There’s The Economist, then there are economists

Under the misapprehension that The Economist is a journal that offers unbiased commentary on a range of issues that trouble the world, Donald Trump provided its editor in chief, national health fan, Zanny Minton Beddoes with a lengthy exclusive interview.

Though Trump makes some nonsensical statements, like seeking zero trade deficits with Canada and Mexico, he is on firmer ground when addressing Canadian protectionism on US dairy import.  For its part The Economist seeks to ridicule the President by referring to Trumponomics; doffing its hat to indicative planning, which it, the spokesman for the contemporary middle (read the “contemporary left”), sees as the established role for government, The Economist says “He appears to have given no thought to which new industries may replace those lost jobs.”

The Economist showed its true colours in attacking Trump’s appointment of Pruitt at the EPA because Pruitt rejects the global warming shibboleth, at least in the Paris Agreement garb so revered by the public policy establishment.

And it lampooned Trump opining, “he fetishises manufacturing jobs, which employ only 8.5 per cent of American workers, and coalmining, though the solar industry employs 2.5 times as many people”.  The Economist, as a barracker for solar power which takes 78 times as many people to produce an MWh of electricity as coal power, thinks it is on a winner in job creation here.  What an absolute howler!  The self-appointed spokesman for the global economics profession actually believes the way forward is to adopt technology that has lower productivity than that which it replaces!

THE AFR’s rabidly anti-Trump Washington correspondent, John Kehoe, leverages off The Economist article by saying, “Trump flunks ‘pump priming’ economics test”.  During the interview Trump shows himself to be unfamiliar with the Keynesian concept of “pump priming” as describing government stimuluses magically raising demand and creating a virtuous cycle of more output, more investment and more production.

Instead, in a statement that would have surely led Steve Kates to burst into print if he did not have a wounded finger in a splint, Trump uses “pump priming” in a supply side Saysian sense.  He sees the need to raise capacity for more and cheaper production as a prelude to increasing real income levels.  And the route to that is by lowering the tax and regulatory imposts on business.  However, the AFR’s Kehoe sniffs, “Trump probably won’t be losing too much sleep over the mocking he is copping from professional economists”.  Well that would certainly be true of the professional economists who urge increased deficit spending and winner-picking policies.

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23 Responses to There’s The Economist, then there are economists

  1. Instead, in a statement that would have surely led Steve Kates to burst into print if he did not have a wounded finger in a splint, Trump uses “pump priming” in a supply side Saysian sense. He sees the need to raise capacity for more and cheaper production as a prelude to increasing real income levels. And the route to that is by lowering the tax and regulatory imposts on business.

    Hmm. Trump’s definition of pump priming is “you have to put something in before you can get something out”. And he didn’t disagree when the interviewer called it a stimulus. He went on directly to talk about 35% tariffs. I don’t think he means what you think he means.

  2. Oh come on

    I have said for many a year that The Economist is a fount of well-written conventional wisdom from a leftist Oxbridge perspective. It occasionally declares itself to be liberal (in the true sense of the word) but pretty uniformly recommends government-led solutions to all of the world’s ills – despite the vast majority of these being government-created.

    Apparently it’s *the* magazine to be seen perusing in DC beltway haunts, and much of its readership are DC beltway types. Consequently, it’s endorsed every Democrat presidential candidate since Grover Cleveland. It is also useful for dinner party bores who like to show they have opinions about the jute surplus in Bangladesh or remedies for the looming budgetary crisis in Western Sahara.

  3. Fisky

    It’s worth reading The Economist’s endorsement of Kevin Rudd in 2013, hysterically funny!

    http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21584343-kevin-rudd-just-about-deserves-second-turn-lucky-no-more

  4. Leo G

    Trump uses “pump priming” in a supply side Saysian sense

    Not a good analogy- you prime the input side of a (non-positive displacement liquid transfer) pump.

  5. In fact, I would challenge Alan to find a reference anywhere to Saysian pump priming. It looks to me like a tautology, a lie to excuse Trump’s usage of a definitively Keynesian term.

  6. Tom

    I’m astonished that no-one on the White House staff warned POTUS45 that The Economist represents the lunatic left ruling class in public policy and that the purpose of the “interview” was to provide ammunition for the DNC. New attack strategies based on that “interview” are being formulated by the Alinskyist/Soros left as we speak.

  7. Up The Workers!

    The one thing that can be said in favour of “The Economist” is the fact that it is not “Euromoney” magazine – the comic-book which ignorantly proclaimed the comically innumerate “Goose” as the “World’s Best Treasurer”.

    (How ARE those 6 consecutive massive Budget surpluses coming along, by the way?)

    Their colossal foot-in-mouth moment ranks with the improbability of Sarah Halfwit-Bung being nominated as Global Chair of Mensa, or with Adolph Hitler’s actual Nobel Peace Prize Nomination in 1939, or Josef Stalin’s two separate Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

  8. alexnoaholdmate

    “…though the solar industry employs 2.5 times as many people…”

    Well, yes.

    And if the solar industry didn’t receive government funding precisely because no one will invest their own money in a scheme that doesn’t work – how many then would the solar industry employ?

    Not. One. Soul.

    Meanwhile, the coal industry is still going strong despite regulations intended to shut it down or at least slow its growth.

    If none of this makes sense to you, stop calling your journal The Economist.

  9. alexnoaholdmate

    It’s worth reading The Economist’s endorsement of Kevin Rudd in 2013, hysterically funny!

    Amazing.

    When even the Fairfax newspapers had bowed to the inevitable and grudgingly endorsed the Liberals in 2013 – because the incompetence of Rudd-Gillard-Rudd was considered obscene, and the public had obviously had enough – The Economist still waived the flag for Kevin.

    If the most left-wing newspapers in the mainstream media still endorsed the other guy, and you’re the holdout – maybe it’s time to drop the pretence that you’re a balanced and non-partisan journal.

    Hell, no one believes it anyway; show some respect for the punters and come clean.

  10. Merriam-Webster @MerriamWebster May 11
    ‘Pump priming’ has been used to refer to government investment expenditures since at least 1933.

    Even the dictionaries are trolling Trump these days.

  11. Tezza

    It is sad how purely incompetent The Economist has become at economics.

    Any economically literate person should by now be aware of the co-authored works of David Autor which enumerate just how a unusual period of intensification of trade (principally, with China) has caused enduring damage to many US workers (though not, of course, to the sorts of bi-coastal elite who read The Economist).

    http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2016/03/david_autor_on_1.html is a useful resource.

    To understand that evidence would lead any thoughtful person to think Trump actually perceives something important about the recent impact of trade on the US. That is not to say his policy responses are all good, but to criticise him for not specifying where the new jobs are going to come from is really 1960s socialist garbage.

  12. Leo G

    It looks to me like a tautology, a lie to excuse Trump’s usage of a definitively Keynesian term.

    I doubt that Keynes would ever have sought to claim the term. It’s a sick pump that needs continuous priming.
    Btw: a tautology is a needless repetition, not a falsehood.

  13. Bruce of Newcastle

    I used to read The Economist front to back. Then over about twenty years I found myself skipping more and more of it until the only bits I was reading were the foreign affairs section and the obituary.

    That’s when I dropped my subscription.

    If they can’t understand real world data on climate and economics how can they expect to be authoritative on other stuff?

  14. Btw: a tautology is a needless repetition, not a falsehood.

    Ah yes, I meant an oxymoron.

  15. alexnoaholdmate

    Let me help:

    “That Lefty idiot…” is a tautology.

    “That genius Monty…” is an oxymoron – probably said ironically in the first place.

    I’ll show myself out.

  16. Oh come on

    Bruce, by the time I shitcanned my Economist subscription, their international affairs analysis had become painfully contrarian to the point of blatant implausibility. For a magazine that only half-jokingly quotes Steve Jobs or some other business demigod saying “I used to think. Now I just read The Economist” when publicising itself, this is a massive deal breaker. It *is* a publication that tells its readers what to think. That’s why so many people who want to appear polymathematical read it religiously. However, if what it’s telling you to think is so frequently utterly stupid and/or egregiously wrong, then why on Earth bother with the useless rag?

  17. Harlequin Decline

    Fisky
    #2379345, posted on May 13, 2017 at 1:49 pm
    It’s worth reading The Economist’s endorsement of Kevin Rudd in 2013, hysterically funny!

    That’s the article that turned me off the Economist for ever more. It would be hard to find a more outrageous non sequitur than the conclusion.

  18. Rob MW

    The Economist says “He appears to have given no thought to which new industries may replace those lost jobs.”

    Subsidized humpable robots for horny economic/climatic refugees is the industry the economist trumped Trump on.

  19. Rob

    If only the Trumble government had introduced a $1 tax on people saying “I used to subscribe to The Economist…(words to the effect of until I suddenly realised it was a steaming pile of shit)” the deficit would actually be paid off by 2021,

  20. Mark A

    alexnoaholdmate
    #2379393, posted on May 13, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    “…though the solar industry employs 2.5 times as many people…”

    We can go better than that, put a million peeps on treadmills.

    Make that a billion.

  21. Shorten m0nty

    Pump priming:
    When you get a bag of someone elses money to give some of it to people who vote for you and keep the rest.

    Investment:
    See ‘pump priming’

  22. Sorry ‘Shorter’

    Autospell is having a fun day.

  23. Yes, the Economist is like that, I used to read the New Scientist in the early ’90s but it too quickly degenerated into the ‘Nude Socialist’ as Luboš Motl calls it.

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