Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Equal time for the Donald

There are too many Presidential candidates for me to pick on every policy proposal that is grounded on less than sound economic logic.  Because college loan debt is so poorly understood, I jumped on the Clinton proposal yesterday.  But I do not want anyone to think that the Democratic frontrunner has a monopoly on economic nonsense.  So let me quickly flag two items from the Republican frontrunner that came to my attention yesterday.

My gut tells me that Trump is the frontrunner because he has played the age-old "blame all of society's troubles on [fill in the blank: immigrants, religious minorities, ethnic minorities]" ploy very successfully.  In an era when the whole world is becoming more tightly connected because of declining costs of communication and transportation, Trump wants to turn the clock back 100 years.

Case 1: immigration.  Trump's position paper argues we should build a wall on the Mexican border, invest significantly more in border patrols and employment verification, and force employers to hire all the unemployed before any more green cards get issued.   The facts: more Mexicans are now leaving the US than entering.  Although most illegal immigrants come from Mexico, as many as 50 percent of all illegals from all sources get here by overstaying their visa.  Perhaps Trump will have the immigration office put chips on each visitor to the US, so we can trace them and escort them out if they stay too long?

Case 2: monetary policy.  Trump is a big fan of currency devaluation to enhance economic competitiveness.  As this WSJ column shows, there is a long history of countries trying this approach and it is a history of failure.  If currency devaluation were the road to riches, Argentines and Mexicans would be on top of the world.

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