That is a very wise decision. His advisors should tell him to stick to it.

He has absolutely nothing to gain from debating, and a lot to lose. He must stay in control of the circumstances, and any debate format involves a loss of control and a necessity to share the mic.

His hard-core supporters tend to watch Fox News, which always presents the president in the best light. It doesn’t matter what kind of scandals are exposed on the other networks, because his base doesn’t watch them. But if the debate is on CNN, his followers will be watching, and that gives CNN a chance to tell them the truth. Moderators will be asking and following up on tough questions, and analysts will be correcting his false statements with facts.

No matter what other decision he makes, he definitely should not agree to a debate format with a live audience. His schtick doesn’t work without his hand-picked, low-information audiences. The statements that work at his rallies might well be laughed at by a randomly-selected audience, much as they were at the U.N. And I don’t think he understands how to modify his routine to fit the circumstances. He seemed genuinely surprised when they laughed at him in the general assembly.

It has reached an all-time record high, and it’s growing rapidly in each of Trump’s years in office, even though it had completely stabilized in the previous six years.

The trade deficit in goods held steady in the 2011-2016 period, rarely varying much from about $730 billion. In fact it actually declined insignificantly in that period, from $736 billion in 2011 to $730 billion in 2016. But it has shot up in the Trump era, increasing by about 8% in 2017, then more than 10% in 2018.

That’s true, but it doesn’t mean we’re miserable failures.

Despite what our Chief Executive thinks, the trade deficit is not an economic scorecard which is directly correlated to success or failure. As our contributor Adam keeps reminding us, economics is a complicated field. The trade deficit is a complex equation involving currency strength, relative prosperity, economic growth rates, and a bunch of other factors that are way too abstruse for me, but I’m sure Adam will edify us about any place where I have left gaps.

Continue reading “America’s Trade Deficit in Goods Hits Record $891 Billion”