I was wrong…imagine that!

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…

Jim

Note: I drop out of Facebook on 1 May.  If you want to still read these posts (for some reason), make sure you subscribe in the right sidebar.  Also, I will no longer be able to post these blogs on Facebook so if you think others might like the content, from time to time, please repost.

j

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The Power of Your….One….Vote

This just in: Our elected officials are just that….elected.  Who we elect will dictate the direction our country takes at any given time.  If you vote, you are helping to put people in place that will take us in a direction you want to go.  If you don’t vote, you are letting others elect people that will take us in the direction others want to go.

So…if the direction of our country is important to you…you need to vote.

Here is a list of a few “different directions” and the associated political party:

Gun Violence:

Democrats: We could have sensible gun control that would not violate the Second Amendment but does help reduce gun violence in the United States.  This violence accounted for 38,000 deaths in 2016.

Republicans: We know guns cause gun deaths, however, the NRA funds most of our campaigns so we ignore the 38,000 deaths caused by our inaction in 2016.  Trump received record amounts from the NRA when running for president.  Last year he overturned Obama’s restriction on allowing guns to go to the mentally ill.

Healthcare:

Democrats: We need to take steps towards improved healthcare.  This includes controlling costs and improving care.  We know this can be done because all other industrialized countries have successfully take this issue on.  We like the “single payer” issue where taxes go up but all healthcare is now paid for automatically.  However, many of us lack the political will to follow through with this.

Republicans:  We once supported the “single payer” system but it is too close to what the Democrats want so we are against it now.  We like the “free market” system, not because it works but because people think it sounds “American.”  We actually don’t stand for any particular solution with regards to healthcare but we like the issue since it is politically divisive.

Opioid Crisis:

Democrats:  This is a major issue since 64,000 people died from it in 2016 and the number is expected to be much, much higher in 2017.  This is an “all hands on deck” issue in that every effort must be taken to address this.  We need treatment.  We need to have alternative pain medication (cannabis). We need to prescribe it more carefully.  We need to research other means of addressing this issue.

Republicans:  People should take aspirin instead of opiods.  We need to tell people to “just say no.”

The Economy:

Democrats:  We need to support the Middle Class as they make up 2/3 of our economy.  We need to promote international trade.  We need to address income inequality as it is a known societal disruptor.  We need to provide social safety nets for people that fall on hard times so they can get back on their feet.

Republicans:  If we give more money to the rich, they will hire more people to mow their lawns.  This is called trickle down economics. Social safety nets are for lazy people.  We don’t need international trade deals because other countries actively seek out the “privilege” of buying our goods.

The Military:

Democrats: Our military needs to be big enough to protect the United States.  We need to foster diplomacy since agreements across a table are less costly than agreements across a battlefield.  We need to work closely with our allies.  We do not need to be able to fight the whole world.

Republicans:  Telling people to be afraid is the core of our party.  “Be afraid and we will protect you” has proven to be an effective way  to get people to vote Republican.  A large army makes other countries fearful of us and thus, be more respectful.

Money in Politics:

Democrats:  They take plenty of money from lobbyists and allow that money to influence their policy making.  However, they actively push to eliminate/reduce money in politics.  They can’t simply, “not take money” and let the other party rake it in since money does influence elections.  They are reluctant participants in the “money for policy” mentality in Washington.

Republicans:  They have a history of creating policy completely disassociated with the needs of their voters but in complete alignment with their donors.  They not only love money in politics, they want even more and have come to be completely dependent upon special interest money.

Russia:

Democrats:  Russia is not our friend and needs to be watched carefully.

Republicans: Russia helps to elect Republicans.  That is all you need to know.

As you can see, there are very different directions our country can take.  I haven’t even touched on corruption, civil rights, global relations, global warming, education, science, honesty etc.

In my view, Trump and the Republican Party are the exact opposite of who I think we are as a country.

My fear is that I may be wrong.

My intent is to vote and to get other like minded people to vote as well.

Time to save the world.

Up, up and away…

Jim

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