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Let's Talk About The Trump Economy

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | August 19, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | August 19, 2019 |


Look: I’m not an economist, and I don’t claim to understand what the inversion of the yield curve means, except that apparently it has preceded every recession over the last 50 years. I’m not sure that we needed that inversion to predict a recession, however, because 1) Elizabeth Warren has been saying it’s gonna come, and she knows plenty about economics and predicted the Great Recession well ahead of it, and 2) the economy, by its nature, works in cycles. We’re due for a recession.

Interestingly, that cycle always seems to repeat itself. Republicans inherit good economies from Democrats, they open the floodgates on deregulation in order to make rich people richer, they cut taxes on rich people to make rich people richer, and it usually goes well for a few years until it catches up to Republicans, blows up in their faces, and the Democrats have to fix their sh*t, raise taxes, pass new regulations, get the economy moving again, and then the Republicans come along and complain that Democrats raised taxes and passed too many regulations and get themselves elected on the promise of lower taxes and deregulation, and start the whole process over again.

It’s a vicious cycle, and the last time it happened, Obama inherited basically the second-biggest economic hole in U.S. history, and he carefully and meticulously put the economy back together again only for Trump to come along and blow it up. The potential upcoming recession, however, seems to be one, in particular, of Trump’s own making. He foolishly started a trade war with China despite everyone warning him against it, and now American companies have to pay more for Chinese products, which they pass on to American consumers, and the people less able to afford the increased expenses are also the very people who benefited the least from Trump’s $93 billion tax cut, which didn’t — at all — trickle down to the rest of the economy because trickle-down economics is a bullshit theory used to justify increasing the wealth of the wealthy. In the meantime, while consumer goods keep rising, the damage Trump caused to Obamacare has also increased premiums, making it even more difficult to pay for health insurance on top of sneakers that cost another 20 percent more. (Seriously: Stock up on sneakers now. They’re about to get walloped).

If it arrives, this recession will be different from George W. Bush’s recession in one major respect: The President of the United States is going to deny its existence. He’s already claiming fears of a recession and all the negative economic indicators are manufactured by the Fake News media in order to keep him from being reelected, just as he’s claiming that Fox News polls that show him underwater against Democratic opponents are also fake news. “The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election,” Trump tweeted last week. The media has a lot of power, folks, but crashing the economy is not in their toolbox, nor would they want it to be: Newsrooms always seem to be among the first to go in recessions because broke-ass people need to pay for beans before their NYTimes subscription. Meanwhile, when Trump occasionally concedes that there are warning signs, he blames it on his Fed chair, the very guy who he nominated. Trump believes that moving interest rates down by a quarter-point will somehow save the economy because that’s exactly what farmers in Nebraska who can no longer sell food to China need: A lower interest rate on a loan for that tractor they no longer need.

The prospect of a Trump recession is terrifying — and it’s even more terrifying if he’s reelected because he convinces out-of-work blue-collar workers in the Rust Belt to vote for him because they actually do have a job, it’s just that the Fake News Media is hiding their jobs from them. You cannot fix a recession if you don’t acknowledge a recession. Worse, you can’t fix a recession if you try to fix it by providing more tax cuts to the wealthy, which is exactly what Trump and other Republicans believe will solve the problem. It never has, and it never will.

I know there are some people who actually are rooting for a small recession just because it will hurt Trump’s reelection chances. Rooting interests will not affect the economy, but there is a real danger of a Trump recession, because if we get into one, and if Trump is reelected, the American economy will be boned for years to come because Trump has no idea how to solve it and half of America will deny its existence while collecting their unemployment checks, which Trump will eventually cut off in order to give another tax cut to the wealthy, because you know who is not going to suffer in another recession? The dudes in that photo above.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: Getty Images