It is amazing to watch the Democrats and the Left sink to new lows. They are also a little late to the party. It was Bill Clinton’s mantra- “It’s the economy, stupid-” that they are suddenly now concentrating upon. Sadly, the Left is counting on or praying for a recession. One NBC analyst said that a recession in 2019 or 2020 in the lead-up to the election would be necessary short-term suffering for the good of the Constitution. In other words, Americans must suffer economic hardship to rid the country of Trump.
Noted bearded bard and economist Paul Krugman, who writes for the New York Times, is quick to point out the role of the stock market: it is not the economy. The stock market is notorious for wild swings at times and reacts in knee-jerk fashion to any news. Yet, Krugman is sounding the alarm of the impending recession because the stock market took a hit last week. He further noted- as an addendum to his law of the stock market- the bond market is the economy and indicative of predicting a recession. But like any Leftist of any stripe, Krugman has been wrong on numerous occasions with his economic prognostications. The man who championed Obama’s “stimulus” is now suddenly concerned with budget deficits.
As his twitter rants sometimes belie, Trump is an impatient man. But, in the area of policy, he has been rather patient. In the trade war with China, Trump has encountered a recalcitrant and tough opponent. Any trade dispute puts any President on edge. Complaints come from all sides: consumers complain about rising prices, businesses complain about supply chain disruptions, farmers complain. The stock market responds and investors complain. The media trots out experts to complain that Trump is reckless, crazy, or unhinged (often all three in one article).
Since the 1990s, we have heard that China is a growing threat. Yet, every president has succumbed to pressure and did nothing but talk. Repeatedly saying China is a growing military and economic threat and doing nothing about it has been the preferred policy of Democrats and Republicans. All we had to do was wait them out and they would see the error of their ways. But, the United States was played for a fool each and every time.
Trump is different from other politicians like Clinton, Bush, and Obama because he is not a politician. Thus, he appears immune to these pressures that would have caused any other president to run for the hills. In fact, in most areas of foreign policy, including trade which has an impact on the economy, Trump has shown patience. It is evident in his dealing with North Korea, the Iran nuclear accords, NATO budgets, trade talks with Mexico, Canada, and the EU, the mess in Venezuela, and the Middle East. Other presidents seemed more concerned with kicking the problem down the road for fear of offending someone or obtaining that elusive Nobel Prize.
The key point about Trump when it comes to policy is unpredictability. It has left the world and Democrats confused and confounded. We heard that Trump would send the economy into chaos by scrapping NAFTA. We heard that our European allies would desert us because Trump demanded they pay more for their protection under NATO. We heard of the impending recession when Trump imposed tariffs on Chinese goods. None of these things happened. In fact, it appears Canada and Mexico are negotiating in good faith and NATO members have increased their military budgets.
As a businessman, Trump really has to prove nothing. He has had success and failures, but he is still rich. Can any Democrat running for president with a realistic chance at the nomination make a similar claim? They are all politicians whose only accomplishments in life is winning an election. Some can fall back on returning to the Senate. But, for people like Biden, O’Rourke, and others, it is winning… or be forgotten.
This also explains why every candidate has adopted a radical agenda which involves, in no particular order, “free” health care, reparations, destroying America’s energy sector, open borders, free college tuition, and-of course- labeling everyone who disagrees a racist. But as they portray the United States in dystopian terms, the impending doom predicted by every dire prediction from the Left has failed to materialize.
A perfect example is China. Everyone believes that they can wait out the US. However, the success of the regime that runs that country- the Communist Party- is predicated upon economic progress. Anything that impedes that progress, such as a trade war with the United States, puts the Chinese government in a precarious situation. If their economy falters seriously enough- and there are indications that it is happening- it sends shocks through the regime. The current unrest in Hong Kong is one example of the pressure on the Chinese government. And although this sideshow in Hong Kong will not topple the Chinese government, it is an unnecessary headache at a critical point in time.
And the propaganda arm of the Democrats- the media in general- has been an unfriendly “friend” to Trump. With their nonstop negative coverage over every utterance or tweet, he realizes he does not need them to carry his message. He does not need their approval and his base may even have a greater disdain for the media than Trump. Although Trump can be rude, bombastic, annoying, and impetuous at times, everyone knows that already, including stock market investors and bondholders.
Realizing that the Russian collusion hoax has bitten the dust, the Democrats turned to racism. Now since that line of attack is not gaining traction, they have turned to the economy. In effect, they are now arguing that we return to tried and failed policies of the past when it comes to trade, China, and a host of other items. They- the Democrats- are not dealing with a political strategist like Bill Clinton, a great communicator like Ronald Reagan, a capitulator like George W. Bush, or a smooth-talking socialist like Barack Obama.
In virtually every area of policy, their two choices are either radical or a return to failed policies of the past. In the next round of debates, if the media pounds the wishful drums of economic problems, we should listen closely to what those candidates say. We know the answer. It will be long on criticism and short on actual policy prescriptions. We will hear about how we have to invest in infrastructure (which the Democrat leadership in Congress currently blocks) and education (through free college tuition). Expect to hear sob stories about the pig farmer in Iowa or the automobile part supplier in Ohio.
Krugman may be right- the stock market is not the economy (small consolation to those with pensions or 401(k) plans). But by the same token, anecdotal stories are not the economy neither. Attempting to talk the country into an economic recession is perhaps the lowest the Democrats can go in order to gain power. It illustrates that power, not the good of the country, is their ultimate goal. It is a sickening turn of events for a political party already in the gutter.