The Flinchum File
Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions

Can We Talk?

03/30/2019

Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has completed his study, I thank him for his service over the past two years.  And, I congratulate the President and his family on surviving that Inquisition.

Having said that, in August of 2017, I wrote about the problem of writing, when Donald Trump has any tenuous link to the story.  His powerful personality “sucks the oxygen out of the room.”  But, it should be possible to discuss other subjects, whether Mr. Trump is relevant to the issue or not.  In that blog entry, I wrote it doesn’t matter if Mueller finds collusion or not — if we are still vulnerable to Russian interference in our elections.  Nothing else matters!  That is far more important than any involvement by ANY President, even Mr. Trump.

Mr. Mueller agreed with every single intelligence agency of the U.S. that the Russians did indeed interfere in the 2016 election.  I wish the President also believed that.  He even said “I don’t know why he (Putin) would want to” to interfere with our election.  It is clear that the President has only “token” belief in our intelligence agencies.  He said Putin spoke “powerfully” – so what?  We cannot expect the President to protect us.

There is reason to believe that Russian interference was reduced during the 2018 election, which is good news.  It could be that Putin is saving his resources for our 2020 election?  More likely, the social media companies deserve considerable credit for reducing Putin’ interference.  They have made great progress, but that progress is uneven.  I think we should not expect social media companies to continue fighting the Russians on their own, but we need to make that progress less uneven, by imposing penalties on those who are less successful.

In the Treasury Department, along with the Fed Head, there is the unofficial “Plunge Protection Team,” whose sole function is to preserve the financial system by coordinating resources, without regard for antitrust problems.  Hopefully, there is such a “foreign intervention team” to coordinate government efforts with social media efforts without regard for antitrust problems.

The integrity of our elections is far more important than any President!

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