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Trump's Economic Plan is a Betrayal of the People Who Voted for Him

By       Message Mike Whitney     Permalink
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From Counterpunch


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Trump's economic plan has sent stocks ripping higher for six weeks straight. But what's going to happen to stock prices when Congress gives Trump's plan a big thumbs down? Has anyone thought about that yet?

And what about the Fed? Does anyone seriously think that Fed chairman Janet Yellen is going to sit on her hands while Trump launches a $1 trillion fiscal stimulus package that triggers a sudden burst of growth followed by a sharp uptick in inflation?

No, Yellen's not going to sit on her hands. She's going to raise rates to prevent the economy from overheating which is going to throw cold water on Trump's pro-growth government-spending plan.

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So why has the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) climbed more than 1,600 points and gained nearly 10% ("the biggest post-election rally on record") when Trump's plan is either going to be derailed by the Fed's higher interest rates or blocked by the obstructionist Congress? It doesn't make any sense, does it? And if the plan doesn't survive in its current form, then stocks are going to retrace all the gains they've made in the last month and a half. That's roughly 1,700 points erased in the blink of an eye.

Bottom line: Trump's Santa Rally could turn into a stock market bloodbath unless he's able to deliver on his promises, which doesn't look very likely. Check this out from Bloomberg:

"President-elect Donald Trump's race to enact the biggest tax cuts since the 1980s went under a caution flag Monday as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned he considers current levels of U.S. debt "dangerous" and said he wants any tax overhaul to avoid adding to the deficit.

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"'I think this level of national debt is dangerous and unacceptable,' McConnell said, adding he hopes Congress doesn't lose sight of that when it acts next year. 'My preference on tax reform is that it be revenue neutral,' he said...

"The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a nonpartisan think tank, has projected that Trump's plans would increase the debt by $5.3 trillion over a decade, with deficits already over $600 billion a year and rising on autopilot...

"'What I hope we will clearly avoid, and I'm confident we will, is a trillion-dollar stimulus,' he said. 'Take you back to 2009. We borrowed $1 trillion and nobody could find that it did much of anything. So we need to do this carefully and correctly and the issue of how to pay for it needs to be dealt with responsibly.'" (McConnell, Warning of "Dangerous" Debt, Wants Tax Cut Offsets, Bloomberg)

It doesn't sound like McConnell is a big fan of Trump's economic plan, does it? So why has the Dow risen to within 26 points of the 20,000-mark if that's the case?? Do investors think that Trump can simply issue an executive order and force Congress to do what he wants?

Good luck with that. The deficit-crazed Republicans are just as committed to austerity as ever, mainly because slashing government spending coupled with low interest rates is a tried-and-true method of transferring obscene amounts of money to the 1 percenters. Why would they tinker with a mechanism that works perfectly already?

They won't, at least not to the extent that it'll have any meaningful impact on the living standards of millions of working people across America. Congress is going to prevent that at all cost. And so will the Fed. Just listen to what Yellen had to say to a journalist from the Washington Post last week following the FOMC meeting. She was asked point-blank whether she thought the economy needed more fiscal stimulus or not. Her answer:

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"Well ... I called for fiscal stimulus when the unemployment rate was substantially higher than it is now. So with a 4.6 percent unemployment, and a solid labor market, there may be some additional slack in labor markets, but I would judge that the degree of slack has diminished, So I would say at this point that fiscal policy is not obviously needed to help us get back to full employment " But nevertheless, let me be careful that I am not trying to provide advice to the new administration or to Congress as to what is the appropriate stance of policy."

Nice, eh? Yellen threatens Trump with three more rate hikes in 2017, torpedoes his $1 trillion infrastructure plan with a wave of the hand, and then has the audacity to deny that she's dictating policy.

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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.


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