Trump’s Destruction of the U.S. Economy
Let’s face it. Few people really like Donald Trump. His supporters even complain about his tweets, his super-ego, his treatment of others, particularly women, African Americans and Hispanics. They don’t like his chaos in the White House, his over 2,000 lies and his incessant name-calling. For most, the words Trump and President don’t really deserve to be in the same sentence, let alone one followed by the other. The latest New York Times poll of historians and political experts ranks him dead last, below James Buchanan, after just one year in office. This is truly terrifying. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/02/19/opinion/how-does-trump-stack-up-against-the-best-and-worst-presidents.html
So why is he still “in the game?”
What you hear from his supporters is that he is a “business guy” who is good for the economy. What you hear from Trump is that he inherited a “mess” but look what has happened since he took over!
Actually, the economy he inherited from Barack Obama has propped him up. Most presidents who preside over good economic times reap the benefits politically. It was, of course, President Obama who inherited a mess – a collapse that spiked bankruptcies and unemployment levels and nearly led to the collapse of the auto industry. Falling housing prices, our financial institutions going under, international chaos that nearly led to a full-blown depression. Obama’s leadership brought the car out of the ditch and back on the road to where we are today.
But, ever since Trump started his campaign, he had been preaching doom and gloom culminating in his “American Carnage” speech at his inauguration. Up until a few months ago he had been bragging about the stock market rise in 2017 (less than Obama’s by the way), the low unemployment, the rise in consumer confidence.
So where are we headed now? That is the real question. Trump’s taking credit for the exalted stock market looks pretty absurd, as it is now headed downward. His tariffs on steel and aluminum coupled with Gary Cohn’s resignation has dealt a further blow to the stock market and the international economy. Even if one argues that NAFTA and other trade agreements have hurt the U.S. it is hard to justify Trump’s policy of targeting our friends and letting our adversaries (China) off the hook. And starting a trade war is definitely not, as he maintains, a good thing. So, he has taken a stable economy and upended it with his latest policies.
Also, for those of us who adamantly opposed the tax give away to the wealthiest Americans we are going to see these impacts with huge deficits, cuts in Social Security, Medicare and the social safety net. Plus, who will pay for it — the middle class, of course. How can we justify a $1.5 trillion tax cut when we know that the top 1% will get 82% of the benefits? https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gop-tax-bill-wealthy-benefit_us_5a381cf4e4b0860bf4aa4b6c And it will blow a hole in our deficits. Republicans know this and they, once again, will rely on the Democrats to fix the problem down the road. As we did with the Reagan policies and the Bush tax cuts, when Bill Clinton grew the economy that led to budget surpluses.
The point is that Trump’s impetuous policies on taxes, spending, and trade will remove whatever economic benefit he inherited from President Obama. So what will he be left with to prop him up? Not much. The real question is when will these policies come home to roost – by November 2018? November 2020? My sense is that those who bought in to Trump’s salesmanship and promises will be sorely disappointed sooner rather than later. He has no leeway with the “likability” factor and once his misguided economic policies take hold the emperor will have no clothes.