Saturday, August 01, 2020

In Fairness to Donald Trump

It's not easy being "fair" to Donald Trump. I can't think of another leader so needy, pathetic, dishonest and cruel as this guy. That's not to say there haven't been worse leaders, guys such as Stalin or Hitler and their ilk were way worse than Trump.

In the name of fairness, let's leave out the needy, pathetic, dishonest and cruel stuff. Let's look instead at what this 'very stable genius' did to the American economy over just the past half year, how Trump gambled America's future on a bet that Covid-19 would just magically disappear.

WaPo columnist, David Von Drehle, does a masterful job of sifting through the ashes.
The government on July 30 published its quarterly report on economic growth, offering a window on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. To say this glimpse was ugly deeply understates the picture. From the first of April to the end of June, the U.S. economy contracted by nearly 10 percent — a sharper drop than in the worst months of the Great Depression.

“Worse than the Great Depression” was not the headline Trump was hoping for. But his power over the news cycle has been compared to a cat owner shaking keys in front of a kitten. Within minutes of the report, Trump tweeted a risible suggestion that the November election should be postponed.
...If we ignore Trump’s shiny, bouncing keys, we can see that the administration’s happy-talk economic team, led by lightweights Larry Kudlow and Peter Navarro, cannot be trusted to teach us. They keep saying the economy will spring back — as it plunges over a cliff. 
The newly reported round of data started on April 1. A few weeks earlier, Trump had declared the national coronavirus emergency and the country locked down — an announcement that immediately caused the biggest drop in the nation’s economic output since the crash of 2008. That shocking initial jolt is not included in the new numbers; it was reported in the previous quarter.
...Of course, the president’s idea of accountability is to take responsibility only when the economic news is good. Why, just a few weeks ago, Trump was bragging about the success of his rush to reopen.

That’s right: Bored with the work of controlling the pandemic — or as he likes to call it, “the sniffles” — Trump embraced the freedom of Americans to crowd into bars and political rallies without masks on. For a couple of upbeat weeks, unemployment numbers were moving in the right direction. No key-jangling then.

Hailing the May jobless numbers, Trump “took a victory lap” on June 5, according to the Associated Press. “This shows what we’ve been doing is right,” he boasted. A month later, after more good numbers, Trump said the June economy was “spectacular news for American workers and American families.”
...Since the, um, spectacular news early in July, new covid-19 infections have risen to all-time highs. Deaths nationwide have again surged past 1,000 per day. Planned reopenings are being scaled back or canceled. Major companies are announcing mass layoffs. Three of the four largest state economies — California, Texas and Florida — are reeling, gut-punched. The dollar has taken its steepest fall in a decade as the Federal Reserve opens box after box of Monopoly money.

That’s how the story begins for Quarter No. 3. Unemployment numbers, already at record levels, are climbing again. Congress can’t seem to agree on additional relief to millions of jobless Americans who, at this rate, soon won’t have money for food or rent. Their suffering will push more businesses into bankruptcy. Banks are expecting to see more borrowers default. With tax collections down sharply amid the crash, large-scale layoffs of state and local government workers are likely the next body blow in store.
...The money mavens like what they hear about a vaccine for the novel coronavirus just over the horizon. Haven’t they noticed that there is no surefire vaccine for influenza, HIV, viral pneumonia or the common cold? When did virus vaccines become so easy? Beyond that dodgy wager, the equity markets have become a casino full of bored online gamblers, awaiting the return of football. Enjoy it while the game lasts. 
Trump knows all about casinos. He used to own three in Atlantic City, until he ran them into the trash heap. (His last, Trump Taj Mahal, closed in 2016.) Then he started his new job. Trump went all-in, as gamblers say, on a wager that covid-19 would “go away.” No wonder he’d like to change the subject. Jangle, jangle.


Northern PoV said...

tRumps covid-19 failure is really part of the long-term rethuglican effort to discredit and marginalize gov't.
While usually cloaked in the 'good manners' of a Reagan or Bush type, it is a feature, not a bug.

When hidin' Biden becomes President (if we should be so lucky) his tone-deaf, milquetoast, return-to-normal policies will fail to turn the ship around, setting the stage for the next tRump.

The Disaffected Lib said...

I don't share your cynicism about Biden, NPoV. That said, there's not very much a president can do if he's blocked by a dysfunctional Congress. Obama was often criticized for having achieved little during his two terms. It was a stupid criticism that ignored the role the Congressional Republicans played in blocking Obama initiatives.

From the outset, Mitch McConnell said the job of the House and Senate Republicans was to obstruct Obama's every attempt at legislative reform and that's precisely what they did.

It was said that, if Obama had any chance of bipartisan support, it would have been to repeal the 13th and 14th amendments - the abolition of slavery. That, and that alone, those southern bastards might have supported.

It's unrealistic to expect Biden to "turn the ship around." That's why many old school Republicans despair that the only way to save their party and the country is to burn the GOP to the ground and build a new party out of the ashes.