February 24, 2020


A socialist is likely to win the 2020 election. No, not Bernie Sanders. (Catherine Rampell, Feb. 24, 2020, wASHINGTON pOST)

 Trump, meanwhile, has brainwashed his supposedly free-market party into backing a command-and-control-style economy. When it's commanded-and-controlled by Trump, anyway.

With nary a peep from his party, Trump has tried to prop up pet industries, such as coal, by government fiat. Indeed, other Republicans have since copied his strategy at the state level.

Likewise, in a move that once would have had Republicans screaming bloody murder, Trump has slapped tariffs on virtually every major trading partner around the world to protect favored industries, such as steel. This not only failed to rejuvenate steel but also led to widespread retaliation, including tit-for-tat tariffs aimed at farm country, a key part of the Republican base.

Trump then decided even more central planning was in order. Again, his party didn't stop him.

First, the president unilaterally decided to use taxpayer funds to bail out farmers hurt by his trade wars. When that didn't work, he did it again. In a tweet Friday, he suggested that a third bailout might yet be necessary.

Already, Trump's farmer trade bailouts are more than double the size of the 2009 auto bailout.

A decade ago -- with the global economy on the verge of another depression -- Republicans howled that this U.S. auto industry rescue package was "the leading edge of the Obama administration's war on capitalism" and would set us on "the road toward socialism."

Today, these same Republicans seem curiously unperturbed.

Republicans, too, once argued that we should encourage China to become more market-oriented. But Trump has demanded that China engage in even more centralized economic planning -- through minimum purchase commitments of U.S. goods regardless of market conditions.

It's as if the president is trying to provide proof of concept for President Dwight Eisenhower's domino theory. Republicans' response? Stand by and praise him.

Conservatives, likewise, complain that Sanders and his socialist allies wish to bloat budget deficits. Under Trump, of course, this has already happened. The deficit in fiscal 2019 was a whopping 48 percent higher than it was in fiscal 2017, thanks to GOP policies. And while "Crazy Bernie" does intend to jack up tax rates to (partly) offset his spending, Trump has raised some taxes on Americans, too -- he's just done it more regressively, through taxes on imports rather than income.

Posted by at February 24, 2020 7:32 PM