Janine Jackson: To be generous to journalists, Donald Trump has introduced a new dimension to policy-making. In assessing his current trade war with China, for example, reporters are forced to consider: Does Trump believe, as he says, that tariffs imposed on Chinese goods are paid by the Chinese? Does he not know how tariffs work? Is he pretending not to know? Does it not matter, because he just wants to be seen to be “clashing with Beijing”? Which of these possibilities are China and other countries responding to? And will Fox air a show on Chinese checkers next week, and all of this changes? It’s not clear.
But the murk around the White House’s thinking is all the more reason for reporters to be as clear as possible in explaining the actual impacts on differently situated people of economic actions. Joining us now to help with that is Dean Baker, senior economist and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, and author of the book Rigged, among other titles. He joins us now by phone from Utah. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Dean Baker.