Tag Archives: economics

Trump must have been sleeping in trade-policy class

Didn’t the president of the United States, Donald John “Smart Person” Trump learn a thing while getting his economics degree from the University of Pennsylvania?

Someone surely must have taught those econ students about the consequences of trade wars, of how badly many of those conflicts can go. If so, then what was Donald Trump doing when his prof offered that counsel? Was he asleep? Was he skipping class that day, spending his time chasing women and grabbing them in their private parts?

Trump reportedly got so out of sorts that he announced a decision to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum. Then he said that winning a trade would be “so easy.”

So easy? Is he out of what passes for his mind?

Trump has declared economic war on our closest allies. They are, oh let’s see, Canada, Mexico, Germany and Great Britain. Yet he seeks to punish China because, according to the president, they have stolen jobs from U.S. steelmakers.

He now is making mainstream Republican officeholders — those who adhere to the party’s policy of free trade and its opposition to protectionism — queasy in the extreme.

Trump’s decision has sent the stock market into a frenzy of unpredictability.

He thinks he knows what he is doing. Analysts who actually do know something about international economics and its impact on geopolitics have a different view.

They say the president doesn’t know a damn thing. He is acting out of pique. He doesn’t listen to the advice of economic advisers he has gathered around him — folks like the Treasury secretary and the head of his Government Economics Council — who oppose this tariff nonsense.

Hey, he told us in the summer of 2016 that “I, alone” can repair what he thinks ails the country. No, Mr. President. You, alone are making a shambles of our economic alliances.

Declining oil prices bad for economy?

Economics isn’t my specialty. Indeed, I don’t have any specialties.

I’m trying to understand why some economists now think the declining price of oil and the concurrent drop in gasoline prices is somehow bad for the recovering U.S. economy.


Does anyone else remember when crude prices were skyrocketing from, say, $40 per barrel to more than $100? The stock market went bonkers. Investment accounts were drained of billions of dollars.

However, the oil industry made a gigantic comeback. NPR this morning did a story from West Texas detailing how pump jacks that once stood like dinosaurs have jumped back to life and are pulling out of the ground.

A lot of other factors have contributed to the nation’s economic rebound.

Moreover, a lot of factors are contributing to the glut of oil that’s driving its price downward.

Now we hear that the economic recovery might be jeopardized by the plunge in oil prices.

The oil boom might fizzle out at the production end, but what about the increase in disposable income for motorists who aren’t pouring as much money into their fuel tanks?

Will they be able to spend more of that income on other essential — and non-essential — items?

Economics can be a complicated issue. This oil price up-down cycle has me confused.