Tag Archives: financial crisis

Let’s compare apples to apples

Five days ago, Donald J. Trump posted a message on Twitter that proclaimed for the umpteenth time that his poll numbers are “better” than those posted by former President Obama.

He wrote: Presidential Approval numbers are very good – strong economy, military and just about everything else. Better numbers than Obama at this point, by far. We are winning on just about every front and for that reason there will not be a Blue Wave, but there might be a Red Wave!

The raw polling data can be disputed. However, I feel the need to look briefly at the comparative moments in time of both men’s presidencies.

Barack Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009 while the nation’s economy was in free fall. Banks were closing. Investment firms were collapsing. People were losing their jobs by the thousands daily.

By August 2010, the economy had not yet made the turn, but it was starting to show signs of life. It got so good that Obama was re-elected in 2012 and the jobless rate continued to decline right up until the end of his presidency.

Enter Donald Trump, who took the oath on Jan. 20, 2017. The economy was in far better shape than it was when his immediate predecessor took office.

I give the president credit for the great job numbers that have accrued since he took office. But it’s good to understand that he started with a much higher benchmark than the one Obama inherited eight years earlier.

I just hope that Trump’s damaging trade wars with the EU, China, Canada and Mexico don’t undo much of the good that has occurred. I fear there the damage is beginning to stretch our economy at the seams.

More chaos and confusion in the Trump administration

You’ve heard it said that the Trump administration “thrives” on chaos, that it cannot execute simple transitions without all hell breaking loose.

Consider the latest stumble-bum example from Donald John Trump’s presidential team.

Richard Corddray resigned as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; President Barack Obama appointed him to lead the agency created in 2010 in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis. The law allows Corddray to appoint his successor, which he did when he named deputy director Leandra English to lead the agency.

Oh, no. You can’t do that, said Donald John “Smart Person” Trump, who then named Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as the interim head of he CFPB. Trump then instructed the agency to ignore any directives coming from English and act only on those coming from Mulvaney.

Hey, there’s a bit more. English has filed a lawsuit preventing Mulvaney from taking over.

The CFPB has been a Republican bogeyman ever since it was founded. The GOP contends it puts too many restrictions on banks.

From my standpoint — and acknowledging my own bias — this has the smell of yet another attempt to overturn an Obama-era agency reform. If the former president did it, the agency is a “disaster,” according to Trump, who attaches that term to any agency or program created by his predecessor that he wants to gut.

CFPB targets banks’ practices

Trump tweeted this: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, has been a total disaster as run by the previous Administrations pick. Financial Institutions have been devastated and unable to properly serve the public. We will bring it back to life!

My actual point, though, is that we are witnessing yet another clumsy, cumbersome cluster-fudge that illustrates once again — as if we need any reminders — that the Trump administration cannot do a single thing without making a total hash out of it.

Dylan Ratigan … I have found you!

Do you remember a guy named Dylan Ratigan?

He used to have a talk show on MSNBC. He’s not a flaming liberal, which is what conservatives say about MSBNC’s talking heads. He’s more of, um, an equal-opportunity critic. During the financial crisis of late 2008 and early 2009, he coined the term “banksters” to describe the financial geniuses who got the country into the mess it found itself.

Ratigan had his show. Then he was gone.

I’ve been missing the guy ever since.

Well, I recently located a YouTube link with some snippets of Ratigan’s rants. They’re called “The Real Ratigan.”

The link is attached to this blog post.

One of the segments mentions how Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are the only two of the current crop of presidential candidates who tell us what’s in their hearts and on their minds. They don’t give us “poll-tested talking points.”

He likes that about both men.

I wish Ratigan would be a tad more visible and more in demand as a “contributor” to whichever network is willing to have this guy share his views on politics, policy and the state of affairs in the United States.