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Old 24th Jan 2019, 09:08
  #17254 (permalink)  
Mac the Knife

Plastic PPRuNer
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Cape Town
Posts: 1,890
Originally Posted by West Coast View Post
Not from a feckless foreigner whose understanding of the US economy come from jet blast. If you had an intelligent reply regarding the relationship between the President and the state of the economy, you would have used it. You clearly didn't as surely you know I'm correct.
Stick to performing elective surgery, as the finer points of the US economy have eluded you.
"Do you believe the President has little nothing to do [sic], good or bad with the health of the economy?"

Initially at least, Presidents have little to do with the strength of the economy. To be able to significantly influence the economy you need a strong and confident President who is pragmatic, knows Washington inside out, has people who respect him (though they may not like him) across the board, and has colleagues and contacts across political divides. He must have a coherent and informed long-term vision based on reality. He will have favours he can call in (and dispense) and political knowledge that allows him to arm-wrassle the reluctant and quiet the strident. He must be, above all, a deal-maker and one who keeps his word. Politics is People, and as a congressman he must know the leaders, the union heads and people of his district - not from afar but on a doorbell knocking, casual phone-call, drop-in-for-coffee, "Hows-that-son-of-yours-doing?" level.

There is a story about Jack Kennedy - United States Representative (1947–1953) from Massachusetts. Massachusetts's 11th congressional district, 1946 (Democratic primary). A lil' 'ol lady was being interviewed about her vote and she admitted that she had voted for Kennedy's opponent, while saying how nice Kennedy seemed. 'But then why didn't you vote for Kennedy?", the journalist said, "He never asked me.", she replied. A lesson Kennedy never forgot. He served six years in the House of Representatives and knew what politics was about. A good President? Yes. He worked long hours, getting up at seven and not going to bed until eleven or twelve at night, or later. He read six newspapers while he ate breakfast, had meetings with important people throughout the day, and read reports from his advisers. A great President? No - only his assassination saved him from Johnson's fate, and his Presidency was too much about himself and the Kennedy/Shriver clan.

Lyndon Johnson was a great politician and very nearly a great President. Coming from relative poverty he created the Great Society programs which included anti-poverty processes and civil rights legislation: The Civil Rights Act of 1964, The Voting Rights Act of 1965 & The Civil Rights Act of 1968 (which outlawed discrimination for housing). He created Medicare and Medicaid, and was instrumental in the the passage of many environmental protection acts and laws to help protect consumers. It was Johnson's tragedy to inherit involvement in South-East Asia (the assassination of Diem) from Kennedy, and the Vietnam War besmirched his Presidency to a degree that overrode his many accomplishments and political skills.

Tip O'Neill is another politician for whom I have much admiration. The only Speaker to serve for five complete consecutive Congresses, he was the third longest-serving Speaker in American history. As a deal-maker, facilitator, and overall total professional he deserves his place among the greats. O'Neill broke with Johnson on the Vietnam War and called for Nixon's resignation in the light of the Watergate affair. He became House Majority Whip in 1971, House Majority Leader in 1973, and Speaker of the House in 1977. O'Neill hoped to establish a universal health care system and a guaranteed jobs program. He became a leading opponent of Reagan's conservative domestic policies, but worked with him on foreign policy, fostering the Anglo-Irish Agreement and implementing the Reagan Doctrine in the Soviet–Afghan War.

Have I answered your original question? I said, "Initially at least, Presidents have little to do with the strength of the economy."
On review, my codicil that only strong Presidents can influence the economy still stands. For the first two years of his presidency any president is largely coasting on what he has inherited, only later can his direct influence begin to make itself felt. Later on, Presidents can and do influence the economy, though not nearly as much as they might wish. World affairs and the global marketplace do much more. Stability and confidence (even of the Evil Empire type!) encourages markets, instability and uncertainty depress them.

Trump is a terribly weak President, with no experience and little knowledge of politics, no old (or new) friends in Washington, and an ever increasing number of people whom he has insulted and offended, who are unlikely to come to his aid in the current sauve-qui-peut climate. His ignorance of foreign policy is near total, and he is disinclined to listen to those who would seek to inform him. He lies regularly, transparently and pointlessly. His relationship with the press is awful, which is largely his own fault. His interest in the economy is limited to ways in which he can enrich himself and maintain the support of wealthy donors. His personal economic record of a string of bankruptcies and stiffed investors is not encouraging and neither is his evident involvement with the shady Russian economic elite. The rapid 'revolving-door' turnover of his staff appointments is a reliable red-light for any company (as is the large number of still unfilled vacancies). He gets up late, leaves briefings unread, watches TV obsessively in the hope of seeing encomia, 'twitters' endlessly without thought or discretion, does little work and much play. Attempting to rule by Fiat (as he has done for most of his life) he is regularly rebuffed by the Courts and Constitution which surprises and enrages him. A dictatorship, whether by the people or a person, is what the Founding Fathers sought to make impossible.

Is such behaviour likely to be "good for the economy" - history would suggest otherwise.

Mac (foreign and feckless)

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