Thursday, May 21, 2020

Last Call For Tales From The Trump Depression

Georgia governor Brian Kemp reopened the economy at the end of April, and the jobs and the good times are back in the Peach State, right?

Weekly applications for jobless benefits have remained so elevated that Georgia now leads the country in terms of the proportion of its workforce applying for unemployment assistance. A staggering 40.3 percent of the state's workers — two out of every five — has filed for unemployment insurance payments since the coronavirus pandemic led to widespread shutdowns in mid-March, a POLITICO review of Labor Department data shows.

Georgia's new jobless claims have been going up and down since the state reopened, rising to 243,000 two weeks ago before dipping to 177,000 last week. The state cited new layoffs in the retail, social assistance and health care industries for the continued high rate of jobless claims that have put it ahead of other states in the proportion of its workforce that has been sidelined.

Georgia, which began pushing to resume economic activity on April 24, presents an early reality check as the White House amps up pressure on governors to lift shutdown orders and President Donald Trump’s economic advisers predict jobless claims will nosedive after the reopening. The state’s persistent unemployment numbers suggest that government restrictions aren’t the only cause of skyrocketing layoffs and furloughs — and that the economy might not fully recover until consumers feel safe.


There are many reasons Georgia’s jobless numbers are still going up, economists say, including that the state, like most of the country, is still whittling through a backlog of applications. State officials also say some laid-off workers are filing duplicate claims, which can artificially inflate the numbers. But the data still underscores how lifting stay-at-home restrictions alone will do little to bring jobs and spending back unless consumer confidence improves, bringing demand with it.

“Think of a restaurant: They’re not going to be able to bring back their entire staff because they’re just not going to have the clientele,” said Laura Wheeler, associate director of the Center for State and Local Finance at Georgia State University. “That’s going to hinder the return of the workforce, because while we’re going to open up, we’re not going to open up to the full capacity that we were at before.”

And in Georgia, public polling indicates that confidence has yet to return. Nearly two-thirds of Georgia residents in a recent Washington Post-Ipsos poll said they felt their state was lifting restrictions too quickly, and only 39 percent said they approved of Kemp’s handling of the outbreak.

“We’ve been chasing a bit of a false narrative that the economic hit is about the restrictions and not the disease itself,” said Julia Coronado, president and founder of Macropolicy Perspectives, an economic research consulting firm. “The economic story really isn’t about lockdowns, and we’re going to make mistakes by pursuing that narrative. It really is about the disease, and how fearful people are about getting sick, and how businesses are going to operate in a world where this virus is with us.”

At the same time, the Trump administration is pushing to get governors to reopen their doors in the hopes that doing so will help revive the U.S. economy.

So you mean as I said a month ago that people aren't going to go out to eat during a pandemic because of the pandemic?

But gosh, I thought the vast majority of Americans were actively against the tyrannical lockdowns and would flood back to restaurants and theaters because they didn't believe the virus was real.

The Trump Depression will continue until the pandemic is actually contained and all the "reopening" of the economy in the country won't fix that, so I guess the next step is to just lie about the dead people in hospital gurneys and makeshift morgue trucks as we approach 100,000 casualties.

Trump's reelection is doomed.

The economy has gone from President Donald Trump's greatest political asset to perhaps his biggest weakness. 
Unemployment is spiking at an unprecedented rate. Consumer spending is vanishing. And GDP is collapsing. History shows that dreadful economic trends like these spell doom for sitting presidents seeking reelection. 
The coronavirus recession will cause Trump to suffer a "historic defeat" in November, a national election model released Wednesday by Oxford Economics predicted. 
The model, which uses unemployment, disposable income and inflation to forecast election results, predicts that Trump will lose in a landslide, capturing just 35% of the popular vote. That's a sharp reversal from the model's pre-crisis prediction that Trump would win about 55% of the vote. And it would be the worst performance for an incumbent in a century. 
"It would take nothing short of an economic miracle for pocketbooks to favor Trump," Oxford Economics wrote in the report, adding that the economy will be a "nearly insurmountable obstacle for Trump come November."

A miracle isn't coming.

Now, divine intervention from the other side, well. That part worries me greatly. As I've said before, the more obvious Trump's coming defeat becomes, the more likely he will do something precipitous. If he loses, he is going to prison for the rest of his life and he knows it. Pence can't pardon him for state crimes.

But there's a lot Trump can do on the way out.

Orange Meltdown, Con't

Donald Trump continues to isolate America from allies and to withdraw from treaties as the nation's transition to autocratic rogue nuclear failed state status continues largely unabated.

President Trump has decided to withdraw from another major arms control accord, according to senior administration officials, and will inform Russia on Friday that the United States is pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty, negotiated three decades ago to allow nations to fly over each other’s territory with elaborate sensor equipment to assure they are not preparing for military action.
Mr. Trump’s decision will be viewed as more evidence that he also may be poised to exit the one major arms treaty remaining with Russia: New START, which limits the United States and Russia to 1,550 deployed nuclear missiles each. It expires weeks after the next presidential inauguration.

American officials have long complained that Moscow was violating the Open Skies accord by not permitting flights over a city where it was believed Russia was deploying nuclear weapons that could reach Europe, as well as forbidding flights over major Russian military exercises.+

And, in classified reports, the Pentagon and American intelligence agencies have contended the Russians are also using flights over the United States to map out critical American infrastructure that could be hit by cyberattacks.

American officials also note that Mr. Trump was angered by a Russian flight directly over his Bedminster, N.J., golf estate, in 2017.

But Mr. Trump’s decision, rumored for some time, is bound to further aggravate European allies, including those in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, who are also signatories to the treaty.

They will remain in the accord, but have warned that, with Washington’s exit, Russia will almost certainly respond by cutting off their flights, too, which the allies use to monitor troop movements on their borders — especially important to the Baltic nations.

For Mr. Trump, the decision marks the third time he has renounced a major arms control treaty.

Two years ago, he abandoned the Iran nuclear accord, negotiated by President Barack Obama. Last year he left the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, again saying that he would not participate in a treaty that he said Russia was violating. The Open Skies Treaty was negotiated by President George H.W. Bush and his Secretary of State, James Baker, in 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

But the idea was first presented by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in the summer of 1955, and was rejected by the Soviets as an elaborate plan to spy on a weaker foe.

For more than a year, Mr. Trump has said he would not renew it unless China also joined. Beijing, which has a nuclear arsenal one-fifth the size of Washington’s and Moscow’s, has rejected the idea.

It is unclear whether Mr. Trump will try for a brief extension of the treaty of several months — the current wording allows only for a single, 5-year extension — or abandon it altogether if China refuses to join.

So Trump is blaming Russia and China and withdrawing anyway, which is exactly what both Russia and China want.

Putin maneuvering Trump into throwing away another decades-old treaty that leaves NATO more vulnerable is going to be just one example of the damage Trump's regime will cause that will take the rest of my lifetime to fix, if not longer.

It's About Supression, Con't

Donald Trump is now openly threatening states that are trying to expand vote-by-mail, all but ordering his regime to find a way to cut states off from federal money unless they obey Dear Leader's tweets.

During the impeachment of President Trump, an expert witness called by Democrats floated a theoretical scenario involving the president threatening a state hammered by a natural disaster, to illustrate the corruption of Trump’s shakedown of Ukraine.

What would we think if Trump dangled federal disaster aid as leverage to force a governor to do his political bidding, asked Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, adding: “Wouldn’t you know in your gut that the president had abused his office? That he betrayed the national interest?”

Trump has now done something very close to this. And the answer to Karlan’s question is: Yes, Trump is abusing his office and betraying the national interest:

Trump is referring to the Michigan secretary of state’s announcement that applications for absentee ballots will be mailed to 7.7 million residents. That’s to ensure that Michiganders can vote safely amid a pandemic that has brought more than 50,000 cases of coronavirus to the state and killed more than 5,000 people.

Trump’s new threat is not a precise parallel to Karlan’s scenario. But Trump is threatening to somehow withdraw federal aid unless Michigan drops vote-by-mail, a naked effort to extort Michigan into doing something that could help him politically. (Trump rage-tweeted a similar threat at Nevada.)

That last point is crucial. It has been widely reported that Trump’s advisers fear he’s losing Michigan, which he probably needs again, especially with Arizona at risk.

We also know Trump fears vote-by-mail can hurt his chances. Trump explicitly admitted that with such Democratic voting rights measures, “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

And so, in lodging this threat, Trump is saying the corrupt part out loud — with a bullhorn.

Steve M. tells us what happens next.

It won't be just Trump contesting the election results between November and January -- it'll be his entire support network, starting with Fox News. Fox didn't seriously argue for the overturning of election results in 2008 and 2012, but this time will probably be different. The right regards vote-by-mail -- at least in contested states won by Democrats -- as voter fraud by definition. A Democratic win in any vote-by-mail swing state will automatically be declared fraudulent.

If Trump wins Michigan or Nevada, there'll be relentless calls on Fox to challenge the Democratic electors' right to vote in the Electoral College, and those challenges will be taken seriously by Republicans at the state level. In previous years, Republicans in Washington have treated such calls as boob-bait, useful for the building of party unity against the Democrats, but not for much more. This time, I think Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and others might insist that voter fraud allegations need to be taken very, very seriously. They'll also undoubtedly look for reasons to question Senate pickups by the Democrats.

I don't know if they can persuade much of America that the election was fraudulent. But at the very least, they can reframe the narrative so that the media begins describing Joe Biden's ascension to the presidency as accompanied by a "legitimacy crisis" -- even if, unlike Trump in 2016 and George W. Bush in 2000, Biden has won a clear victory in both the Electoral College and the popular vote.

Joe Biden might even get sworn in.

And the moment he does, he's going to be told by Our Pundit Betters™ that he needs to pardon Trump or face civil unrest that will kill thousands, if we're not already up to our necks in civil unrest from the Trump Depression and COVID-19.


Related Posts with Thumbnails