Paul Krugman: ‘Lincoln Had Rivals, Trump Has Morons’


Kevin Hassett, chair of Donald Trump’s Economic Advisory Council recently said that the furloughed workers were actually “’better off’ because they’re getting time off without having to use any of their vacation days.” This is when the TSA workers have started going to food banks and getting evicted. It comes as no revelation that here we have yet one more government official who, like his *resident, has no remote clue how the other half lives. Paul Krugman holds forth on what he thinks of Hassett, and of Team Trump overall. New York Times:

… no man is an island, although Trump comes closer than most. You can’t fully make sense of his policy pratfalls without acknowledging the extraordinary quality of the people with whom he has surrounded himself. And by “extraordinary,” of course, I mean extraordinarily low quality. Lincoln had a team of rivals; Trump has a team of morons.

Krugman goes on to  posit the theory that the problem with Trump’s team of morons is that they “can’t even serve up…fake populism.”  Why is that? The answer lies in two areas, one with modern conservatism and one with Trump himself.

On the generic point: To be a modern conservative is to spend your life inside what amounts to a cult, barely exposed to outside ideas or even ways of speaking. Inside that cult, contempt for ordinary working Americans is widespread — remember Eric Cantor, the then-House majority leader, celebrating Labor Day by praising business owners. So is worship of wealth. And it can be hard for cult members to remember that you don’t talk that way to outsiders.

Then there’s the Trump effect. Normally working for the president of the United States is a career booster, something that looks good on your résumé. Trump’s presidency, however, is so chaotic, corrupt and potentially compromised by his foreign entanglements that anyone associated with him gets tainted — which is why after only two years he has already left a trail of broken men and wrecked reputations in his wake.

Understandably, it comes as no surprise that the Trump administration jobs are harder and harder to fill and the candidates more and more unqualified. Krugman concludes that nobody wants to work for Trump unless they’re pretty bad at what they do to begin with and/or they have no reputation to lose. And here’s a sobering thought: Krugman assures us that Trump hasn’t hit rock bottom yet. He’s probably right  No matter how many times you think Trump has hit bottom, a trap door opens and stairs lead down to a new sub-level. The new year is two weeks old and already at least a couple of historic stories have emerged, the longest government shutdown in history and the social travesty with the Clemson Tigers being served junk food. Topping, or rather bottoming those events, will take some effort. But Krugman’s most probably right, Trump will take us further down, down, down, down the dark ladder.

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