Trump’s command economy

By | August 23, 2019

David A. Graham writes:

Fate sometimes has an acute sense of irony. This morning, the political donor and philanthropist David Koch died. Koch’s father was an early, prominent supporter of the limited-government, red-baiting John Birch Society. Koch ran for vice president as a Libertarian in 1980, but he and his brother Charles eventually shifted their focus to pushing the Republican Party in an aggressively small-government, low-regulation direction. They had remarkable success, but had serious disagreements with the current Republican president, Donald Trump.

The same morning Koch died, Trump tweeted:

The phrase that leaps from this meandering jeremiad is this: Our great American companies are hereby ordered to immediately start looking for an alternative to China. In his ongoing struggle against China, Trump has begun to ever more resemble his rival Xi Jinping—an authoritarian presiding over a command economy. David Koch isn’t buried yet, but his father, Fred, is surely spinning in his grave.

As is often the case when Trump tweets something detached from reality, it is difficult to tell how serious he is. His defenders often try to write off his most bizarre remarks as jokes, though there’s no sign this one is meant to be humorous: It’s in the middle of an extended rant, and it fits with his other statements about China and trade. [Continue reading…]

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