The last four months or so have been instructive, watching as the Dow Jones has slowly, inexorably erased all of the gains made since the Obama administration, gains that were caused almost entirely by the “sugar high” of the truly massive and wholly unnecessary corporate tax cut passed by the Republican Party and Donald Trump, without a single elected Democrat’s support.
It’s been particularly instructive watching CNBC, whose corporate stooges led with the loudest whoops for that supposedly booming market through 2017, as all of these paper gains—affecting tens of millions of individual retirement portfolios—have now suddenly evaporated into thin air. All of them, at the time, seemed genuinely okay with the fact that a proven incompetent con man, who built his entire life ripping people off, was at the helm of the U.S. economy. What could possibly go wrong?
No one ever brought up the fact that this corrupt grifter—whose personal history was dominated by a series of shady bankruptcies and angry lawsuits by aggrieved victims of his many scams—had never given anyone the slightest indication that he was competent or mentally stable enough to keep the unbelievably complex forces controlling the destiny of this irrevocably globalized 21st century economy under some semblance of control or direction.
Not one of these so-called masters of economic analysis ventured to wonder how such a person could possibly be trusted to appoint people who knew what they were doing, much less operate with a view towards serving anyone’s interests but his own, which is all he has ever done.
None of those cheerleaders wanted to acknowledge those big, big elephants in the room. Instead, everybody was happy to ride the gravy train, even when it became apparent that nearly all the corporations benefiting most from those huge tax breaks chose to indulge in stock buybacks, rather than raising wages or even creating new jobs.
Now that gravy train is crashing, just in time for Christmas.
When you have the markets gyrating haplessly like wounded geese for weeks, then months, at a time, that’s a clue that something is seriously wrong here. When the President can’t make up his mind whether to shut the federal government down over a quixotic, idiotic obsession like a “border wall” that he thinks will magically cure the nation’s immigration problems, sending the markets into tailspin after tailspin, there is something seriously wrong here. When the biggest question moving the markets on a daily basis is which of his cronies will be the next to be indicted, or what some nonsensical “tweet” says or doesn’t say, there is something seriously wrong here.
The lights are flashing red. They have been flashing red for some time now, but no one in our esteemed business media wants to admit it, so happy were they with their big tax cut.
This situation isn’t going to get better, either. There is no evidence that Trump has any competence in dealing with an economic downturn, let alone a stock market collapse, and there is no evidence that the markets have any faith in him or his abilities. Nor should they. The reactive, rudderless, day-to-day uncertainty caused by this unstable personality and his raft of criminal associates is just going to get worse. And while many of those—who owned the outgoing Republican Congress and profited from the tax cuts—will be able to skate away and park their winnings offshore somewhere, the vast majority of voters are now about to be left holding the proverbial bag, as the fake horizons they were pointed towards turn out to be a mirage.
But the reckoning that is coming will not be a mirage, unfortunately. An economy dependent upon a “sugar high” and administered by an incompetent and unstable executive branch cannot be sustained. We are seeing the cracks in the edifice spreading as the markets fluctuate ever downward.
And once again, just like it was for Barack Obama, it will be left to the Democrats to clean up the Republicans’ mess.