Stan Collender is puzzled by something.
This story from today’s The Washington Post about President Trump’s complete lack of understanding about the federal budget is both fascinating and very scary.
It shows that, two years in to his presidency, Trump still doesn’t understand enough about the federal budget to make informed choices about what it will take to reduce the deficit as he said before the election he wants to do.
It also demonstrates a complete failure by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and the rest of the Trump administration’s economic team. How is it possible that they have had so little influence with and impact on the president that, almost two years after he took the oath of office, he is so clueless?
But Jonathan Swift would not have been puzzled at all because as he wrote back in 1721, “Reasoning will never make a Man correct an ill Opinion, which by Reasoning he never acquired”, a sentiment that has been echoed and refined many times over the years and which is more popularly stated now in the form “You cannot reason a man out of what he never reasoned himself into”. That aphorism seems particularly suited to Trump, who today said that he does not believe his own government’s latest climate report.
Today General Motors announced that they are halting production at eight plants, four of them in the US (one in Ohio) and cutting its salaried workforce by 15%. On the same day, GM said that the Trump tariffs were costing them about $1 billion. Trump promised last year in Ohio that all these jobs in industry would come back, and his fans roared their approval. Trump will never acknowledge that he was wrong because in his mind that would be a sign of failure and he does not do failures. Trump simply decides to ignore everything that does not agree with what he already believes. And his fans love him for this trait. Trump has now threatened GM that they have to open a new plant in Ohio but he did not say what he would do if they didn’t. Let’s see how this drama plays out.
The real question is whether his delusional way of thinking poses a danger to the country and the world.