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Presidential Issues: Finance & Banking

Finance & Banking

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The U.S. Doesn’t Need a CEO in Chief

May 11, 2016

By Megan McArdle

Critiquing Donald Trump’s policy pronouncements for being implausible feels a bit like belittling bathroom graffiti for its weak use of metaphor and inappropriate deployment of the conditional rather than the subjunctive. Sure, you may be technically correct, but you’ve failed to grapple with the essentials of the form. And neither the author nor his audience is likely to take your criticisms to heart.

But what can we pundits do? The man is now the presumptive presidential nominee of the Republican Party. For the next six months, he will be saying things. Much of what he says will be unbearably silly, if not horrifying. These periodic eruptions must be either dealt with or ignored, and neither option seems very appealing.

In the end, however, it’s hard to ignore the man who is probably going to be the nominee, so let’s address ourselves to Donald Trump’s recently floated suggestion that the U.S. should borrow freely because you can always make creditors take a haircut if the economy crashes. I am not going to elaborate all the ways in which this idea is crazy, because so many others have already thrashed this plan like a rented mule. I’ll dwell instead on the claim he makes and his supporters embrace: the idea that Trump will be a good president because he’s a good businessman.