Poor Trump. He brags on the stock market and then the stock market tanks. Now, it’s made up about half of his losses.
I’ve been waiting for Trump to tweet that Monday’s sickening market slide was the Democrats’ fault. They spooked investors by refusing to approve his wall; or by failing to applaud his State of the Union address; or maybe by threatening his very presidency, the source of everything good in the economy.
Trump is implicated in the wildly gyrating stock market in one respect. Investors have been wary that central banks will spoil the party by raising interest rates. The Republicans claimed that their tax cut will pay for itself, but the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office calculated that the tax changes will add a trillion dollars to the national debt over a decade. Then came the latest report by the Labor Department, showing that low unemployment is finally spurring some wage growth.
When central bankers see deficits and rising wages, they worry about inflation and they raise interest rates. That’s not good for an overheated stock market.
Liberals can enjoy Trump’s rhetoric getting tripped up by a swooning market. But before they succumb to the temptation to blame it on him, please consider that this is a little tricky.
First, we liberals like full employment and wage growth. We also don’t believe that higher deficits, within broad limits, cause higher interest rates. That’s the result of the Federal Reserve’s inflation obsession, not a fundamental law of economics.
It’s certainly true that Trump’s form of economic stimulus—massive tax cuts for the rich—is about the most inefficient and inequitable form of stimulus one can imagine. It would have been far better to spend that trillion on infrastructure and jobs. We should be whacking Trump for that.
As for the stock market, it will stabilize or decline, depending on the whims of investors and speculators and the perversity of the Fed. The stock market is one more market that’s far from efficient.
Trump is a fraud and a fool, but not every bad thing that happens is his doing. It’s not even clear that having some air come out of an overheated market is all that bad.