Fine Tuning Your “Baloney Detection” Meter

11.18.2015 By

From our latest discussion paper

Donald Trump leans into the microphone. “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created,” Trump proclaims. “I’ll bring back our jobs from China, from Mexico, from Japan, from so many places. I’ll bring back our jobs and I’ll bring back our money.”

Wearing a blue power suit and red tie, the billionaire real estate developer looks and sounds every bit the outlandish megalomaniac we think him to be. A thunderous applause erupts.  “We need you,” a man yells from above. Trump smiles like he just closed a deal. Elsewhere, political economist David Ricardo rolls over in his grave.

Like the Roman and Chinese emperors of old, Trump seems to believe he has omnipotent powers. He makes grandiose promises of saving America from its many supposed foes, all the while bidding the public to trust him—not because he has a plan, but because he is Donald Trump and a billionaire. He implies that he is the only person who can make the deals that will brighten America’s economic future.

Most people who listen to Trump know better than to take him at his word; however, Trump’s popularity and early lead in the polls suggest that some individuals have faith in his promises. This leaves us wondering: when an authority figure makes a claim, how can we separate the fact from the fiction?

Read the full discussion paper here.



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