I have been following this election cycle more so than at any other point in my adult life, yet I have been very remiss on writing any sort of commentary on it for fear of, well, pretty much anything – losing friendships, sleep, being labeled one of the various “-ists”. The contentious nature of this election is, everyone will agree, extreme.
In fact, it is interesting to note the general reaction to both candidates. For Hillary Clinton, there is a long list of questionable activities that stem from various motivation points – from corruption to other negative personal qualities that do not fall short of psychological examination. And there is so much evidence for all of those claims. Criticism of Hillary Clinton does not start nor end with ad hominem attacks, but has much substance. The accusations by her political opponent of benefitting from a favorable media (to be polite) are not inaccurate.
Yet, for Donald Trump, the criticism comes from all over the map; most of which seems to lack a substantive attack but extends mostly from the ad hominem. For whatever reason, he is a lightning rod for the illogical and the emotive. There is no greater illustration of this than from noted economist, Dr. Thomas Sowell.
Sowell is noted for being sharply critical of current president Barack Obama. In fact, he instructed the electorate – or anyone who would listen with any sense of reason – to not re-elect him. Sowell cited Obama’s terrible economic policies as well as his arrogant stance on the importance his presence has on the economy. In contrast, Sowell provided several examples of past presidents who helped the economy thrive by basically getting out of the way and letting things settle on their own. The old maxim comes to mind. How does muddy become clear again? By not meddling our hands in it and letting it settle on its own. You can see Sowell’s interview full interview here.
Dr. Sowell outlines several basic principles, notably that presidents should execute the laws rather than reshape them they see fit. They also should get out of the way and let the economic engine do its thing. He also notes the theory of the benefits tax cuts for the rich have on the economy and government spending. That is a bit misleading; he actually asserts that a flat tax cut across the board is beneficial and he cites historical precedent to support his theory. In fact, it is no longer theory but has historical precedent – we have empirical data to suggest how this works.
Two things stand out: the president should cut taxes for everyone and get out of the way. The economy will right itself and, in addition, revenue will pour into Washington which could help us pay down this albatross of debt – thanks again to Mr. Obama.
So what does this have to do with Trump? Well, the Republican candidate is noted for saying he will cut taxes across the board and also put a tax cut incentive in place for businesses in order to encourage them to bring there money back to the US. Read more about his tax plan here. Basically, it sounds an awful lot like Dr. Sowell’s ideas shared in the interview mentioned above (Mitt Romney also held similar views to Sowell’s, but was not able to wrestle away the presidency from Obama, something Trump has been strongly critical of Romney for).
You would think then that Dr. Sowell would have found his candidate in Donald Trump, right? Well, not exactly. Sowell has been critical of Trump – but not so much for any substantive or reason of policy, but for his personality and antics. Stefan Molyneux, in his usual verbose way, dissects Sowell’s criticism of Trump and reveals what is left – not a whole lot outside of an attack on style and not on substance. See for yourself here.
As Molyneux pointed out, the emotions of this election do “trump” the facts. This is all the more evident even within what one would think would be coming from the same tribe. Sowell’s criticism of Trump are loosely tethered to him, and based on unsubstantiated claims about his potential as an economic steward of the national economy. Yet, if Trump were to follow Sowell’s advice, he would cut taxes and get out of the way – thereby confirming what Sowell theorized and backed up with historical facts. Trump has said he will go out and “make great deals” for the US economy, and it noted for wanting to revisit the Iranian nuclear deal which, Sowell, has also been very critical of.
As with Trump, it is all about vitriol. Logic has no claim when it comes to criticizing him – even though there is plenty of policy that could be examined more closely. What the genesis is for all of this can only be pointed back to the candidate himself and his particular style. As for the substance of his remarks, it seems the criticism of Trump falls well short or just gets so heated with emotion that the logical portions of the brain just flat out shut down.