This just in: For basically forever, I have said that the president cannot be held responsible for the economy; at least in the short run (less than a year).
I remember Obama taking over in 2004 and a week later, the Republican Party blamed him for the millions of jobs lost during the Bush administration. They blamed him if gas prices went up for a month. They blamed him if the stock market took a 1-day dip. They blamed him if unemployment went up. All of this was blamed on him after about 20 minutes in office.
My response was to say, “Hey, Congress passes the laws. Congress passes the budget. Our economy is huge and cannot turn on a dime. The president doesn’t have the power to change the economy very much and has zero ability to change anything economically in the short run.”
Turns out I was wrong…
Trump, all by himself (as the Republican Party acts as if they are busy elsewhere) has managed to tank our economy in about a year. Yes, we are not in a recession…yet; however, the table has been set for us to begin a steep downward slide into insignificance.
He started with using his executive powers to drop us out the the Trans Pacific Partnership. This effectively put billions of customers out of reach for our products. He then started trying to renegotiate NAFTA; a partnership that involves our biggest trading partner, Canada. Then he started exporting undocumented workers. Yes, he broke up families but it also sent cheap labor out of the country. This didn’t create high-paying jobs in the the tech industry. What it did do was raise the price you pay for nearly everything you buy in a grocery store.
Now it’s tariffs. It took about a week for a trade war with China to go nuclear. A trade war with another country is like having a starvation diet competition with your neighbor. You both suffer until one of you dies. When that happens, the remaining person can say, “I won” as his body lays crippled on a hospital gurney. Expect inflation; the inevitable result of a trade war. Expect higher interest rates; the inevitable result of inflation. Expect your home value to drop; the inevitable result of high interest rates.
The stock market is having its worst quarter since the Great Depression. This is all the result of one man….Donald Trump. A man fooling with our economy that was once called “the dumbest student I ever had” by his college economics professor.
Trump does not know what is in the tax bill he signed. Trump does not know what is in the Trans Pacific Partnership. Trump does not know what is in NAFTA. Trump does not understand tariffs or international trade in general. Trump even famously asked Flynn, his then National Security Advisor, “What’s the difference between a strong dollar and a weak dollar?”
And yet…he is in charge.
So…I was wrong. The president can have a major impact on the economy.
Score one for the big Cheeto in the White House.
Time to save the world.
Up, up and away…
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