On Friday, the Labor Department delivered more bad news for the American economy which seems to suggest a recession is just around the corner: Job growth slowed in November to a mere 155,000 jobs.
The job news comes in the same week that the stock market has lost nearly 1,400 points, wiping out all of the gains for the year and also pointing to an economic slowdown.
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How bad are things? Bad enough that even President Donald Trump knows there’s a recession ahead and is now looking for people he can blame when it happens.
According to Politico, White House advisers are panicked, as is the president himself, knowing that last incumbent president to seek re-election in the middle of a recession — Jimmy Carter — lost badly:
“‘They know it could be a very dangerous situation if the market volatility is hurting workers in key battleground states through their pensions, investments, you name it,’ said one Republican close to the White House. ‘The concern is probably at a DEFCON 3 at this point, but it will definitely spike in 2019 if there’s no real solution [to the trade dispute with China]'”
Needing scapegoats, Trump has recently begun criticizing Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell:
“Just last week, Trump blamed the independent Fed for the drop in the stock market as well as a recent plant-closing announcement by General Motors. Speaking to the Washington Post, Trump said he was ‘not even a little bit happy’ with Powell, whom he nominated to run the Fed.”
And of course there’s likely to be plenty of blame for Congressional Democrats:
“Other advisers expect Trump to continue blaming Democrats for recent market weakness, as he and his aides did in the runup to last month’s midterm elections. One likely target is the presumed incoming House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, who is far better known than Powell to Americans beyond Washington.”
Also in the crosshairs for an economic downturn? Any cabinet officials who leave the administration:
“‘He’s going to blame (Secretary of Commerce) Wilbur Ross for some of these problems once Ross leaves … And if any of his advisers walk, he’ll blame them too.”‘
The problem, however, is that a major part of the slowdown being seen across the world can be blamed on the shortsighted trade war Trump has instigated:
“Some officials are desperately hoping for a trade deal with China so that tariffs do not loom over consumers and companies just as the Fed begins raises rates, as expected, and as economic growth begins to slow. But there are no guarantees that China hawks within the administration — who scoff at Wall Street’s market-driven concerns about a trade fight — won’t carry the day.”
What Trump seems to forget is that when the recession hits, he’ll be the one that gets the blame, no matter how he tries to spin the facts. And since the majority of Americans don’t like or respect him, a bad economy could well seal his fate as a failed one-term president.
Featured Image Via CNBC