Are American companies suffering from an outbreak of “bad management”?

Here’s President Trump arguing that bad management, not tariffs, is what’s hurting American companies:

A lot of badly run companies are trying to blame tariffs. In other words, if they’re running badly and they’re having a bad quarter, or if they’re just unlucky in some way, they’re likely to blame the tariffs. It’s not the tariffs. It’s called “bad management.”

If you think about it for half a second, this makes very little sense. There’s no reason to suppose that companies whose performance has declined recently are managed any worse than they were half a year ago. Bad management, where it exists, is a constant. Under Trump, tariffs have been the variable.

Trump has not attributed our strong economy to good management. In his telling, our economic success is the result of his policies. But now that the water is becoming choppy, Trump wants to talk about the quality of corporate management.

Bad management is distributed roughly evenly throughout the corporate world. If companies now taking a hit are concentrated in businesses one would expect tariffs to hit hardest, then tariffs, not bad management, are almost certainly the determining factor.

Politics has always been, in part, about dubious credit taking and blame shifting. But with Trump, politics is about little else.

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