MY GUT TELLS ME THERE’S TROU­BLE AHEAD

The Gulf Today - - OPINION - BY ANN MCFEATTERS

So, Don­ald Trump says his “gut” is bet­ter than most peo­ple’s brains. Thus, the econ­omy is not slid­ing into soft, po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous ter­ri­tory but is on an up­ward tra­jec­tory that will amaze us.

Trump also says he does not “be­lieve” in the sci­ence of cli­mate change. Now, since the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and 99 per cent of the world’s sci­en­tists do “be­lieve,” Trump’s dis­avowal of the facts truly does take guts.

Nonethe­less, Trump, once again re­mark­ing on his re­mark­able in­tel­li­gence, told the Wash­ing­ton Post that “peo­ple like my­self, we have very high lev­els of in­tel­li­gence but we’re not nec­es­sar­ily such be­liev­ers.” Huh?

But enough di­gress­ing. Let’s talk about the soar­ing econ­omy, even though most peo­ple with or­di­nary brains think cli­mate change will be dev­as­tat­ing to ev­ery­one’s econ­omy.

If the 10-year run of eco­nomic growth is slow­ing, the most omi­nous sign so far is Gen­eral Mo­tors’ alarm­ing an­nounce­ment it will axe 15,000 jobs be­cause auto buy­ers don’t like sedans any­more. Stunned work­ers were given no heads-up or chance to re­tool or to re­design. So much for Trump’s pledge that the re­turn of Amer­i­can man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs was at hand. So much for growth in states such as Ohio and Mary­land.

Also, Trump’s in­cip­i­ent trade war with China is dam­ag­ing the in­come of US farmers and small busi­nesses. His tar­iffs on steel and alu­minum have hit the car in­dus­try hard.

Also, Trump him­self said Jerome Pow­ell, the Fed­eral Re­serve Board chair­man, whom he ap­pointed to re­place the widely ad­mired Janet Yellen, whom he called phys­i­cally too short, is un­der­min­ing eco­nomic growth. The cen­tral bank has in­creased in­ter­est rates, which de­presses buy­ing and lend­ing.

In a re­mark­able in­ter­view, in which Trump, as he reg­u­larly does, fre­quently as­serted his as­ton­ish­ing in­tel­li­gence and gut, he told the Post: “I’m do­ing deals, and I’m not be­ing ac­com­mo­dated by the Fed. They’re mak­ing a mis­take be­cause I have a gut, and my gut tells me more some­times than any­body else’s brain can ever tell me.”

So much for his pledge that he would name Amer­ica’s best brains to ad­vise him. (In a White House that has seen an his­toric num­ber of changes, scan­dals, res­ig­na­tions, ir­ings, BACKSTABBINGS, ETC.)

We are left un­cer­tain ex­actly what deals Trump is talk­ing about. Oh yes, he re­named the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment with Canada and Mex­ico and now no­body re­mem­bers what it is called. He got us out of the world cli­mate change agree­ment. He has blown up trade with China and some other coun­tries. He named dis­puted Jerusalem the de facto cap­i­tal of Is­rael, roil­ing the Mid­dle East.

Mean­while, back to the ro­bust econ­omy. The signs are good. The econ­omy is grow­ing at an an­nual about 3.5 per cent. The unem­ploy­ment rate is 3.7 per cent.

But Trump’s $1.5 tril­lion tax cut did not Boost Cor­po­rate CONIDENCE For more than a few months. In­stead of ex­pand­ing, pro­vid­ing higher wages and adding a sig­ni­icant num­ber of new Jobs, Busi­ness gave out a few bonuses, bought back stock AND Is HOARD­ING proits, of­ten over­seas.

Also, the stock mar­ket plunged sev­eral times re­cently, spawn­ing a nig­gling worm of worry in some in­vestors. Hous­ing sales HAVE Fallen. THE CAL­I­FOR­NIA ires and the spate of hur­ri­canes have cre­ated re­gional rip­ples of dispir­it­ing eco­nomic dis­tress. A 3.5 an­nual growth rate is not sus­tain­able.

Now Trump is repeat­ing his in­ten­tion to shut down the gov­ern­ment if he doesn’t get $5 bil­lion for his wall, the myth­i­cal struc­ture across the bor­der that the ex­perts say will not and could not ever be built. (Sep­a­rat­ing moth­ers and ba­bies, jail­ing hun­dreds of teens in desert tent cities with­out ad­e­quate su­per­vi­sion and tear-gassing chil­dren are not do­ing the job of keep­ing Amer­i­cans safe from mi­grants, Trump as­serts.) The last Repub­li­can shut­down of the gov­ern­ment cost the econ­omy bil­lions of dol­lars.

If you have faith in Trump’s gut, you re­main un­wor­ried. Let’s hear it for that spec­tac­u­lar econ­omy, go­ing up, up, up, mak­ing the rich ever richer.

IF you HAVE more CONIDENCE In Brains, as op­posed to guts, you may be get­ting a trileun com­fort­able. con­sumer co ni den ce in­dex lev­els in­di­cate you are not alone.

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