Paul Krugman Identifies the First Victim of the Trump Era

All presidents lie some of the time. Many presidents spin most of the time. But never has a president lied, to the public and the press, all of the time. For Paul Krugman, this bottomless mendacity is what separates the Trump administration from all that preceded it, and helps explain why Trump poses such a unique threat to the future of American democracy.


In a Friday column that ricochets from anger to despair and back again, the New York Times economist mourns the first victim of the Trump era: the truth.

"On matters of policy, politicians used to limit their misrepresentations of facts and impacts to relatively hard-to-verify assertions. When George W. Bush insisted that his tax cuts mainly went to the middle class, this wasn't true, but it took some number-crunching to show that," he writes. "What we're getting from Mr. Trump is simply on a different plane from anything we've seen before."

Krugman also took aim at Trump's enablers, from his dishonest cabinet to the "morally vacuous" Republicans in Congress to the bubble-dwelling electorate whose minds have been warped by two decades of Fox News.

"Even the real possibility that we're facing subversion by agents of a foreign power, and that top officials are part of the story, doesn't seem to faze them as long as they can get tax cuts for the rich and benefits cut for the poor," he laments.

But Krugman saved his most pointed criticism for the Fourth Estate, which saw even the likes of Van Jones gush about the president's tone in his first address to Congress this week.

"It was a speech filled with falsehoods and vile policy proposals, but read calmly off the telemprompter — and suddenly everyone was declaring the liar-in-chief 'presidential,'" Krugman fumes. "The point is that if that's all it takes to exonerate the most dishonest man ever to hold high office in America, we're doomed."

If democracy dies in darkness, as the the Washington Post reminds its readers, it may be getting late early in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Read Krugman's column in the New York Times.

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