President Trump isn’t worried about the economy. No really, he isn’t. Everything is going to be fine. Seriously. All of that talk of a recession last week and over the weekend, spurred by a few ominous market indicators, a sputtering global economy, and Trump’s continuing trade war with China, was overblown hype peddled by forces that want nothing more than to make the president look bad. After all, how bad could things really be when we’re all so rich?
“I don’t think we’re having a recession,” Trump told reporters on Sunday in an attempt to quell fears over a potential market crash. “We’re doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut and they’re loaded up with money.”
President Trump: "I don't think we're having a recession. We're doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut and they're loaded up with money." pic.twitter.com/An41BZcWtT
— The Hill (@thehill) August 19, 2019
“I don’t see a recession,” he continued. “I mean, the world is in a recession right now. Although, that’s too big a statement.”
This doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, nor does citing his 2017 tax cut, which very much did notload consumers up with money. Despite what Trump promised prior to the tax cut’s passage, the bill did not result in soaring wages for workers, the deficit has skyrocketed, and the primary beneficiaries have been corporations and the wealthiest Americans. Meanwhile, growth is slowing, and Americans who aren’t about to board a luxury helicopter are struggling to make ends meet. A study published by the Federal Reserve earlier this year found that 39 percent of Americans don’t have enough cash on hand to cover an unexpected $400 expense.
Never mind any of this, though. The president says consumers are rich, which means the only explanation for swelling economic anxiety is, what else, a conspiracy.
On Thursday, for example, Trump accused the media of deliberately precipitating an economic apocalypse in order to run him out of office. “The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election,” he wrote on Twitter. “The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!”
The paranoia doesn’t end there. The New York Times reported on Sunday that in addition to his public grievances about the economy — which have also been directed at Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, whom Trump has accused of hamstringing growth by not cutting rates by enough — the president has been griping privately to aides and allies that everyone is out to get him and that all of this talk of an economic downturn is part of a multi-pronged scheme perpetrated by enemies who he believes are more concerned with sticking it to him than they are with the welfare of the United States. Very sane. Very normal.
Americans better hope Trump is right, though, because if the nation is indeed on the brink of a recession, the White House is in no way prepared to deal with it. Trump can’t stop pouring gasoline on the still-raging tariff war with China, and the administration can’t seem to get its story straight as to whether the import taxes are hurting China or American consumers. Trump has repeatedly, falsely, said China is paying them, but his decision last week to delay the imposition of a new round of tariffs out of concern for holiday shoppers seems to indicate the opposite.