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Paul Krugman argues that Trump’s spin is nonsense — he’s losing the trade war

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Paul Krugman -- ABC screenshot

President Donald Trump has declared that he is close to reaching a “Phase One” agreement in negotiations in the trade war with China, a development that would forestall threatened tariff increases and roll back some of the punitive measures already in place. The deal is not yet finished nor released in detail, but Trump and his defenders are already celebrating it as a huge win.

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But economist Paul Krugman warned Thursday: not so fast. In general, there are no winners in a trade war, he said. But there are losers, and in Trump’s war with China, Krugman argued, the U.S. president is undoubtedly a loser.

“That’s certainly how the Chinese see it,” Krugman explained on Twitter. “Trump tried to bully them; they hung tough; and are basically ending up where they started, buying agricultural products while selling us increasingly sophisticated manufactured goods.”

He continued:

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Farmers, Krugman explained, have significantly suffered as a result. Bloomberg reported recently that under the trade war, farm bankruptcies have spiked 24 percent. Even if Trump gets serious concessions from China, he can’t undo that impact on Americans.

One way Trump has tried to mitigate that impact, though, is by spending billions of government funds to compensate for the damage to farmers that he caused. And as Krugman pointed out, that bailout is significantly larger than the much-discussed auto bailout under President Barack Obama, which was called for because of the effects of the financial crisis, rather than the White House’s recklessness.

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“Furthermore, even if we do get a sustained deal — which is still far from certain — the whole episode will have two big long-run costs. First, business uncertainty about capricious policy is here to stay,” Krugman continued. “Second, the Chinese have learned the same lesson North Korea’s Kim learned: Trump talks loudly but carries a small stick, and can be rolled. Trump has made us weak, neither trusted by our allies nor feared by our enemies.”

But for those hoping this major blunder will hurt Trump politically, Krugman has little consolation.

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“Now, Trump may not suffer politically. Elections turn not on how good things are, but on whether they’re perceived as getting better. This actually gives politicians an incentive to do stupid things for a while, then stop around a year before the election. Sound familiar?” he wrote.

 

 


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2020 Election

Trump defiantly refuses to condemn extremists groups at debate: ‘Proud Boys, stand back and stand by’

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President Donald Trump on Tuesday refused an opportunity to disavow right-wing extremists and white supremacist groups.

At his first 2020 presidential debate, Trump was asked if he would speak out against the extremist groups.

"Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacist and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" moderator Chris Wallace asked the president.

"I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing," Trump complained. "I'm willing to do anything. I want to see peace."

"Do it, sir," Wallace said.

"Say it," Democratic candidate Joe Biden chimed in.

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2020 Election

‘He’s Putin’s puppy’: Biden rips Trump — and the president freaks out and breaks the debate rules

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Former Vice President Joe Biden invoked President Donald Trump's subservience to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the first 2020 general election presidential debate.

"With regard to being weaker, the fact is I have gone head to head with Putin and made it clear to him we're not going to take any of his stuff," Biden said.

"He's Putin's puppy! He refuses to say anything to Putin about the bounty on the heads of American soldiers," Biden charged.

At that point, Trump interrupted to distract by talking about Hunter Biden.

"Mr. President, your campaign agreed to both sides would get two-minute answers, uninterrupted," moderator Chris Wallace noted. "Your side agreed to it and why don't you observe what your campaign agreed to as a ground rule, okay, sir?"

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2020 Election

Chris Wallace yells at Trump after debate goes off the rails: ‘Frankly, you’ve been doing more interrupting’

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Fox News moderator Chris Wallace admonished President Donald Trump for repeatedly refusing to let Democratic nominee Joe Biden have the floor at Tuesday night's debate.

Nearly an hour into the debate, Wallace seemed to realize that he had lost control of the president.

"No!" Wallace exclaimed as Trump tried to talk over him. "The answer to the question is no!"

But the president refused to be silent.

"Stop!" Wallace yelled. "Gentleman! I hate to raise my voice by why should I be different than the two of you?"

"We have ended that segment, we're going to go to the next segment," the moderator explained, turning to Trump. "I think that the country would be better served if we allowed both people to speak with fewer interruptions. I'm appealing to you, sir, to do that."

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