Donald Trump

Lies Politicians Tell

Trump's supporters are convinced he'll shake up the system, but they ignore evidence that Trump is one more manipulative member of the rich political class.


I don't want Hillary Clinton to be president. She's a liar.

But I can't vote for Donald Trump. He lies almost as often.

Trump denies he ever said things, claiming he never used terms like "fat pig" to describe women, that he never was open to using nuclear weapons against ISIS, that he never mocked Jon Stewart for changing his name. Smears big and small—Trump just denies he said them.

He's also a bully. He intimidates weaker people by suing them. In business deals, he refuses to pay some of what he owes and then tells creditors: Go ahead and sue me! Creditors often take partial payment because they can't afford to fight Trump in court.

Trump even filed a $5 million lawsuit against a Miss USA contestant who criticized his pageant. She can't afford to pay defense lawyers, so she has to shut up.

Trump's supporters are convinced he'll shake up the system, but they ignore the evidence that Trump is just one more manipulative member of the rich political class. Plenty of photos show Trump proudly golfing alongside George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and other political insiders whom he now mocks.

But all that matters less than the policies he proposes—it's the policies that will hurt us.

Trump's tariffs, sold as protecting the American little guy, actually help big businesses by protecting them from overseas competition. Then they can jack up prices, making life harder for poor American customers.

The Obama administration tried tariffs on tires from China like the 45 percent ones Trump wants to impose, and the results were higher prices—Americans had to spend about $1 billion more to buy tires. Favored (usually unionized) businesses got protection from competition, but other businesses died or never started because imported supplies were suddenly much more expensive.

Of course, we don't really know what Trump's positions are. He's for gun control, then against it. He was against the minimum wage but now wants to raise it.

Hillary Clinton flip-flops, too. She was for trade pacts, but she's now against them; against gay marriage, now for it; for the Iraq war, now against it.

Clinton lies even more than Trump. She lies about her emails, running from sniper fire, making $100,000 from a $1,000 investment in cattle futures, etc. This column doesn't have room for all her lies.

But with Clinton, too, it's not the lies that will do the most damage, it's the policies she'll push—higher taxes, involvement in more foreign wars, endless regulation that will stop innovation.

Most of the time, the danger isn't politicians' personal corruption. The real cost to our prosperity and freedom comes from what the politicians do legally.

Though President Barack Obama is a paragon of honesty compared with Trump and Clinton, he has done sleazy things, like secretly sending $400 million in cash to Iran and lying to people about details of Obamacare.

But even when he tells us the truth, Obama does plenty of damage.

His FCC has imposed new rules that will stifle internet innovation. His overtime rules will limit employer flexibility and stunt job growth. Obama's "stimulus" spending diverted trillions of dollars from better investments the marketplace would have chosen. His limits on internships hurt business and deprive young people of opportunities. His doubling of our debt will burden us forever.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton may be more corrupt than Obama, but it's not the corruption that hurts us most. It's the political culture of buying votes by spending taxpayers' money on special interests. That culture grows when government spends $4 trillion every year and makes so many rules that any almost regulator can crush a disfavored industry or help a favored one.

As the old joke goes, it's not the corruption that matters. "The real crime is what's legal." How do we improve a system like that?

Here's one solution: Shrink government—limit its power. Then there will be less reason for politicians' cronies to bribe them, for politicians to lie about it and for all of us to fear the State.

The smaller government is, the less we need to fear the bad things it will do.


NEXT: Trump Trounces Clinton in the Lie Olympics

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    1. Hillary should be in jail at this point. If I had to pick who is worse, I will take the person who has already actively abused the political power they have had over the one who hasn’t had any to abuse yet. And Hillary sure as fuck has abused it. I don’t see how Ed can really claim Trump is as corrupt as the others when he hasn’t been in office. He ripped off Trump U students with a scam. He took advantage of some rubes. Obama and Hillary ripped off every American taxpayer and used force and scams.

      To the cosmos around here, this is a defense of Trump and any disclaimer I make that I won’t vote for him will be dismissed as a lie or some such. But the pants shitting over Trump among libertarians who actively mock the notion of competent politicians is a bit odd to me. Trump can’t be trusted with the nuclear codes being one of the dumbest lines of attack I’ve personally heard.

    2. I still don’t see how anyone can honestly compare Trump’s corruption to that of Hillary or Obama. He ripped off some rubes at Trump University. That’s bad. Hillary and Obama have been using the coercive force of government to rip off taxpayers for most of their adult lives. Hillary legitimately belongs in jail. She is the most corrupt politician of my lifetime. Trump wins by default to me.

      To the cosmos here, this will be taken as some defense of Trump. Disclaimers that I won’t vote for him will be dismissed as lies. The pants shitting of Reason and cosmos everywhere over Trump deserves some degree of ridicule. If not out of some sense of integrity, because a lot of the attacks are ridiculous, then to remind people that most politicians are incompetent panderers and that most of the anti-Trump rhetoric only reinforces the notion that politicians are actual leaders of some kind. The dumbest such attack is that we can’t trust Trump with the nuclear codes. Give me a god damn break…

      1. Not disagreeing about Hillary, however:

        He ripped off some rubes at Trump University

        You think that’s the only thing he’s done? You don’t know about him resorting to government force, getting the law on his side every chance he gets?

      2. I don’t understand how anyone who has listened to trump for more than 30secs thinks he’s any better than hillary. The only reason she’s accomplished more corruption is because she got there first.

        What is astonishing to me is that stossel thinks barry is any better. The democrats literally have their own nixon now after the games he’s played with the irs and other agencies and they are now ready to elect nixon III AFTER she was caught.

  1. This article subtly changes up the typical formulaic anti-Trump article that makes you think it will be about all politicians or both sides. Usually Reason starts by mentioning Trump, makes an aside about Clinton, and then goes back to Trump. This time, it started with Hillary before going in on Trump and jumping back to Hillary in the tail end of the article. And let’s be honest here, Ed knows by now none of us actually read the articles.

    But in all seriousness, shrinking government is good, but not really a realistic option anytime in the foreseeable future. No matter how many votes Johnson gets, libertarians are going to take it good and hard come election day and thereafter. And I remain unconvinced that his message will resonate. So far, I don’t think he’s gotten his message out much at all. He’s a protest vote.

    I think we seriously need to push to have a “none of the above” option on the ballot myself. If it gets the most votes, we just leave the office vacant.

    1. I don’t see how Ed can really claim

      Ed knows by now

      Why do you keep mentioning Ed when this is a Stossel article?

      1. When this was first published, accidentally I guess, late last night it had Ed’s byline.

    2. This piece is good though, you should read it.
      Stossel’s criticisms of Trump are legitimate and in good faith, and I can tell you’re still bothered by Ed parrotting the MSM’s bad faith talking points. There’s plenty of actual reasons for libertarians to dislike Trump without making shit up, but that’s what ends up happening. It’s frustrating.

    3. Has there ever been an example in recorded history where a government ‘shrunk itself’? No, I didn’t think so.

  2. Trump “lies almost as often”? Try this from

  3. “Here’s one solution: Shrink government?limit its power. ”

    That’s not a solution unless you provide any realistic specifics as to how to achieve it. It’s like saying “Haven’t been laid in a bit? Just go out and convince girls to sleep with you.”

    That DeTocqueville prediction? It’s already come true, and there’s no reversing it short of war.

  4. And Trumputin will start WW III against Arabia.

    1. We need to deal with Canuckistan first. There’s still a few hockey teams left. They also mock us with the 55 yard line.

    2. World wars are, by definition, not against a tiny piece of the globe everybody hates anyway.

  5. Hint: If their mouths are moving, they are lying.

    1. Also, sphincters.

  6. Most of the time, the danger isn’t politicians’ personal corruption. The real cost to our prosperity and freedom comes from what the politicians do legally.

    Enabled by the voters.

    Here’s one solution: Shrink government?limit its power. Then there will be less reason for politicians’ cronies to bribe them, for politicians to lie about it and for all of us to fear the State.

    The state on grows, it never shrinks. So it’s never gonna happen without either a revolution or civil war. And most of the warring factions simply want to replace the state rather than escape it.

  7. One of the commentariat has suggested treating political promises like statements under oath — if it turns out you, um, misspoke then you get slapped with a perjury charge.

    This might have a chilling effect on the campaigns, and it might even have some negative repercussions, but it may be worth trying.

    1. This might have a chilling effect on the campaigns, and it might even have some negative repercussions, but it may be worth trying.

      It has a far more chilling effect on the judiciary, because it means that judges can basically throw politicians they don’t like in jail for pretty much any reason they like.

      The problem with campaigns isn’t that they make false promises, it’s that people foolishly believe that POTUS can jump start the economy, make people wealthy, help minorities, or fix climate change.

  8. In the ‘giant douche vs the shit sandwich’ contest consider this: DT is definitely the giant douche, i.e. a bottle of diluted acetic acid. That is one hell-of-a lot better than putting shit in your mouth.

  9. There is a big difference between Trump and Clinton: Trump got rich while paying off government, Clinton got rich by being a member of government. Replace “government” with “mafia” and the difference becomes more apparent: Trump got rich while paying off “the mafia”, while Clinton got rich by being a member of “the mafia”. That changes both their motivations and their power.

    For Clinton it is clear: she is an inside member of the organization, she has power and influence, she can make things happen, and her own wealth and power depend critically on advancement within that organization.

    Trump has no political power: Democrats and Republicans both hate him and he’s lucky if he doesn’t get impeached during his first term. Furthermore, there is at least a chance that Trump actually hates the current system in which rich people and rich businesses are expected to pay off government officials.

    I think both Clinton and Trump are lousy candidates for other reasons, but to pretend that Trump is just another “manipulative member of the rich political class” is wrong.

    Furthermore, to pretend that this election is about finding the more qualified or more honest candidate is missing the point; of course they are both lying. The question is what they will actually do. There is an argument to be made that Trump is both less capable and less interested in handing out favors to special interests or collude with other politicians.

    1. Also, Clinton routinely kills people for being inconvenient.

      1. To expand on your mafia analogy.

    2. Regardless of who is worse (which is rather silly to be debating in my opinion), f*** them both.

  10. Et tu Stossel?

  11. I don’t want Hillary Clinton to be president. She’s a liar.

    But I can’t vote for Donald Trump. He lies almost as often.


  12. Spoken like a true 1%’er, John.

  13. I don’t get why there are so many articles on a supposedly Libertarian site, comparing the TWO liars without mention of the LIBERTARIAN candidate who is not a HUGE LIAR.

  14. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.

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