Media

Trump Says He Invented an Economy Theory That Was Actually in Use Before He Was Born

This guy is in his own dream world.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr/CC

Donald Trump knows all the things. He knows them better than the so-called “experts” because he’s “like, a smart person.” His brilliance bends and breaks the rules of space and time. That’s how Trump, who is 70 years old, was able to develop an economic theory created eight years before he was born.

That or he’s lying.

Since he fired Comey, Trump has been on a disastrous press jaunt, taking his fragile ego and paranoia on a tour of the country’s most prominent news outlets. He sat down for an interview with the Economist, in which he tried to take credit for inventing a common Keynesian expression:

But beyond that it’s OK if the tax plan increases the deficit?

It is OK, because it won’t increase it for long. You may have two years where you’ll…you understand the expression “prime the pump”?

Yes.

We have to prime the pump.

It’s very Keynesian.

We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world. Have you heard that expression before, for this particular type of an event?

Priming the pump?

Yeah, have you heard it?

Yes.

Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just…I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do.

It’s…

Yeah, what you have to do is you have to put something in before you can get something out.

Um, how about no? Trump definitely didn’t invent the phrase “prime the pump” while he was golfing “a couple days ago.” We know this because it has been in widespread usage since before he was born. According to the New York Times, the expression “was in wide use by 1933, when President Roosevelt fought the Great Depression with pump-priming stimulus.”

For example, a 1933 cartoon assailing the Roosevelt administration’s spending practices was titled “What we need is another pump” and showed a desperate Roosevelt, with billions already spent, pouring more water into a pump, fruitlessly.

The term is most closely associated with the economic theories of John Maynard Keynes, who advocated energetic intervention to try to arrest the depression. By the time Mr. Trump was in school in the 1950s and 1960s, it was widely taught in history and economics courses as part of the story of how the United States emerged from the depression.

The Times also notes that “prime the pump” appeared in more than 1,000 articles in just the year 2009, and always in an economic policy context.

Seriously, take that in for a second. Not only did don’t Trump not invent a phrase in wide circulation in economics circles, he tried to use it on a wonk who works for the Economist. The giveaway it wouldn’t work is only right there in the name of the magazine.

This is far from the first time Trump has tried to pretend he dreamed up a well-known idea. Ronald Reagan deserves credit for first campaigning on the racist dog whistle of “Make America Great Again” back in 1980. The phrase “America first” is tied to anti-Semites dating back to World War II. Last year, Trump ludicrously claimed he “came up with” the idea for a border wall with Mexico. He also said he’s the first guy to utter the term “common sense conservative,” which is true if you ignore all the people who said it before him.

Here’s a video of Trump talking about the many things he’s better at than you.

 

 

 

 

Kali Holloway is a senior writer and the associate editor of media and culture at AlterNet.

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