Throughout most of the Bush administration I remember news media reporting on how good the economy was doing. The Bush tax cuts were working! So they said. I never really believed it. As a child of the 90s, my baseline for what a decent economy "feels" like is probably skewed. However, near the end of Bush's term the house of cards came crashing down. Turned out my biased intuition was right. The whole boom was built on bullshit.
Obama won by offering hope in the face of troubling times. You might think that hope was bullshit, but that was his message and it worked for him. His critics spent his entire Presidency trying to paint him as a tyrant who used a crisis to seize power. Most of those same voices now defend all of Trump’s authoritarian behavior.
Right now the biggest crisis facing our nation is Trump himself, and the ravaging of our institutions, one after another, at the hands of the President and his enablers. But Americans seem to be able to tolerate an awful lot of fuckery if they think it’s good for their wallets. And so far the economy has held together, even thrived. Markets are volatile but have been booming. Unemployment continues to drop.
Trump supporters are quick to tout these as validation of the president and his policies, specifically big tax cuts for the wealthy, just as Bush supporters claimed the booming economy was a result of his policies, specifically big tax cuts for the wealthy. Personally, I can’t shake the feeling that it’s all bullshit, just like it was before.
Whenever we have a week such as this, where a company like Ford announces billions of dollars in losses and massive layoffs, where yet another superstorm destroys wealth and lives, where the stock market tanks, I can't help but wonder if this is the start of the next real crash. Are we facing another financial crisis? Are the cards tumbling down again? How bad could things get? Who will survive and what will be left of them?
Trump won on a message of fear, anger and resentment in the midst of relative stability. One pales to consider what power he might grab hold of if his American carnage becomes an economic reality. I don’t know about the rest of you but since we entered the Darkest Timeline my internal image of "how bad things could get" has gotten a lot... well, darker.