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This week in Trumponomics: Deplorable

Rick Newman
·Senior Columnist
·3 min read

President Trump is boldly ending his presidency with new depravities.

As the whole world knows, Trump goaded thousands of supporters into ransacking the U.S. Capitol this week, disrupting the formal certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Five people died. Rioters killed a Capitol police officer. Police shot and killed one of Trump’s rioting supporters. Three other Trump rioters died of medical trauma while marauding through the Capitol. Congress certified Biden’s win anyway.

The Trump riots didn’t directly affect the U.S. economy, which is doing poorly enough on its own. But the bloody culmination of Trump’s pathetic effort to overturn the U.S. election reflects his complete neglect of everything that matters since he lost on Nov. 3.

The data confirms Trump’s awful performance. The jobs recovery has ended, with the economy losing 140,000 jobs in December. This could be the double-dip recession economists have been worried about. After the huge loss of jobs in March and April, the job market began to recover, with job gains every month from May through November. But the pace of job growth slowed sharply in the fall, and it has now reversed. Lost jobs since February still total more than 9.8 million.

There’s no secret why. The coronavirus pandemic is more disruptive than ever, with more than 4,000 deaths per day. The pandemic has now killed 375,000 Americans, and the death toll will likely exceed half a million by March. The Trump administration has given up on any effort to control the disease, instead touting the initial rollout of two vaccines. But the vaccination effort is already going much slower than hoped, and the service sector—especially restaurants and travel—is simply getting crushed as people stay home.

It’s difficult to overstate what a disaster the Trump presidency has become. The best we can do is create a new category on the Trump-o-meter: DEPLORABLE. The worst rating used to be SAD, but that’s not bad enough to characterize Trump on his way out.

Photo and terrible annotations by Rick Newman
Photo and terrible annotations by Rick Newman

Sane Americans will be holding their breath until Jan. 20, wary of what other bombs Trump may set off before he leaves. Trump may be chastened by the prospect of criminal charges for his role inciting violence that led to deaths. The House of Representatives might impeach Trump again, though conviction in the Senate seems unlikely unless Trump goes bananas. Trump, meanwhile, thinks he can pardon himself and he has a remarkable record of evading justice. So far.

Financial markets represent a lone dose of optimism. Stocks rose after Democrats won two Senate races in Georgia on Jan. 5, taking control of the Senate—despite predictions of a stock-market correction if Democrats captured the Senate. Investors think Biden and his fellow Democrats will pass a much bigger fifth stimulus bill in 2021 than would have been possible with Republicans in charge of the Senate – perhaps totaling $1 trillion or more, four or five times more than what Republicans might have approved. This would help the economy in the short run. Deutsche Bank this week raised its GDP forecast for 2021 by two points, to growth of 6.3%. Most of that would come in the second half of the year.

Rising stock prices also reflect a belief in the resilience of corporate profits, although some investors warn a bubble has formed and a pullback is coming. If it happens, it surely won’t be the worst news of 2021. But by then Trump should be gone, which will be stabilizing in itself. Maybe the market likes that as well.

Rick Newman is the author of four books, including “Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success.” Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman. Confidential tip line: rickjnewman@yahoo.com. Click here to get Rick’s stories by email.

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