.. the contraction probably will begin with the annual budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion.
.. The president’s Office of Management and Budget — not that there really is a meaningful budget getting actual management — projects that the deficit for fiscal 2019, which begins in six weeks, will be $1.085 trillion. This is while the economy is, according to the economic historian in the Oval Office, “as good as it’s ever been, ever.”
.. The fastest — 13.4 percent — was 1950’s fourth quarter, perhaps produced largely by bad news: The Cold War was on, the Korean War had begun in June, and fear of the atomic bomb was rising (New York City installed its first air-raid siren in October), as was (consequently) a home-building boom outside cities and “scare buying” of products that might become scarce during World War III.
.. Today, Shiller says, “it seems likely that people in many countries may be accelerating their purchases — of soybeans, steel and many other commodities — fearing future government intervention in the form of a trade war.” And fearing the probable: higher interest rates.
.. among those economies, ours is performing especially well. What, however, if this is significantly an effect of exploding debt? Publicly held U.S. government debt has tripled in a decade.
.. the political class is more united by class interest than it is divided by ideology. From left to right, this class has a permanent incentive to run enormous deficits — to charge, through taxation, current voters significantly less than the cost of the government goods and services they consume, and saddle future voters with the cost of servicing the resulting debt after the current crop of politicians has left the scene.
.. This crop derives its political philosophy from the musical “Annie”: Tomorrow is always a day away. For normal people, however, the day after tomorrow always arrives.
It was clear from the start that the policy was cruel, heartless, and unnecessary. Although there has been a spike in the number of asylum seekers in recent months, the over-all number of undocumented immigrants coming into the United States from Mexico and other Latin American countries is significantly lower than it was a decade ago. There is no “crisis” at the southern border, except the humanitarian one of Trump’s own making. Trump’s picture of the United States being swamped—or, in his words, “infested”—by Latino migrants is a fantasy that he concocted to whip up the racial fears and antipathies of his core supporters.
.. Clearly, Trump didn’t make this U-turn because he had grown tired of fear-mongering and racial incitement, or because he had experienced a crisis of conscience.
.. He reversed course because he had no choice politically. Although he often adopts the rhetoric and body language of an authoritarian strongman, he’s an elected politician. And in the face of mass outrage, bipartisan opposition, and condemnation from church groups and other civil-society institutions, the child-separation policy was no longer sustainable.
.. If Trump gets his way, families stopped at the border will now be detained indefinitely under the custody of ice.
.. the Department of Health & Human Services .. won’t make any special efforts to reunite the families that have already been split up, and that the separated children will be dealt with under the same processes that have been in effect since May.
.. At most, this was a very partial U-turn.
.. Trump only went this far because he was facing a public-relations disaster and a rebellion from Republicans fearful of losing control of Congress in the midterms.
.. Mitch McConnell, until now Trump’s faithful enabler on Capitol Hill, stated publicly that he and his fellow Republican Senators were in agreement that the child-separation policy “needs to be fixed.” On Wednesday morning, Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, said that on Thursday the lower chamber would “vote on legislation to keep families together.”
.. In the past year and a half, congressional Republicans have demonstrated that there is little they won’t do to abase themselves before Trump, if it means getting the policy results they desire. But even usually gutless pro-Trump Republicans weren’t willing to enter a campaign season defending a policy of tearing infants from their parents and keeping them detained in tents and metal cages.
.. white, non-college-educated white women, a key voting group for the G.O.P., were opposed to the policy by the whopping margin of fifty-six per cent to thirty per cent.
.. we still have to maintain toughness, or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don’t stand for, that we don’t want.”.. indicated that he intends to stick with his campaign theme of targeting undocumented immigrants, and depicting them as base creatures who could “infest” the United States.