With Obama, pundits were often admiringly assuming that he was playing 11th dimension chess when he did something they couldn’t quite understand. In retrospect, he was sometimes just trying to stay ahead of a quite conventional chess game and sometimes he was playing from behind. Wall Street may have groused about Obama, never happy when Democrats are in there despite the historical record of superior performance under Democratic presidents, but they knew he was competently steering the ship of state. Hell, he steered it off the rocks and let them keep the helms of their stupid ships when some of them should have been thrown in the brig. They we’re never all that grateful for what he accomplished. Or for the fact that they could have been held way more accountable. In that way Obama was betwixt and between, business interests irrationally hated him (much like Roosevelt, who also saved their bacon) and the left criticized him (quite rationally) for not throwing at least one bankster in jail as a warning. Hillary took fire from both sides and now we have a president playing tic-tac-toe.
It all started out so dreamily. Wall Street thrilled to a “Trump bump” thinking that one of their own was in charge. It took awhile, but it seems as if the true elites in NY, D.C., London and Frankfort who run our economy have finally come to the realization that “this guy has no idea what he’s doing.” They come to this knowledge late, but not better than never because the markets have been “correcting” for a month now like a nuclear pendulum careening wildly up and then down and back again. It’s real, true correct UNCERTAINTY. Truly that worst possible of all worlds that churlish businessmen were citing all during Obama’s time as the problem with everything. “Well, we’d hire people but all the uncertainty of the ACA, Dodd Frank, what have you excuse du jour.”
I differ from many because I’m not against tariffs. I’m not a lassez faire free trader because that’s one of the main causes of our out of control inequality. The second half of the 20th century was the victory of the free traders in making tariffs and protectionist economic policy dirty words. Here’s the one area where Trump and Sanders really were on the same page. Both were bucking their party elites in pushing economic ideas that were accepted in earlier times as salutary for American workers. The difference is that a President Sanders would have surrounded himself with actual economists of renown who, if they came up with a plan to institute tariffs would have put great thought into it, and rolled it out in a way that caught the public imagination without panicking the markets. Trump, as we know, has no such people around him and has no sense.
So tariffs are thrown out there out of the blue taking Wall Street, the media, and his own party (which is 99% against them), by surprise. Tariffs, bitches, suck on that!! On EVERYBODY! On China, the notorious steel dumpers and Canada our bestest friends and trading partners. Well thought out? Nope! Horribly conceived and without any inkling of an iota of the remotest idea of nuance. Just what you’d expect from a man with a comb over, a gold apartment, nondisclosure agreements with porn stars, a Russian pee pee tape and a Slovenian nude model wife brought into the country on “Einstein visa” (really you couldn’t make this up).
I have no doubt that he threw out the imposition of tariffs willy-nilly in order to change the subject from Russia and, he thought, to rally his base. Not so much. Coming the day after his suggestion that guns really do have to be taken from people has the right wing in a true panty-bunching, pearl clutching tizzy. Well, at least that’s fun.
Get ready for a long term bumpy ride as the “Trump bump” is disappearing and all that irrational good will is long gone. Wall Street may be Mueller’s biggest fans as this goes on. Because as we all know, they hate uncertainty. And Trump is Captain Uncertainty.
P.S. Walking fossil and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross went on CNBC, a day too late, and explained about how everybody grew victory gardens during WWII and tariffs aren’t that big a deal, which did seem to calm the stupid cows in the market.
P.S.S. – Trump suck up Carl Icahn reportedly sold his steel stock last week. Too early. OMFG!! Is everyone around this man so transparently greedy and stupid?
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