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Practical Politics


A few weeks ago, this column predicted that Donald Trump, who had been gifted a working economy that was steadily getting better, would wreck that American economy mainly through his insistent use of tariffs and attacks on international trade. Most major economists worth their salt had already  said that such efforts were counterproductive and would seriously hurt the national economy in the short term, certainly, and in the long term, probably.

Current national information on the economy bears out that prediction. The Trump tariffs and illogical trade actions have cost both the Ford Motor Company and General Motors over a billion dollars each in lost revenue, and several plant closures, according to their own reports. The Trump tariffs have imposed new costs on steel, aluminum, washing machines, and thousands of other products that American businesses and consumers buy especially from China. These tariffs will increase the tax burden on Americans, falling hardest on lower and middle-income households (a lot of them from Trump’s own base of voters), and reduce overall national economic output, employment, and wages.

Without wanting to label that Trump base a bunch of doo-doos—-why would people support someone taking money from their hands and food from their tables—the brilliant columnist from the New York Times, Charles Blow, recently said we need to view Trump as a folk-hero. Folk heroes tend to be forgiven for their shortcomings, mistakes and foibles just because they are folk heroes.

Think of cartoon character folk heroes like the Dust Devil, Oil Can Harry or Wiley Coyote. Think of Paul Bunyon, or maybe Louisiana’s former real-life folk hero, Huey Long. The latter was known to be a slickster, a bombastic showman, a cunning politician, and a consistent schemer.

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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