stock market

Unhinged (Failure)

#failure | #WhatTheyVotedFor

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reacts to a speech by President Donald Trump at the United Nations in New York, 19 September 2017. (Photos via Associated Press)

“Today, our president made his first speech before the UN General Assembly; he called Kim Jong Un, ‘Rocket Man’. He threatened to, quote, ‘totally destroy’, North Korea, and he said big portions of the world are, in his words, ‘going to hell’. He also bragged about his election victory, and the stock market. The president’s chief of staff did not appear to enjoy it, and just in case you thought that was just one bad picture, here’s another one.”

Rachel Maddow

Also of note is a particular question of implications, if the Trump administration is “failing to create diplomatic capacity, or is this them destroying American diplomatic capacity, on purpose, for some other reason”. And while Andrea Mitchell responds by reaffirming the mystery of the question, neither is a reporter of her station supposed to come right out and say it: “I don’t know the reason,” she replied, “other than Rex Tillerson did come in with a mandate to cut fat, and there is fat and bloat anywhere, but this is a rounding error”. The translation, of course, being that this is not how one trims fat or cures bloat. Meanwhile, for news consumers, the point might well have something to do with unfortunate tacitry giving way to the seemingly obvious, such that the question finds explicit voice among the talking hosts and heads we consume.

This is just one of those things that would seem significant of something, somewhere, in some context that really ought to be relevant to us. The hardest question to figure in virtually any context, though, is why the Trump administration would deliberately assail American prestige. And while the #trumpswindle will as the #trumpswindle does, it should seem absurd to wonder if this is really #WhatTheyVotedFor.

Then again, it should have seemed absurd to wonder about the white nationalism, too, and look what that got us.

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Image note:White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reacts to a speech by President Donald Trump at the United Nations in New York, 19 September 2017. (Photos via Associated Press)

Maddow, Rachel. “Trump joins history’s list of unhinged speakers at UN”. The Rachel Maddow Show. msnbc. 19 September 2017.

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A Brief Note on Reality

President Obama speaks at the Greater Boston Labor Council Labor Day Breakfast on Sept. 7. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

“It’s a fact that unemployment has gone down and the stock market has gone up during the Obama administration. But GOP voters treat these things more as issues of opinion than issues of fact.”

Dean Debnam

It seems worth mentioning.

And while it’s one thing to rely on Benen, and another to sit so sternly on such a reliably obvious point―

If GOP voters want to make the case that Obama’s policies don’t deserve credit, fine. If they want to argue that there are other, more important metrics than unemployment and the stock market, no problem. If they want to suggest things would be even better if the country had adopted a right-wing agenda, we can at least have the conversation.

But the polling suggests Republicans prefer to pretend reality just isn’t true. It’s as if a form of cognitive dissonance is kicking in: the president is bad, falling unemployment is good, ergo unemployment must be higher, not lower.

―perhaps the problem here is the unfortunate regularity of Republican reliance on the “reality gap”.

And if the syllogism seems clumsy to the point of being nonsensical, yes, that is actually the point.

Yes, really. This is what Republicans have come to.

(more…)

A Presidential Retort

Barack Obama

Last week, President Obama addressed the City Club of Cleveland; he also spoke his mind about a few things having to do with the way of things in Washington:

It’s important to note that at every step that we’ve taken over the past six years we were told our goals were misguided; they were too ambitious; that my administration’s policies would crush jobs and explode deficits, and destroy the economy forever. Remember that? Because sometimes we don’t do the instant replay, we don’t run the tape back, and then we end up having the same argument going forward.

One Republican in Congress warned our policies would diminish employment and diminish stock prices. Diminish stock prices. (Laughter.) The stock market has doubled since I came into office. Corporate profits are―corporate balance sheets are stronger than they have ever been―because of my terrible business policies. (Laughter.)

One Republican senator claimed we faced trillion-dollar deficits as far as the eye can see. Another predicted my reelection would spike gas prices to $6.60 a gallon. (Laughter.) I don’t know how he came up with that figure―$6.60. (Laughter.) My opponent in that last election pledged that he could bring down the unemployment rate to 6 percent by 2016―next year―at the end of next year. It’s 5.5 now. (Applause.)

And right here in Cleveland, the leader of the House Republicans―a good friend of mine―(laughter)―he captured his party’s economic theories by critiquing mine with a very simple question: Where are the jobs, he said. Where are the jobs? I’m sure there was a headline in The Plain Dealer or one of the papers―Where Are the Jobs?

Well, after 12 million new jobs, a stock market that has more than doubled, deficits that have been cut by two-thirds, health care inflation at the lowest rate in nearly 50 years, manufacturing coming back, auto industry coming back, clean energy doubled―I’ve come not only to answer that question, but I want to return to the debate that is central to this country, and the alternative economic theory that’s presented by the other side.

Because their theory does not change. It really doesn’t. It’s a theory that says, if we do little more than just cut taxes for those at the very top, if we strip out regulations and let special interests write their own rules, prosperity trickles down to the rest of us. And I take the opposite view. And I take it not for ideological reasons, but for historic reasons, because of the evidence.

Imagine that. Evidence.

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Obama, Barack. “Remarks by the President to the City Club of Cleveland”. The White House. 18 March 2015.

Eighteen Thousand

President Barack Obama, delivers his State of the Union speech at the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

“Add it all up, and Obama’s radicalism has killed the Dow to the tune of a 171 percent return since Boskin’s op-ed.”

Matt O’Brien

It seems something of a petty reward, occasionally witnessing the press undergoing a market value correction. Matt O’Brien recalls a 2009 op-ed, and those who recall the narrative of our American economy over the coure of the last several years might find some sort of comfort in knowing that, having passed Obama’s final electoral test, we can all admit that the tales we spun over the course of his presidency have been so much excrement.

Oh, come on. How many people are willing to admit it, now that we’re through the year-six midterm? All of that equivocation in order to pretend there really was some sort of debate to be had about not so much whether or not the wild-eyed tales of Republican horror were true or false, but just how true we were supposed to believe they were.

Admit it. Even when you were trying to be “fair”, nodding and winking at the talk over the corner table at the tavern, you knew it was all a fertilizer manufactory.

We have tried, over recent years, to redefine everything in order to keep up the appearance of a fair fight.

Ask yourself this: What do you want a President to do? And if he really does it, will you turn around and complain?

The economy is doing fine, and has been for a while. What isn’t doing fine is our business sector; was a time when civic and business leaders were often one and the same. These days, business leaders are the antithesis of anything civic save for dissolution.

It’s okay to admit you were wrong. It’s even okay to wonder why you were so determined to be wrong.

But let us face the real fact: This president was never the problem.

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O’Brien, Matt. “Now that the Dow has hit 18,000, let us remember the worst op-ed in history”. The Washington Post. 23 December 2014.