Schwab: Why lie? More importantly, why keep swallowing lies?

Trump can’t take credit for good news without embellishment. But what’s the excuse of his supporters?

By Sid Schwab

Economic news is pretty darn good, and Trump deserves credit for maintaining the Obama recovery. By some measures, it’s gotten faster.

To investors, this is pleasing. Inexplicable except as unbridled greed and indifference to average Americans, Trump’s reportedly looking into making high-income investors even richer. Super. Except for those from whose flesh another hundred-billion in tax cuts will be sliced. (New York Times: tinyurl.com/4D-rich)

Despite such recklessness, the economy is humming, and that’s a good thing. So why can’t Trump ride the wave without lying about it? What in his hagridden brain drives him to make claims so easily debunked?

To wit: He claimed he “turned the economy around.” Had he done so, to a robust economy growing steadily when he took over, he’d have tanked it, which, thankfully, he didn’t. So what’s the point of saying something like that? And then, because lie father, lie son, Don Jr. said there was never a quarter with such high GDP growth under Obama. There were several. Nor, as junior claimed, is it true that Obama never saw growth higher than 2 percent.

As with the difference between debt and deficit, many people misunderstand how quarterly growth rates differ from annual ones. But people at high levels of government surely know, so what they claimed aren’t mistakes, they’re lies. It’s what they do. Because it’s what their diehards want, I guess. I don’t get it, but the evidence is everywhere.

One wonders who exactly is benefitting from the growth spurt. Can those who regularly inform me of their displeasure with my writing point to something specific that’s better for them? For sure, the very wealthy can. But regular folks? Continuing an eight-year trend, many have gotten jobs, more than have lost them because of tariffs and the increased pace of outsourcing. The poor, though, especially the working poor, are undeniably worse off, caught as they are in the backwash of money flowing upward at the expense of programs that were helping them. Likewise, people with pre-existing medical conditions and those on Medicaid. And auto workers. (The Hill: tinyurl.com/93Kgone)

While still enjoying the record profits begun under Obama, affected businesses are passing the costs of Trump’s tariffs to consumers. Other than a couple of highly-touted but isolated, brief and minimalist boni showily handed to employees, wages are stagnant as Trump’s upside-down tax breaks are being used for enormous CEO payouts, stock buy-backs and investor profits. (New York Times: tinyurl.com/youpay4it) (Politico: tinyurl.com/notU2ceo)

Yet this selective economic goodness is seen, by those whose lives aren’t and won’t be improved, as justifying their glorification of Trump. It’s like his lies: in the long run they harm everyone, but are loved by Trumpists for their own dark reasons. It’s a safe assumption that when the economy tanks, as economies are wont to do, especially under pressure from massive deficits, the cultists will love him even more. Call it the Shockhome Syndrome.

Here’s another safe bet: After months of being assured there was “no collusion” with Russia, Trumpists will be unbothered by the sudden, hoofbeat-hearing switch to “It’s not a crime.” Or, “There was no meeting before the meeting, and the ‘president’ didn’t attend it.” Or, as we’ve already seen, tapes proving the “fake news” that Trump agreed to pay off yet another playmate wasn’t fake at all. For loyalists, brazen lying has become a non-issue.

At some point, you’d think it’d sink in that what Trump calls “fake news” is true unless proven otherwise. Nope, not for the cultists, to whom the obvious dangers of a constantly lying “president” will never occur. For everyone else — people, that is, those who see the forest and the trees — the inability to trust a leader on critical issues because he lies about everything, is a serious matter.

No collusion. No interference. Fake news.

We know Russians gained entry to some voting machines, and we’ve just witnessed how easy it is to obtain complete control. Some 77,000 votes out of 135 million, changed, deleted or influenced by trolls, is all it would have taken. (Esquire: tinyurl.com/yes2hack) (Weekly Standard: tinyurl.com/dons77)

Sounding panicky, Trump just demanded Sessions immediately end Mueller’s “rigged” investigation, while, ironically, declaring Democrats would get rid of law enforcement. His latest rally, ominously including deranged Q-Anon believers, was the ugliest yet toward journalists. Too many people refuse to acknowledge the peril of Trump’s perfidious, hate-mongering demagoguery. Does good economic news justify ignoring it? Decide. We’re at a crossroads. (Esquire: tinyurl.com/finger2journo) (Washington Post: tinyurl.com/cra4Q)

Email Sid Schwab at columnsid@gmail.com.

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