I learned that this photo is circulating, meme-like, on Facebook. Apparently it’s a big hit with people who are enchanted by Donald Trump.
What to say? Perry Potts Eidelbus, a Facebook friend, describes it as “a distillation of economic ignorance into pure form.” Indeed. It’s much like Trump himself: the very image of economic ignorance.
Trump is doing now from the political right what Paul Krugman has done so successfully over the past decade and a half from the political left, which is the following: boisterously assuring people that their untutored instincts about the economy are indeed accurate – telling people that what they immediately see in economic affairs and policies is all that there is to see in economic affairs and policies (that is, that there is no ‘unseen’ whose reality can be perceived and understood only by looking beyond that which is immediately obvious). According to this bastardized, pandering version of economics, actual consumable goods (such as are pictured here) are reckoned to be costs, while toil is reckoned to be a benefit. The economic problem is not rooted in scarcity, it is rooted in abundance. Social benefactors, therefore, are those who promise to deny to us the fruits of the economy’s abundance (along with, by the way, our economic freedoms) as they bestow upon us ever-greater scarcity that will bless us with the need for more toil.
The photo shown here is, in short, itself an intellectual cargo ship loaded down with countless tons of economic ignorance.