Category Archives: economic news

How will POTUS react to the horrific job-loss news that’s coming?

You know by now the way Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump rolls.

He gets good news, he unlimbers his Twitter fingers to declare that only he could produce such joyous information; I can’t think of the last time he did it, but we all know that’s how he reacts.

What about the bad news? He still unlimbers the Twitter digits, but then declares that it’s someone else’s fault; Barack Obama is a favorite foil, given the intense envy he displays over Obama’s sophistication.

This brings me to the news that every economist in the country says is going to bring a huge gas around the world. The U.S. Labor Department will release the job figures for April. Projections tell us that in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re going to experience a job loss of around 20 million. That number will dwarf the 710,000 non-farm jobs that disappeared in March as a result of the killer virus and the shutting down of the national economy.

I now am officially wondering how Trump is going to respond to that bit of hideous news.

This guy wants desperately to be re-elected this November. He had been touting the supposedly “historic” economic success he had enjoyed until the fecal matter hit the fan with the pandemic. What on Earth is he going to say when confronted with a jobless rate that is projected to exceed 15 percent.

I want to be clear. Donald Trump did not cause the pandemic. However, his clearly negligent initial (non)response to its severity has contributed mightily to the health and economic crises that have gripped the country by its throat.

He likely is going to find all manner of ways to blame others for his failure. My belief that he lacks what I call “presidential temperament” leads me to worry that he might go apoplectic.

When the March jobs report came out, we all knew it would get worse. I wasn’t aware at that time that it would plummet to the level we likely are about to witness.

We might need to get ready for a presidential implosion from Donald Trump.

Trump ought to call those who have lost loved ones to the pandemic

Donald Trump isn’t wired to show compassion.

He doesn’t grieve openly. He won’t be seen wiping tears from his eyes. The president is too preoccupied with “making America great again,” and “telling it like it is.”

Donald Trump finds himself concocting rosy scenarios where none exists. He is separating himself from the suffering that is occurring in rural America and in our inner cities. He doesn’t seem interested in dealing on a personal basis with those who are suffering untold heartbreak.

As The New York Times reports: As he presides over the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic collapse, Mr. Trump has hosted o called many people affected by the devastation, including health company executives, sports commissioners, governors, cruise ship company heads, religious leaders, telecommunications executives and foreign heads of state. One category that has to make his list: Americans who have lost someone to the pandemic.

I will not hold breath waiting to hear from anyone of those victims out here who has received a phone call from Donald Trump.

Trump’s failures as a leader are becoming even more evident than they were already. Many of us knew he lacked the compassion gene, or the gene that enables him to hurt along with the country. It’s just that watching all this play out in real time remains a sight to see.

While the country’s death toll soars past 60,000 individuals, Trump launches Twitter tirades and chastises: CNN, Democratic politicians, the media in general, China, MSNBC, Fox News. He can’t even take time on Twitter to say how profoundly sorry he is to hear about the misery that millions of Americans are feeling.

They are hurting because they have lost their jobs. Their loved ones have died from the viral infection. Their businesses are withering.

Donald Trump’s reaction? It is to blame others for his own failures and to lie about what a “fantastic” job he and his team are doing.


Wondering about re-opening too soon

I believe I have developed an acute case of coronavirus pandemic heebie-jeebies.

It’s got me spooked, man. The nervous jerks kicked in when I heard about Texas’ major university systems announcing they intend to return to in-person classes this fall. All Texas public schools — from grade school to college — suspended that activity while the state launched its fight against the pandemic.

Now they’re going to open the classroom doors once more. In the fall. Just a short period after Gov. Greg Abbott launched his gradual, phased-in reopening of Texas business, which has ground to a halt during this pandemic matter.

There’s more to it, of course. The universities are going to play football. In the fall. How are they going to do that? How do they fill Memorial Stadium in Austin, or Kyle Field in College Station or Jones Stadium in Lubbock?

Do they put only a fraction of the fans into those big-time venues?

Hey, I am anxious for college football to start its season, too. I don’t have a Texas favorite, but I do have a favorite college team in my home state. The University of Oregon Ducks are facing the same quandary. In-person classes shut down there as well as in Texas. Furthermore, the Ducks have a big game scheduled Sept. 12 in Eugene against the Ohio State Buckeyes; I want the Ducks to beat them Buckeyes. But should they seek to do so this early?

I don’t know. I am leery. I am anxious. None of us wants a second or third hideous spike in infection or, worse, in death.

I simply fear the worst could happen if we move too quickly to return to what we used to think is “normal.” I believe we have crossed the threshold into the “new normal” that we need to prepare to accept as the way it will be.

What’s with this order to keep meat packers operating?

I admit readily that I don’t understand a lot of things in life.

One of them deals with an executive order that Donald Trump plans to issue that keeps meat packing plants running while the nation is still fighting the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

Meat packers report their employees are falling ill to the killer virus; some of them have died. Trump wants to issue an order that protects meat packers from legal liability in case workers sue them for exposing employees to the COVID-19 virus.

If I read that correctly, Trump is more interested in protecting the companies than in protecting the employees who work for them … and who put themselves at risk of possible exposure to a virus that could kill them.

Trump will invoke the Defense Production Act, declaring the food supply chain as essential to our national security. Oh, but wait! He only recently said the food supply chain was in no jeopardy. Others are saying something quite different. The head of Tyson Foods says the “supply chain is breaking.”

I get back to my essential point, which is that I don’t understand how a president of the United States can order a privately run industry to operate and put employees in potentially mortal danger.

We moved to the Metroplex a couple of years ago after living in the heart of the cattle-feeding industry. We called the Texas Panhandle home for nearly 23 years. That region feeds roughly 20 percent of all the beef consumed in this country. A shutdown of the Tyson packing plant in Amarillo would do serious harm to the region’s economy, not to mention the nation’s meat supply. I totally get it.

But what about the men and women who work in that plant, many of whom are immigrants who came here to seek a better life? What kind of “better life” can they enjoy if they become sickened by COVID-19? Or if, heaven forbid, the disease kills them?

I am trying to understand it. I cannot get there.

Stimulus arrives, but do I swoon over name on memo line? Uhh, no

Our “economic stimulus payment” arrived in the mail today.

The name below that term on the check’s memo line read “President Donald J. Trump.”

Gosh. What am I supposed to do now? Do I swoon over the fact that Donald Trump’s name appears on the memo line? Would I do so were I a dedicated adherent to the cult of personality that Trump seems to have cultivated?

I cannot put myself into the shoes of one of those folks.

I looked at the payment. We signed it. We’re going to deposit it into the bank. I will not give another thought — not even a passing thought — to the name on the memo line. You see, this payment was much less Donald Trump’s doing than that of the Treasury secretary and the leaders of both congressional chambers; and, by howdy, that includes the Democrats who control the House and who comprise a substantial minority in the Senate.

How much heavy lifting did Donald John Trump do to bring this payment to one American household? My best guess: hardly any.

‘Total authority’ takes a back seat to reality

Donald Trump’s claim to possess “total authority” to tell governors what to do in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic has taken a back seat to obvious reality.

I want to believe reason set in, that the president of the United States has looked — finally! — at the U.S. Constitution to see what it says about such authority.

But I cannot believe such a thing. What likely happened is that someone told Trump that his incoherent blathering was doing far more harm than good. I’ll go with that … or something like that.

The president is announcing “guidelines” that governors and local officials can exercise in deciding whether to relax restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 virus.

Of course his emphasis will be on the economic impact on the virus. Yes, he is giving some lip service to the suffering that has occurred among many thousands of Americans. Rest assured, Trump’s major concern continues to be — in my view — whether the economic collapse will harm his re-election chances this November.

All that said, the total authority that Donald Trump once proclaimed for himself has given way to a more reasonable approach that hands the vast bulk of that authority back to the states and those who govern them.

Sure thing, Mr. POTUS; keep saying you didn’t insist on the name issue

The nation’s Liar in Chief revealed his penchant for prevarication once again this week; it occurred at his Wednesday “briefing” at the White House over the coronavirus pandemic.

A reporter asked him about whether his name should appear on the stimulus checks that are coming to millions of Americans.

Donald Trump said oh, no. He had nothing to do with putting his name on those checks. That he had no input on the matter. That was someone else’s call. Some anonymous staffer agreed finally to put “Donald J. Trump” on the memo line on the checks that are coming to us.

I believe that, right? Wrong! The liar who poses as president of the United States cannot tell the truth even if someone were to point a gun at him while he stands on Fifth Avenue. You know what I’m talkin’ about?

Our stimulus payment appears to be coming to us via the Postal Service that Trump might allow to go bankrupt later this year. I learned that by looking at the website. It says we’re eligible for payment, but that the Internal Revenue Service doesn’t have sufficient information for us to qualify for direct deposit into our checking account. Whatever.

If it comes to us via snail mail, I am left with a decision to make: Do we deposit the check immediately or do we gaze fondly for days at the Idiot in Chief’s name engraved in the memo line? Well, you know how I feel about him and the notion that he would insist on putting his name on a document in an unprecedented display of ego.

And yet, Donald Trump insists he had nothing to do with putting his name on the check?

Got it. I will wait for the sun to rise in the west tomorrow morning.

Socialism then; now it’s, um, acceptable

Yesterday’s socialist initiative has become an act of economic genius … in the eyes of many political observers.

I am confused.

Barack Obama became president of the United States in 2009 and went to work immediately to look for ways to rescue an economy in free fall. We were shedding tens of thousands of jobs each month. Unemployment was climbing toward 10 percent. The new president had to act quickly.

He and Congress managed to cobble together a massive bailout program. It helped shore up banks, the auto industry, the airline industry. Congressional Republicans and their friends in conservative media called it the most dangerous lurch toward socialism in American history.

The world was ending. Earth was going to spin off its axis. The sky would fall on us. The world as we knew it would end.

None of that happened. President Obama acted decisively, as did Congress. The loans sent out were paid back with interest. Job growth mounted. Unemployment fell. We began to pay down the federal budget deficit. The economy recovered.

Barack Obama left office in 2017. Donald Trump took over. Trump inherited a robust economy. Job growth continued. Joblessness fell to historic lows.

Then came the coronavirus pandemic that hit early this year.

People started getting infected with a disease. Then citizens began to die. Businesses shut down. Workers got furloughed. Cities, counties and states issued stay at home orders. Our streets fell silent.

The government then had to cobble together another stimulus package. This one totaled $2.2 trillion. The checks are in the mail. Billions went to businesses.

Where, I have to ask, are the accusations of a socialist initiative? Where is the righteous indignation and anger among conservatives that the government is grabbing private industry by the throat?

Remember that this initiative came from a Republican president, was approved by a GOP-run Senate as well as by a Democrat-run House. Some Democrats yammered that the bailout was too friendly to big business and doesn’t do enough for working families. However, it sailed through Congress with a bipartisan approval.

Times have changed, yes? Actually, not as much as some would have us believe. The opposition party in 2009 comprised a lot of fear-mongering demagogues. Today’s opposition resists on vastly different grounds but in the end it signed on to do the right thing.

Very strange.

It was inevitable, one should suppose, that crisis would produce scandal

I suppose it was expected, that we shouldn’t be surprised at the news flying out of Washington, D.C.

The world is reeling from a deadly pandemic. Now we hear that some members of the U.S. Senate sought to take advantage of their power, their influence, their access to classified information to — allegedly! — score huge profits.

What is it about crises that they seem to attract this kind of potentially scandalous behavior?

We are saluting the heroes and Good Samaritans among us who are performing acts of kindness, empathy and care for those who need help coping with the coronavirus.

It’s also good to condemn those who potentially could use their influence to (a) mislead the public regarding the severity of the crisis and (b) profit from their misdirection.

Several senators allegedly have sought to do profit from the confusion and chaos brought by the pandemic.

One of them allegedly is Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C. He attended a classified meeting in January where he and other senators were told of the dangers that the coming pandemic posed to the economy, as well as to people’s health. Burr then soft-pedaled the threat, telling the public that all would be just fine.

Meanwhile, he allegedly sold millions of dollars of stock just prior to the stock market’s shocking collapse. Do you get it? Sen. Burr got his while the gettin’ was still good, leaving millions of other Americans in the lurch while their retirement accounts were flushed away as investors started to panic.

Is this how it’s supposed to go? Of course not! It’s just a sickening symptom — again, allegedly — of behavior that those in power too often exhibit.

There needs to be a full, frontal investigation into what Burr and some other senators knew and when they knew it. If they are determined to have committed illegal acts, they need to be prosecuted aggressively … for violating their sacred public trust.

None of us should be surprised that this scandal has been revealed.

Taking a measure of comfort from PSAs

Time for an admission: This coronavirus crisis/pandemic has me seriously out of sorts.

I don’t like facing the prospect of such dramatic life changes. The idea that the United States of America might shut down completely, to be honest, is damn frightening. So are the warnings from health and science experts that the “worst is yet to come” and that we could face many millions of stricken Americans, and a vast number of fatalities.

The rush on basic groceries has emptied our neighborhood supermarket here in Princeton, Texas. We went to the store this morning looking to buy a few items. We aren’t hoarders. Row after row of empty shelves greeted us.

I don’t like what I am seeing and what I am feeling.

Now for the good news.

I am drawing a measure of comfort from some of the public service announcements I am seeing on TV. CBS-TV, for one, is broadcasting a PSA showing stars from several of its prime-time programming that reminds us that “we’re in this together.”

No one is alone. No one should feel abandoned. No one should give up hope, that we’ll get through this mess.

By all means I want the end to arrive sooner rather than later. I don’t know if the PSAs are going to snap me out of my funk in the immediate term. Maybe eventually I will snap out of it once I get used to the many changes in our lives that this pandemic is forcing on all of us.

I guess the trick is to look at the longer term rather than worry about what is happening to us in the moment.

I’ll admit it’s hard to do. However, I will cling to the good word and to the encouragement that we’re all in this together.