Trump’s strategy of bellowing “sound and fury (signifying nothing)” is adept Republican politics! In a world in which threats and fake strength, bluffs and bullying substitute for policies and analysis, it works in a rigged system, build carefully one spin at a time.
Trump’s decision yesterday on tariffs for washing machines and solar panels created a parallel universe of instant narratives of jobs preserved, when a careful reading of details show his actions stifle growth, hurt innovation and consumers, along with workers.
Much of economics as a science is counter-intuitive; the real effect of actions are the opposite of what might be expected! Ancient societies understood and guarded against the folly of ignoring these contradictions. Modern society, its emphasis on sales and marketing, uses these contradictions to exploit profit and labor by shifting blame to scapegoats, to avoid the less acceptable truth and hide corruption.
In popular perception, the false narratives trump the real numbers. The science losses, blame wins. Yet an economy can’t blame its way to growth. A mature economy, the US can sustain the blows of blame for awhile, but soon comes a point where blame fails. How deep the hole when that day comes, will determine the damage and the recovery. By then, our discovery of blame’s folly and the impotence of its narratives may be the siren of final sin.