Opinion: Trump fakes about the economy, just like he’s faking the pandemic, just like he’s faked everything his whole life

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It takes 270 electoral votes to be elected president.

When my daughter was around 4, she had a great friend who would take them on wonderful adventures. “Let’s pretend we’re adults,” she said in a memorable sentence. “Let’s pretend we’re explorers.” Or “let’s pretend we’re having a tea party.”

It was my job to go out there after a few hours and gently tell her, “The time for pretending is over. Let’s go clean the real dirt off your face, put real food in your body, and get ready for some more wonderful adventures in your dreams.

Donald Trump’s dad never told him to stop pretending. He’s been pretending his whole life. Pretend you’ve built successful businesses. Pretend to be a strong leader. Pretend he’s a good family man. Pretend wisdom, expertise and reverence. Pretend to love America more than himself.

Trump’s fake news

Pretending is the only thing Donald Trump has ever been good at. We find out more details on how he built his real estate empire on a bunch of lies and a mountain of unpaid taxes. His career in show business was built by pretending to be a boss. His political career was built on lies about Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, immigrants, Gold Star parents, his main Republican opponents and the help he requested and obtained from Russia.

His economic policies have been like Trump himself: loud, brash, and largely ineffective.

And his presidency has been an endless deep falsehood, especially the lie that the economy, which hundreds of millions of Americans have built, is his only achievement.

Now read: Why presidents shouldn’t be credited or blamed for the economy

Donald Trump did not build this economy. His signature policies – an extremely irresponsible and unnecessary tax giveaway to businesses and the rich, a senseless trade war with all of our trading partners, and the total abolition of regulations that protect workers, consumers, the environment and the economy – had almost no effect on the growth rate or the number of jobs or the stock market.

His economic policies have been like Trump himself: loud, brash, and largely ineffective.

Now read: Trump didn’t transform the economy – it’s the same as under Obama

Here are the facts, using the same metrics Trump himself boasts:

  • The gross domestic product of the United States grew at an annual rate of 1.9% from Trump’s inauguration in 2017 until the first quarter of this year when the coronavirus struck, somewhat slower than the growth rate 2.4% annualized over the equivalent period immediately prior to Trump taking office.

  • Job growth slowed slightly over the same period, from 223,000 per month under Obama to 185,000 under Trump.

  • The total annual return of the S&P 500 SPX,
    -0.41%
    The index rose slightly over this period, from 9.3% under Obama to 11% under Trump.

Trump not only failed to build the best economy ever, but he didn’t budge it from its trend. Until the coronavirus hits.

Pandemic exposes Trump

The coronavirus has exposed all of Donald Trump’s falsifications. He doesn’t understand the economy any better than he understands the pandemic. This is part of the reason the United States is failing so much, with more than 5.7 million COVID cases and 28 million people collecting unemployment checks.

Prophetic: Boldly, Trump is running for re-election as coronavirus war hero

Plus, he doesn’t understand the president’s role in a crisis, which is to be a stable leader who inspires us all to make the sacrifices necessary to be successful.

Such a leader should rise up to the people about the task ahead while giving us hope and strength. He should not be afraid to be humble in the face of new and unexpected challenges. She or he should not be afraid to admit mistakes or ask for help.

In other words, a crisis is not the time to pretend. Character matters at times like these.

You don’t have to cheat everyone all the time; you just need 270 electoral votes.

Trump’s responses to the pandemic and the economic crisis it created have been a failure. Trump failed to grasp what almost everyone has: that the economy cannot fully recover until the pandemic is brought under control. There is no trade-off between public health and a strong economy, because the economy can never recover until it is possible to safely resume our lives.

The economy has had to be locked down to give public health officials time to prepare to defend the nation against the virus. But that time has been wasted. Hospital capacity has been boosted as needed, but other essential measures to control the pandemic have not been taken, in part because Trump has failed as a leader.

A crisis is not the time to pretend. Character matters at times like these.

His failure began with his lack of empathy for those affected, and it continued with his attempt to blame for his own failures on China. He refused to coordinate the complex task of quickly testing for infections, tracking possible vectors and isolating the infectious, which is the only way to contain the virus in the absence of an effective and universal vaccine.

When he tried to lead us, it was mostly in the wrong direction. He denied the severity of the virus, he promoted quack remedies, and he fought and politicized common sense measures that would have made a difference, like wearing masks and avoiding large crowds. He undermined the authority of his own experts and even questioned the value of testing.

He still brags about the one bold step he took, but it was ineffective, as his travel ban from China and Europe did not prevent US residents from bringing the virus into the country. .

Economic disaster

Its response to the economic crisis has been almost as bad. He wisely steered clear at first, when Democrats and Republicans in Congress actually accepted the big CARES relief program, which gave or loaned billions to small businesses, families, and the unemployed for the better. wait.

Fairly quickly, Trump began to fuss to reopen everything before the testing, tracking and isolation regime was ready. Under his leadership, governors prematurely lifted restrictions on social distancing and allowed the virus to spread further.

Then Trump started promoting charlatan cures for the economy, like a payroll tax holiday that would do nothing for those who suffer most, or a capital gains tax cut that would reward the rich more. , who largely escaped the worst pandemic, both physically and financially.

He has shown no interest in renewing the relief measures that had already worked. And so we still do not have a back-up plan, a month after the expiration of many effective measures. It is not surprising that employment growth is slowing and consumer confidence is collapsing.

Trump denies the depth of economic misery and accuses those who have been made redundant of not rushing into unsafe working conditions. It demands that schools and sporting events resume their normal activities without taking any precautions. He insists that everything will be fine, but does nothing to hasten that day.

Great seller

And yet, Trump gets his best marks from voters on his management of the economy. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, many still believe that it is the genuine article, not a fake.

Trump may be a bad president, but he’s a great salesman, and he knows better than anyone that if you boast with confidence, there’s next to nothing you can’t persuade people to believe. Some people run on their record, but Trump knows it’s better to lie on your record and run on it.

Often people confuse confidence and competence. You don’t have to cheat everyone all the time; you just need 270 electoral votes.

Trump is running for re-election, but he has no concrete plans for his second term, just a wishlist. He still has no strategy to bring the virus under control or to reopen the economy safely.

For the first time, the Republican Party refuses to adopt a party platform. The party that made its mark in fighting slavery and communism and in favor of freedom and limited government now finds itself unable to express what it believes in beyond blind loyalty to the supreme leader.

Trump himself has no idea what he would do in a second term. Friendly interviewers asked him about softball about what he hopes to achieve over the next four years, but he always comes back a virgin.

Instead of a party platform, the Trump campaign released a list of 50 “core priorities” for a second term, but the list is remarkably short on details. It reads like a list of New Year’s resolutions, with ambitious goals such as creating 10 million jobs, “getting back to normal in 2021” and eradicating global terrorism, as well as grafting varieties. garden such as ‘expanding areas of opportunity’. The only things missing are the wishes to lose 10 pounds and call your sister more often.

In other words, Trump is always pretending. He knows what people want to hear, but he has no idea how to get it.

Unfortunately, Trump’s presidency is not a pretend game. It’s as real as 24 million people out of work, and as final as 177,000 deaths.

I’m here to kindly tell you: the time for pretending is over.

Rex Nutting is a columnist for MarketWatch who has covered economics and politics for 25 years.


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