Big, Not Little Lies

As interested people searching for policies that just might work, we’re keenly aware of how important finding some bedrock facts on which to build. So it has shaken us to find the contempt facts are held in by some wishing to lead us into the future. Two cases especially are “nails on the blackboard” cringe-worthy. Our President endlessly tells us China, not American importers are paying his tariffs and two leading Democratic Presidential candidates inform us Michal Brown of Ferguson, Mo infamy was murdered. Lies such as these are just plain toxic to good policy. A closer look will show the devastating effect these two falsehoods will have going forward.

We warned if Trump was elected, Republicans would ultimately face a major dilemma. Judges, lower taxes, and regulatory reform could go a long way for many to hold their noses and go along with the President. We warned at some point, though, the other parts making up Trump’s policy views, protectionism, free-spending, favoritism, and a schizophrenic world view had more in common with the Democrats. Now that these have come to the fore, Republicans have to ask themselves what they actually stand. Worse they threaten to undo any good accomplished. The world economy appears to be slowing across the no small part because of Trump’s ongoing trade wars. Remember, trade is one of the three ways we get More” and anything that impedes it will ultimately result in “Less.’ By slapping on tariffs willy-nilly, he has upset world trading and investment patterns without an apparent long-range plan. This weapon is an especially strange as it ‘s a large tax paid by Americans. Regardless of Trump’s claims otherwise, only US registered firms sending money to US Customs. Other than Trump, no one believes otherwise. Even his own Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, distanced himself from this whopper. He and most other economists are well aware of the harmful contributions tariff wars and their accompanying competitive devaluations made to the great depression. These weapons have been described as a gun with two barrels, one firing forward and one firing back at you. A truly foolish weapon to use.

But don’t we need to confront China over their transgressions? Absolutely! The problem is Trump’s belief in trade balances and tariffs have precluded a realistic evaluation of the threat, thereby hindering the right response. As we pointed out in previous posts, China is likely descending into a total top-down repressive state. The Communist Party eased up and allowed in some Capitalism and it spurred great growth. Capitalism has a way of doing that. The world hoped they would continue to liberalize, joining the nations relying on the consent of the Governed and the rule of law. All the evidence now points in the opposite direction. We will have absolute confirmation of China’s real direction in how it handles Hong Kong. Crushing the people of that great city will leave no doubt as to who the Chinese Communists are. At that point, Trump’s mercantilist trade negotiations would be doomed as we would be in a new cold war. There simply can’t be integrated trade with such a brutal untrustworthy regime. Just as we had to do with the old Soviet Union, we would have to isolate and contain China until it collapses from the inherent weaknesses of all top-down repressive regimes. Unfortunately, Trump’s actions on trade and needlessly alienating prospective allies have made the job harder and late.

It didn’t have to be this way. Even the Obama administration was aware of the growing danger from China. It wisely pushed the Trans-Pacific Partnership as a way of isolating China and encourage structuring our supply chains in friendlier nations. Had we continued with this Treaty with our friends we would be much further along quarantining a malevolent China. Trump instead dumped the treaty. He ignored the facts about tariffs because he thought he could use them to bend China to his will without costs and pain to us and our friends. This disregard for a simple fact we, not the Chinese pay tariffs, has put us in a much worse position. They’re hurting but so are we. A good policy is never about who can endure the most pain. Remember free people get to tell their government about needless pain. In China not so much.

Two US Senators deep in the mix for the Democratic Nomination for President both have told the nation Michael Brown was murdered. Elisabeth Warren and Pamela Harris both have made claim with not a whit of qualification thereby perpetuating a dangerous myth. The problem is there nothing anywhere to support this assertion. Much like Trump’s assertion on tariffs, this falsehood has become part of the mantra of their base. Warren, a former Harvard Law Professor, and Harris, a former California’s Attorney General can hardly claim ignorance of the law or for that matter any other kind of ignorance for their lie. Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown was investigated in this instance locally and by the US Justice Department which according to Wikipedia, ” reported the conclusion of its own investigation and cleared Wilson of civil rights violations in the shooting. It found forensic evidence supported the officer’s account, that witnesses who corroborated the officer’s account were credible, and that witnesses who had incriminated him were not credible, with some admitting they had not directly seen the events. The Obama US Department of Justice concluded that Wilson shot Brown in self-defense.” Self Defense is not murder! These claims by the two senators could be seen as even worse than Trump’s tariff lie. After all, Trump could be so ignorant that he really believes it. On the other hand, the two Senators can’t possibly profess ignorance.

The myth of Michael Brown’s “murder” spread immediately and resulted in widespread rioting in Ferguson and destruction still visible today. We wrote at the time painting a policeman just doing the job as a murderer would have a profound effect in the future. Even though he was absolved of any wrongdoing at every level, officer Wilson through threats and constant vilification was forced from his job. Few came forward to forcefully set the record straight and condemn those persisting in spreading the myth. At the time we and others came to prophesize destroying Wilson’s career would have major repercussions on policing. Some called it the “Ferguson Effect”. Police now would be reluctant to take risks that could be misconstrued to enforce the law. Without public support, better to play it safe. Policing as a profession would be much less attractive. As a result, crime would increase. This isn’t in any way saying the police are always in the right. No profession is without bad apples and those such as Nouman Raja in Palm Beach Gardens should pay for acting outside the lines. But in this case, Wilson did nothing wrong but still lost his profession. President Obama or his attorney General could’ve gone on national TV and destroyed the myth at its inception, but they didn’t. Instead, the Brown Family pocketed $1.5 million dollars and Michael’s mother is running for city council. This wasn’t lost on the police across the country or those that hated them.

Today we have dousing and other things thrown at police with abandon. Police engaging deadly shooters are cursed by those in the neighborhood. No wonder police departments across the country are understaffed. Why would anybody want the job? The top people we want on the force have other options and apparently are taking them. This leaves us with fewer and likely a less effective law endorsement officers. The sad thing is those in poorer crime-ridden areas are suffering most.

We are well aware that others see other blatant lies out there on wonder why we just took up these two? How much time do you think we have? In these two cases and others, true believers in the lies stay in their respective party base, but others taking a few seconds to google the truth knows you’re going along with lies. If you know the truth how can you even consider Trump, Warren or Harris? This makes our divisions even greater because you’re justified in loathing the other side because they really are lying. Much worse these bedrock lies could cost lives and our economy. If we ever want to come together on anything, the first thing to do is to stop telling huge lies to each other.

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