That's what President Trump says companies offer when they complain about the economic pain caused by his trade wars.
"Badly run and weak companies are smartly blaming these small Tariffs instead of themselves for bad management … and who can really blame them for doing that? Excuses!" Trump tweeted Friday.
He elaborated on this critique during a subsequent interview with reporters.
"A lot of badly run companies are trying to blame tariffs," he said. "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 trying to blame the tariffs. It's not the tariffs. It's called 'bad management.'"
On the one hand, Trump is a pretty credible source here: He does know a lot about bad management and excuses. So maybe we should believe him when he scapegoats corporations for not being able to manage the costs of his trade wars. In the president's thinking, if a company can't hack it when faced with a sudden, unexpected, government-imposed cost or other erratic policy changes, it simply doesn't deserve to stay in business.
Besides tax cuts, the main way that Trump has supposedly unlocked the economy's great potential and put us on the path to 3% (or 4%, or even 6%!) growth is by reducing the government-imposed cost of doing business and providing more regulatory certainty.
Trump surrogates often outright lie about what his tax cuts did and whom they targeted. On the deregulation point, though, they typically avoid any specifics altogether. And they're rarely asked follow-up questions about which onerous, job-killing government regulations they're thinking of when they brag about how Trump has so wisely rolled them back.
Which is lucky for them. Because if you actually look over Trump's regulatory rollbacks, it's difficult to pinpoint which, if any, of them is supposedly unleashing all that (imaginary) growth.
Or maybe Trumpkins are instead thinking of the rescission of a requirement for for-profit schools to disclose (and maintain minimum) employment outcomes as a condition of continuing to receive federal aid.
Or maybe they mean Trump's repeal of a rule that said companies could only get lucrative government contracts upon certifying that they follow federal labor laws.
Or maybe it's the relaxation of yet another rule dictating how many hours long-haul truck drivers can go without sleeping.
So maybe Trump's comment about the interaction between burdensome government policies and "bad management" was right, after all. He was just applying it to the wrong government policies. Listen to Trump's insight, ye whiny, excuse-making businesses: If your company can stay afloat if and only if it dumps arsenic in the water, defrauds customers, cheats workers or gives kids brain damage, maybe you don't deserve to be in business after all.
Catherine Rampell's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.