And those are the saddest words I’ve ever written
I’ll say this until my face is as blue as California, or we’re in the middle of another Great Depression: There has never been a better argument for strict regulation of the financial sector than the way Wall Street has gone all in on Donald Trump.
Of course, the endless streak of record market highs over the last year makes some sense.
It’s largely driven by the spoils of a mostly healed economy that has been engineered by four decades of conservative rule to deliver record corporate profits and extraordinary gains to the richest Americans. Thus, giddiness about a tax cut that will send trillions to those same Americans as the expense of everyone else would sensibly make one bullish. Especially given that CEOs have all but confessed that this money will be almost entirely to pay off themselves and investors.
Betting against these soaring markets would be like betting against the house at a casino. Except the “house” in this case is a guy known for bankrupting casinos who just happens to be pushing an economic agenda that has led to two of the last two great financial crises.
Maybe it somehow works this time! Maybe it’s like a third marriage to a tolerant, younger wife who assumes your libido will give out or her inheritance will kick in soon enough. But don’t bet on it.
We’re in a murky tunnel of Trump’s corruption and obstruction now. All that’s clear that in the distance there are a blaring light and the roar of an engine. And Wall Street can’t stop running toward the commotion.
Trump’s nauseating backing of child molester Roy Moore is a test to see what he can get away with as he prepares for what will be his greatest trick, argues New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait.
A quick survey of the way the right has united to savage James Comey and Robert Mueller, nonsensically portraying two George W. Bush-appointees as leaders of a shadowy jihad against Trump, points to an obvious conclusion:
Trump is preparing to shut down Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian intervention in the 2016 election.
Once he does this, likely in the days after his tax cuts become law, America will never be the same.
And right now Wall Street remains willfully ignorant of the most obvious threat to its bull run, argues CNBC contributor Josh Brown:
My personal belief is that this possibility is not being priced into risk assets. And lest you think this is an event that the rest of the country will accept tacitly, sending off a few tweets and then going to bed, you may want to rethink this.
Because Congress will not act to defend the Constitution, the people are going flip out when it goes down. The somewhat amorphous #Resistance movement is going to explode into the streets, making last fall’s Womens March look like a May Day Parade..
Brown also suggests wishes for a tidy wind-down of the Trump presidency by some on the left are delusional:
The only defense the President has is the fact that he is the President. And his pardon power – which is literally the last thing he will give up. There will be no impeachment process in Congress because the GOP already handed this guy the ability to do whatever he wants in exchange for tax cuts and the rollback of all social progress that occurred under his predecessor. Liberals dreaming of some other outcome where Republican pols come to their senses will be sorely disappointed. Republicans don’t win elections by tacking toward the center and becoming Rupert Murdoch targets, so why would they?
Republicans can’t abandon Trump — not after tax cuts, not after firing Mueller — for a simple reason: His voters are more loyal to him than they are to the party.
Thus the result will be constitutional crisis like nothing we’ve seen since 1974 — only there is no Democratic Congress to rein a rogue Republican, no wise men of the party willing to talk that president into being reined.
Americans will either rise up and win some check on Trump’s power or the right will crush the uprising and send America stumbling into authoritarianism.
Who will decide which way this goes? In a large way, Wall Street.
If the left erupts at the firing of Mueller, that will only endear Trump to his base. But if markets — the current barometer of American greatness according to Trump and the more affluent Americans who run this country — sink, the right may be forced to react.
My nightmare is the markets jolt at first but quickly shake their worries off in favor of the next massive tribute to the Kochs that Paul Ryan has been dreaming of since college. The enabling of Trump that has made all of this possible would continue as Trump and his followers decide how far they will go to crack down on dissent. At that point, it will be up to the people to decide what they can risk for justice.
Until then, our fate is in the hands of the guys whose expertises include making the rich richer and blowing up our world.