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The Daily Reckoning

Getting 'tough' with China won't help the US economy

Donald Trump and other Americans see America's pile of debt and point fingers at China. But is the accusation fair?

By Guest blogger / May 16, 2011

Possible 2012 presidential hopeful, Republican Donald Trump speaks during a luncheon with the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday, May 11, 2011, in Nashua, N.H. Mr. Trump and other Americans blame China's economic success for America's weak economy, writes guest blogger Bill Bonner.

Jim Cole / AP

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Americans must be the most gullible simpletons in the world. They will believe anything. No fantasy is too absurd. No lie is too ridiculous. Much of what they now take for granted an earlier generation would have taken for preposterous, outrageous, and criminal.

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According to presidential candidate Donald Trump they are prepared to believe that China is to blame for their financial problems… No kidding. When asked what he’d do to fix the US economy, ‘The Donald’ says he’d ‘get tough with China.’

What dastardly thing are the Chinese doing? What devious, underhanded act are they committing?

Ah ha! An act of commerce! They’re delivering quality products to America at discount prices! Trump says he’ll slap a 25% tariff on Chinese-made goods.

How exactly this would be better for Americans he didn’t explain. Says our old friend Grover Norquist:

“Tariffs are not paid by the Chinese. They’re paid by Americans who buy things made by the Chinese.”

Americans are barely able to keep up with their expenses already; raising prices wouldn’t do them any favor that we can see.

But in the US, crackpot ideas are as common as democrats.

In the ’90s, Americans thought they could get rich by buying companies that weren’t earning any money. Then, they thought they could get rich by buying a house. When that went bad, they whined for bailouts and handouts. And now they think the feds are helping them by printing more money. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up!

But their delusions don’t stop there. They also believe that for the last 10 years the world’s only super-power has been at war with 372 Muslim extremists. And that somehow we’ll be safer if we let TSA agents grope our grandmothers and pat down our toddlers.

And how about this? It is obvious to the whole world that US Commander-in-Chief Obama ordered a hit squad to disappear Osama bin Laden; but in the USA, people think the SEALs were conducting a heroic military operation. And they dumped his body in the ocean because they didn’t want to offend the Muslim brotherhood.

You have to like people who would believe something like that. They’re loveable half-wits…earnest morons with the skeptical intelligence of a puppy.

Nor does it bother them that their national financial plan is a calamity. Everyone who has thought about it for more than a second realizes that the secret to gaining wealth is to make money…save it…and invest it in new and more productive business opportunities.

And yet, the government’s financial strategy for 4 decades has been to encourage consumer spending and borrowing, a program that is sure to lead to poverty.