The U.S. economy is better than it has ever been, one version of President Donald Trump tells us. Unemployment is near record lows and the stock market is up more than 40 percent since 2017. Mortgage rates are down, housing prices are up, consumer spending and confidence are strong.
But upbeat Trump’s archenemy, the Donald of doom, says that if we are to stave off disaster, the Federal Reserve must implement a huge interest-rate cut normally considered only during bad times. Trump says Germany, with its zero-percent interest rates, is killing us with our high borrowing costs, and that we’ve never done better against Germany. Trump says China is beating us, too, with currency manipulations and unfair trade practices, and that he’s whipping China bad.
Trump tells us a payroll-tax cut might be needed to stimulate faltering spending, which he says is better than ever, and that a big cut in the capital-gains tax is crucial to stimulate business investment, which he says is better than ever, too. The president is considering these tax cuts. Until his advisers say he isn’t. Until he says he is. Then not.
The deficit Trump vowed to eliminate is about to hit $1 trillion, because the tax cut he promised would stimulate tax revenue didn’t. He is attempting to make the Federal Reserve, which must be independent, into a partisan tool. And so goes the economic life of the nation.
But the president also must lead when it comes to the mood and morale of the nation and its standing in the world. So, to recap the week on that front:
- The 75 percent of American Jews who vote Democratic are “disloyal,” says Trump, who reversed the trope of Jewish dual loyalty by implying that to not put Israel first is the real sin for an American Jew. Trump has roiled politics in both nations and threatens a 70-year-old tradition of nonpartisan mutual affection.
- Trump is like “the King of Israel” and the “second coming of God,” according to the president’s retweet of conspiracy theorist Wayne Allyn Root. Trump, looking to the sky, also said he is “the chosen one” who will lead the trade war against China.
- Trump said the tone of the prime minister of Denmark’s refusal to sell Greenland to the United States was “nasty.” He glowered, “You don’t talk to the United States that way, at least under me,” and canceled a trip to Denmark.
- Trump said he’d support universal background checks for gun purchases, then reversed course after a phone call from the NRA.
To Trump, this presidency is a reality show. But while Americans will watch a train wreck, they won’t willingly ride on a runaway train. Right now, those with the most to lose are the Republican leaders who have empowered Trump and said nothing as he exploded the deficit, inserted terror into our markets, attacked the nation’s institutions, degraded its people and trashed its alliances.
The party of Lincoln is putting its legacy and this nation at risk. GOP leaders need to speak out now against Trump’s outbursts and outrages. —The editorial board