When markets thrive on stability, what did you think was going to happen when you elected Donald Trump?

As I know very little about how the economy works, or the extent to which the stock market effects the economy, or, really, anything else about money related matters, I try to steer clear of such subjects here on the site. For those of you who might be interested in discussing the Dow Industrial Average’s recent 459-point drop, though, and the fact that U.S. stocks are on track to have their worst April since the beginning of the Great Depression, though, I thought that I’d share just a few quick thoughts as a kind of follow-up to my last post on the subject. [That post, which was titled, “Largest trade imbalance in nine years, biggest stock market drop in a decade, government set to borrow nearly $1 trillion… Is this the “tidal wave” of good economic news Trump was talking about?,” was posted back on February 6, in case you’re interested in checking it out.]

First, here’s a little something from Fortune.

…U.S. stocks are on track to have their worst April start since 1929, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The S&P 500 index slumped 2.4 percent as of 1:10 p.m. in New York, a rout exceeded only by its 2.5 percent decline 89 years ago, a prelude to the devastating crash later that year that brought on the Great Depression. (Back then, the index only comprised 90 stocks.)

China’s retaliatory trade tariffs combined with President Donald Trump’s criticism of Amazon.com Inc. to send equities into a tailspin Monday. Shares in the online retailer tumbled, encouraging a sell-off in consumer discretionary and technology stocks. The S&P 500 broke through its 200-day moving average — a key technical support — sending volatility higher.

The stock slide also looks pretty bad when compared to the beginning of other quarters. Equities are on pace to lose more than on any other quarterly first day since October 2011, when stocks plummeted 2.8 percent, Bloomberg data show…

Second, here’s an image of the Dow’s performance over the past three months. The hight point, as you’ll note, corresponds with the the passage of the Republican tax bill, which, while marketed as a “middle class tax cut,” was really a massive, $1 trillion shift in wealth to our country’s super-wealthy. As you can see, the markets have been in steady decline ever since.

For what it’s worth, most people, like the folks from Fortune, who I quoted above, seem to think Monday’s precipitous drop was caused by two things; the Chinese announcement that they would be applying tariffs to $3 billion in U.S. imports, in response to Trump’s announcement at the beginning of March that the United States would start imposing steep tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, and Trump’s furious attacks on Amazon, which seem to be motivated by the fact that Trump doesn’t like the coverage he receives in the Washington Post, which happens to be owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. [Amazon stock has lost $60 billion in market value since Trump made it clear last week that he intended to “go after” the online retailer.]

Guess what? Markets don’t react well to uncertainty. And, when you have a president who goes off and announces tariffs without warning, saying absolutely asinine things like, “trade wars are good and easy to win,” this is what happens. And it certainly doesn’t help when the president can also single out individual companies for attack, causing them to lose billions of dollars overnight.

Third, on the subject of Trump’s all-out attack on Amazon, here’s a clip from MSNBC’s Velshi and Ruhle speculating as to whether or not Trump, by “knowingly spread(ing) false news to drive stock prices” has engaged in securities fraud.

The answer to Velshi’s question, by the way, is “yes.” Trump, by lying about Amazon, and driving down heir stock price, is engaged in securities fraud… As for the specific lies that Trump has told, here are two. First, he said that Amazon is bankrupting the U.S. Postal Service, when the opposite is actually true. [Amazon is the Post Office’s biggest client, contributing $7 billion of the agency’s total $19.5 billion in revenue last year.] And, second, he says that the Amazon doesn’t collect taxes, which they do. [Amazon collected taxes in 46 states last year, and paid $957 million in federal income tax.] It’s also worth noting that, if Trump was really serious about Amazon not paying enough in taxes, he wouldn’t have pushed for the the GOP tax plan, which cut Amazon’s tax bill by $760 million.

And, lastly, I wanted to share this tweet from Richard N. Haass, the President of the Council on Foreign Relations, who is absolutely right to wonder why, when the economy was growing at a record rate, any of this was done.

Again, I know next to nothing about the economy, but, it would seem to me that the chickens, as Malcolm X liked to say, are coming home to roost. Trump, as Haass says, didn’t have to do any of this. He could have passed a true middle class tax cut, shored up his support among working class Americans, and presided over a period of relative growth and stability. Instead, though, he allowed the likes of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan to loot our federal coffers in order to hand $1 trillion over to their wealthy donors. And now we’re beginning to experience the ramifications. They will, of course, use it as an excuse to further cut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, but nothing that they can do will stop what’s coning. And it certainly doesn’t help that we have a madman at the helm, whose only seems able to sow discord.

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  1. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    There is nothing at all easy about international trade or international relations. It’s like Trump loves to broadcast his stupidity and ignorance as far as the eye can see.

  2. Proton
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Too bad Hillary isn’t going to get a chance to do it. She is such a nice lady.

    NOVEMBER 4, 2016
    The Coming Plague of Poverty Among the Elderly: Clinton’s Plan For Gutting Social Security

  3. Robert
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    When Trump’s personality disorders get us into a nuclear war, I’ll be comforted by Proton’s post proving without a doubt that Hillary would have gotten us into a nuclear war months earlier, had she been elected.

  4. M
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    The only thing Trump has going for him right now is the economy. Once he loses that, and once people start feeling the impact of his policies, they will turn on him. They don’t give a shit that he cheats on his wife, conspires with the Russians, or lies about his enemies, but, when they start losing their jobs, you can believe they’ll start turning on him.

  5. Wes Jordan by proxy
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Commerce Sec Wilbur Ross tried to calm the markets today on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” by vowing, “The US will win the trade war”.

    Trump responded via tweet, “We are not in a trade war w/China”.

    Unsurprisingly, Dow Futures crashed during Ross’s live appearance.

  6. Meta
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that Trump didn’t start this.

    “Look, China created this problem, not President Trump,” she said today. “But we finally actually have a president who’s willing to stand up and say ‘enough is enough, we’re gonna stop the unfair trade practices’”


  7. Jean Henry
    Posted April 4, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Trump called it a ‘so called trade war’ today. It will be a ‘fake trade war’ any day now. ‘The emperor has no clothes.’

    Ps welcome back, Robert. Smooch.

  8. EOS
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    And yet Trump’s approval is higher today than when he was first elected. I avoid buying goods made in China as much as possible. They are poisoning our children and pets. The talapia fish that are imported from China are fed garbage. They don’t recognize patents and reverse engineer everything they can to undercut the price and make a profit. With such a large trade deficit it is to our benefit to stop trading.

    China is the biggest military threat we face today. Their leaders are willing to sacrifice their soldiers on a one for one basis with any country and their population makes this a winning strategy. It is critical to our nation’s security that we produce our own steel and our own computer chips and manufacturing plants.

  9. wobblie
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    EOS one of us is living in an alternative reality

  10. Lynne
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Re: China is the biggest military threat we face today.

    This is true in the sense that China has the second largest military in the world It is also true that their leaders, like ours, are willing to sacrifice the lives of soldiers in war. However, our military is still so large that they aren’t much of a threat to us. We could cut our military by 50% and they wouldn’t be a *military* threat.

    They are a threat to us in a trade war though and I have to admit that I am quite impressed with the way they have been targeting their tariffs. The reason they are a threat is that they seem intelligent and our country is being run by morons. We stand to lose a lot if they are successful. Will Trump voters still be behind him if they lose their jobs in a trade war?

  11. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    “China is the biggest threat we face today.”

    So let’s just pack up and leave Japan and Korea, handing over the keys for a full on war in East Asia and engage in a useless trade war with them.

    Great strategy.

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I have often thought that the Chinese National character is a lot like the American; that’s why we are so biased against them. This is a theory that Americans always bridle against, citing romanticized Eastern thought traditions etc, but the few Sinologists I’ve met (to whom I invariably posit the theory, fulfilling my role as obnoxious townie) mostly agreed… with a bunch of nuance no one here will care about.
    Nixon’s greatest success was opening diplomatic and trade relations with China. It for sure has prevented a war in that region (though not acts of aggression, I know) and paved the way, realistically, for an improved relationship with North Korea. Undermining that long developing work for no economic gain (but political points) is incredibly stupid. Especially since we are obligated to defend our allies there.

    EOS you might want to look into US industrial standards re chemical use/contamination before casting stones at China. (Ecology Center is local but does great work in this area at a national level) China, like us, are uneven at best in their environmental progress. Like us, they extract as much profit as Possible and only willingly regulate when bad practices threaten profits. (It’s nice to hear you be supportive of regulation though…) Corruption is a huge issue. That’s an area where we can have influence, just as we have had on worker conditions there. But only if we maintain a productive trade relationship with them.

  13. EOS
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink


    I follow the polling that was most accurate during the last presidential election. Yesterday’s approval was at 51%.

  14. Jean Henry
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Rasmussen was reliably biased in favor of Trump. While their polling reflected the electoral college outcome, it did not accurately reflect the popular vote. Trump never had the approval ratings they cited, but he was still elected. He probably still doesn’t. At any rate, none of that matters until later in the year. We’lol see how things are faring in August/September.

    The only thing more suspect than the information used to support EOS’s positions is the information she uses to validate her sources.

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Rasmussen’s own polls contradict themselves. EOS culls any data that does not confirm her narrative.

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Trump still down 13 points on favorability despite the tiny bump he received for following through in his racist, destructive and idiotic campaign promises which his faltering base has been demanding. It’s ublikely he could ever rise much higher than where he is now. The source here is RealClear Politics, a favorite of our old pal Hyborian Warlord.

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink


  18. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    I am still reeling from the psychological damage that was inflicted upon me by the now forgotten FISA memo.

    How will I ever recover? I should have done more preparation.

  19. Jean Henry
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I’m noticing a different kind of psychological preparation going on lately because of the news… Both my kids have had nuclear apocalypse dreams which they told me about separately today.
    My daughter dreamt that we were all in NY in the subway, and there was an explosion and then fire. I made us get off the train, and we were running through the subway with my daughter leading, holding the family dog in her arms. Then giant monsters appeared and she developed superpowers and fought them off and created a force field that saved us from the nuclear blast. Proton will no doubt have some opinion about what should have followed next.

    My son didn’t go into great detail but informed me that he knows from a video game what to do in the event of a nuclear blast. “You put your hand in a thumb’s up position and hold it up to the blast. If it’s smaller than your thumb, you run. If it’s bigger than your thumb, you are probably toast.” When I asked him what to do in that case, he replied, “Run faster.”

    It’s clear we are all thinking more about the potential for nuclear disaster than is normal lately. I prefer my kids’ takes to Protons though.

  20. wobblie
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad your daughter has super powers. What happens to the rest of us?

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Run faster…
    Seriously though, this is a new era, but familiar to many of us. These kids have tremendous anxiety. (Not just mine… I under-pressure mine to counter-balance all the external pressure out there) Ideally, that will lead to activism (fight) to correct existing systemic failures, like in Parkland. But most often anxiety leads to stasis and denial– we freeze up or flee from what we fear. It seems I have one fighter and one flee-er. If I were faced with nuclear holocaust, I’d hug my kids and tell them I loved them. We are a well-rounded family.

  22. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 5, 2018 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    “Kill yourself and your kids”

    Great advice. I guarantee you that Mr. Proton will the least likely to follow through on his own advice.

  23. Kit
    Posted May 17, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    The best headline to show your Trump-supporting farmer friends today.

    “China buys record amount of Russian soybeans after canceling US orders over Trump

    Link: http://hill.cm/7jtroBc

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