The Eve of Destructon
By Dave DeMars 2/12/2017
There are large segments of the population that voted for Donald Trump based on his rhetoric and his economic promises. Not so much the rhetoric about building the wall, or securing the border although that too is something about which some are enthusiastic. To be sure there were plenty of xenophobes, mysogynists, and antigay, anti-black, anti-whatever that cheered and cried for blood like good Romans at the circus, but they were not the majority of Trump supporters. Just the loudest.
What garnered many votes from small business owners and union workers, and the middle class in general was the promise of more jobs of the kind that were present in the 50's, 60's and 70's. What was promised were jobs related to rebuilding our infrastructure in this country – bridges, highways, airports, hospitals and other public works projects. What was promised were jobs related to rebuilding and creating a stronger military – aircraft, ships for the navy, new tanks and equipment for the army, and even improvements at NASA. What lured many in to drink the kool-aid was a promised tax reform and tax reductions of ten and fifteen percent. What was promised was a repeal of Obamacare (though a good percentage didn't know what it did for them or even what its real name was).
I am not sure if they forgot where we were in 2008 when Obama took over- 10% unemployment, a military engaged in fighting two wars with possible entanglements in another; Lehman Brothers bankruptcy; Bear Stearns imploding, AIG sinking fast and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae in dire straits; the auto industry, especially GM in shambles coming sheepishly hat in hand to beg for government help. Millions were lost in the stock market and the DOW eventually found its bottom below the 7000.
A real estate market that was frozen like a block of ice for years started in 2007.
A recession that started at the end of 2007 that was not the fault of Obama, but became his cross to bear, and an inept Congress that fiddled while the country suffered proved little help in solving the problems paved the way for Teabaggers and Trump who practiced the propaganda methods of Joseph Goebbels to win the White House. “Tell a big lie and tell it often enough and people will believe you.”
There are those who would take issue with the last statement, so I will cite one such occurrence that happened less than 24 hours ago. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) today claimed that there is a “death panel” provisionin the Affordable Care Act, an idea bandied about by Michelle Bachman while she was in office. The idea was disproven and shown to be false in 2009 by Politifacts. And yet Bilirakis said, “there is a provision in there that anyone over the age of 74 lhas to go before what is effectively a death panel.”
Now we have Trump, and a majority Republican congress, both the House and the Senate. We know what they promised. We are familiar with the half truths, the distortions, and the outright lies. And we have been able to watch as a man unschooled in diplomacy, government, or even social graces now occupies the highest office in the land. Democrats and liberals know what to expect, but what about all those who voted for the Republican congress and the Donald. Are they sure of what they are getting? Do they know what they might get, not just what they hoped to get?
In 23 days our new Republican President has issued 22 executives orders dealing with a variety of issues. Executives orders are something that Republicans have criticized Obama for doing. (Obama issued an average 35 executive orders per year over eight years (per Pew Research Organization); that is fewer than any President dating back to Grover Cleveland in 1893. Clevelalnd completed two terms in the White House as well). Not only are there quite a few executive orders, but they seem to be poorly written and confusing. At least one, if not several have made their way to the Court of Appeals and will probably make their way to the Supreme Court.
Recently I read an article by Lawrence Fuller, “Have You Been Hypnotized by President Trump?” on the Seeking Alpha website (http://seekingalpha.com/article/4044852-hypnotized-president-trump) in which Fuller asked some very pertinent questions relating to the economic well being of the nation if things do not go precisely as Trump envisions. I will try to summarize.
Trump promised to lower overall taxes on businesses in what was termed a “phenomenal” plan. The promise has engendered a surge in the stock market. I own stock and am well invested in the market, so I don't mind the surge. But Fuller asked what happens if the surge turns out to be a bubble, a burp? What then?
“The stock market is high on Presidential rhetoric, yet starving for legislative substance, but investors don't seem to care, wrote Fuller.
Wall Street seems to be overly enthused with everything, but especially the promised tax relief.
“What if the President's tax plan isn't "phenomenal," and what if the massive infrastructure spending that he has promised never happens? What if corporations use their tax cuts to buy back stock and pay dividends to shareholders rather than reinvest in their businesses and hire new workers? What if the attempt to halt globalization in lieu of protectionist trade policies result in higher prices for consumers, job losses and a slower rate of economic growth?”
“What if his tax cuts lead to an increase in the budget deficit? What if the wealthy receive the vast majority of the tax cuts and choose to save or invest the additional income in financial assets rather than spend it on goods and services? How will Trump's "forgotten" feel about that?”
Good questions for certain. Some will of course raise a hue and cry, perhaps even hurling a few insults and slanderous comments. But Fuller theorizes as to what the outcome might be if the great unwashed, America's forgotten middle class, do not receive satisfaction of Trump's promise. And if the wealthy, the One Percenters receive the bulk of the benefit, what then?
Consumer confidence will deteriorate, and with that so will consumer spending, Fuller asserts. And like it or not, ours is an economy built on consumer spending, not industrialization. A stock market that just recently saw the DOW cross and hold above the 20,000 mark will come crashing down, and with it the economy of the nation and the entire world. It will make the Depression of the 1930's and the Recession of 2008 seems like happy days.
As for the Tweeter in Chief, he may find that legislative branch of government is as much a hindrance to his dreams of largess as the judicial branch ever is. After all, the infrastructure program he proposes has to be funded in some way or another, as does the “phenomenal” tax reduction. Either Congress has to authorize more borrowing, which adds to the national debt, or it reneges on Trump's “phenomenal tax restructuring.
As a sidenote, it was interesting to note that the sale of guns, and survivalist gear has increased dramatically. The difference is that now it is not the Posse Comitatus types that are buying the gear. It is the urban prepper who is looking to prepare for the coming “eve of destruction.”