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‘Trumponomics has utterly failed’: Paul Krugman details why the GOP’s economic worldview has collapsed

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It’s often taken for granted that, whatever else you might say about President Donald Trump, he has at least been good for the U.S. economy. That, many argue, is the fact that may lead to his re-election in 2020.

Except this uncritically accepted pearl of conventional wisdom is quite dubious, as many experts in economics would tell you.

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One of those experts, Trump-appointed Fed Chair Jerome Powell, even announced a cut to interest rates this week in light of weak business investment in the economy and the uncertainty caused by the president’s trade wars.

Another expert is economist Paul Krugman, who wrote in a new piece for the New York Times Thursday: “Obviously Powell couldn’t say in so many words that Trumponomics has been a big flop, but that was the subtext of his remarks. And Trump’s frantic efforts to bully the Fed into bigger cuts are an implicit admission of the same thing.”

He noted that the economy has actually been kept afloat somewhat by something the Republican Party says it hates: deficit spending. But the party’s promises of an economic resurgence under Trump are falling apart.

Start with the 2017 GOP Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

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“Republican faith in the magic of tax cuts — and, correspondingly, belief that tax increases will doom the economy — is the ultimate policy zombie, a view that should have been killed by evidence decades ago but keeps shambling along, eating G.O.P. brains,” he said. “The record is actually awesomely consistent.”

Krugman continued:

Bill Clinton’s tax hike didn’t cause a depression, George W. Bush’s tax cuts didn’t deliver a boom, Jerry Brown’s California tax increase wasn’t “economic suicide,” Sam Brownback’s Kansas tax-cut “experiment” (his term) was a failure.

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Nevertheless, Republicans persist. This time around, the centerpiece of the tax cut was a huge break for corporations, which was supposed to induce companies to bring back the money they’ve invested overseas and put the money to work here. Instead, they basically used the tax savings to buy back their own stock.

And on the trade front, Trump’s tariffs — which the GOP has grudging if pathetically accepted — aren’t doing much for the economy, despite the president’s claims.

“And there’s a good case to be made that Trump’s tariffs have actually hurt U.S. manufacturing. For one thing, many of them have hit ‘intermediate goods,’ that is, stuff American companies use in their production processes, so the tariffs have raised costs,” Krugman wrote. “Beyond that, the uncertainty created by Trump’s policy by whim — nobody knows what he’ll hit next — has surely deterred investment.”

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Thankfully, he noted, “while Trumponomics has utterly failed to deliver on its promises, it’s not bad enough to do enormous damage.”

Krugman concluded that, given Trump’s failures on the economic front, the president will likely run for re-election on racism.

But it’s worth being really clear about this. If, as Krugman and others have argued, Trump’s economic success is illusory, what’s the GOP case for keeping him in office?

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His views on immigration? Unpopular. His views on health care? Unpopular. His views on abortion? Unpopular. His foreign policy? Unpopular.

The president doesn’t have a lot going for him. Unemployment is low, and the economy is growing at a decent pace, so he will scream from the rooftops that he’s a policy genius. But when it comes down to it, there’s really not much reason for the American people to keep him around.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘I’ll be darned!’ Rick Perry — who oversees US nukes — fooled by Instagram hoax

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Energy secretary Rick Perry, who oversees the U.S. nuclear arsenal, fell for an Instagram hoax, along with several celebrities.

The poorly worded "legal" notice is similar to viral hoaxes that have circulated for years on Facebook, which owns Instagram, warning that the social media company will make all its users' photos and messages public.

Instagram isn't changing its privacy policy, according to its chief executive Adam Mosseri.

If you’re seeing a meme claiming Instagram is changing its rules tomorrow, it’s not true - learn more here: https://t.co/Qy102zMQCm

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Has anything changed since Burning Man’s sex assault and labor issues were exposed?

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The last weekend in August marks the start of Burning Man, a week-long, festival in the Nevada desert consisting of freewheeling performance art, fanciful costumes, and a lot of drugs. The anarchic party with more than 50,000 attendees constitutes a pilgrimage for many attendees, lured by the promise of leaving the “default world” behind in exchange for a transformative or even spiritual experience.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

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Truckers are facing a ‘bloodbath’ in their industry — and it’s turning many in the pro-Trump group against him: report

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Truckers are numerous, conservative, and hurting. And despite their widespread support for Donald Trump’s candidacy in 2016, a new report from Business Insider suggests the pain in the industry might be turning these workers away from the president.

The political trends in trucking are not insignificant. According to the American Trucking Associations, there were an estimated 3.5 million truck drivers in 2018. RTS Financial has found that there are 7.4 million jobs total “tied to the trucking industry.” And Business Insider reported that nearly 90 percent of truckers are registered voters, higher than the general population.

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