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Posts Tagged ‘Trump

All of the Credit, None of the Blame

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     One of the things — one of the many things — about the current resident of the White House that angers me (and I’m guessing a lot of other people) is his penchant for taking credit for things that happen, whether he had anything to do with their happening or not. The recent unemployment figures for African-American workers is an excellent case in point.

     The employment figures for African-American workers has been going up, or rather the unemployment figures for African-American workers has been going down for several years. The trend started in 2009-10, long before Donald Trump was even a candidate for office. Still, when the numbers reached an “historic” low, the president (with characteristic hyperbole) touts how great the numbers are, and that they are the result of his policies. Of course, we could say his policies regarding police excessive use of deadly force when dealing with African-American offenders, or suspected “offenders”, could account for the numbers; fewer African-American men alive to claim benefits, (Sorry, I know that’s a stretch). But the numbers don’t take into account those who haven’t yet filed for benefits or those whose benefits have expired. Still, Trump takes credit. He’s in office, he gets the credit.

And then there’s a report citing a “hike” in wages, (I wonder how many people working in the “service sector” saw a hike in their wages>) Never mind Trump’s refusal to raise the federal minimum wage prompted many businesses and municipalities to raise their minimum wage (setting off something of a “wage war” between the municipalities and their state governments; some of the state governments, mostly those controlled by Republicans, passed laws prohibiting municipalities from raising the minimum wage.) Never mind Trump’s highly touted wage increase has less to do with any Trump policy, and more to do with simple market forces. With falling unemployment numbers there is a corresponding decrease in the availability of cheap labor; businesses are forced to raise wages to attract needed workers. Still, Trump takes credit. He’s in office, he gets the credit.

And then there’s the stock market, which has been “on a tear” lately. The Dow Jones has topped 20,000 on its way to 25,000. It’s been quite a ride. That is until the “Jobs & Wages” report arrived and Trump started crowing. Those numbers made Wall Street nervous. Seems what’s good for “the man in the street” isn’t at all good for the boys on “The Street”. More jobs and higher wages mean businesses won’t have as much money to invest, meaning less profit for traders, hedge-fund managers and banks. Add to that the fear that more money in circulation, instead of in the Banks, will lead to inflation, forcing the FED to raise interest rates, making it harder to borrow money. No more easy money. And if that happens, it won’t be just Wall Street that suffers. Credit will tighten throughout the economy, making it harder for “the man in the street” to get credit for the things he needs: homes, cars, washing machines, etc. All of this combined to trigger a startling and traumatic stock “sell-off”. The Dow dropped more than a thousand points in a week, and panic briefly ensued. The decline halted but the fear hasn’t subsided. And from the White House, nary a peep. Trump gets credit, due or not. Blame, that’s somebody else’s problem.

And I haven’t even touched on the ramifications of a recent declaration from the European Union.

When president Obama signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, aka The Paris Accords, it was hailed as a significant step forward in the fight to combat climate change, and the United States’ commitment to take a leadership role in that fight.

When Trump decided, unilaterally, to abandon the Accords, and America’s leadership role, saying, “it was a ‘bad deal’ for America” and would cost trillions of dollars (not an altogether true statement since the carbon reduction goals agreed to in the Accords were entirely voluntary), he shocked and angered many of the world’s leaders. Well, the shock may have worn off, but not the anger.

A few days ago, French President Macron announced that as long as the United States remained apart from the Paris Accords, France would not trade with the U.S. It’s unclear whether or not the other members of the European Union will follow France’s lead, but since no other European leader has voiced disagreement, it’s likely the others (all signatories of the Accords) will do so.

While it’s uncertain what impact, if any, the French president’s pronouncement will have on Wall Street, it’s a fair bet it will do little to endear Trump to the business community at home. And, given his penchant for abandoning deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (PACC) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA, which he is currently struggling to wriggle out of), and levying excessive tariffs and fines on trading partners he says are taking unfair advantage (and for “unfair advantage” read “beating him at his own game”), it isn’t likely his standing is going to improve any time soon; in the world at large, or at home.

But hey. Let’s give credit where, and when, it’s due. There are a lot of people who think this country ought to be run more like a business. Wasn’t it Herbert Hoover who said, “the business of America is Business”? We all know how that worked out. (They do still teach students about The Great Depression in school, don’t they?)

Not to worry, though. No matter how bad things get for the rest of us, President Trump will land on his feet. What’s one more bankruptcy, anyway? He’s got his “golden parachute”.

 

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The Republican field is about to get a lot smaller. . .

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One of the problems with not being a “committed” writer (although many have suggested I should be — committed) is that I have a problem trying to decide how I want to say what it is I have to say.  This, more often than not, leads to long periods of apparent inactivity, as anyone who has taken the time to follow this blog can attest. It also means I’m often “beaten to the punch” when it comes to subject matter. Take, for example, this post.

I’ve seen in the media – both print and televised – reports that members of the Republican establishment opposed to the Trump candidacy are actively searching for someone other than Marco Rubio to try and stop, or at least delay, the freight train that is the Trump campaign from pulling into “Nomination Station” before his coronation — excuse me, I meant to say the convention.  It seems the Republican establishment has soured on Sen, Rubio, owing to his less- than-stellar showing in all the primaries and caucuses thus far.  Sen. Rubio is placing all his eggs in his home state of Florida’s winner-take-all basket; a strategy many of the Republican elite don’t see as viable.  The result of their second-guessing on their strategy is that they have to find someone else to rally around in hopes of, if not stopping, at least slowing the Trump juggernaut and forcing a “brokered” convention, where they can, or at least hope to, deny him the nomination. To that end they may have found themselves in the distasteful position of picking the one candidate they see as being able to, if not defeat Trump outright, bring him to the convention sans nomination.

It has been reported former presidential candidate Jeb Bush is scheduled to meet with all the remaining Republican candidates except Trump. There are two meetings set up before the Florida primary; one with Sen. Rubio and a second meeting with Sen. Cruz and John Kasich. The agendas of the upcoming meetings have not been made public, but it’s a fair bet to say they do not bode well for Sen. Rubio. That could be (and probably is) the reason Jeb Bush was tasked with breaking the bad news to the senator, rather than some other high-ranking Republican. Bush is a former governor of Florida and for a time acted as a mentor (of sorts) to the young first-term senator. It’s likely Jeb’s presence will take the sting out of the news he has to deliver; that the GOP “kingmakers” don’t think Rubio can win in his home state, and, in the unlikely event of his doing so, that he would be unable to sustain whatever momentum such a victory would provide.  I’m only “spit-balling” here (I have no insider information or leak sources to draw on) but during the one-on-one with Rubio, Jeb could – could – suggest his one-time protégé step aside before the primary and forego the embarrassment of losing what the senator has described on numerous occasions as a “sure win”. The alternative would be to face the humiliation of losing his home state, and all the bad press that would result, drop out of the race and throw whatever fast diminishing support he could muster behind the party’s preferred candidate.

Jeb, in all likelihood, has the same message for Gov. Kasich who is pinning his meager hopes on carrying his home state of Ohio (which primary is held on the same day as Florida’s), without the courtesy of a private delivery.  That would leave only one viable alternative to Trump (or Drumpf, if you’re a fan of John Oliver) – Senator Ted Cruz.  The choice makes no sense to me. Why would the GOP pick a candidate they despise (and the GOP despises nobody as much as they despise Ted Cruz)? The Republican party is in a panic over the possibility of a “Drumpf” (you guessed it, I’m an Oliver fan!) nomination. It’s palpable and in their desperation, they’ve turned to the one man capable of completing the destruction of the GOP.

After next Tuesday, the race for the GOP nomination gets really scary. I’ll have more in the coming days. Until then. . .

 

 

 

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