Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Thursday, December 6, 2018

In the Long Run, We'll All Be Dead

There are a couple of instances in which the "we'll all be dead" paradigm makes its way into history. I guess for people who do economics, Keynes is the obvious one: In the long run we are all dead. Which is, on the face of it, absolutely true. To quote my father's favorite musical philosopher: "No one here gets out alive".   But just talking about myself, honestly, as a person past the age of 40 who might shuffle on another fifty years, what the actual fuck? Because I have come to grips the way a fragile mortal can having had near misses with blood alcohol flirtations and closed fist frustrations, and who can comfortably assert that my childlessness will proceed apace until my eventual oxygen permit revocation, that if and when I die, I'd like not to have fucked the entire earth up too much for the progeny of others. And I feel that way about the budget, also. We owe more to future generations than a government unfit to do more than bomb other countries and service its debt.

I see a really strong link between Trump's budget nihilism and his climate change nihilism. And for the record, I think this isn't any different from any other dues-paying practicing Republican, either.

I know George W. Bush understood his place in history might not even matter eventually, because he'd be dead when his legacy was eventually sorted out.  It could seem self-effacing that way, but in a more immediate way, it seems a bit like throwing off responsibility for the history one helped create. As if history would never affirmatively ascribe any blame, or convince one to take in the degree to which one was a person with agency to stop any harm, or constructively benefit lives.

And ever so many followed in this wake--they maintain they know climate change is happening, but can't be arsed to care. Or they deny it utterly, because they are Jim Inhofe or similar. Because the outcomes are not their problem, but service to their donors possibly is?  They realize that the debt crisis that looms is a real thing, but want to believe that slippery ideas about how much the economy can grow if people weren't taxed so much does more for us than the very simple idea that government should raise revenues from taxation to pay for the necessities of its ongoing missions.

We need pragmatists in government, and people who not only understand history, but will fight to improve upon it, regardless of the earth that will lay over their remains some day.

Trump thinks a debt crisis will not matter to himself when he is out or office or dead-- the same Donald Trump who records every knock or slight against himself, and rages against it on Twitter.

Dead or alive, we can blame such things as the trade war already hurting people in rural areas, leading people to sell their farms, or the trade war shutting car factories, as mistakes that, regardless of Trump's mortality, can be laid at Trump's feet from a policy stance.

He can leave office or die, in the long run, or even a short, angry, sedentary fat man's run, but he would still be responsible for his policies, his appointments, and the choices he made.

And fucking up the future for American business, farming, manufacturing, is not making America Great Again, ever.

1 comment:

Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vivacious, actually the current stock market slump has more to do with Federal Reserve policy than any elected politician.

Truthfully, the economy is doing extraordinarily well. We have the lowest unemployment rate since 1969.

Jerome Powell, the fed chairman, was appointed by Trump and instantly started to raise interest rates. This flies in the face of Trump's initiative to shrink the debt.

Trump's policy is exactly that of John F. Kennedy. Like Kennedy, Trump lowered taxes and slashed regulations. As Kennedy explained, paradoxically lowering taxes returns more money to the US Treasury. The way this works is that lower taxes leave more liquidity in the culture and so people borrow more, start and expand more businesses, and everyone makes more money. Therefore at tax time people have more money to pay the government.

The fed (which incidentally is not a part of the United States' government – many of the board of directors are not US citizens – central bankers lead a life of their own) started raising interest rates because they wish to make borrowing more difficult In order to counteract the forces of rising inflation.

However, Trump's policy involves the US economy becoming so successful that an excess exists to pay down the debt. It's a win-win policy. And this is why he has publicly chastised Jerome Powell on several occasions, and Powell has responded by telling congress he is backing off the velocity at which interest rates will be raised.

His over eagerness to raise rates has resulted in an inverted curve in the bond market. This is when short-term bonds are paying as much as or more than long-term bonds. The longer the maturity of the bond you hold, the larger the interest rate you should receive, because you are taking a chance on the long-term bond and therefore you should be rewarded. When a bond with a short-term maturity pays as much as, say, the bellwether 10-year T bill, it's an indication of possible recession.

And this is why Trump has chastised the fed chairman and why there is so much ratcheting around in the stock market.

Obama did not have this problem because of quantitative easing. The fed dumped hundreds of millions of dollars into the stock market so that the wealthy would be protected from the redistribution he was attempting through his healthcare and other social programs. Today there is no such measure.

Trump's policy is sound, but the fed needs to get on board. And of course some market dislocation happens because of the wrangling with China.

Attempting to fix this by raising taxes ultimately leads to what you see in France. An already over-taxed people are told they have to come with the the money to pay $8 a gallon for gasoline. The rioters are on the left and the right. The French are completely justified, because France's policies hollow out the middle class and leave the country with only rich and poor, and that is why Macron's favorable ratings in polling are at 23%.