I like to pride myself on being objective. I often say, “ I love my adversary, for they are my blind eye.” Many see my stubborn banter on social media as me having a bone to pick with conservatives. In reality, I’m just prodding those heavily vested in an opposing viewpoint for information. I subject my views to baptism by fire and while most conservatives I encounter online base their views on conventional wisdom, some really have well-founded views that help me to understand not only theirs, but how my views relate to reality.
I am continuously befuddled by the conservative notion that America was failing when Trump took office and that it was better under President George W. Bush. I still wonder how conservatives view a nation, untouched by Obama yet experiencing the Great Recession, with spiraling unemployment, failing banks, deteriorating infrastructure and a growing deficit could be considered doing better than what the Obama presidency produced. The Country may not have been growing at a rapid enough pace to get conservative approval but it was definitely growing and it wasn’t under Bush II.
I still have yet to hear a good case as to why the Bush economy was better than Obama’s. Conservatives usually tell me that Bush’s policies kicked in after he left office or that the anticipation of an Obama presidency and his inexperience running a business caused the banks to crash. I did note the thought pattern from those adamant about saying President Obama drug America down and that he had no responsibility in lifting this country out of the Great Recession. I realized that these conservatives exhibited a phenomena that I have a saying for and it goes like this; “Smart people use details to form conclusions and others start with a conclusion and look for details to substantiate it.” Well, recently I found myself being the “other” type and looking for details to substantiate my claim that the Trump presidency has produced no good. I had to stop and put myself in check for discounting anything good resulting from his administration. I was subconsciously prioritizing negatives and not acknowledging the positive aspects of Trump’s presidency. So here’s my admission;
THE TRUMP ECONOMY IS ON FIRE!!!
I can’t lie. The stock market was soaring well over 26,000 until three days ago but even at just over 25,000 it is still doing very well. When it started breaking records, I thought it would teeter at 25,000 and crash. I’ve even posted many memes suggesting Trump couldn’t “keep it up.” Well, I was wrong about that one. The economy under Trump appears to be really strong, even weathering the trade war and several seemingly idiotic shifts in policy.
With that said, I have some questions for conservatives before I get on board with a Trump Presidency. The mechanics of this robust economy just don’t make sense to me. It seems like the difference between allowing a helium filled balloon to slowly rise to great heights or undoing its end and letting it rocket uncontrollably hoping it will go even higher. I like high Stock Market numbers but as an independent thinker, I must understand what’s causing them.
Question 1. Did Trump just put our growth on credit or is there something real underpinning this economic heyday? I feel that what Trump did to create this economic growth is equivalent to a head of household not paying the bills and using that money along with credit to purchase things that the family wants. In other words, Trump’s tax cut added 1.5 Trillion to our deficit, which is the same as taking out a loan. We will have to pay the cost of all this added labor someday.
Question 2. What are we creating that the world wants to buy? To grow, America must be the only one producing something the rest of the world wants. If other countries can make that product we must produce it more efficiently thereby making it cheaper. The average wage in the US is dramatically higher than, let’s say, in China, so in order to compete something completely new and innovative would have to happen. Our food exports technically make us the most money but Africa could easily replace the US in food exports. Oil is our next largest export but the fact we are now fracking and fighting over drilling rights in sensitive areas shows that we’re running out of it. American military products are where we we corner the market but China and Russia are catching up fast. Military being a major American export is why Donald Trump is reluctant to punish Saudi Arabia for possibly killing journalist, Jamal Khasoggi. America produces the world’s best war products, it makes us a ton of money but that’s already part of our economic portfolio. So, being a realist and a bit of a skeptic, I’m trying to wrap my head around what exactly extra are we creating to increase our global worth?
Question 3. What are we doing about the deficit? In regular households, interest payments often cause families’ economic demise. Sometimes I just say ’F**k it” and whip out my credit card to pay for something. I did it once at a gun shop when I bought my AR-15. I did it once with a car. I did it once with a vacation. Each and every time I did this, I spent a grueling period afterwards sacrificing to pay that money back. This means I didn’t eat out, I didn’t go out for drinks and I mainly read and drank coffee when I wasn’t working. I also found extra work to speed up the repayment. Trump whipped out America’s credit card and gave a huge tax cut to the rich and a token tax cut to the rest of America. Trump’s deed cost America a tremendous amount of money we didn’t have. President Trump appears to have run his businesses the same way, declaring bankruptcy to avoid paying money he owed. Exploiting the bankruptcy system is a privilege that does not extend beyond our borders. America doesn’t have that option because America’s bankruptcy would mean the dollar would no longer be the world’s reserve currency. This would make the Great Recession and even the Great Depression look like child’s play. So, what exactly is our plan for paying off our debt?
Question 4. What’s the point of new jobs if they can’t pay for the cost of living? More jobs, higher costs of living and stagnating or decreasing pay are a recipe for being one step closer to slavery. If corporations are hiring but the money is just going right out of the new hires’ back door, today’s wages are just token payments. Many white men make the argument that American slaves were paid in food and shelter in a 1st class country. Being that they were the ones who grew the food and built the shelter, we now realize slavery was a completely one-sided sham. If today, workers are working hard but have no surplus in funds, Trump’s “prosperity” could just as well be a sham, edging America closer towards neo-slavery.
Question 5. If America is growing so much, why isn’t the dollar gaining on the Swedish Kronor? This is abstract but for me it’s personal. However, this question is totally applicable to America’s situation. To understand things I like relate them to my personal experience. Sweden is my home away from home and I gauge America’s economic strength by observing how far my American dollar goes in paying for my vacations. On my very first trip during George W. Bush the dollar was really weak with one dollar equaling 5.95 Kronor. A meal from McDonalds would cost nearly $20 when our money was that weak. The Dollar immediately got better under Obama and eventually hit a high 9.20 of kroner. When the dollar is this good, items there cost about 5-10% more than here in the States. Under Trump, the dollar has been strong versus the Kronor but nothing unusual. As I write this it is currently 8.97, which is good but for an economy supposedly doing way better than Obama’s, or in Trump’s words, “the greatest economy in the history of our country,” it sure isn’t making my vacations less expensive. To me this indicates a similar balance of economic power as before. If we were truly here growing our worth, our dollar would be stronger against foreign currencies. But it’s not, which makes me feel all this supposed growth, while looking good on paper is not translating to anything real.
My point is this: Republicans consider Ronald Reagan one of America’s best presidents even though his policies converted America from a creditor to a debtor nation. He essentially just whipped out the credit card and is now regarded by conservatives as the one of the best things to ever happen to America. Reagan’s borrowing was so bad that it cost George H.W. Bush his second presidential term. Bush #1 had to go back on his promise, leading to his now infamous statement, “Read my lips. NO NEW TAXES” (emphasis added). If Dad or Mom stop paying the credit card bills and suddenly bought a new car, clothes for the family and toys for the kids, he or she would be everyone’s favorite. The neighbors will think someone got a promotion at the job and everyone would be envious. But in three months when the car gets repossessed and the Sheriff is putting the everyone out on the street, then everyone would would realize all the praises and high estimation were undeserved because they weren’t thinking long-term. I feel that Trump is not looking at the bigger picture and conservatives will soon see that he’s dooming our country. Or will they?
I worry that the negative effects of Trumps policies won’t be felt until after the Midterms and he will, without merit, blame it on the new Democratic Majority in the House, Senate or both. Hell! If conservatives can believe Obama’s recovery was the delayed effects of Bush II’s policies, how hard would it be to convince them that the negative effects of America’s fiat growth is due to the dramatic loss of a Congressional majority? I suspect not hard at all. I welcome input from any conservatives that could add light to this subject. What is underpinning our growth?