This is starting to feel very 2008 now. I don't know if anyone else got hit this way but, when the grifter-induced crash came at the end of the last decade, it seemed like I woke up one morning and the entire economic structure of the world had vanished in smoke and mist. Nobody I knew really knew what had happened. (Collateralized debt obligations? Credit default swaps? Derivatives? Don't they sell those in Whole Foods in the pills and powders aisle?)
As it happens, it didn't become entirely clear until the whole thing was explained to me by this woman who taught at Harvard Law School. She managed to make things clear even to my math-resistant brain. Anyway, over the last couple of days, I'm starting to feel like someone's kicked out a couple of critical Jenga pieces again.
First, the Federal Reserve and the president* are yelling at each other again. The Fed cut interest rates lightly this morning, and the president*, who doesn't know anything about anything, pitched a fit. From the Washington Post:
In an extremely unusual move, Trump blasted the Fed’s announcement just 25 minutes after it was made public, targeting Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell’s leadership in particular. “Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve Fail Again,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “No ‘guts,’ no sense, no vision! A terrible communicator.”...
While Trump has insisted that most problems with the economy are squarely the Fed’s fault, Powell on Wednesday said trade uncertainty was one of the issues that was weighing on growth. Powell didn’t single out Trump for causing the trade uncertainty, but many business executives and lawmakers have.
Most economists agree that the most important thing for a president to do when it starts becoming plain that he may have screwed up the economy is to make sure he has settled on a scapegoat in advance.
The uncertainty is more than an economic indicator. The uncertainty exists in everyday life, and our sense of control, which hasn't been strong in our politics since 2016, is dimming badly. In 2oo8, it happened all of a sudden. Now, it seems, we can all feel the long, slow slide and that makes this a perilous moment. One thing this president* cannot do is reassure people.
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