Here’s how you reduce the trade deficit, according to economists: Elect a moron who knows nothing about fiscal, monetary, or trade policy and wait for him to turn a thriving economy into a smoldering crater of burnt wreckage and charred human remains in bright red MAGA hats.
Enter Donald Trump.
Because he’s dumber than a sack of raccoon farts, Trump doesn’t understand that having a high trade deficit is actually a sign of a good economy. So he’s doing everything he can to make that economy bad again … so people don’t buy foreign goods … so our trade deficit can plummet.
From The Washington Post:
The United States trade deficit widened in June and is on track to be the biggest in a decade despite President Trump’s efforts to slash it.
For the first half of 2018, the trade deficit in goods and services hit $291.2 billion, the federal government reported Friday, which is higher than last year and puts the nation on track to have the largest annual deficit since 2008.
Trump has repeatedly promised to reduce the trade deficit during his White House tenure, but so far, it has grown under his watch.
What do you call it when the one thing you promised to do and are, in fact, obsessed with accomplishing eludes your grasp? Most economists refer to it as “being a fucking moron.”
Of course, Trump’s stupid, ill-timed fiscal stimulus (i.e., tax scam) is a big contributor to the trade deficit that vexes him so. Turns out, if you pump a lot more money into the bank accounts of rich people, they don’t necessarily use it to buy handcrafted armoires in Amish country.
“While the administration is intent on reducing the trade deficit — which it wrongly perceives to be the result of unfair trade practices — the implementation of a late-cycle fiscal stimulus package will put further upward pressure on the trade deficit in the coming months,” said Gregory Daco, head of U.S. economics at Oxford Economics, a research firm.
In fact, the only way to make a substantial dent in the trade deficit is to drive the economy into the ditch with, I don’t know, an unnecessary trade war? So without realizing it, we appear to have elected the right man for the job. Unfortunately, what Trump is doing is sort of like getting rid of a mole on your face that bothers no one but you by opting for elective heart surgery and then dying on the operating table.
Economists think Trump is wrong to be so fixated on reducing the trade deficit. The only way to really cut it is for Americans stop buying so much, they argue, and they point out that the U.S. doesn’t “lose” on trade. Americans get cheaper items from abroad and the dollars to go to China and elsewhere mostly end up returning to the United States through foreign investment and purchases of U.S. Treasury bonds. Under Trump, the United States is returning to $1 trillion annual budget deficits and looking to foreign investors to help fund it.
“Economically, the trade deficit is not that big of a deal,” said Jim O’Sullivan, the chief economist at High Frequency Economics. “It’s being driven by how strong the U.S. economy is right now. ”
Despite the widening trade deficit, it still accounts for under 3 percent of the total U.S. economy, O’Sullivan notes, which is down from 5 percent before the financial crisis. Trump’s push to put tariffs on imports from China and other countries is unlikely to reduce the deficit because Americans are still likely to want to buy all of these items, so companies are likely to either pay more for the imports or else buy the items from different countries that aren’t subjected to the added tax.
So, in case it’s not already obvious, what Trump is doing is not going to help at all.
But, hey, here’s to the day when the only goods you buy are from local artisans — selling their tchotchkes outside Thunderdome.
Yo! Dear F*cking Lunatic: 101 Obscenely Rude Letters to Donald Trump by Aldous J. Pennyfarthing is now available at Amazon! Buy there (or at one of the other fine online retailers carrying it), or be square.