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‘Confused’ Trump pummeled by WSJ for creating economic uncertainty with his tariffs and incoherent tax plans

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A clearly exasperated editorial board of the Wall Street Journal took Donald Trump to task in a harsh column, claiming he doesn’t seem to know what he is doing when it comes to economics and they are getting tired of his act.

Right from the start, the conservative editors took a shot at the president by beginning: “President Trump isn’t famous for consistency, but his reversal on a new round of tax cuts may be a record. On Tuesday he said he was considering a cut in the payroll tax and indexing capital gains for inflation, but on Wednesday he took it all back.”

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Calling Trump’s proposal “bizarre,” the editors continued, “Mr. Trump is also confused about whether the economy is strong or weak, whether more economic stimulus is needed, and even whether his trade brawls with the rest of the world are weakening the economy. No wonder business investment is falling amid this climate of policy uncertainty.”

Beyond Trump’s suggestion that he wants to tinker with the tax codes — only to walk it back almost immediately — the Journal points out that, should the president be sincere in his desire to come to grips with the possibility of a recession, then he should abandon his trade war and accompanying tariffs.

“Mr. Trump and his trade Rasputin, Peter Navarro, claim there’s been no harm from his tariffs,” they wrote. “But his actions belie the claim. Last week he delayed a new round of tariffs on some imports from China lest they raise consumer prices before Christmas. He has ladled out $28 billion in subsidies to farmers to offset markets lost to retaliation by China, and other nations, after his various tariffs.”

“The evidence of harm is also clear from U.S. economic data,” the editorial noted. “Manufacturing has slumped as global demand declines amid trade and currency shifts. U.S. net exports have also declined, and falling private investment shaved a percentage-point from GDP in the second quarter.”

“Mr. Trump has the power to assist the economy on his own by ending this trade uncertainty,” they admonished the president before adding a warning.

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“He’s right to address bad Chinese practices, but he underestimated the economic harm from his multiple trade shocks. Supply chains built over a generation can’t be rebuilt in a year, and U.S. exporters can’t find new customers on short notice,” they wrote. “Mr. Trump doesn’t need to win his staredown with Xi Jinping in a single negotiation. He can make progress now, see if China honors its promises, and respond accordingly if he wins a second term. He’ll get no such chance if there’s a trade-driven recession, and Elizabeth Warren sits in the White House.”

You can read the whole piece here (subscription required.)

 

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Catholic peaders promised transparency about child abuse — but they haven’t delivered

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It took 40 years and three bouts of cancer for Larry Giacalone to report his claim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a Boston priest named Richard Donahue.

Giacalone sued Donahue in 2017, alleging the priest molested him in 1976, when Giacalone was 12 and Donahue was serving at Sacred Heart Parish. The lawsuit never went to trial, but a compensation program set up by the archdiocese concluded that Giacalone “suffered physical injuries and emotional injuries as a result of physical abuse” and directed the archdiocese to pay him $73,000.

Even after the claim was settled and the compensation paid in February 2019, however, the archdiocese didn’t publish Donahue’s name on its list of accused priests. Nor did it three months later when Giacalone’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, criticized the church publicly for not adding Donahue’s name to the list.

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Mike Pompeo’s behavior is straight out of Nixon VP’s playbook: historians

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s expletive-laden dust-up with NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly is on message for the Trump-led Republican Party. Complaining that Kelly’s question about Ukraine was “another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration,” Pompeo has rallied the Republican base by slamming a journalist doing her job.

Whether he knows it or not, Pompeo is drawing from a playbook written a half century ago and perfected by a politician once voted the worst vice president in American history. Secretary Mike Pompeo, meet Vice President Spiro Agnew.

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‘Our chances of ever exiting the nightmare are shrinking’: Paul Krugman explains how the GOP is getting worse

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It is a great detriment to civil discourse that the divide between left and right in the United States is often depicted as being purely cultural — as if one’s politics were solely mediated by aesthetics, such as whether one prefers shooting guns or drinking lattes. This fabulist understanding of politics is harmful inasmuch as it masks the real social effects of the policy agendas pushed by left versus right. Seeing politics as aesthetic transforms what should be a quantitative debate — with statistics and numbers about taxation and public policy, questions of who benefits more or less from policy changes — and devolves it into a rhetorical debate over values.

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