Sunday, 21 May 2017

Trumponomics and media in the United States of Dystopia

"President Trump spoke with @TheEconomist about Trumponomics and every answer is bananas
[Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Michigan Justin Wolfers on Twitter, 11 May 2017]

Who thought that Anthony John Abbott when he was Australian prime minister was the most ill-intentioned, ignorant  and embarrassing leader of a nation to have ever existed to date in the developed world during the 21st century?

Well he now pales in comparison with Donald John Trump (pictured above).

Excerpts from the transcript of The Economist interview with the U.S. President on 4 May 2017:

Another part of your overall plan, the tax reform plan. Is it OK if that tax plan increases the deficit? Ronald Reagan’s tax reform didn’t.
[President Trump] Well, it actually did. But, but it’s called priming the pump. You know, if you don’t do that, you’re never going to bring your taxes down. Now, if we get the health-care [bill through Congress], this is why, you know a lot of people said, “Why isn’t he going with taxes first, that’s his wheelhouse?” Well, hey look, I convinced many people over the last two weeks, believe me, many Congressmen, to go with it. And they’re great people, but one of the great things about getting health care is that we will be saving, I mean anywhere from $400bn to $900bn.

That all goes into tax reduction. Tremendous savings.

But beyond that it’s OK if the tax plan increases the deficit?
It is OK, because it won’t increase it for long. You may have two years where you’ll… you understand the expression “prime the pump”?

We have to prime the pump.

It’s very Keynesian.
We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world. Have you heard that expression before, for this particular type of an event?

Priming the pump?
Yeah, have you heard it?

Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just… I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do.

Yeah, what you have to do is you have to put something in before you can get something out.

So you would have a bigger deficit, a stimulus, to prime the pump that would lead to faster growth?
So I happen to think that 3% is low. But you can’t do it if your companies are leaving the country because taxes are too high. Now, I’m going to do something there too. If our companies leave the country, number one they’re leaving for numerous reasons but one of the big reasons is the taxes are so high. When they leave—go back to trade for a second, when they leave the country, go to a certain country wherever it may be, and they fire all their workers in the United States and on the assumption they build cars or air conditioners or whatever they’re building, and they open a plant someplace else and then they send the air conditioner or the car into our country with no tax, that’s not going to happen anymore. They’re going to have a very large tax to pay, in the vicinity of 35%.
Now when you do that, number one they're not leaving the country anyway. So we’re not leaving. I don’t know if you saw what’s happening. Ford has announced massive expansions in the United States. General Motors cancelled a big plant in Mexico and a big plant in Europe. They’re all cancelling plans because I told them, I said… I get along with them great. But I said, “Look, we don’t mind if you leave the country. You can build all you want out of country, I hope you enjoy your plant. But when you build your car, you’re going to have a 35% tax when you bring it back in. And if your numbers work, we wish you well. But that’s what you’re going to have. You’re going to have a 35% tax.”
So I mean, I have, it has, I haven’t been given massive credit for it yet, but I have been given some because I just see polls out in Michigan and different places, that really are affected by this, have been unbelievable, you know, much bigger than election day. But that’s not a tax increase, that’s no tax. In other words, all you have to do is don’t leave and you won’t have a… but we’re bringing our taxes down so low that you won’t even need the barrier because the taxes are so low, that people are going to stay.
The other thing, just in case we… I believe it could be anywhere from $4trn to $5trn outside, you know don’t forget we’ve been talking about $2.5trn for four years now. I’ve been using $2.5trn, the same number we’ve all been using for years. Well, you know, it grows. I think it… I wouldn’t be surprised if it was $5trn but, you know, we’re close. We’re letting that money come back in. And that has two barriers which you have to watch. It’s got a barrier of the tax, which we will take care of. We’re going to make it 10%. Now it’s 35%...

Sorry, 10%? The repatriation taxes?
The repatriation. Inversion. The corporate inversions, which is a disaster, with the companies leaving. But they want to bring back their money. Number one, the tax is too high but the other thing that’s too high is the bureaucracy.

I have a friend who said even if you wanted to bring it back in you can’t because you have to go through so many papers, so many documents, so many…

You have to do… Steve, they told me you’ve got to sign books and books of stuff, you pay millions of dollars in legal fees and they almost don’t allow you to bring it back in.

Can I ask you a question about the politics of tax?
It should be like one page.

Excerpts from the transcript of a Time interview with President Trump, published 11 May 2017:
For instance I don’t watch CNN. I don’t watch MSNBC. Scarborough used to treat me great. But because I don’t do interviews and stuff and want to … He went the other way. Which is fine. He’s got some problems. But I don’t watch the show anymore. It drives him crazy. I don’t watch the show.
I do watch Fox in the morning, and their ratings have gone through the roof because everyone knows I’m watching Fox. But they’re pleasant. And if I do something wrong they report on it. I don’t mean they – if I do something wrong. But it’s really, honestly it’s the most accurate.
CNN in the morning, Chris Cuomo, he’s sitting there like a chained lunatic. He’s like a boiler ready to explode, the level of hatred. And the entire, you know the entire CNN platform is that way. This Don Lemon who’s perhaps the dumbest person in broadcasting, Don Lemon at night it’s like – sometimes they’ll have a guest who by mistake will say something good. And they’ll start screaming, we’re going to commercial. They cut him off. Remember?
I’ve seen things where by mistake somebody they bring in a guest and it turns out to be a positive. And they go, I mean they get just killed. The level of hatred. And poor Jeffrey Lord. I love Jeffrey Lord. But sometimes he’s sitting there with eight unknown killers that nobody ever heard of. And CNN actually is not doing nearly as well as others. They’re all doing well because of me. But it’s not doing as well as others that are doing better actually. But Fox treats me very fairly. MSNBC is ridiculous. It’s just bad.
It’s an ability I never thought I’d have. I never thought I’d have the ability to say, they’re doing a big story on me on CNN and I won’t watch it. And it’s amazing, it doesn’t matter. But it really, the equilibrium is much better. As far as newspapers and things, I glance at them. They’re really dishonest. I mean they’re really dishonest……
You see a no-talent guy like Colbert. There’s nothing funny about what he says. And what he says is filthy. And you have kids watching. And it only builds up my base. It only helps me, people like him. The guy was dying. By the way they were going to take him off television, then he started attacking me and he started doing better. But his show was dying. I’ve done his show. … But when I did his show, which by the way was very highly rated. It was high highest rating. The highest rating he’s ever had.

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