When The Ridiculous Is Ominous
April 09, 2017, 4:53pm

By Paul Krugman – The New York Times.

I’m still mulling over the Carrier deal, which I suspect will be a template for the Trump years in general — again and again, we’ll see actions that are ridiculous in themselves, but add up to a very scary picture.

Start with the ridiculous nature of the whole thing: we’re talking, it now turns out, about 800 jobs in a nation with 145 million workers. Around 75,000 workers lose their jobs every working day. How does something that isn’t even rounding error in the overall jobs picture come to dominate a couple of news cycles?

Yet it did — with overwhelmingly positive coverage, at least on TV news. And that’s ominous in itself. It says that large parts of the news media, whose credulous Trump coverage and sniping at HRC helped bring us to where we are, will be even worse, even more poodle-like, now that this guy is in office.

Meanwhile, as Larry Summers says, the precedent — although tiny — is not good: it’s not just crony capitalism, it’s government as protection racket, where companies shape their strategies to appease politicians who will reward or punish based on how it affects their PR efforts and/or personal fortunes. That is, we’re looking at what may well be the beginning of a descent into banana republic governance.

This is, as Larry says, bad both for the economic and for freedom. And there’s every reason to expect many stories like this in the days ahead.