Already, with a title like that, I have people angry. Of course the truth matters but why do you think YOU know the truth and we don’t?
Or so I imagine the very large, very red-faced man to my right at the Acropolis would have responded, had we talked.
I hadn’t noticed him at first.
He was taking a photo of his family.
I was taking a photo of two Korean women and a man who had handed me their iPhone.
As I do with almost all foreigners, I apologized for Trump. “I’m sorry!” I wailed (and of course it’s true: I am). They laughed and I got a good picture. But the very large, very red-faced man to my right said — off into the distance, not at me or anyone in particular, but wanting to be heard — “He’s amazing, actually.”
The Koreans and I, and my friends, turned to look who had said it.
“Hurray for America!” I said loudly to all, with a smile, as in — Well, see? We Americans can disagree, yet all love our country.
That was all there was to it . . . but it was “a moment.”
As my friends and I walked back downhill (having learned a lot about the Acropolis), we imagined that if we had engaged the very large, very red-faced man and his family in conversation, it would have been lively.
Does it not bother him that the President constantly lies? Does he believe lying is okay? Does he want his kids to think so? Does it not bother him the President treats women as he does? Is a bully? A braggart? Stiffs his creditors? Condones torture?
I imagine he would dismiss all that as fake news.
Yet aren’t some things indisputably true? Even if people have disputed them?
The earth is round, not flat. Smoking causes cancer. There ARE no witches. Dumping millions of tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere affects the climate. Far fewer people came to the Mall to attend his Inauguration than the previous two.
These things are just true.
Also true (you can see it on tape): he said he would “absolutely” release his tax returns if he ran for president.
“I will never lie to you,” he said. You can see that on tape as well.
But of course he lies nonstop. Most of us know that, no? Why do his supporters not care?
Watch Seth Myers on Giuliani and Trump. Wow.
And now check out: How Trump’s false claim about African American support happened — a case study in how easily things go south, how easily tens of millions are misled.
But mainly, I wanted to finish the week hailing the low unemployment rate — it’s wonderful to see the improvement — but putting it in context.
The rate is now the lowest it’s been since 2000, when Bill Clinton, a Democrat, handed George W. Bush an economy that had added 23 million new private-sector jobs and a budget deficit that had been turned into a surplus.
After eight years, Bush, a Republican, handed Obama a plunging economy and an exploding deficit.
Obama, a Democrat, averted global depression and – despite unprecedented Republican obstruction – handed Trump an economy that had taken the unemployment rate down from 10% to 4.8% with 75 consecutive months of private sector job growth and deficits low enough that the National Debt was finally once again SHRINKING relative to GDP.
Trump and his Republican Congress took that and – not least by borrowing heavily to give the wealthy a tax cut – kept those 75 consecutive monthly unemployment gains going. At a slightly lower rate than in Obama’s last year.
Those are the facts.
The headline could be: “Trump maintains Obama job pace with the aid of massive new deficit spending.”
Trump spins it as an enormous accomplishment.
The economy was HORRIBLE until he took office, with the true unemployment rate, he told us, more like 24% or even, he’d heard, “as high as 42%.”
And we will absolutely see his tax returns if he runs for president, and all 22 women are lying, and he didn’t make fun of the disabled on national TV, and the very large, very red-face man at the Acropolis — who I expect is in many ways, like most Trump supporters, a fine fellow — thinks all this is an amazing improvement over the swamp we had in Washington, and the carnage we had in our streets, before Donald Trump (and Ryan Zinke) rode into town.
At least now, thanks to Trump, everybody has “great health care at a tiny fraction of the cost.”
Have a great weekend.
Quote of the Day
It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.~Bill Clinton
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