Paul Krugman: Trump Is a Monster Straight Out of 'The Twilight Zone'

You're entering another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind (or the total absence thereof). A journey into a wondrous land of Twitter screeds, voodoo economics and fever-swamp hysteria. There's a platinum signpost up ahead. Your next stop, the Trump Zone.

In his Friday column, Paul Krugman likens our feckless president to one of Rod Serling's most memorable characters. Based on a story by Jerome Bixby, "It's a Good Life," centers around a Midwestern family that lives in mortal terror of its youngest child, Anthony, who has the power to inflict cruel and unusual punishment on anyone who denies him his wishes. Those who dare challenge the boy are sent to the corn fields, so everyone from his parents and siblings to the neighboring townspeople pretend that life is completely normal, even joyous.

As Krugman observes, America operates much the same way under the Trump administration, with the president playing the part of the monstrous Anthony. Examples abound—earlier this month, he banished adviser Steve Bannon from the National Security Council for reasons unclear—but the New York Times columnist zeroes in on Trump's newest tax plan, inasmuch as it qualifies as one. The single page document makes no mention of what income thresholds qualify for which tax rates or which tax exemptions might be eliminated. So why release such a slapdash proposal? The answer is as obvious as it is demoralizing:

Every report from inside the White House conveys the impression that Trump is like a temperamental child, bored by details and easily frustrated when things don’t go his way; being an effective staffer seems to involve finding ways to make him feel good and take his mind off news that he feels makes him look bad...Right now, by all accounts, the child-man in chief is in a snit over the prospect of news stories that review his first 100 days and conclude that he hasn’t achieved much if anything (because he hasn’t). So last week he announced the imminent release of something he could call a tax plan.

Tragically, it's not just Trump's staff trapped in this prison of stupidity and emotional atrophy; it's the whole United States that will suffer the consequences of his election.

"I don’t even want to think about foreign policy," Krugman continues. "On the domestic front, soothing the president’s fragile ego with forceful-sounding but incoherent proclamations can do only so much damage; on the international front it’s a good way to stumble into a diplomatic crisis, or even a war."

Krugman wraps up with an earnest plea to his colleagues in the media: "Don’t pretend that this is normal."

Read Paul Krugman's column at the New York Times 

Correction: An earlier version of this post credited Rod Serling with inventing the Anthony character from "It's a Good Life." That "Twilight Zone" episode was based on a story by Jerome Bixby.


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