Donald Trump is feeling nostalgic for the pre-pandemic times when the economy was booming — for his billionaire buddies, at least — and jobs were plentiful — even if wages were not high enough to provide a cushion for sudden emergencies — judging from the elegiac tweet he sent this morning.
“With the Tax Cuts and new Trade Deals, we were set for a tremendous growth rate this year…. and then the Virus came along.” @larry_kudlow @MariaBartiromo We were breaking all records, especially on employment. It will all come roaring back again, and fast!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020
The president’s tweet of a quote from his Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow — yes, the same Larry Kudlow who a little over a month ago was going on cable news programs to parrot Trump’s claims that the coronavirus was “contained” – is imbued with a combination of wistful longing for a now forever-gone past and an unearned and uninformed optimism for the future health of an economy that is likely to be forever transformed by the trauma of the pandemic and the expected unprecedented death toll it is still bringing.
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Sadly, Trump’s yearningly plaintive reflections on the economic past of a now unrecognizable nation display no awareness that the tax cuts and trade deals born of disruptive tariff policies played such a large role in the financial free-fall that the president blindly insists will quickly reverse — as if he actually could will the economic rollercoaster to go back up to the top of the curve without the benefit of a motorized pulley.
With the Republican tax cut plan largely benefiting billionaires and the large corporations that simply used the money to buy back shares and increase the wealth of their executives and shareholders rather than reinvest in their employees and the future health of their companies, the sudden surge of coronavirus-caused unemployment has left the country without a meaningful economic cushion and left Trump without one of his most potent reelection messages, his continuance of the formerly strong economy left to him by Barack Obama.
Despite Trump’s rosy predictions for the future, the past tense is the appropriate one to use in any positive description of the American economy and hopefully one that we will soon use to refer to the Trump presidency.