So, Donald Trump says his “gut” is better than most people’s brains. Thus, the economy is not sliding into soft, potentially dangerous territory, but is on an upward trajectory that will amaze us. Trump also says he does not “believe” in the science of climate change. Now, since the federal government and 99 percent of the world’s scientists do “believe,” Trump’s disavowal of the facts truly does take guts.
Nonetheless, Trump, once again remarking on his remarkable intelligence, told the Washington Post that “people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence, but we’re not necessarily such believers.” Huh?
But enough digressing. Let’s talk about the soaring economy, even though most people with ordinary brains think climate change will be devastating to everyone’s economy.
If the 10-year run of economic growth is slowing, the most ominous sign so far is General Motors’ alarming announcement it will ax 15,000 jobs because auto buyers don’t like sedans anymore. Stunned workers were given no heads-up or chance to retool or to redesign. So much for Trump’s pledge that the return of American manufacturing jobs was at hand. So much for growth in states such as Ohio and Maryland.
Also, Trump’s incipient trade war with China is damaging the income of U.S. farmers and small businesses. His tariffs on steel and aluminum have hit the car industry hard.
Also, Trump himself said Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve Board chairman, whom he appointed to replace the widely admired Janet Yellen, whom he called physically too short, is undermining economic growth. The central bank has increased interest rates, which depresses buying and lending.
In a remarkable interview, in which Trump, as he regularly does, frequently asserted his astonishing intelligence and gut, he told the Post: “I’m doing deals, and I’m not being accommodated by the Fed. They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.”
So much for his pledge that he would name America’s best brains to advise him.
We are left uncertain exactly what deals Trump is talking about. Oh yes, he renamed the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico and now nobody remembers what it is called. He got us out of the world climate change agreement. He has blown up trade with China and some other countries. He named disputed Jerusalem the de facto capital of Israel, roiling the Middle East. And he ignored the CIA’s finding that Saudi Arabia’s crown prince started a bloody war against Yemen and undoubtedly ordered the killing of an American journalist.
Meanwhile, back to the robust economy. The signs are good. The economy is growing at about 3.5 percent. Unemployment is 3.7 percent. But Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cut did not boost corporate confidence for more than a few months. Instead of expanding, providing higher wages and adding a significant number of new jobs, business gave out a few bonuses, bought back stock and is hoarding profits, often overseas.
Also, the stock market recently plunged several times, spawning a niggling worm of worry in some investors. If you have faith in Trump’s gut, you remain unworried. Let’s hear it for that spectacular economy, going up, up, up, making the rich ever richer.