By Raymond Freeman

SCENE ONE: Interview of Donald Trump by The Washington Post, on March 31, 2016. Trump will make the national debt vanish:

 Donald Trump: We’ve got to get rid of the $19 trillion in debt.

Bob Woodward: How long would that take?

Trump: I think I could do it fairly quickly, because …

Woodward: What’s fairly quickly?

Trump: Well, I would say over a period of eight years. And I’ll tell you why.

Woodward: Would you ever be open to tax increases as part of that, to solve the problem?

Trump: I don’t think I’ll need to. The power is trade. Our deals are so bad.

Woodward: That would be $2 trillion a year.

Trump: No, but I’m renegotiating all of our deals, Bob. The big trade deals that we’re doing so badly on. With China, $505 billion this year in trade. We’re losing with everybody.

You’ve spotted the massive howler right there, haven’t you? Still not clear? Try this:

 SCENE TWO: Beijing, China, January 2017.

Donald Trump, President of USA: I’m here to see you about the national debt. It’s over $19 trillion!

Xi Jinping, President of China: (says nothing, smiles inscrutably)

Trump: All those cheap imports from China are driving up the deficit!

Xi: (says nothing, smiles inscrutably)

Trump: I’m gonna renegotiate our lousy trade deal with you right now!

Xi: We do not have a trade deal with you. We are a member of the World Trade Organization, like America. We joined it in 2001. You wanted us to, so as to make your billionaires even richer.

Trump: (says nothing, jaw drops)graph_rgb

Xi: Secondly, China has nothing to do with your national debt.

Trump: (says nothing, jaw drops)

Xi: Your national debt is caused by your federal deficits, which are caused by your low taxes. The Ventura County Reporter explained it in a Sharper Focus series called “Debt & Taxes” in January 2014.

Trump: (says nothing, jaw drops)

Xi: Thirdly, the deficit you’re ranting on about is America’s deficit on current account, which is mostly your trade deficit.

Trump: (says nothing, jaw drops)

Xi: It’s this right here (shows him graph above). Sharper Focus ran it on June 18 last year in “Trans Pacific Piracy.” It’s from your Federal Reserve. There’s absolutely no connection between the federal deficit and the trade deficit.

Trump: So what?

Xi: So you’re in the wrong city, kiddo. Now buzz off to Geneva where the WTO is located. Tell the Swiss you’re a brilliant negotiator (sarcastically). Goodbye.

Xi’s right. In January 2014 I wrote: “If you must worry about a deficit, worry about the Deficit on Current Account. This is mostly the excess of imports over exports. It’s massive, around $0.4 trillion, every year. After 10 years, that’s the entire cost of WWII. It’s wealth siphoned out of the economy, leaving workers unemployed. But importing cheap stuff makes the super-wealthy even wealthier, so Republicans couldn’t care less.”

Fact: the federal deficit is the difference between Uncle Sam’s spending and taxing. He can’t raise enough in taxes. Republicans won’t let him. So it drives up national debt. Fact: the deficit on current account is mostly caused by America’s private companies importing more than they export. It’s America’s global cash flow statement. Obviously, the two are entirely different sets of accounts: one public and internal, the other private and external. If you’re still not clear, read those earlier Sharper Focus articles.

So, was Trump’s howler all over the “liberal media?” Discussed in the Wisconsin primary election last week? Yeah, right. Elections go on forever but nothing important gets any attention. Sorry to have bothered you with something important. I promise I won’t do it again.