Sharpiegatte’s Lesson for the Trade War


The Guardian, ‘Sharpiegate’: Trump insists Dorian was forecast to ‘hit or graze’ Alabama

Washington Post, U.S. economy adds just 130,000 jobs in August amid worries that trade war has sunk its teeth into hiring: The unemployment rate remained at 3.7%

Right now, the United States is a tale of two economies: The service sector remains strong with health care and business adding a lot of jobs in August. But industries such as mining and manufacturing that depend heavily on selling items overseas are struggling….

Most companies have already scaled back spending on buildings and equipment, and there is concern that they will now cease hiring, a move that could have harmful consequences on the U.S. economy, as consumer spending drives so much of the U.S. economy. When Americans are fearful of losing their jobs, they tend to halt spending.

So, let’s review the bidding. China is going to let the economic standoff kind of marinate during the rest of September. That will give time to let any “adults in the room” try to talk Trump out of his madness. Prediction: Won’t happen. Then, in October, some Chinese will show up in October to talk about trade.

This news caused stocks to rise on Friday. For all those folks who thought the forthcoming trade talks were good news—good enough news to go out and bid up the price of General Motors—I  can make you a really good deal on a bridge in Brooklyn.

And let’s review the bidding on Sharpiegate:

  • Day 1: as the hurricane forms in the Atlantic, Trump is told that targets could include Alabama,
  • Day 4: any risk to Alabama has long passed, but Trump, having been asleep at the switch for three days, tweets that Dorian is still targeting Alabama.

Everybody occasionally falls asleep at the wheel. Everybody makes an odd mistake now and then—remember how Pocahontas told the Texas Bar Association she was an American Indian—but normal people acknowledge the mistake and move on. But instead of admitting his error and moving on, Trump keeps insisting that he was right all along. To bolster his case, he gives the whole country a belly laugh by presenting a ludicrously altered weather map.

If he cannot admit error on Sharpiegate, I find it inconceivable that Trump will admit error in respect of his delusional beliefs about tariffs and international trade. Nor on his delusional narcissistic faith in the power of his own bullshit and bluster.

As sure as God made little green apples, Trump’s delusions are going to lead us over an economic cliff.

If you think otherwise, then I am fully prepared to make it a package deal: along with the Brooklyn Bridge, you can have the George Washington Bridge too.

And if you think the Chinese are going to cut us some slack, I’ll make it a threefor: the Brookly Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Such a deal. Such a deal.