By now we know that the U.S. president isn’t concerned with cumbersome things like facts, truth and logic. He believes whatever is utilitarian for him to believe in the moment. While that tendency has gotten more pronounced since he was elected, it has been true of Donald Trump for a long time.
Recently, we learned that the EPA is going to allow asbestos to once again be used in the manufacturing industry. Perhaps you are like me and know people who died because of their exposure to asbestos. That makes this a rather terrifying decision. We don’t know all of what is feeding into this move, but it is very likely that the president’s bizarre beliefs about asbestos played a role. Here’s an excerpt from The Art of the Deal:
I believe that the movement against asbestos was led by the mob, because it was often mob-related companies that would do the asbestos removal. Great pressure was put on politicians, and as usual, the politicians relented. Millions of truckloads of this incredible fire-proofing material were taken to special ‘dump sites’ and asbestos was replaced by materials that were supposedly safe but couldn’t hold a candle to asbestos in limiting the ravages of fire.
Ramping up the bizarre, in 2012, Trump tweeted that if we hadn’t removed the asbestos from the World Trade Center, it wouldn’t have burned down. So, lives could be threatened because this guy believes some made-up conspiracy theory about asbestos and the mob.
Trump has long believed that exercise is dangerous and sleep puts you at a disadvantage, so it should come as no surprise that he has come up with the crazy idea that tariffs will bring down the national debt.
Jim Tankersley explains why that one is absurd.
For this fiscal year, the Congressional Budget Office projects the federal budget deficit will be $800 billion. Mr. Trump’s own Office of Management and Budget projects the deficit will top $1 trillion in 2019.
That means that to pay down any of the debt — let alone “large amounts” — tariffs will need to bring in at least $800 billion this year.
As it happens, the Treasury Department tracks how much revenue the United States collects from tariffs. By its calculations, that amount is going to clock in at about $40 billion as of 2018. That amount includes $35 billion that the Treasury has already taken in from tariffs over the past two years. So the additional amount coming in this year, as a result of Mr. Trump’s tariffs, is about $5 billion, or 1/160th of what Mr. Trump needs to begin retiring debt.
It is based on that kind of ignorance that this president is initiating trade wars that are weakening our economy.
In light of the fact that the Mueller investigation is closing in on Trump, while more of his close associates are brought up on criminal charges, it is understandable that we can lose sight of the fact that on almost every issue, this president is either lying or doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. A lot of us have known that for a while now, but we should never lose sight of just how shockingly ignorant this man is, because what he does as president out of ignorance is often very dangerous.