What is wrong with Trump supporters is the same thing that is wrong with Republicans generally. They believe things which are not only false, but foolish. They not only ignore informed and experienced advice, they congratulate themselves on rejecting it.
That is dangerous. That is beyond merely foolish, verging on insanity. There are those who consider conservatism to be approaching mental illness, and this election cycle has demonstrated that more than previous elections. What they believe is false, and often ugly and violent and dangerous. It is too often completely delusional, with unrealistic expectations. You have to wonder what they would do if their expectations were not met — as they couldn’t possibly be met. Some if not all of these people are advocating violence when they are frustrated — as they will be, whoever wins.
From BuzzFeed, just yesterday:
Supporters Trust That A Trump Presidency Will Fix Just About Everything
“I think he’s going to change everything that he says he will”
JACKSONVILLE, Florida — Donald Trump supporters in swing states like Florida and North Carolina shared high hopes in the waning days of the election that their candidate will change the direction of the country — even if he hasn’t yet revealed how.
“I’m looking for him to pretty much fix everything he could try to fix,” said Tolliver, a young man selling t-shirts on the lawn outside the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, where Trump held a rally on Thursday. “I think he’s going to change everything that he says he will,” said Lillian Traylor, beaming with optimism.
The midday crowd in Jacksonville was dominated by veterans. Traylor was there with her son Dale, a hydrographer with the Army Corps of Engineers, and her husband Robert, a retired naval chief. “We’re just excited,” she added, softly, nudging her son to share more specifics. “He’s going to bring back jobs to these United States,” said Dale. Lillian nodded in agreement, pleased that he found the right phrase.
Not one of Trump’s proposals are really anything new, or anything different from the policies of any other Republican candidate. They are the same lies, the same false promises, the same failed beliefs, from the same architects of the same economic plans.
Only more so. So much more so that 370 economists, 8 of them Nobel laureates, took the unprecedented step of writing an open letter condemning Trump on November 1st. Another 19 Nobel laureates signed a statement on October 31st condemning Trump. Time magazine covered both:
‘He promotes magical thinking and conspiracy theories over sober assessments of feasible economic policy options’
Three hundred and seventy economists, including eight Nobel Prize winners, co-signed a letter that asserts, “Donald Trump is a dangerous, destructive choice for the country. He misinforms the electorate, degrades trust in public institutions with conspiracy theories, and promotes willful delusion over engagement with reality.”
The statement, which was first published by the Wall Street Journal, does not endorse a candidate. Instead it lists 15 points of concern about the Republican presidential nominee. Several criticize Trump for his assertions about supporting manufacturing workers, particularly those in Ohio and Michigan. Contrary to what he has said, the economists write that renegotiating NAFTA will not increase the number of manufacturing jobs: “manufacturing’s share of employment has been declining since the 1970s and is mostly related to automation, not trade.” (NAFTA came into effect in January 1994.) They also write that trade agreements have not cut national income and wealth, which has risen because, as the signatories write, trade is not “zero-sum.” (“Freedom to trade” was on a list of “what America needs” in a September statement of concern about “Hillary Clinton’s economic agenda” signed by 300 economists. An Oct. 31 statement by 19 Nobel laureates in economics decried Trump’s “reckless threats to start trade wars with several of our largest trading partners.”)
The new letter, signed by economists who won this and last year’s Nobel prizes as well as the chief economist at the World Bank, also questions Trump’s math on how he would eliminate the fiscal deficit while decreasing revenue; says he exaggerates immigration’s negative impact; and laments how “he repeats fake and misleading economic statistics, and pushes fallacies.”
We know what we get with those policies. We get Kansas, multiplied nationwide. We get the economics of Arthur Laffer, who personally consulted with and for Gov. Sam Brownback in creating the Kansas economic plan, and with Trump on his plan. That is consistently, persistently bad news. It is long range and short range and mid range epic economic disaster. On steroids. Which is how Trump’s economic proposals have been characterized.
The reason for Sam Brownback making the reports on his economy less and less available, and now canceling them entirely is that the reports on his performance are unrelentingly BAD. There is nothing good in them. Measuring that performance, quantifying the results of those policies is to showcase epic failure.
What did Brownback do about it? He stopped reporting the results of his policies. What can we expect Trump, Trump of the many bankruptcies, will do about it? Lie. Blame someone else. Anything but own the failures as his own, something Brownback is struggling to avoid – accountability.
Gov. Sam Brownback, advisers abandon report of Kansas economy
Economic council adopting an analysis generated by Federal Reserve
Absence of the state’s quarterly review was noticed by the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, which used the council’s report to advance tax policy conclusions contrary to those advocated by the governor. Heidi Holliday, executive director of the nonprofit center in Topeka, said the downplay and eventual demise of the council’s economic assessment tool was an attempt to minimize public exposure of weaknesses in Brownback’s program to build the state’s economy by exempting 330,000 businesses from the income tax and reducing individual state income tax rates.
“He specifically asked the council to hold him accountable through rigorous performance metrics,” she said. “Five years later, the metrics clearly show his tax experiment has failed while business leaders and local chambers of commerce across the state openly ask him to change course.”
During the 2016 election cycle, interest among Kansas business owners and political candidates appears to have grown for repeal of the tax exemption adopted in 2012 by the Republican-led Legislature and Brownback.
Both the monthly federal report and the defunct quarterly state report feature statistics on employment, unemployment, personal income and energy production.
“The missed revenue marks, missed job reports, missed projections shed light on his failed policies. I kind of find it a little ironic they chose to go to a federal government report after they blamed President Obama for our economic problems,” Burroughs said.
Six months after taking office in 2011, Brownback set up the Council of Economic Advisers with about 20 members drawn from business and industry. He said the council would be responsible for coordinating strategic economic development planning, evaluating state policies and agency performance, and researching Kansas’ tax competitiveness, regulatory structure and basic industries.
Brownback said comparing Kansas to a six-state region and the nation would offer timely determinations of whether “our policies and initiatives are having the desired economic effect.”
“Economic competitiveness requires a detailed understanding of regional, national and international economic conditions and trends,” Brownback said.
And here is what happened in Kansas, for those who don’t live there or follow the outcome of those economic policies, from the same people advising Trump. From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
Kansas’ Tax Cut Experience Refutes Economic Growth Predictions of Trump Tax Advisors
…But those who will evaluate the revised Trump tax cut proposal should keep something in mind: Moore and Laffer were principal architects of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s massive tax cuts, and their predictions that those tax cuts would spur an “immediate” Kansas economic boom have proved strikingly inaccurate.
What Actually Happened in Kansas
In fact, the tax cut failed to boost the Kansas economy:
- Since it took effect in January 2013, total employment in Kansas has risen only 2.6 percent, compared to 6.5 percent nationally. Private sector employment in Kansas has risen 3.5 percent, compared to 7.6 percent nationally.
- The state’s economy has grown less than half as fast as the national economy; Kansas’ gross domestic product (GDP) grew 4.8 percent from the end of 2012 through the first quarter of 2016, while national GDP rose 11.9 percent.
- Kansas’ share of newly opened business establishments in the United States has actually declined slightly rather than increased.
Moreover, the Kansas tax cut package has had a deleterious impact on the state’s financial stability and the provision of critical services. For example:
- Personal income tax revenues in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016 (fiscal year 2016) were almost $700 million lower than those received in fiscal year 2013, when the tax cut first took effect, even though the economy nationally is stronger in 2016 than it was in 2013. Receipts dropped immediately by slightly more than $700 million (24 percent), and the meager economic growth that occurred in Kansas from 2014 to 2016 boosted collections by only $30 million, or less than 2 percent.
- Total General Fund revenues in 2016 were $570 million below 2013 levels, despite significant sales and cigarette tax increases enacted to partially offset the income tax losses. The General Fund’s ending balance fell from $709 million in 2013 to $40 million in 2016 (just 0.7 percent of General Fund spending). That’s important because Kansas’ General Fund balance is its “rainy day fund.” Should a recession hit and tax revenues shrink as household incomes and retail sales fall, the state will need to cut programs or enact tax increases almost immediately because it will have very little savings to tap.
- The General Fund’s depletion occurred even though the state transferred to the Fund substantial tax revenues that were collected to finance road maintenance and construction. The resulting reduction in infrastructure funding has forced the state to postpone numerous highway projects indefinitely.
- Because the tax cuts leave less state revenue with which to repay people who lend the state money by buying its bonds, Kansas’ bond rating has been downgraded twice — in 2014, and most recently on July 26, 2016. Lower bond ratings mean that the state will likely have to pay a higher interest rate on future borrowings, raising the cost of infrastructure projects such as school construction and road building.
NO credible, experienced economist has endorsed the economic policies of Donald Trump. But in an insane election cycle, a large number of them have taken the unprecedented move of not so much un-endorsing him as anti-endorsing him. And yes, a number of credible and experienced economists HAVE endorsed Hillary’s economic proposals.
What did Obama’s eight years in office, with his economic policies do? What did states that enacted the same kinds of policies as Hillary Clinton advocates do — (and we can include Minnesota in those successes, although not mentioned specifically by the CBPP):
Nationally, total nonfarm employment since January 2013 has grown by 5.9 percent – far outpacing Kansas’ 3.3 percent growth rate.
Looking at just private-sector jobs, the U.S. growth rate has been 6.9 percent – way above the 4.3 percent of the Sunflower State.
To add insult to injury for Laffer and Moore, who constantly whine about states with steep income taxes, high-tax California and New York have added employment much faster than Kansas.
Absolutely the ONLY good thing that would come out of a Trump presidency is that the GOP as it is now constituted would be so utterly and irrefutably a failure that it would disintegrate, disappear in the wreckage of the United States and the global economies, and their related failed foreign and domestic policies, respectively, once and for all. The true believers who support Trump won’t take failure well, and could take it violently. I would argue that we need to have counterbalancing parties, but the right hasn’t been that for quite some time. It is time for the failure to destroy the right as it exists now. But not at the risk of destroying the nation, which is why Hillary Clinton will be our president elect, come Wednesday morning. But we will still have to contend with these delusional ‘true believers’.
You can’t fix stupid, you can’t easily fix willfully crazy either; people get attached to their delusions, but we will have to try. We have a lot of propaganda and uncritical thinking to undo. Or we will face greater division and polarization, greater disunity, greater incivility and possibly violence.