppose free trade agreements, just ones that he 'didn't negotiate personally.'

Of course, tariffs are a form of tax and protectionism is a form of regulation, so he is anti tax in some ways, pro tax in other ways, and for cutting regulations in some ways and for increasing regulations in other ways.  These things need not be contradictory (a candidate could run on a platform, for instance, of lowering some taxes and paying for them by increasing tariffs) but Trump is clearly appallingly ignorant on economics and trade (a former Canadian negotiator with the original free trade agreements said that 'it's not really accurate to call Trump a liar, he's just 'appallingly ignorant'') so, to argue that his views comprise anything approaching an economic school of thought really makes no sense.

Trump has repeatedly expressed a near mercantilist interpretation of trade and how it benefits countries. While Trump isn't one for academic theories yes, and while he has given "lip service to liking trade", it is abundantly clear that Trump views the world has having a finite amount of wealth and that you are either gaining that wealth at the expense of others or you are being screwed out of it. In so doing Trump has rejected the teachings of Ricardo and most subsequent mainstream economists who advocate the principles of comparative advantage and specialization.

Apply it to the real world, we have had a crap ton of people displaced in the name of GDP growth and economic efficiency, by politicians and their esteemed learned economists praying to the alter of creative destruction and specialization. These people have typically received lip service and empty promises of help at best, and at worst a lecture, demeaning put down and admonition to abandon their homes, their families, their churches and their world to seek the much lauded pot of gold on the other side of the mountain.

I experienced this first hand during the early 2000s recession, and my family heeded the advice, only to find that their was no magical good paying jobs over the mason dixon line. I will tell you this, there are times I get angry, there are times I get nostalgic and there are days I want back the life that I would have had if we had not heeded that advice. You can only push people so far, until they they are tired of being starved to death, tired of being left to die on the beaches.

I took micro and macro economics in college, it was one of my favorite courses. But I can tell you this also, it doesn't matter how big the positive feedback loop is in academia, or however many textbooks the mainstream of economists can print to self pleasure each other. At some point, the theories and the policies built off of them have to translate to the people on the ground, because like I said above you can only push people so far. If the mainstream and the establishment fail to address problems, people will look to the extremes to people like Trump and Bernie. If the textbook doesn't provide the answer, one should be little surprised after 30 years of economic torture and economic terrorism that the response of many is to bring out the zippo lighter to it.


I recognize this, though these economic dislocations are caused by many other factors than free trade.  They include:
1.Technological change
2.Decline of private sector unions
3.Increasing monopsony through non compete clauses.

Trump pays lip service to caring about workers, so he can't even really be called an 'economic nationalist' except for wealthy U.S corporate interests who gain through tariffs.  


Edit: you had mentioned 'pro business nationalism.'  That leads right back to the days when nearly everybody but the nobles were serfs.

If Trump actually cared about workers or workers' rights and unions, he would never have appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/05/21/supreme-court-backs-employers-over-workers/355923002/

This is the problem that I've referred to before with the Trump/Republican cult: they don't even realize when the rhetoric from Trump and the Congressional Republicans doesn't match what they actually do.  From my perspective, it's hard to have sympathy for people who are actively assisting in slitting their own throat, while also falling for believing that the scapegoats Trump and Congressional Republicans (and Republican governors and State Legislators) throw up to them are the real cause of their problems.


Also, Gordon Ritchie was the Canadian free trade negotiator who referred to Trump as ''appallingly ignorant.''

But you missed my point, if these problems and dislocations had been addressed, at lot of these people would not have turned to Trump. Politics has a way or reshuffling to address the present issues and when some of them are not being addressed, someone will fill that void. You can either decide whether it is a respectable leader or a monster coming to devour your soul.

Yes the rhetoric is not going to match up with the actions (as if that is anything new to politics or a novelty created by Trump), because
1) Trump is incompetent
2) Trump is lazy
3) Congress exists on a previous political paradigm and is thus behind the curve in realizing that change has occurred and finally
4) Big money still reigns supreme and dictates the conversation in the Congress and the politically established types.

This doesn't explain why the same people who voted for Trump also voted for Congressional Republicans who are virtually all Randian anti worker.
The voters care more about punishing hardworking people due to not being in their demographic & culturally-conforming grouping than any long-term benefit to themselves.
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