I’ve decided to reactivate my Running Commentary category and here is the first installment:
Watching Morning Joe just now Steve Rattner showed a chart where the metals tarrifs’ effects were followed by his jagged up and down line. Right when Trump was elected, the line shot up past what it had been under Obama – which had not been bad since 2010 when the Recovery began – and then plummeting recently under the weight of the tarrifs. This is an indicator of manufacturing pace and it was down in 2016, probably due to uncertainty about the election. But when Trump was elected, it rose dramatically due to, IMHO, the notion manufacturers wrongly had that Trump would remove barriers like trade barriers and anti-pollution and labor laws. Now that they see what Trump’s populist economy is really like, they are running screaming for the door. I thought these CEOs were some of the best and the brightest. Really?
Then there is the CEOs themselves and their “consumer confidence.” As I have said, when Trump came in they were gung-ho but now they are pulling back and their confidence is falling drastically. And do you know whose else confidence is dropping? The investors’, that’s whose. IOW, the entire economy is starting to contract and once these currents start, or, drawing on the analogies available from the Patrick O’Brian sea stories I’m reading, once we find ourselves in the currents, the pull is inexorable. Turning back is next to impossible as those iron-clad laws of economics and social movement get their grip on. But it won’t be just Trump who will go down; we are all on the ship and the rest of the world with us.
So my question is who do we hold responsible?
And responsibility is the key. Right after Rattner was on, Joe and Mika had General James Mattis and Bing West, former assistant security advisor under Reagan. The contrast with the Trumpers could not be more dramatic: men of complete integrity and courage, foresight and determination, knowledge and caring (the two wrote a book together, Call Sign Chaos), and have 3 requirements of leadership: competence, caring, and conviction. All of those are lacking in this administration but they do not spare earlier presidents Obama and Bush. And here is the kicker, what do they say is ruining our young people’s chances for leading the world: the lousy way we teach history in our universities (and I would add public schools)! History teaches two things: what worked and what didn’t work and that’s the basis for your planning and action. What a call!