A fascinating piece dropped today in the Wall Street Journal. It detailed consumer confidence ratings since the Trump administration took office and the results were shocking:
(According to the) University of Michigan’s survey of consumer sentiment. Republican expectations are at an index reading of 120 this month. Since 1952 the overall sentiment index has never topped 112. Democrats, by contrast, were at 55.5, a level not seen since the worst of the financial crisis, when the economy was shedding more than 2 million jobs per quarter. Thus, by Michigan’s measure, Republicans are collectively counting on the best economy in post-World War II history, while Democrats expect something as bad as the worst days of the 2008 financial crisis.
This report outlines many of the issues with the Republican economic philosophy, namely the big one: it’s total nonsense and a complete fantasy.
Let’s start with the crusade against the national debt and weaponizing the debt ceiling specifically. This was utilized to threaten President Obama as a way to take hostage the continuing resolutions that fund our government. It wouldn’t hurt to pay down our national debt and come out of fiscal years with surpluses rather than deficits, but there are ways to accomplish that goal by giving all Americans health care (saves $5 trillion dollars), repatriating taxes stashed overseas by corporations and raising taxes on the wealthy. Plus, deficit hawks tend to be hypocrites when it comes to the policies they want to implement.
Next, we move to the fiction that the billionaires in Trump’s cabinet are friends of the working people and will make it rain trickle down economics on them. This is not only wrong, but dangerous for those of us who are seeing the situation clearly. Wilbur Ross, a man who has outsourced jobs, will face a Senate vote today to be confirmed to the post of Commerce Secretary. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin never met a homeowner he didn’t want to foreclose on. People think these wealthy crooks care about their problems? Trump himself is a certified economic predator.
Finally, let’s tackle “Making America Great Again” and the notion that Trump can wave a magic wand to fix our problems. This magic wand can apparently solve automation and raise stagnant wages, all while its owner supports right-to-work and sticks it to the people who work for his company.
I don’t know what’s going to happen in the market. I hope its going to remain stable and continue to create jobs, but I’m not going to lie to myself and tell others that the people in charge care about anything other than their bottom lines.