Magical economic “thinking” at the GOP convention
John Cassidy of the New Yorker writes:
After the drama of the first night of the Republican National Convention, when the Donald Trump campaign threw Benghazi, grieving mothers, and angry cops at Hillary Clinton under the rubric “Make America Safe Again,” the theme of Day 2 was “Make America Work Again.” Or that was supposed to be the idea.
Anyone expecting the presentation of an economic plan, or even a vague resemblance of one, to feature in the proceedings was to be disappointed. In place of prominent economists explaining how Trump’s election would kick-start the American economy, we were presented with Chris Christie, who did a fine impersonation of a representative of the Spanish Inquisition but didn’t say much about job creation and raising wages.
Instead of the C.E.O.s of Fortune 500 companies waxing lyrical about Trump’s threat to start trade wars with China and Mexico, we got Andy Wist, the founder of a small New York company that waterproofs buildings. After joking about journalists’ vain efforts to discover who he was after his name appeared on the speakers’ list, Wist said, in a Brooklyn accent as broad as the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, “We restore building exteriors.” Turning to other issues, he went on, “It’s a mess. Who’s gonna fix it? Hillary Clinton? After thirty years in public life, her only accomplishment is beating the rap every time she breaks the law.” On the other hand, “Donald Trump is a builder,” Wist assured the crowd. “The only way to keep the American dream alive is by electing Donald Trump president.”
Wist wasn’t the only business figure to endorse Trump and laud his ability to expand economic activity. Dana White, the burly president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which features ripped men and women punching, kicking, and grappling in an octagonal ring, told of how Trump helped him get his start, back in 2001. “It was basically considered a blood sport,” White said. “Nobody took us seriously. Nobody except Donald Trump. Donald was the first guy that recognized the potential.” White recalled how Trump had hosted U.F.C.’s first two events at one of his hotels, cutting a deal “that worked for everyone,” then showing up and sitting in the first row.
Natalie Gulbis, a professional golfer, spoke highly of Trump’s motivational skills, and Kerry Woolard, who runs the Trump Winery, which grows grapes on two hundred acres on the former Kluge estate, in Virginia, recalled how Trump bought the business out of bankruptcy and rebuilt it. “He isn’t a wide-eyed dreamer,” she said. “He’s someone who sees things that others don’t.”
That was good to hear. But it was left to Paul Ryan and Trump’s son Donald, Jr., to explain how Trump’s distinctive economic philosophy would be applied to the world beyond construction, kickboxing, and winemaking. In the event, however, they did nothing of the kind. . .