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David R. Henderson on Trump’s First Year

Summary:
I liked this piece by David, especially since I used the following two passages in the latest Contra Krugman (which hasn’t dropped yet): [A]lthough many Washington wags are shocked that Vladimir Putin may have cared enough about the U.S. election outcome to spend one hundred thousand dollars on Facebook ads, between 1946 and 2000, the U.S. government tried to influence over 80 foreign elections with nary a peep from that establishment. The Bush administration spent million trying to influence the outcome of Ukraine’s 2004 election.  and: Trump does not do nuance. When he is upset about what someone says about him, he tweets his anger and publicly threatens lawsuits and censorship. The lawsuits have gone nowhere. And if Trump really wanted to follow through on

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I liked this piece by David, especially since I used the following two passages in the latest Contra Krugman (which hasn’t dropped yet):

[A]lthough many Washington wags are shocked that Vladimir Putin may have cared enough about the U.S. election outcome to spend one hundred thousand dollars on Facebook ads, between 1946 and 2000, the U.S. government tried to influence over 80 foreign elections with nary a peep from that establishment. The Bush administration spent $65 million trying to influence the outcome of Ukraine’s 2004 election. 

and:

Trump does not do nuance. When he is upset about what someone says about him, he tweets his anger and publicly threatens lawsuits and censorship. The lawsuits have gone nowhere. And if Trump really wanted to follow through on his threatened censorship of television networks, he chose the wrong chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Ajit Pai  is one of the most deregulatory officials in the Trump administration.

Consider, by contrast, someone who effectively quashed radio criticism of his policies: Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1934, as University of Alabama historian David Beito has noted, President Roosevelt’s FCC put radio stations on a short leash by reducing the license-renewal period from three years to six months. He appointed Herbert L. Pettey as head of the commission. Pettey had been FDR’s radio adviser during his 1932 presidential campaign. Shortly after this licensing change, NBC announced that it would limit broadcasts “contrary to the policies of the United States government.” CBS went further, announcing an end to broadcasts “in any way” critical of “any policy of the Administration.” Who was more effective—the unsophisticated Trump threatening in public, or the warm and fuzzy (but ruthless and strategic) operator behind the scenes, Roosevelt? The record speaks for itself.

Robert Murphy
Christian, Austrian economist, and libertarian theorist. Research Prof at Texas Tech and author of *Choice*. Paul Krugman's worst nightmare.

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