When dumb, dumber and dumbest battle, it’s difficult to know which is which. For example:

Fox News Host Neil Cavuto Tells Viewers Trump Is Wrong: ‘China Isn’t Paying These Tariffs. You Are.’

President Trump said, “Remember this, our country is taking in billions and billions of dollars from China. Out of that many billions of dollars, we’re taking a part of it and giving it to the farmers because they’ve been targeted by China. The farmers, they come out totally whole.” 

Neil Cavuto pointed out that, once again, Trump was not telling the truth when it came to who pays for tariffs.

“I don’t know where to begin here,” the Fox News host said. “Just to be clarifying, China isn’t paying these tariffs. You are. You know, indirectly and sometimes directly.”

“It’s passed along to you through American distributors and their counterparts in the United States that buy this stuff from the Chinese and have to pay the surcharges. Not the Chinese government.”

Cavuto said that this latest round of tariffs “will be felt by consumers directly.”

As usual, Trump is lying, stupid, or both. And Cavuto is correct. Tariffs on foreign goods are paid by the purchasers of those goods.

As ignorant as Trump is, it simply is not possible that he doesn’t understand this. The man is surrounded by advisors, and surely there is someone in the White House who has told him that basic fact.

Then again, considering the bigots, liars, incompetents, crooks, and sycophants (BLICS) with whom Trump has surrounded himself, we can’t be sure of anything that goes on in Crazyland.

Trump wins round 1 of the dumb, dumber, dumbest contest by default. Cavuto didn’t even compete.

Now we come to round 2:

Lou Dobbs Lashes Out at Fox Business Host Who Confronts Him About Trump’s Exploding DebtBy Justin Baragona

Cavuto groused that both political parties had abandoned “any hint of fiscal restraint.” Cavuto bashed the Trump administration for having “not done a good job containing” federal spending rates.

“Well, somebody has done a good job and that is President Trump,” Lou Dobbs, a rabidly pro-Trump primetime host, shot back. “And it is this economy.”

Cavuto then directly confronted Dobbs, asking him if he truly believes Trump has done a good job “reining in spending,” prompting Dobbs to dismissively tell his colleague that he has to “work this thing out with the president.”

“Fact, fact, do you think this president has done anything to contain the deficits and the debt that had spiraled, still, from what levels he had from Barack Obama?” Cavuto fired back.

“Uh-huh. I do, indeed,” Dobbs said in response, prompting Cavuto to demand specifics. Dobbs ended up lashing out at Cavuto instead.

Cavuto: “I asked you a question about the debt! Do you worry about that or not? ”

Later on in the segment, following the Dobbs-Cavuto clash, pro-Trump colleague Maria Bartiromo insisted that Trump would absolutely “take a knife to spending” if he gets a second term in office. “Mark my words.”

Now we have a three-way dumb, dumber, dumbest contest.

First, Cavuto talks about “financial restraint” and Trump “not having done a good job containing” federal spending rates. This is dumb.

Federal deficit spending adds dollars to the economy, which are necessary for economic growth. Reductions in deficit growth lead to recessions, and increases in deficit growth cure recessions.

When federal deficit growth (red line) declines, we have recessions (vertical gray bars), which are cured by increased deficit growth.

Further, reductions in debt lead to depressionsEvery depression in U.S. history has been caused by debt reductions:

1804-1812: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 48%. Depression began 1807.
1817-1821: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 29%. Depression began 1819.
1823-1836: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 99%. Depression began 1837.
1852-1857: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 59%. Depression began 1857.
1867-1873: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 27%. Depression began 1873.
1880-1893: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 57%. Depression began 1893.
1920-1930: U. S. Federal Debt reduced 36%. Depression began 1929.

The reason is obvious: To reduce the federal debt requires increasing federal taxes and/or reducing federal spending, both of which take dollars out of the private sector (aka “the economy.”)

It is functionally and mathematically impossible to grow an economy (or even to keep it level) by taking dollars out of the private sector.

Dobbs responded to Cavuto’s question by claiming that Trump has done something to contain the deficits and the debt.

This is dumber.

“Containing” deficits and debt always lead to recessions if we are lucky, and depressions if we are not.

Finally, Maria Bartiromo chimed in by saying, “Trump would absolutely take a knife to spending” if he gets a second term in office.

This is dumb for two reasons:

  1. Trump has no reason to cut spending. The Republicans don’t want cuts. The Democrats don’t want cuts. The voting public really doesn’t want cuts (in the programs they like). And Trump loves spending, especially spending money that isn’t his.
  2. If Trump cut spending, the economy would tank, and Trump would see that happening, and he would panic.

So I judge the contest this way:

Neil Cavuto: Dumb
Maria Bartiromo: Dumber
Lou Dobbs: Dumbest

Dobbs wins not only because Cavuto was correct about tariffs, but because of Dobbs’s blind loyalty to a fool, and because Dobbs could not bring himself to answer Cavuto’s simple question.

Bartiromo didn’t say enough to win, but what little she said, earned her 2nd prize.

Of course, in any such contest, Trump always will win hands down. He’s a professional fool among amateurs.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Monetary Sovereignty
Twitter: @rodgermitchell
Search #monetarysovereigntyFacebook: Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

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The most important problems in economics involve the excessive income/wealth/power Gaps between the richer and the poorer.

Wide Gaps negatively affect poverty, health and longevity, education, housing, law and crime, war, leadership, ownership, bigotry, supply and demand, taxation, GDP, international relations, scientific advancement, the environment, human motivation and well-being, and virtually every other issue in economics.

Implementation of The Ten Steps To Prosperity can narrow the Gaps:

Ten Steps To Prosperity:

1. Eliminate FICA

2. Federally funded Medicare — parts a, b & d, plus long-term care — for everyone

3. Provide a monthly economic bonus to every man, woman and child in America (similar to social security for all)

4. Free education (including post-grad) for everyone

5. Salary for attending school

6. Eliminate federal taxes on business

7. Increase the standard income tax deduction, annually. 

8. Tax the very rich (the “.1%”) more, with higher progressive tax rates on all forms of income.

9. Federal ownership of all banks

10. Increase federal spending on the myriad initiatives that benefit America’s 99.9% 

The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.

MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY