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The Two Parties Are Awful on Almost Everything Important

Be very afraid when Chuck Schumer reaches across the aisle to shower praise on President Trump

Hey, we had a good run. ||| JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS/NewscomJOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS/NewscomToday, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average was well on its way to a 700+-point drop, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reached across the aisle in support of the very policy that was spooking investors: the Trump administration's embrace of trade wars, particularly against the backstabbing Chinese.

"I don't agree with President Trump on a whole lot, but today I want to give him a big pat on the back. He is doing the right thing when it comes to China," Schumer said on the Senate floor, in comments that could easily be cut-and-pasted into a Trump campaign speech. "We have watched China rapaciously take advantage of America—of American jobs, of American workers, and of American intellectual property. China's ruthless in how they go after us: They do it quietly, they do it with a smile. And unfortunately, the previous presidents, Democrat and Republican, just stood by as China did what it did to us. President Trump is exactly right."

The proximate cause for Schumer's enthusiasm was Trump's announcement this afternoon that the U.S. would be slapping tariffs on as many as 1,300 Chinese products, while limiting China-based companies from purchasing American technology companies. The White House claims concurrently that the duties will impact $60 billion worth of goods yet have a "minimal impact" on American consumers. (As always, check out the Twitter feed of trade lawyer and Cato Institute adjunct Scott Lincicome for the ins and outs of the new rule.)

||| ReasonReasonBut there's a broader truth behind Schumer's grin. However this November shakes out, his party—and potentially the cereal killer himself—will have considerably more power than now. And in Trump, Democrats have a willing partner for some of their worst policy ideas, from trade to spending to anti-speech sex panics.

In fact, given how much Trump is helping transform the ideologies of both the GOP grassroots and its spineless elite (today's money Trumpism from the formerly free-trading vice president: "The era of economic surrender is over"), it's long since past time to recognize a glaring truth about two-party politics in 2018: In both effective practice and, increasingly, aspirational rhetoric, there are no significant Republican or Democratic voting blocs on Capitol Hill in favor of reducing deficits, restraining government growth, tackling entitlements, protecting privacy, defending free speech, practicing transparency, challenging prohibition, conducting legislative-branch oversight, passing damn budgets, reducing war, or extending the post–World War II America-led system of reducing global tariffs in the name of both prosperity and peace.

These are among the most important issues facing the country, and the two major parties are currently awful on all of them.

This is not a nihilistic, equal-pox-on-both-houses observation. In an era of increasing polarization, it's ignorant to pretend that the parties (and as importantly, their customers) are the same. On abortion, immigration, guns, and plenty besides, there has been a great divergence, particularly in recent years.

But when we return to trillion-dollar deficits and pivot toward trillion-dollar debt-service bills without causing much more than a ripple of public fuss, it's worth stepping back and wondering where the fiscal-sanity bloc will land after our current political re-sorting. It won't take many more 700-point drops to focus people's attention and call into question whether the long, sluggish economic recovery is coming to a close. There is still muscle memory in this country about the virtues of government living within its means; it remains to be seen where that will find expression in a Trump-Schumer world.

Photo Credit: JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • Citizen X - #6||

    Be fair. They're both awful on a lot of unimportant stuff, too.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    You're full of shit. I think they're both just awful.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    A fact that is implied by what i said, clownshoes.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    You don't go far enough, dingbat. You lefties are too afraid to call a spade a spade.

  • Agammamon||

    THAT'S RACISTS!

  • MarkLastname||

    Only fags 'imply' stuff.

  • vek||

    Shut your whore mouth Hihn. Why don't you just leave the country and go found your perfect Trapnostate and leave the rest of us alone!

  • vek||

    Go ridicule me from the Trapnostate, which is where you belong!

  • Eidde||

    "The Two Parties Are Awful on Almost Everything Important"

    Going out on a limb, are we?

  • Mickey Rat||

    A 700 point drop in a Dow at 24,000 is less than half the total loss percentage as the 190 point drop on Black Friday in '89.

    Putting out the delta of the loss without putting it in context of the whole marjet valuatuon is bad practice, if not fearmongering

  • jcw||

    If markets don't use fearmongering, how would they function?

  • Don't look at me.||

    It is the same trick CNN uses , display a large box of indexes on the screen when the market "plunges" , and a tiny box to show gains.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    well, we've had ~11% drop since late January.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    ~10% if I plug in numbers down to the decimal point.

  • vek||

    Well, in all fairness the stock market is wildly overvalued. If it has a slow, steady correction things could surely be a lot worse.

  • JFree||

    Putting out the delta of the loss without putting it in context of the whole marjet valuatuon is bad practice, if not fearmongering

    That might be true if the market itself wasn't manipulated now. But it is being manipulated now - and the main way it is being manipulated is in the amount of daily/intraday volatility that is allowed. For a couple years now, that allowable volatility has been the lowest in history (2nd lowest was a couple years in the early 1960's). So the only 'good practice' measure now is today's up/down v 'normal' days up/down.

  • Hugh Akston||

    The Schumer Reachacross is a notorious move in the DC area.

  • Don't look at me.||

    It's not as desirable as the Schumer reach-around.

  • chemjeff||

    And let us not forget the odious Schumer Reachunder.

  • MarkLastname||

    You have to pay him to do that though. That's how he got the nickname Two Buck Chuck.

  • Hank Phillips||

    What a coincidence. The Republican party urges the death sentence (adding estate libel to asset forfeiture) for potheads and alluva sudden the stock market goes wonky. The Five & Ten making beer a felony as Herbert Hoover took office, plus Internal Revenue forfeiture as enforcement, brought about the Crash of 1929 because investors could clearly see the Depression was inevitable. They pull their money out, credit contracts, liquidity crunch follows. Bush Sr and Waffen Bush demonstrated the same thing in 1987 and 2007. Q.E.D.

  • Hank Phillips||

    What a coincidence. The Republican party urges the death sentence (adding estate libel to asset forfeiture) for potheads and alluva sudden the stock market goes wonky. The Five & Ten making beer a felony as Herbert Hoover took office, plus Internal Revenue forfeiture as enforcement, brought about the Crash of 1929 because investors could clearly see the Depression was inevitable. They pull their money out, credit contracts, liquidity crunch follows. Bush Sr and Waffen Bush demonstrated the same thing in 1987 and 2007. Q.E.D.

  • Johnimo||

    Holy cow, batman ... you're giving me the heebie jeebies. Will they still serve beer down at Neptune's when all this shit goes down?

  • Johnimo||

    Chuck Schumer, right .... he's the one that wanted to make it illegal for any US citizen moving to a lower tax domain to EVER return to the US. He never met a tax he didn't like.

  • gaoxiaen||

    Okay, the government sucks at everything. Summary execution for 50% of government employees at all levels. Problem solved.

  • gaoxiaen||

    But not my sister.

  • Iheartskeet||

    Matt stops short of saying Ds and Rs are exactly equal, but I think they are farther apart than he indicates.

    The Rs at least have groups like the libertarian-ish Republican Liberty Caucus and it appears the only people calling the pile of shit spending bill out specifically for spending (rather than not spending more) are (a small group of) Republicans.

    To see this headline, and then other headlines with (Republican) Rand Paul fighting the bill...well, it doesn't make sense.

    Obviously, the RLC is small and the establishment has the reigns, but I see no comparable group for individual liberty (broadly defined) and fiscal responsibility on the Ds side.

    Or did I miss one ?

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