End the duopoly

Trump’s misleading spin on the economy won’t end before Election Day

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Christine Romans is chief business correspondent for CNN. The opinions expressed in this commentary are her own. With three months to go until Election Day, the president is sticking to his playbook when it comes to the economy. He’s still taking credit for the positive, ignoring the negative and making stuff up to cater to his base.

The strategy was on full display just this week.

Take China and trade. His upside-down interpretation of who pays for tariffs is a falsehood he repeated again on Monday at his coronavirus press briefing.

“We’ve taken in tens of billions of dollars from China,” he said, pointing to the Treasury secretary. He claimed that before his trade war, the United States only lost money to China. “And $28 billion we gave to our farmers because they were targeted by China.” In his telling, the United States slapped tariffs on Chinese goods, the Chinese government has been paying those tariffs and President Trump has been redirecting the money to American farmers.

But here’s the truth: American companies pay for Trump’s tariffs. And the money to bail out the distressed farm belt came from taxpayers, not from a magic bank account of money sent from China.

Still, this claim […]

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