A lot of Trump's first two years in office was marked by arm twisting, browbeating, even outright threats to not just Democrats but also congressional Republicans. With the feckless House leader, Paul Ryan, and the utterly servile Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, Trump rode'em hard and put'em away wet.
Trump, however, is no master of the 'art of the deal.' He is master of the con. That's something many people have learned first-hand. People like the unpaid trades who constructed his buildings. People like the investors who poured their money into Trump's failed casinos. Even the saps who paid big bucks to enroll in the laughably named "Trump University."
Trump's administration has been the ultimate expression of a con artist and, like all cons, it cannot last. He's got a lot of weight bearing down on him. The House is now in the Democrat's control. The Mueller investigation is closing in, the latest to fall being Trump's longtime buddy and fixer, Roger Stone. Big as those threats may be, Trump's greatest problem could turn out to be the economy.
Business Insider reports a sharp decline in home sales in 2018 that could spell bad news for the American economy. It's the same phenomenon that presaged nine out of the eleven recessions in America in the postwar era.
As 2018 headed toward its close, Americans' appetites for buying homes fell off a cliff.
In December, the rate of existing US home sales cratered to 4.99 million, 10.3% below the mark from the year-ago period, according to data released earlier this week by the National Association of Realtors.
That's the steepest decline in more than seven years, and it followed year-over-year declines of 7.8% in November and 5.1% in October.
...At two of the largest bank mortgage originators and servicers in the US, the numbers were more pronounced.
At Wells Fargo, mortgage banking revenues fell 50% to $467 million in the fourth quarter, while originations declined 28% to $38 billion.
JPMorgan, meanwhile, saw mortgage income fall to $203 million, a 46% drop from the same period last year. Originations fell 30% to $17.2 billion.